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SR : Shiribeshi Stories, Hokkaido 2012/13

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
It's as if 32cm in 120 mins is normal...! Shocked Great pics as usual snowHead
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Thanks Sharkymark.

Heard that the last vid I posted may not work in some countries.

Please try this


http://youtube.com/v/qofK8FwSMes
ski holidays     
 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?
Nice use of The Strokes...
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 You need to Login to know who's really who.
You need to Login to know who's really who.
Thanks Ordinary Skiier.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
DAY 105 : WEDNESDAY 27 FEBRUARY 2013

5 cm in the past 24hrs at MQ


A great day at Niseko Annupuri with Andrew and Ian.

The groomed runs were fast and smooth and the powder in the trees and out of Gate 7 was creamy, spongy and very enjoyable.

We had the buffet lunch, and for dinner another excellent meal at Ezo Seafoods in Hirafu.

Crab, Oysters, deep fried Smelt, grilled squid, salad, rice, and tempura vegetables.

Delicious.




DAY 106 : THURSDAY 28 FEBRUARY 2013

6 cm in the past 24hrs at MQ


February brought 395 cm (156") of snowfall with snow falling on 23 of the 28 days.

The biggest 24 hr snowfall was 38 cm (15") on 26 February, and this was the snowiest February in the seven winters I've been keeping records.


With the wind picking up as we breakfasted, Andrew and I headed to Kiroro.

It snowed all day with the turns getting deeper and deeper each lap.

High winds closed the gondola and the Nagamine lifts early but there was plenty of skiing on the lower mountain.

Big changes for Andrew today.

He was far more comfortable skiing the crud and powder, balancing with the pitch of the slope and showing patience at the start of the turn allowing the platform under his feet to develop.

By day's end he was skiing mid-thigh to waist deep powder in 'Walk in the Woods'.





















One Step Closer


http://youtube.com/v/04VeGcVdQl0


Ian joined us for dinner at Maccarina, the 1-star Michelin restaurant in Makkari.

This was my third visit this winter and each time the experience and food has been superb.

Andrew





The first course





The local Makkari delicacy of lily bulbs poached in milk & garlic was on the menu last night and it was wonderful.





Octopus





Beef & pork andouille sausage





Venison





Ian





Andrew





Ian

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You'll need to Register first of course.
DAY 107 : FRIDAY 01 MARCH 2013

11 cm in the past 24hrs at MQ


Happy St. David's Day (he's the Patron Saint of Wales)

For Andrew's last day of skiing we returned to Kiroro hoping for more of what we had on our last runs yesterday.

Unfortunately the North Wind had other ideas making the powder heavy and slabby and dislodging medicine ball sized chunks of snow from the trees which lay in wait ready to take you down.

And down I went, executing several "double over the handlebars to where the hell are my skis?" manoeuvres, including one at the end of the last clip on the vid unfortunately.

There were moments of brilliance on the lower mountain but when the upper lifts started closing concentrating today's skiers and snowboarders to the terrain off the Yoichi #1 Express and the Center Express the powder soon got trashed.

Trashed being the operative word as the groups of back seat banana skiers over from the Niseko Resort Area created bombholes slamming on the brakes trying to get the tankers through the tighter trees.

And the guiding companies leading customers under ropes past 'KEEP OUT' signs is getting out of hand and taking the wee wee in my opinion.

There's more than enough off-piste terrain available without the need to duck the ropes and wind up the Kiroro patrollers, unless you're a lazy snowboarding "guide" that is.

The wind finally won and the mountain closed at 3.45

Where Were You Hiding When The Storm Broke?


http://youtube.com/v/D-vUp_egmNU


Andrew, Ian & I had dinner at Yosaku yakitori restaurant in Hirafu.

Fabulous grilled meats and poultry, edamame, and tofu with quick and cheery service.

Well worth a visit when you're in the village.




DAY 108 : SATURDAY 02 MARCH 2013

15 cm in the past 24hrs at MQ


As of today 1513 cm (596") has fallen at MQ


We left for New Chitose Airport at 4.30 in the am for Andrew to catch his 8am flight to Tokyo and then on to Edinburgh.

The airport was closed last night due to high winds but the drive in this morning was calm and clear and he took off on time.

Great to ski with Andrew again after a seven year hiatus, and great to see the progress he made after only five days of skiing.

Many thanks to Ian for joining us on the slopes, skiing with Andrew at Annupuri, organising our dinners and regaling us with Niseko tales, and loaning us the Contour POV camera to capture Andrew in action.

There's a blizzard raging as I type with the wind forecast to hit 80 kph. Thankfully Andrew got away before it started.

