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SR: Hokkaido, Japan 2011 / 12

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SR: Hokkaido, Japan 2011 / 12

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
DAY 1 : WEDNESDAY 28 DECEMBER 2011

Back on Fantasy Island, and it's great to be back.

Welcome to Hokkaido
(courtesy of Sapporo Classic and Takeo Shimuzi)









I was met at Chitose Airport by Ian MacKenzie of Niseko-Wow, regular partner-in-crime from my visit back in March 2011 and all around good egg.

http://niseko-wow.com/

http://snowheads.com/ski-forum/viewtopic.php?t=75152


On the way to Ian M's home in Makkari we stopped off at the Mushroom restaurant for a snack. Grilled pork on a stick and a new one for me, sausage on the bone. Both delicious.

Ian M with his Atkins Diet 'hot dog'









Dropped my gear off at Ian M's house and then went out to dinner at a small restaurant in Makkari. Fried chicken, pork and beef on sticks, cheese sticks, apple sours and beer. Fantastic.





Managed to stay awake until 10 pm after the 21-hr travel time, and went to bed looking forward to picking up our Kiroro seasons passes and skiing the Kiroro powder on Thursday.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
DAY 2 : THURSDAY 29 DECEMBER 2011

ALL ABOARD! THE KIRORO POWDER TRAIN IS NOW LEAVING THE STATION

A cold and clear morning in Makkari as Ian M and I packed up the car and headed for Kiroro.

http://www.mfresort.co.jp/english/kiroro.html


360Niseko reported O cm in Hirafu village but there was about 10cm of fresh in the Kiroro car park.

http://360niseko.com/blog/niseko-snow-report-29-december-2011/


For the second season in a row, we'd bought Kiroro seasons passes which at JPY 38,000 is one of the best deals on Hokkaido.

The mountain centre was a hive of activity and excitement but it was all just a bit too much for this gentleman





And even with the holiday skiers we never waited more than a minute for a chair or a gondola, and barely crossed a track all day.

It was greybird all day, but the snow was oh so inviting.

Ian M accepting his invitation





























Not a bad way to open our account.
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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, nice way to start of your season, will be watching this thread with ever increasing anticipatation snowHead and maybe i'll even get to join in on the fun Toofy Grin
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Great photos Mike Pow, but nothing compared to the snow on Pen-y-fan Toofy Grin. I'm hoping to spend a few months skiing in Japan next winter, and Kiroro looks like a decent option; are there any near-by towns with good accommodation and transport links? Otaru looks like a possibility, but it's 50 minutes by bus.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Mike Pow, Snow looks amazing. Enjoy!
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You'll need to Register first of course.
^^^ +1
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Keep some snow back for the rest of us
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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!
forgive my ignorance, I am out in Niseko on the 30th Jan, is Kiroro close by??? On a seperate lift pass??? feckin miles away or what Wink
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kitenski, kiroro is separate, an hour from Niseko by car from what I've heard. I'm heading out tomorrow and there until end-Feb and planning to hire a car for a few weeks at the end of Jan beginning of feb and would be up for sharing trips to resorts around Niseko for those prepared to contribute to the costs of the car
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thebongolian, when do you arrive? I'm gonna be at the airport to collect a mate coming from the UK arriving around 16.30.
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snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
MagSeven, I get to Sapporo on Friday evening. Spending Friday night in town then heading down to Niseko Saturday am.
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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.
Mike, do you have kids and a wife?
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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
Thanks guys.

Teaching full time at the moment, so falling behind in days.

But slowly catching up.

More to follow Very Happy

And no kids or wife russ e, but a very understanding girlfriend.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
ArseCaptain wrote:
Great photos Mike Pow, but nothing compared to the snow on Pen-y-fan Toofy Grin. I'm hoping to spend a few months skiing in Japan next winter, and Kiroro looks like a decent option; are there any near-by towns with good accommodation and transport links? Otaru looks like a possibility, but it's 50 minutes by bus.


There's nothing like Pen-y-Fan pow, but Hokkaido is a palatable back up.

