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  1. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by dFiddler View Post
    Sorry to hijack but I’m also headed to Japan from Jan 12-26. Looking to do 4 ski days in Hakuba area and 4 in Hokkaido. Current plan is 2 days at Rusutsu and maybe 2 at Kiroro or elsewhere. I’ve heard staying at Kiroro is like a cruise ship, anywhere close by to stay with more culture and food options? We’ll have a van and don’t mind driving a little in the morning to ski.


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    Having done a short trip to Hakuba last winter I would recommend doing one or the other not both.

    Plenty to ski & see in both locations for 8 days.

  2. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by anything View Post
    +1 and the same sentiment.
    they even block off whole chunks of the mountain until 11am for people that have paid for a premium membership ($12 a day).
    Whilst this is different from most Hokkaido resorts it's a common occurrence in the ski world.

    Niseko Hanazono and Niseko Grand Hirafu have a premium access service too.


    all the restricted stuff is because you must register for "safety" with the mountain club.
    they dont check your avi gear, maps, communications, or knowledge. its just bureaucracy bs they seem to be half forced to do to keep the national parks happy. its because something like 5 people died off piste in 14-15 (or was it 13-14?). stupid beginner tourists with no off piste experience following locals ducking ropes, and get themselves into big trouble. so i don't blame them for implementing the mountain club really.
    my record is 65minutes to checkin right at the peak of the season. was not a happy camper at all. ive checked in within 5-15 minutes most other times tho.
    you need to pay for premium membership to register before 9am, so unless you pay $12 extra you cant make that first chair. which effectively makes it $50 a day for a 3 lift resort :/
    I've been very much involved with the development of Kiroro over the past 4 seasons.

    The Mountain Club was set up to show the National Forest Service that Kiroro could safely manage access to off-groomed terrain within and beyond the ski area boundary.

    Whilst the process and system appears slow it has been succesful and the majority of Kiroro visitors have welcomed the system.

    As a result of setting up the Mountain Club and the exit system, Kiroro is the first resort on Hokkaido to have official approval from the National Forest Service to lease all the land within the resort area boundary.

    Other resorts on Hokkaido turn a blind eye to in-bounds off-piste skiing and don't have official approval.

    There will still be areas roped off - for all snow users safety - but for the most part Kiroro is now 'ski it if you see it'.

    There have also been groundworks and tree thinning undertaken this off-season with new managed off-piste areas added.

    And all of this systematic adherence to the National Forest Service' s rules, regulations & wishes is resulting in new lift infrastructure approval which has been denied at other resorts.

    I can appreciate that waiting to go skiing is frustrating but the system is getting more streamlined each winter.

    For example, lift tickets can be purchased online now

    https://www.kiroro.co.jp/buy-pass/


    the whole idea of checkin and checkout suggests that they'd come looking for you if you go missing, but based on the two times ive witnessed (talking to people in the carpark who suddenly realize they didnt checkout), it seems they do absolutely nothing if you don't checkout either.
    so its more of an 'i think i know what im doing club'. maybe they should call it that (cause i dont claim to actually know what im doing ;P)
    It's the responsibility of individuals to check in and check out of any resort whether officially or within their own group.

    The electronic ticketing and exit gate system was developed to narrow the search area if a visitor was reported missing.

    It's not the responsibility of the Kiroro Resort Ski Patrol to search for anyone lost outside of the resort area boundary.

    That falls to the police, who may or may not use the Kiroro Ski Patrol to conduct the search.

    In previous searches the police and Japanese Army have conducted the searches.


    kiroro has short hits & flat runouts. i get so tired of pushing snowboarders on the flat.
    its mega busy on weekends with locals from sapporo and otaru. they seem to have events every weekend, bands and races and stuff, that bring even more people.
    7-8 yeas ago id almost be the only westerner there on weekdays, but its getting quite busy at peak times of the year with westerners too, especially the euros as you mentioned (i grudgingly admit, good for them, the new management has put them on the map).
    Don't ski with snowboarders

    And the nature of Kiroro's terrain and access system is no secret. And it's not for everyone.