A good day to kick back and watch movies.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
DAY 109 : SUNDAY 03 MARCH 2013

9 cm in the past 24hrs at MQ


After yesterday's all day blizzard I wasn't expecting much from Kiroro today.

A day of groomers and the odd patch of non-wind affected snow maybe.

I love it when I'm so wrong.

The first couple of turns of each pitch were wind scoured and firm but once over the rollover the snow invited you in.

And we accepted that invitation.

Ian and I skied with Hamilton and Nick today and 'Hangman' was rather nice

Nick making waves





Hamilton

















Ian





Nick





























Ian

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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!
Yesterday was a good'un eh? Randomly, I had dinner at Yosaku on Friday night too...!

Also, did Ian go to Hanazono on Saturday? We parked next to a couple of guys and spotted that distinctive bright green jacket and blue helmet.
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 You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
Yeah great day.

Great place huh?

Yeah Ian was at Hanazono for one lap before they closed it.
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
DAY 110 : MONDAY 04 MARCH 2013

12 cm in the past 24hrs at MQ


A beautiful sunny start to the week with 12 cm of dry powder overnight.

The temperature fluctuated throughout the day with plenty of snowmelt on the roads and roofs releasing left and right.

It started snowing around 11am and didn't stop all day.

Word was the Annupuri back bowls were very, very good.




DAY 111 : TUESDAY 05 MARCH 2013

16 cm in the past 24hrs at MQ


Another glorious sunrise in Higashiyama.

There's been a bit of snow in these parts.





















Even with new snow in the Niseko United Ian and I headed to Kiroro, with Julian joining us for his first visit to the resort.

We made one lap in 'Walk in the Woods' and one in 'Finding Your Feet' and then bumped into Ben and Damian over for their first to Kiroro too.

The five of us lapped 'Hangman' and the terrain off the Nagamine #2 Express skiing and riding knee to waist deep fast powder.

Ian, Julian & I did one more lap in 'Hangman' when Ben and Damian went in for lunch

Julian

















Ian









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 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
DAY 112 : WEDNESDAY 06 MARCH 2013

1 cm in the past 24hrs at MQ


Today I joined Geoff, Jane and Glenda at Kiroro. Great to see and ski with them.

They've been on Hokkaido for almost two weeks skiing Furano and Rusutsu before finishing off their holiday with 2 days at Kiroro.

It was snowing and blowing all day with the upper lifts on windhold.

Even so we had great turns on and off the groomed runs with 'Walk in the Woods', Center-C Course and Center-A Course the pick of the pops.

The powder was heavier due to the wind and warming temperatures but it was still waist deep with the odd face shot.




DAY 113 : THURSDAY 07 MARCH 2013

0 cm in the past 24hrs at MQ


Back to Kiroro and the upper lifts were still on windhold and the lower lifts running slow.

So Nikki, Kyp, Trina and I had a quick coffee and continued on to Otaru.

Nikki, Kyp and I shared an apartment in Keystone, Colorado in 2005 and Kyp and his sister Trina are here on holiday riding Hokkaido for the first time.

Nikki's here for the winter working for NBS.

We took a walk around the glassware and chocolate shops and then had an extended and delicious lunch at the Otaru Brewery.

We drove back to Kutchan via Yoichi and the beach, rain accompanying us the whole way.

A great day despite the warmer temperatures and rain.




DAY 114 : FRIDAY 08 MARCH 2013

11 cm in the past 24hrs at MQ


Light drizzle followed by wet, heavy snow fell at MQ yesterday afternoon followed by a cold, clear night.

A freeze-thaw cycle in the Niseko United doesn't mean there's no powder out there.

You just have to know where to go and be prepared to travel to there. Wherever 'there' may be.

Today 'there' was Kiroro.

The whole mountain was open for the first time in three days but the sun, warmer temperatures and wind had made a mess of most of the powder.

Ian & I warmed up on the 'Yoichi #1-B Course' skiing the perfectly groomed packed powder on piste and the creme brulee off piste.

A thin sun crust on top of two layers of powder of different density.

Then it was onto the Kiroro gondola and 'Hangman'

It was rather tricky on the narrower platforms Ian & I ski on and would have been much easier on rockered fat skis.

But when the patches of non-wind and non-sun affected powder presented themselves we were able to ease our way into knee deep turns.

The sun was blazing on the drive home and the melt was on.