Otaru is the nearest big town, but it's not that near. With a car it's a doable 'commute'. Sapporo Kokusai and Sapporo Teine are both 45 mins from Otaru too. And the Niseko Resort Area is about 90 mins.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
If you are looking to come to hokkaido for a few months, the best place to stay is Niseko. From there you can access the 5 local resorts very easily, resorts such as Rusutsu, Kiroro, Teine and Kokusai are all easily accessable by car. Within 5 hours drive you can allso access the great terrain in Daisetsuzan. The main reson for a prolonged stay in Niseko rather than the other resorts is the range of accomodation available, and easy access to restaurants bars, onsens (hot springs) and local ameneties, with the slopes right on your doorstep. Niseko has some very good inbound terrain and backcounrty acess is marvellous, the more with a great deal of hikeable mountains for those who wish to go further afield
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
+1 to captainofpowder's advice.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
DAY 3 : FRIDAY 30 DECEMBER 2011


360Niseko reported 7 cm of new snow in Hirafu village

http://360niseko.com/blog/niseko-snow-report-30-december-2011/


Woke to a cold and clear sunrise at my cabin in Higashiyama, my home away from home this winter.

A Room With A View





But by the time I met with Hirafu village homeowners and regular visitors to the Niseko Resort Area the Banks and Wikman families from Brisbane, Australia the clouds had rolled in and we skied the first day of their lessons under greybird skies.

After 6 months off snow (a year for some) it was a day of finding your feet and balance on the groomed runs of Hirafu.

http://www.grand-hirafu.jp/winter/en/index.html


We had lunch at the King Bell restaurant - roast pork slices in miso ramen for me - and in the late afternoon Tim Banks and I took a run into Miharashi for the first time this winter. Creamy, windblown pow with most of the sasa and brush buried.

Met up with Ian M after skiing and we called in to see Cezar at Niseko Pizza's new location in the J-Sekka building. We couldn't leave without a bite to eat and a glass of vino, and the caesar salad, large bianco pizza, and sangiovese wine were all delicious.

http://www.nisekopizza.jp/en


Last edited by Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person on Thu 5-01-12 14:33; edited 1 time in total
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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?
Finally, back in Hokkaido, very glad that our flight landed ok at Chitose, despite the snowstorm. Great time in Vietnam, but two weeks away from the pow is enough for me! Got a few more days off, so its Fri - Teine, Sat - Kamui, Sun - Asahidake, Mon - Rusutsu, Tues - Niseko.
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MagSeven, I'm out end of Jan for 8 days, are you still around then???
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Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
That's a sweet little tour MagSeven.
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DAY 4 : SATURDAY 31 DECEMBER 2011

360Niseko reported 14 cm of new snow in Hirafu village

http://360niseko.com/blog/niseko-snow-report-31-december-2011/


I met the Wikmans and the Banks' at the bottom of the Ace Family Chair, and after an hour or so of skiing the groomed slopes of Hirafu we headed over to Hanazono.

It was a cold, clear day interspersed with frequent squally winds that made the mercury drop quickly and bitingly. The tree lined runs of Hanazono afford protection from the wind and are a good choice on days like this.

At the end of Silver Dream is the Jib Park, and when the sun came out Tim W, Annie, Claudia, and Jack headed in

Tim W in the Jib Park





Annie in the Jib Park





Claudia in the Jib Park





Jack in the Jib Park





After lunch at Hanazono 308 - Pork donburi (pork slices, poached egg, bean sprouts, rice) for me - we headed to the nose of Waterfall to acquaint ourselves with the powder.

Annie enjoying her first foray in the powder









Jack in Waterfall





Claudia in Waterfall





Liz in Waterfall





Jackie in Waterfall





Tim W in Waterfall









For the last hour or so of daylight Tim W, Tim B & I played in the Hirafu powder. Tim W had been working hard on his stance and balance all day and was showing marked signs of improvement by days end

Tim W on the fringes of Furiko









Tim B on the fringes of Furiko





After an excellent day on and off the groomed runs Tim W, Tim B & I enjoyed an Apres-ski drink at Herbie's Umbrella Bar on the former Scott Hotel site between the Alpen and King base areas.
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Mike Pow wrote:

And no kids or wife russ e, but a very understanding girlfriend.


Daddy please don't say those things!! Crying or Very sad We miss you! Please come home. Mommy says you love snow more than us...
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After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Laughing
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You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
kitenski wrote:
MagSeven, I'm out end of Jan for 8 days, are you still around then???


