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Japan 2019 - 20

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Second day of my tour, this time at the Etambetsu Pass, about 1 hour 40 mins NW of Furano. It is horseshoe shaped bowl with multiple lines.

You park in a small lay-by which the Japanese road crews expend a significant amount of energy to keep open as the snow is a couple of metres deep. The approach is via the rim of the bowl along an undulating traverse, so skins with reasonable glide are a bonus.

IMG_5492

There were at least 5 groups there, but the only time we saw each other was near the transition point at the base of the bowl. The rim is so long that all you needed to do for fresh lines was move along another 30m Very Happy

IMG_1901
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Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Nice
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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?
Local news is reporting that -36°C was recorded near Asahikawa this morning, the coldest temperature for 19 years. There will be a dramatic warmup to about +7°C by Thursday this week. Quite a difference!!

Skied Asari today, near Otaru. Found some good lines on soft snow in the trees. Not many other people skiing off-piste. Snow skied a bit heavy, similar to Pippu the other day.
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@PowderAdict, Looks fantastic! Lots of open space.
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musehead wrote:
Local news is reporting that -36°C was recorded near Asahikawa this morning, the coldest temperature for 19 years. There will be a dramatic warmup to about +7°C by Thursday this week. Quite a difference!!

Skied Asari today, near Otaru. Found some good lines on soft snow in the trees. Not many other people skiing off-piste. Snow skied a bit heavy, similar to Pippu the other day.

Planning to head to Asari on Tue (wind should pick up so lower resort should be better). Any hints for nice lines? Head straight to the top lift?
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Furano was -28C this morning, then warmed to -12C by 3pm Shocked
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Double post for some reason. Furanodake update tomorrow.
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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!
@mooney058, From the top (third) lift you can go skiers left and right into the trees but not very far as you need to cut back to the piste fairly soon (unless you don't mind skinning), and it's pretty mellow.

My favourite bit was to go down Blue B, from the top of the second lift. It starts out flat ish and goes past a large building.

Just before the final steeper section, you can cut out skiers right into the trees and make your way along a ridge. Then you can drop down skiers left through some steep trees, or continue and ski the nose of the ridge back down to the piste near the bottom of the resort. You could go skiers right of the ridge too if you have skins. Both sides are quite steep and I found some good lines!

If you arrive for first lift and it's been snowing you can ski powder on some unpisted runs and near the edge of the pistes very easily. I arrived in the afternoon today so I had to be a bit more creative in finding fresh tracks!
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PowderAdict wrote:
Second day of my tour, this time at the Etambetsu Pass, about 1 hour 40 mins NW of Furano.


I don't suppose you have a road number or close town ? No luck finding it on google maps other than places towards Asahikawa.
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@musehead, thanks a lot for this, much appreciated!

If pros could advise of how to solve the backseating dilema. Pictures taken during cat ski trip (Weiss Cat Ski) revealed the unpleasant truth. I thought I was only slightly guilty, but the horror of the pictures ....
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AndAnotherThing.. wrote:
PowderAdict wrote:
Second day of my tour, this time at the Etambetsu Pass, about 1 hour 40 mins NW of Furano.


I don't suppose you have a road number or close town ? No luck finding it on google maps other than places towards Asahikawa.


江丹別峠 I imagine. That area up slightly north of Asahikawa is well known for its cold blower pow.
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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.
AndAnotherThing.. wrote:
PowderAdict wrote:
Second day of my tour, this time at the Etambetsu Pass, about 1 hour 40 mins NW of Furano.


I don't suppose you have a road number or close town ? No luck finding it on google maps other than places towards Asahikawa.

It is near Asahikawa, are you after our secret stash wink

IMG_2681

The best I can do is that it is off the 275, and this is the name on the 'peak'.

Screenshot 2020-02-09 at 21.35.08
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@PowderAdict, Cheers. I'm just back after a couple of weeks of self guided touring and resort skiing so just adding options to the 'list' for next time.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Serre Che Collective opted for Moiwa, shuttle bus trip from Niseko.

No guiding today but we scored some good lines c/o Fatmap and other nav tools as well as following trax/locals and then sniffing lines out.

Not at all busy twas a good call.

Guiding starts tomorrow, and touring.

Thankfully looking colder mid week.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
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PowderAdict wrote:
Second day of my tour, this time at the Etambetsu Pass, about 1 hour 40 mins NW of Furano. It is horseshoe shaped bowl with multiple lines.

You park in a small lay-by which the Japanese road crews expend a significant amount of energy to keep open as the snow is a couple of metres deep. The approach is via the rim of the bowl along an undulating traverse, so skins with reasonable glide are a bonus.

There were at least 5 groups there, but the only time we saw each other was near the transition point at the base of the bowl. The rim is so long that all you needed to do for fresh lines was move along another 30m Very Happy



Nice lines!