After lunch at Prativo the skies darkened and snowfall, albeit a little wet at the moment, has returned to Higashiyama.
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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 115 : SATURDAY 09 MARCH 2013

29 cm in the past 24hrs at MQ


As of today 1591 cm (626") has fallen at MQ, which makes this the snowiest winter in the seven years I've been keeping records.


Winter has returned after one day of Spring!

High wind closed Niseko Annupuri, and the upper lifts at Niseko Village, Niseko Hiarfu and Niseko Hanazono were on hold all day.

I drove round to Hanazono with 7-year old local Neve and we skied deserted runs all day with boot top to mid-thigh powder on and off the groomed runs.

It didn't stop snowing all day but the terrain off the Hanazono 1 quad was well protected from the wind.

Today was Neve's first day on her new Line Snow Angel twin tip skis and she worked really hard getting her balance centred and out of the back seat, keeping her hands forward with more width, and maintaining separation between the knees allowing both legs to balance to the pitch of the slope.

Big improvements.




DAY 116 : SUNDAY 10 MARCH 2013

12 cm in the past 24hrs at MQ


As of today 1603 cm (631") has fallen at MQ


Even stronger winds this morning with no lifts running at Niseko Annupuri and Niseko Hanazono, and only the lower level lifts open at Niseko Village and Niseko Hirafu as I type.

If the wind dies down and the upper lifts open then today's 'Nighter' could be epic.

Already shovelled once today and it won't be long before I'm out for another session.
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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
Schweet. Let's hope winter has enough puff left in it for the rest of the month.

I'm confirmed for an Easter weekend return!
ski holidays     
 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
DAY 117 : MONDAY 11 MARCH 2013

33 cm in the past 24hrs at MQ


Another dump of snow overnight and with calmer conditions and sunshine Ian & I started our day at Niseko Hanazono.

It was very quiet with great snow on and off the groomed runs.

Ian MacKenzie skiing a deserted Niseko Hanazono


http://youtube.com/v/LiukJDb6c5o


After a quick coffee stop I bumped into Kyp and Trina who were enjoying Hanazono powder and sunshine on the last day of their holiday.

Waterfall on the way back to Niseko Hirafu was well tracked but deep.

And then it was off to the airport to pick up Nerys for her second visit to Fantasy Island this season.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Mike Pow, beautiful video, with the shadows, the snow on the trees and the flash of green. I simply can't imagine negotiating that much snow, though. Shocked
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Thanks Pedantica.

Doesn't take long to get used to the lightness of the powder.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
DAY 118 : TUESDAY 12 MARCH 2013

7 cm in the past 24hrs at MQ


What a difference a day makes.

The temperature rose quickly through the morning and by the time Nerys and I headed to Rusutsu the overnight snow had morphed from powder to porridge.


THE ROYAL VISIT - DAY 1

First day back on snow since December for Nerys so we headed to Rusutsu to get some mileage under her skis.

Spring season prices at Rusutsu now with a day ticket just JPY 4,100

An excellent day with Nerys making a huge leap forward literally and figuratively.

She showed great discipline all day trying to keep her hands and hips forward & square which made her less mechanical and more fluid in her skiing.

Add in a concerted effort to keep consistent separation between her feet and knees and more patience at the start of the turn and she was moving and grooving despite the choppy conditions and limited visibility.

Hello from Hokkaido


http://youtube.com/v/H7ERbGj7Wsk


For dinner Nerys and I went to Ezo seafoods in Hirafu with Ian.

Another excellent meal, the place never disappoints.

Oysters, crab, Asari clams in a parsley broth, ginger & garlic prawns, and tempura vegetables.

Nerys





Ezo wall hanging (detail)

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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?
DAY 119 : WEDNESDAY 13 MARCH 2013

0 cm in the past 24hrs at MQ


THE ROYAL VISIT - DAY 2

We woke to rain which turned to wet, bitty snow by the time we left the house.

Destination? Kiroro.

With a base area almost 300 m higher than those in the Niseko United we were hoping we'd stay above the freezing level.

And we did.

About 10 cm of new snow on the groomed runs and creamy boot top to knee deep powder in the trees.

The powder got heavier as the day went on and Nerys did really well with her patience at the start of the turn and pressure control today.

The were three layers in the snowpack and we skied on and in the top two. If you went in too aggressively you'd be encased in wet, heavy powder up to your waist.

Not a good look or feeling!

Nerys skiing 'Lovelocks' and 'Walk in the Woods'


http://youtube.com/v/GdWbZ9aVnzM
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 You need to Login to know who's really who.
You need to Login to know who's really who.
What's the tune you used in that last vid?
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Hello everyone, these immages really inviting me to take a trip to Hokkaido next year... never been there before ;planning to travel to Niseko in Jan maybe for a couple of weeks.
Any suggestions on where to stay? I'll be travelling by myself so looking for something budget without being a dorm...
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You'll need to Register first of course.
Ordinary Skiier

Cover version of The Cure song 'A Forest' by Nouvelle Vague.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Welcome back Nerys!