Yep, I live here! Apart from Tokyo Marathon weekend in late Feb, then an insane 4 day trip to the UK 1st weekend in March, I'll be around!

Actually got some decent time off work now so getting around to a few more ski hills.
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The eagle has landed. After 36 hours on planes and in airports I now find myself in a hotel in Sapporo. Bed is calling but I might try to make it our for a beer...

Heading to Niseko tomorrow morning. Skiing from Sunday. MagSeven, sadly doing an avalanche course on Tuesday and Wednesday as it'd be good to meet up. Hopefully another time as planning to explore up Furano, Asahidake, Kamui way in a few weeks.
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 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
I was going to ask how you get the approval to go to Japan every year and making me very jealous!

Now I know that you sneak out for a loaf and some milk and come back 5 months later
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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.
DAY 5 : SUNDAY 01 JANUARY 2012

360Niseko reported 1 cm of new snow in Hirafu village

http://360niseko.com/blog/niseko-snow-report-1-january-2012/


HAPPY NEW YEAR

And what better way to welcome in the New Year than a return to Kiroro with Ian M

http://www.mfresort.co.jp/english/kiroro.html



The sky was pretty clear as we drove Route 393 from Kutchan to Kiroro and its elevated position at the head of the valley afforded great views

Mt Yotei





The Niseko Resort Area, Iwaonupuri and Niseko Weiss from Route 393





As always Kiroro was quiet on and off the groomed runs. The snow wasn't as stellar as last Thursday (29th) as there was a wind blown layer about 20-25 cm down on some aspects. But we did manage to find some powder around the hill wink

Ian M at Kiroro

















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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
DAY 6 : MONDAY 02 JANUARY 2012

360Niseko reported 2 cm of new snow in Hirafu village

http://360niseko.com/blog/niseko-snow-report-2-january-2012/


A greybird, windy Grand Hirafu day with the Wickmans and the Banks'. Great skiing in Hirafu and Hanazono.




DAY 7 : TUESDAY 03 JANUARY 2012

360Niseko reported 5 cm of new snow in Hirafu village

http://360niseko.com/blog/niseko-snow-report-3-january-2012/


Another greybird, windy Grand Hirafu day with the Wickmans and the Banks'. Great skiing in Hirafu and Hanazono.




DAY 8 : WEDNESDAY 04 JANUARY 2012

360Niseko reported 19 cm of new snow in Hirafu village

http://360niseko.com/blog/niseko-snow-report-4-january-2012/


With a healthy fall of new snow it was time to hit the trees in lower Rinkan and the Shirakaba & Center courses off the Ace Pair Lift # 3 at Grand Hirafu with the Wickmans, the Banks', and new arrivals Giles and Georgia.

Annie in Rinkan





Claudia in Rinkan





Tim W in Rinkan









Jackie skiing Shirakaba





Georgia skiing Shirakaba





Tim B skiing Shirakaba





Jack skiing Shirakaba





Graeme skiing Shirakaba






DAY 9 : THURSDAY 05 JANUARY 2012

360Niseko reported 31 cm of new snow in Hirafu village

http://360niseko.com/blog/niseko-snow-report-5-january-2012/


LEGEND OF THE (NO) FALL

31cm of light powder for the Banks' last morning of skiing before they headed out to Breckenridge, Colorado, USA but high winds and driving snow kept the Ace Quad Lift #2 and Hirafu gondola on slow or hold for most of the day.

We decided to call it quits at 10.30 am and enjoy elevenses slopeside at The Vale Bar & Grill but not before we put six laps down the Family Run.

I had the pleasure of riding the chair with, skiing with and teaching the patriarch of the party John Pidgeon, who at 85 years young is my oldest student.

John had his first taste of skiing at Mt Kosciusko, NSW, Australia in 1947, staying at the original chalet.

The ski day would entail hiking up the slope in leather boots with skis strapped to his backpack, one run down, lunch, and one more ascent & descent in the afternoon if you were feeling energetic!

I know how you feel John after three winters skiing The Brecon Beacons National Park. Thankfully I was able to ski down in my Dynafit TLT 5 Performance boots and not leather boots.

