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Snoody and SmigusDyngus in Hokkaido

 Poster: A snowHead
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Me and pigeondave (aka SmigusDyngus), decidedly sub-par skiers, on our first trip to Japan so thought I'd keep a bit of a thread going to keep track of what's gone well and what hasn't.

We flew to Chitose via a stop in Tokyo Haneda, took off mid morning Saturday and landed around midday on Sunday Shocked Learned that 2.5 hours to catch a connecting flight is very tight. We were possibly a bit relaxed but needed to speak to someone to hop the customs line and then had a nervous wait for our bags. Luckily although we needed to switch terminals you can check in your bags in Terminal 2 (at least you can for ANA and Japan Air flights. They also gave us a ticket for the monorail to get to terminal 1. It worked out fine, we made it to the gate just before boarding started, but it was all a bit nervous and involved a lot of rushing about.

For the first 3 nights we decided to get a hotel in Sapporo to settle in, we're moving to a house in Yoichi today so will see how that goes. We've been at the APA hotel which is fine and at 19k yen for 3 nights seems fairly good value. It's on the edge if the city and about 45 minutes from Teine where we skied first day, most of that time is spent waiting at traffic lights!

Skiing wise we've been to Teine and Asarigawa Onsen. The former is split into two areas connected by gondola, we parked lower down but that's more of a beginner area and was swamped with kids being bussed in from local schools. It seems that Japan is the only place I've been where being in a ski school means that you join a longer line, we've been quite happily scooting up the outside route and everyone seems happy to let you in (not sure if that's what we're supposed to do though!). Feels a bit strange skiing while you can see the sea and a large city, but snow on piste was in very good nick and, despite all the lessons, fairly quiet.

Asari is a much smaller hill with 4 lifts but 3 of those are needed to get to the top. Loads of kids again but it never really felt busy. You end up lapping the same runs over and over but I suspect could be very quiet there on a powder day.

Today planning to go to Sapporo Kokusai on the way to Yoichi. We've woken to some gentle snow for the first time, hoping it's a bit heavier elsewhere.
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Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person


Sunny skies over Teine
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?

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Ah, worked out how to have more than one picture in a post
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Looks good. Always fancied Japan so may well give it a go in the future.
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@SnoodlesMcFlude, if you are flying back from Haneda there is an amazing.restaurant upstairs. I'll let you know the name if you are.

Are you also spending a few.days in Tokyo? A good value hotel is Mystays premier in Akasaka. There is a lot of nightlife in Akasaka.

I'm back there in March April.
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GlasgowCyclops wrote:
@SnoodlesMcFlude, if you are flying back from Haneda there is an amazing.restaurant upstairs. I'll let you know the name if you are.

Which one's that? I'm afraid I ended up with one last Yoshinoya last time I flew back Very Happy

Also worth popping up to see the scalextric.

Basically, the good stuff is before security at Haneda.
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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!
@sugarmoma666, Yep before security Upstairs at the back wall and to the left. It is the one with the bench outside the front (not round the corner) and the door on the left of the bench. I think it is Tsururontan looking at he map. The Udon have a nice chewiness to them.
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@GlasgowCyclops, thanks for the tip but unfortunately flying out of Narita.

Got a few days in Tokyo at the end of the trip, already booked some fairly cheap accommodation which looks alright. Also got some tickets to TeamLab Borderless because the old man saw it on James May's thing on Amazon and it looked worth a visit.

A snowy day at Kokusai today, including a few runs with Fiona, David, Andrew and Bridget. By about 3pm the schools disappeared and it almost seemed like we had the resort to ourselves, so me and Dave ended up lapping a cruisey red which was in brilliant condition. I reckon we had 3 'one more runs', the last under the lights.

Now sat at the house in Yoichi which will be our base for the rest of the ski trip, thinking of checking out Kiroro tomorrow, hopefully it keeps snowing overnight.



Getting my pose on under the lights


Last edited by You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net. on Mon 10-02-20 14:08; edited 1 time in total
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Looks like you’re having a great time. I really missed a trick by not spending a couple of days in Tokyo last year (kind you the extra snow days more than made up for it). That teamlab exhibition looks absolutely amazing.

You really need to check out Rusutsu as well while you’re there.
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@SnoodlesMcFlude, It sounds like the customs queues must be really bad at the weekend or mid-day. I’ve only arrived on the overnight flight during the week, so landed at 07:30ish, and basically had a choice of customs desk to go to.

The second time I went it took 1 hour for ski bags to arrive on a 1:30 connection time, once arrived I had to exit arrivals, check in at domestic, drop bags off, get the connecting train, go through security again, the run the entire length of the terminal to arrive as the flight was boarding Shocked

Others missed the flight, but provided you booked end to end on one carrier (eg. BA and JAL), they just bump you onto the next flight.

I now take flights with a 2 hour connection, and usually you can take the bus transfer between terminals which is much faster than the train.
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@PowderAdict, there were quite a few flights landing at similar time, it was the wait for the ski bags which nearly did us as I think the JAL check in desk closed for an hour at 8:30.
We were going to catch the bus but the girl at check in gave us tickets for the monorail as reckoned we'd just missed a bus.