We're heading down to Rusutsu tomorrow (Sat). If you happen to be there, look out for 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!
She says great to be back.

Stayed local today - Moiwa - hope you had a great day at Rusutsu.
ski holidays     
 You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
Great flowing footage of Nerys, Mike. Especially like the shots moving forward and backward. Good teaching coupled with receptive pupil really shows the improvements that can be made in the powder. Envious of the food as well! Already counting down to December.
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
Thanks emohawk66.

Will pass on your comments to Nerys.

Stay tuned for the next report. A skiing and culinary adventure.
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 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
DAY 120 : THURSDAY 14 MARCH 2013

4 cm in the past 24hrs at MQ


THE ROYAL VISIT - DAY 3

The Japanese do Valentine's Day a little differently.

On February 14th the lady gives the gentleman chocolate gifts, with the gentleman reciprocating on March 14th, WHITE DAY.

White Day was first celebrated in 1978 and was started by the National Confectionery Industry Association as an "answer day" to Valentine's Day on the grounds that men should pay back the women who gave them chocolate and other gifts.

Typically the gift is white - chocolate, clothing, jewellery.

For Nerys' first White Day on Hokkaido we headed to The Windsor Hotel TOYA, the only resort in the world with two 3-Michelin star restaurants and host to the 2008 G8 Summit.

We visited the hotel last April for afternoon tea but this time we stayed overnight and dined at the Michel Bras TOYA Japon 3-Michelin star restaurant.

http://www.windsor-hotels.co.jp/


On the way to the hotel we took a detour to the ocean near Toyoura and Nerys couldn't resist making turns at the water's edge

























And after a hard ski session it was time to catch a few rays and watch the waves roll in.

















The weather closed in as we drove around the headland to the small fishing village of Okishi. So after a quick stop we hotfooted it to The Windsor.

















We got to The Windsor just before noon with the staff awaiting our arrival and our room ready.

As we dropped off our bags in the room, our skis, poles and boots were taken around to the ski area for us.

The Windsor has its own private ski area available to hotel guests with green and red runs on the Uchiura Bay area and a 1.6 km red run heading down to Lake Toya.




You can pay by the day JPY 4,200 or by the run JPY 420

The Lake Toya side is closed this winter whilst the gondola undergoes maintenance, but is scheduled to open next winter. Some excellent terrain off the one groomed run.

The Uchiura Bay area has short 550 m long runs with a maximum pitch of 12 degrees but it's a wonderful feeling skiing perfectly groomed runs with ocean views knowing that you're the only two people skiing that day.

The lifts were fired up just for Nerys and I and at the end of our ski a snowmobile was waiting to take us back to the changing area in the hotel.

We ended up skiing 8 runs with Nerys taking advantage of the snow conditions and terrain to dial effortless turns with subtle balance changes and continuous foot movement.

Oh we do like to be beside the seaside...


http://youtube.com/v/vt50B5i4A9M


Nerys & me at The Windsor Snow Village




We had an afternoon tea of tuna and cheese & ham sandwiches, coffee for me, Earl Grey for Nerys, cake, and an apres-ski drink, followed by a very relaxing onsen.

Sunset from our ocean view room on the 6th floor





The happy snow couple on White Day





This chair hasn't run for a while





Just before 7 pm we made our way to the 11th floor for dinner at the Michel Bras TOYA Japon 3-Michelin star restaurant.

An elegant dining room with wonderful views of Uchiura Bay and Toyoura.

We chose the 'Discovery' menu with Chef Cedric Bourassin substituting the fowl & meat courses with fish & shellfish for Nerys and the sommelier's wine selections for each course.

The service was immpecable, informative and relaxed.

The meal started with boiled egg and sesame and black olive 'soldiers'









Crab, couscous, onion consomme





Gargouillou of young vegetables





Whitefish with wasabi leaves





Whelks with almond milk (for Nerys)





Foie gras with apple and beetroot (for me)





Potato with goat cheese and black olive





Scallops with lettuce (for Nerys)





Wagyu beef (for me)





An extensive and delicious cheese course

Chocolate Biscuit Coulant





Chestnut & raspberry with chestnut ice cream









Selection of ice cream cones - pistachio, caramel, pear, pumpkin





We finished with port, coffee, mint and coffee shots, and rosewater hard candy just before 11pm

Add in a couple of aperitifs and the bill came to JPY 47,000 each.