Tons of snow kept us in the trees in Myoko

http://youtube.com/v/nw3422KYFQI

Bust my binding so no more touring but hoping to get to Hakuba for a look above the treeline...
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@BobinCH, not the new Xenic?
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@PowderAdict, @AndAnotherThing.., I've not been there but I found the area on the Geographica App (the peak altitude matches your photo). Another one to add to my list too, I think!



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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
@musehead, Top work, that definitely looks like the location.

This is the lay-by with a summer toilet block and an open sided shelter. The skin track is to the right of the shelter into the trees. It does meander a bit but provided you stay on the top of the ridge out and back you shouldn’t go wrong.



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No real fresh snowfall this morning around the resorts near Otaru. It looks like some snow may fall later on today and overnight around Otaru/Kiroro/Kokusai area, and temperatures are still cold, so tomorrow could be good. It's also a national holiday tomorrow (Tuesday 11th) so the resorts may be busy!

Wed/Thurs/Fri looks warm and potentially rainy at times with the freezing level going above the top of the lifts to about 1300m on Thursday.

I think tomorrow will be my last day skiing in Japan this year and I'm heading to Tokyo on Thursday.

Overall, I've done some good skiing and touring. I've skied powder: 2 days in particular (out of nearly 4 weeks here) were a proper powder over-the-head type experience. Other times I've skied mostly consolidated soft snow where I've found it. However, my 5th trip out here it's unfortunately been by some way the worst in terms of snow conditions and consistency. Hopefully next year will be better!
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KenX wrote:
@BobinCH, not the new Xenic?


Unfortunately yes. First the tour mode lock broke and then the pins locked up and I broke the plastic lever clean off trying to open it... Hope you’re having more luck in Hokkaido!!!
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Third day of our tour, and this time to Furanodake (part of the Tokachi Volcanic Group, in the Daisetsuzan National Park), not many pictures as it was a might on the chilly side and any exposed flesh was punished. One of the other groups in our hotel recorded -55C windchill on their tour Shocked

I believe that Furanodake is the only peak on our tour that can be seen from Furano, as below. It is not the tallest peak in the chain, but I believe the one in front to the left.

UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_28da

The approach track with the peak visible. The temperatures fell into two categories 'bugg*r its cold' in the trees, and 'holy sh*t' above the tree line. Its the only time we toured with all our layers on. The ski back down was worth it, as you didn't see your skis the entire time.

IMG_2660
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@PowderAdict, Looks great! How was the snow above the treeline? I toured Sandanyama (close to Furanodake) a couple of times last week and while the snow was good below the treeline, above that it was very variable - sastrugi and very heavy wind deposits in between!
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
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musehead wrote:
@PowderAdict, Looks great! How was the snow above the treeline? I toured Sandanyama (close to Furanodake) a couple of times last week and while the snow was good below the treeline, above that it was very variable - sastrugi and very heavy wind deposits in between!


Same for us, but the tress served up some excellent pow. We toured the same Furanodake route as PowderAdict but above the trees it was a little heavier. As we were transitioning the guide (Nick?) from a MountainTracks(?) group kindly pointed us towards a second bowl to the climbers left which was nice. We also skinned up the 'hump' on the final ridge which hadn't been skied for some untracked snow for the final descent.
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First day with the "guide" and he turned out to be a snowboarder!

Very experienced etc and he said that his plan was to go to Rusutsu and do the "Magic Forest" (every resort seems to have a magic forest), and turned out to be the same line(s) that I and the OH sussed two years ago when the guide back then took the rest of our group to lunch and we went exploring off the back as we were packing skins.

We did four descent and subsequent climbs circa 200m back up.

And even though compared to two years ago when I'd estimate that there was at least a metre more judging by the bamboo, the snow was truly superb and so pleased that @KenX, got to see the forest carpeted in the snow like that.

If you listen carefully, in between my heavy breathing, you can hear the guide and Ken whooping Very Happy


http://youtube.com/v/QHStb8bf-Oc

He was quite impressed with the speed of the Serre Che Collective* even commenting how fast we were on the up and how usually he has to wait for clients. To us the pace was really easy, must be an altitude thing Laughing

So plan maybe is to go further afield tomorrow as today he was really sussing out what we were made of.

* great on the lift passes (which they pay for as part of the package) as there's a 20% reduction for over 60's !
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AndAnotherThing.. wrote:
musehead wrote:
@PowderAdict, Looks great! How was the snow above the treeline? I toured Sandanyama (close to Furanodake) a couple of times last week and while the snow was good below the treeline, above that it was very variable - sastrugi and very heavy wind deposits in between!


Same for us, but the tress served up some excellent pow. We toured the same Furanodake route as PowderAdict but above the trees it was a little heavier. As we were transitioning the guide (Nick?) from a MountainTracks(?) group kindly pointed us towards a second bowl to the climbers left which was nice. We also skinned up the 'hump' on the final ridge which hadn't been skied for some untracked snow for the final descent.