@rogg, yeah Rusutsu on the list as I know a few people with positive things to say about it.
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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
Yes, that 08:30 closure sounds familiar, most un-Japanese.

The additional arrivals hall exit check can also cause delays, as they decided that they wanted all ski bags opening, when you are already late and panicking, you have to find your keys, undo all the straps, and they they only gave each bag a casual glance rolling eyes
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
I did a BA flight, arrived around lunchtime to Haneda, I opted for a later flight with JAL to Sapporo to allow 2 1/2 not 1 1/2 hours. A couple of lads on the same route were running for the earlier flight, we arrived in good time for them and I had to watch the earlier flight leave.....
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Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
@SnoodlesMcFlude, if flying out of Narita thereby s a cheap hotel. Niko Narita. £45 for a basic room to about £70 for a really good one.

The great thing is there is a shuttle every 15 mins.

Secondly it has a brilliant restaurant on the top floor. No view but good food.
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GlasgowCyclops wrote:
@SnoodlesMcFlude, if flying out of Narita thereby s a cheap hotel. Niko Narita. £45 for a basic room to about £70 for a really good one.

The great thing is there is a shuttle every 15 mins.

Secondly it has a brilliant restaurant on the top floor. No view but good food.

Niko Narita is convenient. Though do go for a "really good" room for a little extra rather than the basic, which is really a closet with a bed tucked into the end.
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A tip for anyone using the Chitose Airport Terminal Hotel for an early return flight. When you are dropped off at the terminal, stay outside and walk down to entrance 5, then go into the terminal, as this entrance is directly opposite the lift up to the hotel.

If you enter the terminal where you are dropped off, you will have to negotiate lifts and hundreds of milling people, the hunt for the hotel which is very poorly labelled and at the end of the departure checkin desks
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Kiroro today and finally some lovely new snow, which continued to fall throughout the day. Had a bit of a play in the open parts of the inbound off piste. All a bit tiring for a fat lad but very good fun. Decided to call it a day quite early and hopefully make the most of new snow tomorrow.

Off to find out what culinary delights Yoichi has to offer in a minute Very Happy

Amongst the trees and trying to keep clear of the water


Last edited by Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see? on Mon 10-02-20 14:16; edited 1 time in total
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Kiroro again today, off piste conditions on piste to start the day and then headed to the open areas of inbound off piste. All a bit tight in the trees for a crap skier like me but still had a great time. Easy to end up low on a line too, had a bit where we had to step back up a few yards which was tiring. Passed the same spot a bit higher later and some snowboarders were hiking out of a similar spot but had gone a bit further on.

Also learned that Japanese police have their lights flashing whenever on patrol, so just because there's a police car with his lights on doesn't mean that you're getting pulled over Laughing
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@abc, yep I always went for the superior rooms because I got the tiny single once.
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@SnoodlesMcFlude, Good to see you guys. We almost headed to Kiroro but toured instead. Tomorrow I think though.
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I got it wrong in off piste section 11.
Bounced my head off a tree. Good job I had a lid on Very Happy
Shoulder is a bit sore, might have to learn to skate as polling could hurt.

‘Twas a great day and possibly the closest we’re getting to Japow unless Monday comes through ( from what the tour guide at McFlude Tours says)
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Definitely worth visiting the Yoichi distillery while you're in town. Even if it's just for the free samples (you can go back and get as many as you like!)
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Careful of the fruit in convenience stores. We were out with my baby (she's now nearly 14!) and wife told me to get a bit of fruit for her. I came back with the tastiest, juiciest mango. Only realised afterwards that I'd messed up the exchange rate in my head and I had paid 35 quid for one mango...
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Great thread, keep it up!

PowderAdict wrote:
A tip for anyone using the Chitose Airport Terminal Hotel for an early return flight. When you are dropped off at the terminal, stay outside and walk down to entrance 5, then go into the terminal, as this entrance is directly opposite the lift up to the hotel.

If you enter the terminal where you are dropped off, you will have to negotiate lifts and hundreds of milling people, the hunt for the hotel which is very poorly labelled and at the end of the departure checkin desks


Another tip for anyone dirtbagging overnight at Chitose: the onsen is (was in 2014 anyway) open overnight and has a large sleeping/relaxation room. I remember the entrance fee being very cheap, and worked well for me with an early morning flight.
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@Orange200, very good tip! we sort of clocked the other day that some fruit was very expensive. Went to pick something up to buy and then used my best Anglo Saxon and left it where it was Laughing

@MagSeven, don't think we'll quite have time to make it there but will put it on the list for next time.

Discovered Hotto Motto tonight, fast food at a reasonable price which was very welcome after a tiring day.
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.

4 pints in, I really didn't need to see this Shocked
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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
@adithorp, didn’t need to see it, but went out of your way to get it.
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You know it makes sense.
Imagine how I feel having to sit across from it after a day of skiing.
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Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
@pigeondave, thought everyone should see what I've been putting up with on every bash.