Not cheap and not for everyone but this was without doubt the best meal and meal experience Nerys & I have had the pleasure of enjoying and worth every yen in our opinion.
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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.
Wow, just wow! And that's in a good way... apart from the hotel building! Shocked
(One day I'd like to try wagyu beef. Best start saving...)
Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy
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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 Pedantica.

Yeah futuristic design not to everyone's taste. Like a ziggurat from one angle, a cruise ship from another.

Wagyu beef is good but I prefer traditional cuts like sirloin and porterhouse.

Best steak I've ever had was in a small restaurant called Rancho de Pancho in the lakeside town of Entre de Lagos on the border between Chile and Argentina.
ski holidays     
 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
DAY 121 : FRIDAY 15 MARCH 2013

6 cm in the past 24hrs at MQ


THE ROYAL VISIT - DAY 4


After an early morning onsen we breakfasted at Gilligan's restaurant.

Nerys chose the continental breakfast and I went with the Japanese Breakfast.

Breakfast was included in the nightly rate of JPY 18,000 each

The Menu

Local apple and 'komatsuna' vegetable juice

Seasonal fresh vegetables with Japanese citron and miso sauce
Honey pickled Kishu plum with Yoichi fish and wasabi seasoned seaweed
Original Date black soybean 'natto'
The Windsor Hotel TOYA 'Poromoi' raw egg

Grilled fish of the day
Japanese omelet with pickles
'Shiitake' mushroom and lotus meatball
Homemade tofu made with Minami Sorachi soy beans with salt, wasabi and virgin olive oil

Special blended rice: Nanatsuboshi, Yumepirika, Koshihikari
Miso soup with Date miso and local seafood

Roasted green tea from Kyoto





The perfect way to start the day!

With no new snow and patchy sunlight we decided not to ski Windsor Snow Village today.

We drove down to the lake past Mt. Usu and through Sobetsu town to the Orofure ski area but unfortunately it's only open on weekends.

Back in the car we continued over Orofure Pass towards Noboribetsu and skied at Sun Laiva instead.

Sun Laiva is a small ski hill with 3 lifts and 7 pistes set in a wide valley with spectacular views of the mountains and the ocean.

http://www.snowjapan.com/e/resorts/resortdetail.php?resid=408

http://www.sanlaiva.com/


The sun was out, the snow on the groomed runs was perfect, and the slopes were deserted.





The perfect day to let rip, and Nerys did.

Roadrunner


http://youtube.com/v/_Sh7B5g2hlc


We've been playing with the Ski Tracks app - thanks Susie Sounds - and Nerys hit her top speed of the trip to date on the run above.





The Sun Laiva ski patrol are very strict about skiing off the groomed runs which is a great shame as the terrain is excellent.

Steep, consistent and long pitches, open bowls, great spacing in the trees.

You can access this terrain if you tour / hike above the top lift, and it's well worth the effort.
ski holidays     
 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Aiya.

Too many places to add to my To-Do-List lah...
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
DAY 122 : SATURDAY 16 MARCH 2013

0 cm in the past 24hrs at MQ


THE ROYAL VISIT - DAY 5


For Nerys' fifth day on snow we headed to her fifth resort of this trip and her first visit to Moiwa.

Warmer today with grey skies.

The groomed runs were fast and smooth. The off groomed inconsistent with a 2-5cm melt freeze crust on top of 20-30 cm of porridge.

Another big step today with Nerys making short radius turns on steeper and narrower terrain.

She skied her first 30 degree slope.

For dinner we went to A-bu-cha 2. As always a great meal with plenty of theatre.




DAY 123 : SUNDAY 17 MARCH 2013

2 cm in the past 24hrs at MQ


THE ROYAL VISIT - DAY 6


We set the alarm for 1.50 am to watch Wales' final match of the 6N rugby tournament.

The opponents, our nemesis England.

A win would have England winning the championship unbeaten - the Grand Slam.

A victory for Wales by more than 7 points would spoil England's party and give Wales the championship for the second year in a row.

Our internet connection crapped out so Nerys & I dressed quickly, drove to Sekka in Hirafu, and watched the match on my tablet in the car park using their wi-fi.

But it was worth the effort with Wales thrashing England 30-3 and taking the 6N championship.

We got back to bed at 4.30, had a lie in until 10 am and woke to sunshine and blue skies.

Today's destination was Chisenupuri, a 1-lift wonder about 30 mins drive from Hirafu.