John enjoying the Ultimate Hot Chocolate at The Vale Bar & Grill





The Gang at the Vale Bar & Grill
(l-r) Claudia, Jackie, Graeme, Giles, Georgia, Annie, Jack, Liz, Tim B, John, Dougie

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You know it makes sense.
DAY 10 : FRIDAY 06 JANUARY 2012

360Niseko reported 15 cm of new snow in Hirafu village

http://360niseko.com/blog/niseko-snow-report-5-january-2012/


As of today 712 cm (280") has fallen in Hirafu Village


With the wind still howling up high and the top lifts closed in the Niseko Resort Area, Ian M & I headed to Kiroro. Not that we needed an excuse!

http://www.mfresort.co.jp/english/kiroro.html


The snow was deep and light and we didn't cross a track all day

All aboard!













































Ian M was on fire. The best I've seen him ski to date.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Can't really see how well he's skiing in those shots, there's way too much snow Shocked looks like great fun
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Very Happy Neilski


DAY 11 : SATURDAY 07 JANUARY 2012

360Niseko reported 24 cm of new snow in Hirafu village

http://360niseko.com/blog/niseko-snow-report-7-january-2012/


We started off in Hirafu and then Liz, Graeme, Giles, Georgia and I made our way over to Annupuri.

Fabulous conditions on and off the groomed runs at Annupuri, but if Niseko United has any aspirations to become a truly international winter sports destination then the links between Annupuri, Niseko Village and Grand Hirafu need to be improved. Dramatically.

Giles, Georgia, Graeme and Liz at Annupuri





Liz and Graeme on the Annupuri gondola






DAY 12 : SUNDAY 08 JANUARY 2012

360Niseko reported 3 cm of new snow in Hirafu village

http://360niseko.com/blog/niseko-snow-report-8-january-2012/


Another snowy Grand Hirafu day with the Wickmans, Giles and Georgia.

15cm of the lightest powder fell in the first 2 hours of the ski day and set up great skiing in Hirafu and Hanazono.

John on the Family Run, Grand Hirafu when the snow was falling the hardest













Liz on the Family Run, Grand Hirafu





Giles on the Family Run, Grand Hiarfu





Graeme on the Family Run, Grand Hirafu





Liz, Graeme, Jack, and Tim W on the Family Run, Grand Hirafu





After bidding farewell to John it was time to head onwards and upwards to Center, Shirakaba and Rinkan.

Tim W skiing Shirakaba





Annie skiing Shirakaba









Giles skiing Shirakaba





Giles skiing Rinkan





Liz skiing Shirakaba













Liz skiing Rinkan





Tim W became a teenager today and we celebrated his 13th birthday at Wild Bills.

Tim W blowing out the birthday candles at Wild Bills

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Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
DAY 13 : MONDAY 09 JANUARY 2012

360Niseko reported 27 cm of new snow in Hirafu village

http://360niseko.com/blog/niseko-snow-report-9-january-2012/


My final day skiing with the Wikmans, Giles & Georgia, and John.

I drove John to the Annupuri base area and we skied Family and Junior while the others skied their way round from Hirafu.

John was on fire skiing 9 runs in total. A massive step up from the previous day's 6 runs on Hirafu's Family run.

John on Family, Annupuri









After a buffet lunch at Annupuri I drove John back to Hiarfu and then met up with the others for a couple of hours skiing the powder in Grand Hirafu.

Great to see how much everyone was enjoying themselves.

A magic day.
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
DAY 14 : TUESDAY 10 JANUARY 2012

360Niseko reported 24 cm of new snow in Hirafu village

http://360niseko.com/blog/niseko-snow-report-10-january-2012/


The 10th day straight of snowfall in January, and the 10th day straight of shovelling the deck, the steps, the car out, and the path to the road.

My task was made a lot easier by this man









MEET THE LOVELOCKS, AND CRAIG

I met Neil, Ria, Alex, Hayden, and Craig at the Ace Family Pair Lift in Grand Hirafu under grey and lightly snowing skies, but by the time we got to the King Hooded Triple Lift the sun was out and it had gone bluebird.

I'd first skied with Neil in Rusutsu in January 2007 when he was an attendee at a conference at Rusutsu Hotel. He returned with his wife Ria, daughter Alex, and son Hayden the following winter and they've been coming back to Hokkaido every year since.