How's the ex-director doing?
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@adithorp, as long as Dave isn't putting anything up!
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@adithorp, the trees in Kiroro were close.

The ex-directors are coping well with the trees which get skied over. Sometimes I think it would be better to have a slalom set up with the shin pads and the finger guards on the poles.

It’s not the open orchard type of tree skiing we were expecting, although snow saw (in bounds off piste) does open up if you go the correct way. Which we only managed once out of 3 runs.

It seems that some local knowledge would be very beneficial.


Last edited by Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person on Sat 1-02-20 9:20; 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?
A couple of things which have worked well for us:
Having somewhere to dry stuff if you can't ski that well (like me and Dave) a hotel wouldn't have been as good as the little house we're in.
Having a base in somewhere like Yoichi isn't as bad as I first thought, an hour drive is tolerable. Although tip 2 would be something I got from admin, dont skimp on car hire as it's worth having something comfortable for that drive.
Local knowledge would be a big help, a lot of the off piste areas are quite tightly packed trees so having someone who knows where they're going would probably make things easier.

If on a budget then we've found that packing sarnies is best. There is usually plenty of time on certain lifts or gondolas to shove them down your face.

Oh and don't travel.with Dave, he's a bellend.
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SnoodlesMcFlude wrote:


Oh and don't travel.with Dave, he's a bellend.


Puzzled I thought most snowheads are, based on the other thread
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abc wrote:
GlasgowCyclops wrote:
@SnoodlesMcFlude, if flying out of Narita thereby s a cheap hotel. Niko Narita. £45 for a basic room to about £70 for a really good one.

The great thing is there is a shuttle every 15 mins.

Secondly it has a brilliant restaurant on the top floor. No view but good food.

Niko Narita is convenient. Though do go for a "really good" room for a little extra rather than the basic, which is really a closet with a bed tucked into the end.


I’m in the Narita Tobu Hotel which is good. Walked from the terminal. £61 for a good sized double including breakfast.



SnoodlesMcFlude wrote:
Kiroro again today, off piste conditions on piste to start the day and then headed to the open areas of inbound off piste. All a bit tight in the trees for a crap skier like me but still had a great time. Easy to end up low on a line too, had a bit where we had to step back up a few yards which was tiring. Passed the same spot a bit higher later and some snowboarders were hiking out of a similar spot but had gone a bit further on.


Might have been the group I was chatting with, or at least it was a very similar story. One guy “said he knew the way” - they had first tracks in the powder but went too low. That first run took them 3 hours! They said it was lucky they had one skier in the group that made the track before them, but they were pretty nervous apparently with the stream below.

In general the trees were also a bit tighter than I was expecting. Not as bad as Scandinavia, but my face seemed to be a magnet for branches.
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SnoodlesMcFlude wrote:
@Orange200, very good tip! we sort of clocked the other day that some fruit was very expensive. Went to pick something up to buy and then used my best Anglo Saxon and left it where it was Laughing


I believe in their culture it is a bit like our wine, you can have the cheap or the impressive, but yes a guest will arrive at a dinner party bearing a melon as a gift. Which cost 80 bucks and tastes awesome.

A friend described a European tour bus of Japanese breaking down; he popped to a corner shop and bought fresh fruit. They were all so happy during the 3 hour wait for repair!
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Bit of a mixed bag today, decided to check out Rusutsu and had to drive through some mad snow to get there. Expected great things but turned out not much of it fell there (I suspect Kiroro got quite a bit).

Rusutsu definitely the place for the type of tree skiing I was expecting from Japan though, very accessible although I suspect that the last few days in Kiroro mean I'm not so worried about narrow trees and a bit of scrub Laughing



Sunny Rusutsu






Last edited by Then you can post your own questions or snow reports... on Mon 10-02-20 14:19; edited 1 time in total
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
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Quote:

Another tip for anyone dirtbagging overnight at Chitose: the onsen is (was in 2014 anyway) open overnight and has a large sleeping/relaxation room. I remember the entrance fee being very cheap, and worked well for me with an early morning flight.


Great tip, but be aware that they will ask if you have tattoos, and if you do, don't say yes. They had a wee laminated card that basically told you to wee wee off, and we were daft enough to be honest when they asked. Cue awkward moment.
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element wrote:
Quote:

Another tip for anyone dirtbagging overnight at Chitose: the onsen is (was in 2014 anyway) open overnight and has a large sleeping/relaxation room. I remember the entrance fee being very cheap, and worked well for me with an early morning flight.


Great tip, but be aware that they will ask if you have tattoos, and if you do, don't say yes. They had a wee laminated card that basically told you to wee wee off, and we were daft enough to be honest when they asked. Cue awkward moment.

That very much depends on WHERE in Japan.
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Anyone notice how many announcements there in the resorts? Sometimes a speaker from every pole on the ski lift. And a constant stream of talking. I found it quite irritating actually.
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