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Japan 2017/2018

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
@Idris, enjoying the photos
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
mooney058 wrote:
What a day with @Mike Pow, Smile had to ďunlearnĒ some stuff and then slowly build-up again. So glad to have met Mike, now enough to think about and improve over the next 10 days. Top man!


Was my absolute pleasure to meet and ski with you.

2 great days Smile
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Skiing in Japan gives you grey hair
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8 days in Japan, 8 consecutive days off heavy snowing... It's ridiculous.
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Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
moridinbg wrote:
8 days in Japan, 8 consecutive days off heavy snowing... It's ridiculous.

Excellent, don't wear it out, I'll be there from Thursday Cool
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moridinbg wrote:
8 days in Japan, 8 consecutive days off heavy snowing... It's ridiculous.


My one and only trip we were getting twitchy when it hadn't snowed for 24 hours....but then it started and never stopped!
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Buzzing that I've just negotiated a two week trip for xmas/new year 18/19. Long may the dumping continue!

Gonna hire a car and spend a week in Niseko and a week in Otaru. Didn't manage to get to Moiwa, Rusutsu, Teine or Kokusai last time so they're all on the list. Would love to hear any reports.

Please keep the stoke coming!
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
https://www.kiroro.co.jp/news/off-piste 2月16日 open/

Massive news! Looks like Kiroro has opened most of its area as officially sanctioned in bounds off piste, without the need to register or submit climbing plans.
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quick edit from week in Japan- Niseko Kiroro and Rusutsu


http://youtube.com/v/3tlC3UPfEdA
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element wrote:
https://www.kiroro.co.jp/news/off-piste 2月16日 open/

Massive news! Looks like Kiroro has opened most of its area as officially sanctioned in bounds off piste, without the need to register or submit climbing plans.

Terrible news Sad Sad Sad Sad

One of the great things about Kiroro was that you could have multiple powder laps all day, now it will be trashed.
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@sqmaleb, Top work that man. At Kiroro it's not the chair you can see that gets you, its the one coming the other way.

A hire car, an empty snow filled car park, why wouldn't you Very Happy
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
@element, @PowderAdict, It looks like the main lift accessed off-piste area (the central valley that you can access from the top of the Nagamine or Asari side) is still "out of bounds" going by the map. Same with all the other parts for which you need to exit the resort boundary. Hopefully they are still going to allow people to cross the ski area boundary in addition to these new officially allowed off-piste areas inside the resort.

Areas 1, 3 and 4 on the map (Powder Ridge / Orange Light / Peaches) were my favourite for inbounds, but you could already enter them without crossing ropes and loads of people did, so I doubt the new rules will make much difference to how tracked it gets. Not sure about the other areas - maybe I missed out on some good bits!

https://www.kiroro.co.jp/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/OFFPISTE_en-2.pdf
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
I arrived in Furano yesterday for my now annual trip (3rd year). Once again with Whiteroom Tours, but this time a private tour, rather than one of the scheduled ones. This way we get to pick the guide, hotels, and resorts Very Happy

I'll try an keep a daily log of the resorts and conditions.

Day 1 : I flew out a couple of days earlier than the rest of the group, so skiing nominally alone. My hotel is 5 mins walk from the Kitanomine lift, so easy access. Forecast was 50% chance of snow, and cold. The cold they got right as it was -8 to -10C, and fortunately we got the 50% snow, as it snowed nearly all day. You know its dumping when snow builds up on your skis when you're on the chair lift Cool. The resort is very quiet with the majority of skiers made up of school age beginners and the Army in regulation boots and telemark skis.

I was surprised at the conditions as there was plenty of deep un-tracked powder, with faceshots on demand. Standout areas were the hike-able peak off the top of the Kitanomine gondola, the face above the top station of the Ropeway lift, and the Diamond Cut area off the top chair on the Furano side. All had waist deep powder in places, and fresh lines. There was a crust layer about 30cm down on southern faces of the Diamond Cut, so I guess there must have been a warm sunny spell in the last week. I skied most of the day with an American I met, which gave both of us more options, as most of the areas are out of bounds, and its safer as a pair.


Last edited by So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much on Fri 16-02-18 11:27; edited 1 time in total
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
@musehead, I hope you are right, as I'll be there in a week. I'm sure that @MikePow will be along to confirm the situation.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
@musehead, yeah, I hadn't thought about the boundary crossing issue but hopefully that stays the same. We had tried to enter areas 1,3,4 in Jan last year but a ski patroller rushed over and frowned/head shook us off it. There were no other tracks so he was obviously policing it. Next to all the anti off piste signage it left a bit of a bad taste, as much as I loved the place. I don't like to go to another country and be disrespectful, especially given how well we were treated in general. I like the consistency of this new policy.
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PowderAdict wrote:
@sqmaleb, Top work that man. At Kiroro it's not the chair you can see that gets you, its the one coming the other way.