Unfortunately it's due to close for good at the end of this season, and with the car park full but the slopes deserted it wasn't hard to work out way.

The lift takes you to the foot of Mt. Chisenupuri and the start to some easily accessible ski touring ascents and wonderful descents.

At just JPY 400 for 1 ride up the lift the ski area has become a gateway not a destination.

Nerys and I got a 4-hr ticket - JPY 2,200 each - and had the slopes to ourselves for most of that time.

There's an army base adjacent to the ski area and the mountain division soldiers joined us for a couple of runs.

There are some great views from the top of the lift

Mt. Chisenupuri





Mt. Shirakaba and Mt. Syakunage





The 'back bowls' of Mt. Annupuri





Nerys was very relaxed on the mixed spring conditions found on the groomed runs





so we headed off piste progressing to skiing the trees down to the geothermal pools of Yukichichibu Onsen.

Today was all about patience at the start of the turn and being light on your feet and not breaking through the melt freeze crust.





















For dinner we had wonderful seafood okonomi-yaki and oyster negi-yaki in a small restaurant on the t-junction to Annupuri.
ski holidays     
 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
DAY 124 : MONDAY 18 MARCH 2013

0 cm in the past 24hrs at MQ


THE ROYAL VISIT - DAY 7


Drizzle and grey skies at MQ so a lie in and a rest day.

For lunch Nerys & I went to a small Japanese French restaurant between Kombu and Chisenupuri, Chez Doudou.

It's been open just under a year but this was the first time we've eaten there.

Lunch runs from 11.30 am to 3.00 pm with a 2-course set menu available for JPY 1,300

From the Quiche Lorraine, seafood salad and homemade pork pate on yesterday's first course, Nerys chose the seafood and I chose the pate.

Both were excellent with the seafood salad sneaking it.

For main course Nerys chose the Cod Brandade and I selected the lamb and tomato stew on couscous over the roast chicken.

Nerys was two for two today, the cod was perfectly cooked and the sauce very moreish.

For an additional JPY 900 we had dessert and coffee, Nerys having the Apple & Prune tart and the nougatine glace for me.

The food was excellent, the presentation exemplary, but the service was very slow.

The chef is a 1-woman band - at lunch at least - taking the orders, cooking the meals, serving them, and washing up.

If you're in a rush don't bother.

If you have nowhere to go and all day to get there, then I can't recommend it highly enough.

http://www.facebook.com/chezdodo69
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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?
DAY 125 : TUESDAY 19 MARCH 2013

0 cm in the past 24hrs at MQ


THE ROYAL VISIT - DAY 8


A damp, cold and miserable start to the day but by mid-morning the wind picked up and blew the cloud cover away letting the sunshine in.

It stayed windy and sunny all day with wet slush at the bottom of the mountain, a dry, sand like consistency mid-mountain, and hard conditions up high.

Nerys & I took another day off snow and spent it window shopping for mementos and possible kit for next winter.

We had lunch at Yotei Maru sushi train in Kutchan, cocktails at Maki Lounge, and dinner at Niseko Pizza.

Fabulous.




DAY 126 : WEDNESDAY 20 MARCH 2013

0 cm in the past 24hrs at MQ


THE ROYAL VISIT - DAY 9


Light snow started falling around 9 am so Nerys & I headed to Rusutsu.

Even though it was a public holiday and the East Mt. car parks were full, East Mt. and Mt. Isola were deserted.

An excellent day of groomed run skiing for Nerys. She was flying.

The conditions were Very inconsistent to start with, scraped off snow one turn a smooth layer of new snow the next.

By day's end the new snow was settling nicely on the groomed runs.

The off groomed areas were baked solid with the ski and snowboard tracks rutted. Not pretty.

Snowing and sticking as I type.

10-15cm and high winds forecast overnight.

Who knows what the morrow will bring.
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You need to Login to know who's really who.
DAY 127 : THURSDAY 21 MARCH 2013

21 cm in the past 24hrs at MQ


THE ROYAL VISIT - DAY 10


A great fall of snow and a return to winter in the Niseko Resort Area, but with gusting winds closing the upper lifts and forcing everyone down the mountain Nerys & I headed to Kiroro.

The upper lifts at Kiroro were also on wind hold but with far less people skiing the resort than the Niseko Resort Area the lower runs were quiet, there were no lift queues, and the off groomed stashes stayed fresh all day.

The weather was really nasty at times. And the wind made it feel January cold.

But Nerys stuck it out and made some big changes in the way she approached and skied deeper snow varying the tempo of her balancing and pivotting.