    It's a bit like going to a vegetarian restaurant and complaining that there's no meat on the menu.

    With more and more visitors wanting to explore the terrain beyond the ski are boundary, there's still plenty of inbounds powder to go around.

    25 January 2017 for example

    https://www.instagram.com/p/BQB6tc8A...by=mikethesnow


    but ....
    even with so many negatives, if i had only one day to ski in the south-of-sapporo-region, and had to choose a resort, kiroro would be a contender. those short hits are mega fun. i ski it fast and know it off by heart, so any more than one day and i'd go batshit bored crazy with the lack of variety tho.
    the mountain means they get completely different weather patterns to the niseko/rusutsu region, so sometimes they get mega dumped on whereas everyone else nearby got nothing (eg, last year they got record amounts). so its a nice option if theres no snow elsewhere.
    its certainly a must for any tourist doing a ski trip in the region. is worth a day or two, but if you don't know it well you could spend several days there and not find any of the best stuff and might not enjoy it so much.
    when friends come to hokkaido to visit me, its near the top of the todo list too.
    And that's why people are visiting.

    The snow is consistently the best in SW Hokkaido.

    Kiroro has its limitations and you have to weigh up what kind of ski day you're looking for.

    It's not for everyone, and thankfully there are a number of alternatives nearby.

  3. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ryan Dunfee View Post
    Folks have experience at Kokusai and Teine? Kind of wondering if we should come back to Otaru for the last few days of the trip or spend a little money to be in rusutsu or niseko area
    I would see how the snow is. Very different weather patterns in those three areas.

  4. #54
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    Mike - Is AK face at kiroro yoichidake?

  5. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by nortonwhis View Post
    Mike - Is AK face at kiroro yoichidake?
    No. Closer to the lower mountain, off peak '1107'.

    Most people skin up the river looker's right of the beginner lift.


  6. #56
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    Ok thats what i thought, its directly above the parking lots, almost looking over the resort.
    I think if we had of got into some of the backcountry stuff around there, i would have had better memories of Kiroro.

  7. #57
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    Quote Originally Posted by nortonwhis View Post
    Ok thats what i thought, its directly above the parking lots, almost looking over the resort.
    I think if we had of got into some of the backcountry stuff around there, i would have had better memories of Kiroro.
    That's it.

    Yep, some of the best & steepest terrain in that area.

  8. #58
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    I am also trying to go to Japan for the first time this year. I know way LESS about this than I should considering my profession, haha.

    Think we are basically going to go to Hakuba and stay there. Touring, resort, snow amount, etc was recommended as the best to me for personal enjoyment and also for a film project we have going.

    Was I steered in the wrong direction? Or is Dunfee just a gaper?
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  9. #59
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    Quote Originally Posted by PowTron View Post
    I am also trying to go to Japan for the first time this year. I know way LESS about this than I should considering my profession, haha.

    Think we are basically going to go to Hakuba and stay there. Touring, resort, snow amount, etc was recommended as the best to me for personal enjoyment and also for a film project we have going.

    Was I steered in the wrong direction? Or is Dunfee just a gaper?
    In my very brief visit to the Hakuba Valley last season I didn't feel that the inbounds terrain was markedly different from the inbounds terrain in SW Hokkaido - a little more vertical and a more continuous pitch.

    But the terrain outside of the resort boundary in the Hakuba Valley is on a different scale entirely.

    Only parts of Tokachidake, Shiretoko, Kariba, Shakotan and Rishiri on Hokkaido can compare and none of those are anywhere near to lifts.

    Hokkaido has techical, steep terrain but it's nowhere near as accessible as the Hakuba terrain.

  10. #60
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    Everything I've heard of Japan is good snow but moderate terrain.

    Is there a lift accessed place with steep couloirs?

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  11. #61
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    Quote Originally Posted by rod9301 View Post
    Everything I've heard of Japan is good snow but moderate terrain.

    Is there a lift accessed place with steep couloirs?

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    Not lift accessed in my experience on Hokkaido.