A hire car, an empty snow filled car park, why wouldn't you Very Happy



thanks mate, yes it was close call that ski went just in front of my eyes

first time in Japan and worth every penny
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@PowderAdict, I've found the updated piste map for this winter:

https://www.kiroro.co.jp/wp-content/themes/kiroro/doc/guidemap/Kiroro-Trail-mapFeb2018.pdf

It shows all the backcountry gates so it looks like the system is still the same for anyone wanting to leave the resort boundary.

@element, Must have been inconsistent as we and many others had no bother doing the same (without ducking any ropes) on a couple of days in Jan last year!
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
sqmaleb wrote:
quick edit from week in Japan- Niseko Kiroro and Rusutsu


http://youtube.com/v/3tlC3UPfEdA


You're a dickhead for ducking the rope and skiing under the Asari double chair.
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Kiroro is the only resort which has official permission to lease, open and manage the terrain between the pisted runs which falls within the resort boundary.

It's taken until 16 February to unveil the signage and the Off-Piste Map because the wheels of change run very slowly in Japan.

The Off-Piste areas will remain open this season for as long as they are deemed safe, and will re-open for the 2018/19 season as and when conditions allow.

Each Off-Piste area has a marked entrance point with a diagram of the area and relevant safety instructions.

Access to the backcountry beyond the resort area boundary is still through the various exit gates. To exit through the gates you have to complete a climbing plan in the Mountain Club.

Hope that helps.
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Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
@Mike Pow, Thank you, a concise explanation.
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Day 2 : Furano. The forecasts looked good, with light snow in the morning, and heavier in the afternoon. What wasn't forecast were the strong winds, which shut the Katanomine gondola all day, and the wonderfully named top chair on the Furano side "Downhill Romance No.3". Since these 2 lifts grant access to the best powder regions, it wasn't looking good. After an excellent first day, I'd brought out my extra fat skis, which was starting to look like a mistake. However, there was still enough powder in the trees to make them worthwhile.

Temperature at the top was in the -10 to -12C range, but felt like below -20C with the windchill. You exited the top of the Ropeway into horizontal snow, and the shops at the base stations were doing a roaring trade in face masks and buffs snowHead

Being a Saturday I expected more people, but I guess they used a better forecast than me. Even so there was double the number of people, but the numbers quickly reduced as many were frozen off the the mountain. The "Downhill Romance No.3" chair looked like it was being prepared for opening as I gave up early (there was a hopeful queue forming), but it might just have been to get Ski Patrollers up the mountain to check the conditions.

I'm not sure of the name of this meteorological phenomenon, but the Furano peak has a halo, either that or one of the many Japanese mountain spirits is making an appearance Cool

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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Mike Pow wrote:

Access to the backcountry beyond the resort area boundary is still through the various exit gates. To exit through the gates you have to complete a climbing plan in the Mountain Club.


Cheers Mike, any idea what form that might take ?
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Mike Pow wrote:
sqmaleb wrote:
quick edit from week in Japan- Niseko Kiroro and Rusutsu


http://youtube.com/v/3tlC3UPfEdA


You're a dickhead for ducking the rope and skiing under the Asari double chair.


Maybe just stupid and canít read? Puzzled
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You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
AndAnotherThing.. wrote:
Mike Pow wrote:

Access to the backcountry beyond the resort area boundary is still through the various exit gates. To exit through the gates you have to complete a climbing plan in the Mountain Club.


Cheers Mike, any idea what form that might take ?


Mountain Club is on the second floor of the Mountain Center.

You fill out a form with name, contact details, number in group that type of thing.

Indicate on a map the areas you intend skiing.

Pay a day membership fee. I think it's JPY 1000

You then receive a ticket which you show to the person at the exit gate.
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Day 3 : Furano. The official start of my Whiteroom tour. A bluebird day, but unusually no new snow overnight. Although cold, dropping to -13C by the afternoon, the lack of humidity, made it feel warmer in the sunshine.

There was no need for the usual first day ski assessment, as the rest of my group are all Norwegians who have been skiing since they could walk. Since there was little new snow the priority was to hit the zones which had been restricted yesterday due to lift closure, which were the Diamond Cut off the top Furano chair, and the Premium Powder Zone of the top of the Kitanomine gondola. Both had reasonable powder, the Premium Powder Zone partially at least living up to its name.

We also spent sometime lapping the trees below the link lift, as this usually remains relatively untouched as the exit route is unclear, so few venture in there. By the afternoon the sun had started to degrade the snowpack, and the quality of the powder changed from light to heavy, but no one was complaining about un-tracked snow Very Happy

Incidents of note. One wallet left in restaurant at lunchtime, found in exactly the same spot 4 hours later. One go-pro smashed out of its housing by a tree, found after 15 mins, so another result.
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Furano, amazing snow but very long exit flat no? I struggled with the short verticals in JP. Niseko was the exception but suffered from Verbier like powder frenzy!
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
BobinCH wrote:
Furano, amazing snow but very long exit flat no? I struggled with the short verticals in JP. Niseko was the exception but suffered from Verbier like powder frenzy!