This was their first time at Grand Hirafu and they'd brought along family friend Craig for his first taste of Hokkaido powder. And they got to see Grand Hirafu at its best.

Dry, light powder all over the mountain, blue skies, no lift lines, and the locusts had already made their way to the King Lift #4 and the forced march to the peak.

The area around the Ace Pair Lift #3 and the King Hooded Triple Lift was tracked but there was still a little left for us!

Ria finding her feet on the fringes of Center after a year away from the powder













Alex on the fringes of Center





Hayden on the fringes of Center





Craig on the fringes of Center





Neil on the fringes of Center









If it ain't broke, don't fix it!

Neil on the fringes of Center





Craig on the fringes of Center





Alex on the fringes of Center













Ria on the fringes of Center





Neil on the fringes of Center





Craig on the fringes of Center





Hayden on the fringes of Center










Alex on the fringes of Center









We lapped this area all morning for what was the perfect start to their Hokkaido holiday.
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Mike Pow, Center is a run off the ace chair #3 if I read the piste map correctly? Looks pretty good Smile
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Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
kitenski wrote:
Mike Pow, Center is a run off the ace chair #3 if I read the piste map correctly? Looks pretty good Smile


Yep that's it.

Great area to transition from groomed terrain to ungroomed terrain.

Pretty consistent fall line with nicely spaced trees that gets early traffic and then is quiet once the higher lifts and runs are accessable.
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Server issues the past couple of days sorry.

Normal service resumes tomorrow hopefully.
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DAY 15 : WEDNESDAY 11 JANUARY 2012

360Niseko reported 17 cm of new snow in Hirafu village

http://360niseko.com/blog/niseko-snow-report-11-january-2012/


and 807 cm so far at village level in Hirafu, Niseko Resort Area (approx 300m asl)

http://360niseko.com/blog/category/daily-snow-reports/


Before I met up with the Lovelocks and Craig for their second day in the Niseko Resort Area, I took one lap in Miharashi with Ian M.

Waiting in line for the gondola to start the sky was grey and snowy









but as we got to the top station the snow stopped and the skies cleared.

Ian M in Miharashi, Grand Hirafu

















The weather was changing faster than the Hirafu traffic lights, but I did manage to get these elevated shots of Ria and Hayden in the natural half pipe at the end of Rinkan

Ria in the natural half pipe at the end of Rinkan, Grand Hirafu





Hayden out of the natural half pipe at the end of Rinkan, Grand Hirafu

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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!
stop,stop,stop. Cool Cool Cool Cool Cool powder overload Toofy Grin Toofy Grin Toofy Grin Toofy Grin

only kidding , everyone having great fun , only 27 days to go snowHead
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You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
Very Happy

OVERDOSE is the next installment. In the meantime,


DAY 16 : THURSDAY 12 JANUARY 2012

360Niseko reported 14 cm of new snow in Hirafu village

http://360niseko.com/blog/niseko-snow-report-12-january-2012/


Grand Hirafu and Hanazono with the Lovelocks and Craig.

Heavier powder, so we headed for steeper trees. Blueberry Fields, Silver Dream corner. Lunch at 308. Waterfall on the way back to Hirafu and then stopped early due to high winds.



DAY 17 : FRIDAY 13 JANUARY 2012

360Niseko reported 13 cm of new snow in Hirafu village

http://360niseko.com/blog/niseko-snow-report-13-january-2012/


New snow overnight and heavy snow throughout the day on the Lovelocks and Craig's last day in the Niseko Resort Area. First up, Blueberry Fields, Hanazono.

Alex in Blueberry Fields, Hanazono





Neil in Blueberry Fields, Hanazono





Ria in Blueberry Fields, Hanazono





Craig in Blueberry Fields, Hanazono





And then on to The Legend of Shinya

Alex in The Legend of Shinya, Hanazono





Neil in The Legend of Shinya, Hanazono









Hayden in The Legend of Shinya, Hanazono





An excellent four days in the Niseko Resort Area, next stop for them Rusutsu.

For me, Kiroro.
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Must say I want to go Japan but am a little tied into the alps at the moment. But this thread and the pictures are top notch.

Snow looks amazing and everyone looks pro in your shots. Nice work.

I will taste the snow of Japan one day.
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