Breakneck Speed


http://youtube.com/v/N54qBuduabc


For dinner Nerys & I went the 1-Michelin star Kamimura restaurant in Hirafu, courtesy of the Wikman family.

This was Nerys' first visit to the restaurant.

The restaurant's only offering is JPY 13,000 9-course degustation menu but they are more than happy and capable of accommodating changes for food allergies, beliefs and tastes.

Nerys is a pescatarian (no meat, no fowl) so she had fish and shellfish instead of the Takikawa duck and Wagyu beef.

We started with a glass of champagne and chose the 5-glass drink menu at JPY 6,000 to accompany the courses.


Kamimura Degustation Menu

Kichiji fish sashimi
with eggplant and olives


King Prawn
prawn stock, black sesame, pistachio, tomato and Japanese herbs





Hokkaido Mozzarella
wrapped with Jamon Serrano, basil, tomato and olive powder









Lily bulb and Brussels Sprouts
poached, served with Shungiku coulis


Hokkaido Baby Abalone
in mussel soup, spinach and seaweed





and because I'd already dined at Kamimura this winter chef gave me scallop for this course





Market fish of the day
with winter root vegetable





Takikawa Duck
endive confit with foie gras and miso puree


Hokkaido Wagyu
slow braised with poatao puree and mushroom





Yoichi Apple
warm caramelized, with crumbles and vanilla ice cream





Espresso with Coconut Kuzu petit fours


Chef Kamimura visits with all diners at the end of their meal, and we were no exception.





A fabulous meal with impeccable service in a very sophisticated setting.

It's easy to see why they have 1-Michelin star recognition.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
DAY 128 : FRIDAY 22 MARCH 2013

15 cm in the past 24hrs at MQ


THE ROYAL VISIT - DAY 11


The top lifts were still closed at Kiroro but at least we started the morning in sunshine.

It didn't take long for the next storm to roll through though and the day continued snowy and very windy.

Great turns on the groomed runs and fringes of the lower mountain.




DAY 129 : SATURDAY 23 MARCH 2013

3 cm in the past 24hrs at MQ


THE ROYAL VISIT - DAY 12


Groundhog Day at Kiroro weather wise, although we did get to the top of the mountain and make two laps in the Asari area before the gondola was taken off line.

Nerys skied her steepest slope to date, the 33 degree Asari #2-B ungroomed black course.

One turn knee deep powder, the next blown off frozen spring snow.

Great skiing from her.

We found great powder off the Yoichi #2 lift and on 'Lovelocks', and smooth, fast turns on the groomed runs.

For dinner we met up with Ian and enjoyed wonderful fish, chicken and vegetable dishes at Rin in Hirafu.

Nightcap at a packed Gyu - 'The Fridge Bar' - which should be renamed 'The Oven' and then home to light snow falling at MQ.




DAY 130 : SUNDAY 24 MARCH 2013

8 cm in the past 24hrs at MQ


As of today 1702 cm (670") has fallen at MQ

Even with the warmer weather and sunshine more snow is forecast for next week.

Can we break through the 700" mark? 18 m?

Winter isn't over just yet.


THE ROYAL VISIT - DAY 13


Ian joined Nerys and me for a day of sunshine, snow and everything in between at Kiroro.

We skied knee deep powder in 'Walk in the Woods' and Ian reported waist deep powder and face shots in 'Hangman'.

Today was Nerys' last day on snow and she saved her best for last :

We warmed up on runs which had really challenged her 10 days ago

Logged 32 km of skiing over the course of the day

Witnessed a helicopter evacuation of a Japanese skier from the terrain skier's right of the gondola

Skied powder and crud on the 34 degree 'Expert A' black course, her steepest run

And finished the day running the race course (sans gates) on 'Center-A'.

Just Give Me One More Day


http://youtube.com/v/JTg1ZKFK9hA


Two weeks has flown by with unforgettable experiences and massive improvement in Nerys' skiing.
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You'll need to Register first of course.
DAY 131 : MONDAY 25 MARCH 2013

0 cm in the past 24hrs at MQ


A 4 am start to drop Nerys off at Chitose, with a glorious sunrise and perfect driving conditions.

Even though it was wall to wall sunshine all day, today was a rest day for me.

Those who hiked to 'The Peak' reported fast powder and rooster tails the length of buses.

After a morning of admin and housework I went for lunch at Chez Doudou.

Quiche Lorraine





Gurnard with clam bouillabaisse





Apple and prune struesel tart





To accompany the delicious meal?

Extra helpings of The Clash and Generation X

Wonderful.