Some longer lines in the side & backcountry, and some resorts like Sapporo Kokusai and Sapporo Teine have consistent pitch vertical but overall it's short laps with consistent snow top to bottom in Japan.
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
BobinCH wrote:
..... I struggled with the short verticals in JP. Niseko was the exception but suffered from Verbier like powder frenzy......


Agree with that, though already planning on returning next year but only for touring trip with possibly an end of week well earned cat excursion.

We managed 1,000m up Mount Yotei and there's still another nigh on 600m to do and as you can see some steep terrain!



There are many other good steepish decents but you have to earn those turns.

Yesterday I had a classic La Grave day (see La Grave thread) and that was on a par with any Japanese experience, but it is a different sort of skiing.

It's the consistency of the snow in Japan that makes it so attractive plus by going off the grid a little you can have more of an authentic trip.

This is the travel feature write up the OH did
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
@BobinCH, At Furano, only the Diamond Cut area off the top chair has the mega exit traverse ending the side step up the dam, practically everything else exits onto a piste.

I've done the traverse many times on my Spoons, which could torture late in the afternoon when it has become a bobsleigh run. The Lotus 124's proved way better for that traverse.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Day 4 : Kamui. With no significant snow for 24 plus hours, and being a Monday after a heavy weekends skiing, Kamui was much as expected. As is usual at Kamui all the best skiing is out of the top gates and round the left/right outside of the resort, returning at the bottom lifts. We found plenty of 'heavy powder' lines, but which I mean powder you would be perfectly happy to find in a European resort, but heavy for Japan. There were also a huge number of tree bombs, which made the skiing more exciting, as they don't break when you hit them.

The weather started sunny and -9C, but wind built up during the day to the point where it briefly stopped the main gondola. It was snowing as we left Kamui, and for most of the way back to Furano, so we are hoping it dumps overnight.
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If you're coming to Hokkaido for lift accessed steeps then you're doing it wrong.

This is what you come for

https://www.instagram.com/p/BfXxMk-nWm2/?taken-by=mikethesnow
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@Mike Pow, Cheers for the info. I'm planning to pack skins so maybe do some touring too, or at least be able to access more out of the way stuff.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
@Mike Pow, well yes clearly the snow conditions when it pukes are mind blowing and I can see why itís perfect for those getting into powder. And the FWT guys raved about Hakuba - but maybe heli supported. I did 8 days, 4 different places - niseko, Furano, kurodake, asahidake and while the trip was superb, we unfortunately didnít get your Kiroro blower pow and, as above, the terrain didnít really excite (Kurodake volcano terrain was great but was not lift served)
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AndAnotherThing.. wrote:
@Mike Pow, Cheers for the info. I'm planning to pack skins so maybe do some touring too, or at least be able to access more out of the way stuff.


Lots of easily accessible sidecountry / backcountry from the resorts.
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BobinCH wrote:
@Mike Pow, well yes clearly the snow conditions when it pukes are mind blowing and I can see why itís perfect for those getting into powder. And the FWT guys raved about Hakuba - but maybe heli supported. I did 8 days, 4 different places - niseko, Furano, kurodake, asahidake and while the trip was superb, we unfortunately didnít get your Kiroro blower pow and, as above, the terrain didnít really excite (Kurodake volcano terrain was great but was not lift served)


Agreed.

Inbounds terrain in the Hakuba Valley is very similar to the Hokkaido resorts.

The terrain above the resorts is epic. And alpine.

The terrain skier's left and below the gondola station at Kurodake is very good. Drops you down to the river and dam and it's a short skate / pole back to the gondola base station. Terrain above the double chair is as wild as you want.
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Day 5 : Sahoro. The day started sunny, and when we arrived before 09:00 it was -9C. I canít tell much about the resort in general, other than is was very quiet, as we only rode two lifts, the main gondola and the newíish quad chair which runs on the other side of the peak, and didnít ski any of the front side pistes. This new chair serves the resort expansion area of Red/Black runs, and loads of tree skiing. We lapped this multiple times, and found fresh tracks the further left we went.

The highlight for us is the road pickup run, which is completely unofficial, as you exit the resort of the top of the gondola, and end up on the main road before the resort turn off. This run is the perfect mixture of tight trees and open glades, with a variable pitch allowing top to bottom runs. We did it four times, the last time catching the gondola 6 mins before it closed, of course it only works if you have someone willing to sacrifice their skiing to drive the van Very Happy

By the time we left it had started snowing, and was dumping by the time we reached Furano, hopefully it continues all night Cool
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@Mike Pow, Cheers Smile You might be in luck for some Welsh pow pow on your return.....
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Fingers crossed 👍
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