Nick Parks from Zinal and Mountaintrx is there so I guess it was him. Lovely guide!
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The ruler that Kiroro have a webcam pointed at has been buried overnight. That means 35cm+ at resort level. Looks like there was quite a localised dump in the Yoichi / Otaru / Mt. Yoichi area! Akaigawa in between Yoichi and Mt. Yoichi had 40cm in the last 12 hours, at only 148m asl.
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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.
musehead wrote:
The ruler that Kiroro have a webcam pointed at has been buried overnight. That means 35cm+ at resort level. Looks like there was quite a localised dump in the Yoichi / Otaru / Mt. Yoichi area! Akaigawa in between Yoichi and Mt. Yoichi had 40cm in the last 12 hours, at only 148m asl.
woot woot!
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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
musehead wrote:


Overall, I've done some good skiing and touring. I've skied powder: 2 days in particular (out of nearly 4 weeks here) were a proper powder over-the-head type experience. Other times I've skied mostly consolidated soft snow where I've found it. However, my 5th trip out here it's unfortunately been by some way the worst in terms of snow conditions and consistency. Hopefully next year will be better!


It's been way better than that in SW Hokkaido
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
AndAnotherThing.. wrote:
musehead wrote:
@PowderAdict, Looks great! How was the snow above the treeline? I toured Sandanyama (close to Furanodake) a couple of times last week and while the snow was good below the treeline, above that it was very variable - sastrugi and very heavy wind deposits in between!


Same for us, but the tress served up some excellent pow. We toured the same Furanodake route as PowderAdict but above the trees it was a little heavier. As we were transitioning the guide (Nick?) from a MountainTracks(?) group kindly pointed us towards a second bowl to the climbers left which was nice. We also skinned up the 'hump' on the final ridge which hadn't been skied for some untracked snow for the final descent.


Nick Parks
Top bloke
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
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musehead wrote:
The ruler that Kiroro have a webcam pointed at has been buried overnight. That means 35cm+ at resort level. Looks like there was quite a localised dump in the Yoichi / Otaru / Mt. Yoichi area! Akaigawa in between Yoichi and Mt. Yoichi had 40cm in the last 12 hours, at only 148m asl.


15cm through the day yesterday at Kiroro

More than enough to go round
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Happo One aka Vail this morning Shocked
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national day of Japan, expected to be busy. Driving through Kiroro it was dumping but traffic was so heavy towards Kiroro so gambled drove to Asari instead. What a lovely little resort! It was snowing still 9am, boot deep in trees and next to pistes. Imagine what it would be like on a quieter day. Possibly not the place for pros, but nice anyway.
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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 wrote:
musehead wrote:
The ruler that Kiroro have a webcam pointed at has been buried overnight. That means 35cm+ at resort level. Looks like there was quite a localised dump in the Yoichi / Otaru / Mt. Yoichi area! Akaigawa in between Yoichi and Mt. Yoichi had 40cm in the last 12 hours, at only 148m asl.


15cm through the day yesterday at Kiroro

More than enough to go round


Snow was heaviest around Kiroro this morning with big fat flakes. Kiroro must be a magnet for snow
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@mooney058, Glad you enjoyed Asari! I went there too today. I thought Kiroro and Kokusai would be busy, and Asari seemed to have nearly as much fresh snow (I estimated about 25cm at the bottom and 35cm at the top. Possibly more though because I wasn't really bottoming out). Light and high quality snow with very little wind!

Got faceshots on the first few runs on the unpisted pistes. After that I ventured into the trees, which almost nobody else seemed to be doing despite it being fairly busy. Plenty of areas left untracked when I left around 1pm.
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Scenery here is nuts


Water’s cold though!
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On the way back from a road trip to Kokusai (90 mins) from Niseko.

And was an excellent call, our "guide" said best day of the season for him along with deepest snow.

Photos vids to follow, only issue is that I've tweaked my knee, hopefully I'll be able to still ski with a brace tomorrow.

@KenX, was filming and he heard what might have been by knee going!

That said I did another climb and descent and then managed a very tricky difficult run-out!

@BobinCH that looks far more gnarly than Hokkaido
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@Weathercam, eeesh hope you’re ok.
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After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
@Weathercam, Hope you're okay, looking forward to seeing the vids/pics! I could see the top lift station of Kokusai from Asari earlier and was wondering how it was up there there today!

@Mike Pow, Yes I think I've been in the wrong place at the wrong time more than usual this trip. I didn't make it to Rusutsu at all and only got to Kiroro once (but not on a good day!)

Local weather forecast saying temperatures typical of late March / early April expected for the next 3 days. Up to 9°C in Sapporo tomorrow. Good thing the snow festival is finishing tonight!
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Today's production inc face shots & my wipe-out at the end, and of course @KenX, shrieking with joy Laughing


http://youtube.com/v/0S7F5pNYTX0

On the Asahi and inflammatories for the knee currently.
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Nice vid, snow looks superb! And those face shots look a lot of fun. Fear for your reaction at the end though.

How’s it feeling and is it swollen?
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