DAY 132 : TUESDAY 26 MARCH 2013

9 cm in the past 24hrs at MQ


I woke to a healthy layer of dry powder on my deck and drove through some of the biggest flakes I've ever seen on the road to Kiroro, but turns would have to wait.

I was on my way to submit my visa renewal application at the Immigration Office in Otaru.

A painless and quick experience, and 20 minutes later I was on my way to Sapporo Kokusai.

http://www.sapporo-kokusai.jp/en/


JPY 2,500 for a day pass with my Kiroro season pass, JPY 3,000 the regular rate, and the deal of the season JPY 12,000 for the Spring Season Pass.

Unlimited skiing from 25 March through to closing day on 06 May.

The car parks were full but the slopes were quiet and there was no wait on the Sky Cabin 8 gondola.

I warmed up on the green and red trails and the powder and trees between them.

And then it was over to the 'Downhill Trail' and the lines under the gondola.

A lot of the great terrain at Sapporo Kokusai gets the early morning sun so there was a Spring sun crust underneath the boot top to knee deep new snow.

But once I got on to the right aspect it was knee to waist deep.

I traversed further and further around skier's right from the top of the gondola and the turns kept getting better and deeper.

It reminded me of the long, steepish runs through wide spaced trees you get at Tokachi.

The track back to the gondola is tricky with big holes opening up - see the last clip of the video.

Dancing With Myself


http://youtube.com/v/YIol2kpcjNY


A fabulous solo day.

I've had some great days in the Niseko Resort Area and at Rusutsu this winter but with this visit Sapporo Kokusai holds the runner up spot of my favourite places to ski on Hokkaido.

It won't be the last visit this season.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
DAY 133 : WEDNESDAY 27 MARCH 2013

5 cm in the past 24hrs at MQ


Today was my 100th day on skis this Hokkaido winter and I was very lucky to spend it in great company, skiing great snow under blue skies, at my favourite resort, Kiroro.

The Yoichi #1 Express lift was closed today so instead of warming up on our usual runs Ian, Hamilton and I headed straight to the top of the mountain and warmed up on 'Frost Nip' before dropping in to 'Finding Your Feet'.

'Finding Your Feet' was fast with untracked knee deep powder on top of a firm melt freeze layer. But the sun was already turning the powder to porridge down low.

Then it was on to the north west facing slopes of 'Walk in the Woods' where the snow was up to mid-thigh deep, lighter, and the base was spongy not firm.

With lap one of the gondola under our skis we spent the rest of the day lapping 'Hangman' skiing boot top to waist deep powder.

There were plenty of tracks in the obvious shots but we didn't have any trouble finding untracked and face shots.

Hey Ho Let's Go


http://youtube.com/v/laFtuDJeVbE


Hamilton





Ian





Hamilton









Ian









Hamilton









Ian





Hamilton









Ian











Last edited by Then you can post your own questions or snow reports... on Thu 28-03-13 14:38; edited 1 time in total
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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!
Brilliant pics, and very nice use of Billy Idol in that vid...
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 You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
Thanks Ordinary Skiier.

Hearing Generation X at Chez Doudou inspired me Wink
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
DAY 134 : THURSDAY 28 MARCH 2013

0 cm in the past 24hrs at MQ


A grey and warm day at Niseko Hirafu skiing the Family Run with brothers Jasper (9) and Jordan (Cool, and sister and brother Jade (9) and Alex (7) from Australia.

Thankfully the forecasted rain didn't materialise.

They went from "I Can't Stand Up for Falling Down" to "Stumble and Fall" to gliding wedge to matching parallel over the course of the day.

Reliably informed that the off groomed slopes up high were like skiing glue.




DAY 135 : FRIDAY 29 MARCH 2013

0 cm in the past 24hrs at MQ


My second day with Jasper, Jordan, Jade and Alex.

And it was great to see the sun out for most of the day.

A couple of warm up laps on the Family Run and then we had to walk over to the gondola area because the Ace Pair Lift #1 wasn't running.

Once over we skied laps off the Holiday Pair Lift #1 before and after lunch and finished with their first ride up to mid-mountain on the gondola.

And we lucked out and got the Golden Gondola.

It takes some very "special" planning to put beginner ski slopes between a terrain park and a half pipe.

With most of the skiers and boarders able to ski the park and the pipe not giving a damn about the beginners and bombing back to the lifts it makes for a very difficult learning environment.

From the gondola down to the top of Ni Kabe was bulletproof and then it softened nicely down to the bottom of the Family Run.

And the gang did very well with the changing snow conditions, the steeper pitches and the length of the run.

It's trying very hard to snow and we need it.
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