    But as above plenty of steep terrain if you're prepared to work for it.

  12. #62
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    This is Rishiri, an island off NW Hokkaido

    https://www.instagram.com/p/BZAMN8EgBRs/

  13. #63
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    I've done one trip to Hakuba and two to Hokkaido.
    The terrain in Hakuba is much more my style. There are some serious trade offs though. Hakuba is very far south, has a very short season and often the thing stopping you from getting into the backcountry is rain or sun. January might not have that problem, but was evident when we were there last two weeks of feb. Almost all the terrain requires a return to resort traversing under big W or South facing faces.

    Hokkaido doesn't have that. If you go in Jan you probably wont see the sun, or maybe for a couple hours. and it stays cold as fuck, which preserves some of the bigger faces for quite a while if it doesnt' just keep snowing. Terrain is definitely not as steep as hakuba area, but still plenty of fun

  14. #64
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    There’s only two lift-accessed areas in Hokkaido with gnar terrain. Teine is one.


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  15. #65
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    Quote Originally Posted by SUPERIOR View Post
    There’s only two lift-accessed areas in Hokkaido with gnar terrain. Teine is one.


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    Going to Teine on your recommendation (cheers!) was trying to organise Kurodake but it was getting too difficult to plan with dates.

  16. #66
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    There was a busload of people from Niseko skiing at Kiroro one day last year. I don't know if it's a regularly scheduled charter or what, but if you're HQing at Niseko I would look into it.

  17. #67
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    Hokkaido Japan Help..

    Quote Originally Posted by nortonwhis View Post
    I've done one trip to Hakuba and two to Hokkaido.
    The terrain in Hakuba is much more my style. There are some serious trade offs though. Hakuba is very far south, has a very short season and often the thing stopping you from getting into the backcountry is rain or sun. January might not have that problem, but was evident when we were there last two weeks of feb. Almost all the terrain requires a return to resort traversing under big W or South facing faces.

    Hokkaido doesn't have that. If you go in Jan you probably wont see the sun, or maybe for a couple hours. and it stays cold as fuck, which preserves some of the bigger faces for quite a while if it doesnt' just keep snowing. Terrain is definitely not as steep as hakuba area, but still plenty of fun
    Great to know, thanks!
    Last edited by PowTron; 11-12-2017 at 07:54 PM.
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  18. #68
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    A word of advice George - base out of Sapporo and go where it’s snowing. Check out Niseko auto for rentals and book now rather than later... you won’t be disappointed


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  19. #69
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    Hokkaido Japan Help..

    La Niña needs to bring it...
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    "Four score and seven turns ago..."

  20. #70
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    Quote Originally Posted by SUPERIOR View Post
    A word of advice George - base out of Sapporo and go where it’s snowing. Check out Niseko auto for rentals and book now rather than later... you won’t be disappointed


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    Definitely looked into that... But decided to stay in Kutchan and Otaru. I prefer the smaller places rather than 'cities.' Decided against a car as wasn't really cost effective. Doing the holiday on a budget to extend my time over there (3 weeks). Pretty sure I can get where I want with trains and shuttles, have been doing loads of research on that.

  21. #71
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    Quote Originally Posted by PowTron View Post
    La Niña needs to bring it...
    You gonna rock some C&D's? Or something else? I nearly jumped on this years C&D, but decided *cough* (couldn't afford) to stick with my goats!

  22. #72
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    Hokkaido Japan Help..

    Quote Originally Posted by Aus George View Post
    You gonna rock some C&D's? Or something else? I nearly jumped on this years C&D, but decided *cough* (couldn't afford) to stick with my goats!
    I’ll be bringing my BG tours for one ski. The other one? Not sure yet if it’s The CD or something else...
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    "Four score and seven turns ago..."

  23. #73
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    Quote Originally Posted by 5B View Post
    There was a busload of people from Niseko skiing at Kiroro one day last year. I don't know if it's a regularly scheduled charter or what, but if you're HQing at Niseko I would look into it.
    Daily bus

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