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  1. #76
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    Wise words Satori.

    Not all of Rusutsu is slammed mind you

  2. #77
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    May 2011
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    Quote Originally Posted by gaijin View Post
    I actually find longer radius skis to be MORE maneuverable at low speeds in tight spaces and more stable at high speeds when the line opens up.
    Completely agree with this.

    Great info in this thread. Think I'm leaning towards Hokkaido since we'll be going in mid January. While I tend to split my days between resort and backcountry, most of my friends who are coming are good skiers but have limited touring experience. I'll be doing my best to guide them (and drag them) out - hopefully early season before the trip as well - but realistically that's only going to happen some of the time. Any particular resorts on that island you guys would recommend? Various locations already noted, more curious about specific resorts.

  3. #78
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    Quote Originally Posted by TahoeJ View Post
    Completely agree with this.

    Great info in this thread. Think I'm leaning towards Hokkaido since we'll be going in mid January. While I tend to split my days between resort and backcountry, most of my friends who are coming are good skiers but have limited touring experience. I'll be doing my best to guide them (and drag them) out - hopefully early season before the trip as well - but realistically that's only going to happen some of the time. Any particular resorts on that island you guys would recommend? Various locations already noted, more curious about specific resorts.
    For SW Hokkaido

    Based in Niseko Resort Area
    < 30 mins drive - Niseko United, Niseko Moiwa
    30-60 mins drive - Rusutsu
    60 - 90 mins drive - Kiroro, Sapporo Kokusai, Asari, Otaru Tenguyama

    Backcountry
    Iwaonupuri - either drop off The Peak at Niseko United or drive approx 45 mins to Goshiki Onsen
    Mt Yotei - 15 to 45 mins drive depending on Trailhead
    Shiribetsudake - 45 mins drive to Rusutsu and either take 1 ride lift or skin from car park


    Based in Otaru
    < 30 mins drive - Otaru Tenguyama, Asari
    30-60 mins drive - Sapporo Kokusai, Kiroro, Sapporo Teine
    60 - 90 mins drive - Niseko United, Niseko Moiwa, Mt Racey

    Backcountry
    Yoichidake - accessed from Kiroro
    Jozankei Dam - peaks from the road around Jozankei Dam, 45 mins drive
    Lake Shikotsu - several peaks lining or near the lake, 90 mins drive


    Based in Sapporo
    < 30 mins drive - Sapporo Teine
    30-60 mins drive - Asari, Sapporo Kokusai, Otaru Tenguyama, Kiroro
    60 - 90 mins drive - Rusutsu, Mt Racey

    Backcountry
    Yoichidake - accessed from Kiroro
    Jozankei Dam - peaks from the road around Jozankei Dam, 45 mins drive
    Lake Shikotsu - several peaks lining or near the lake, 60 mins drive

  4. #79
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    Aug 2013
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    Btw, if you like whiskey, Nikkaís Yoichi distillery is near Otaru. Itís a five minute walk from a train station (that has lockers if you have luggage) and is a pretty cool spot. Itís 100+ years old and the story of the founders is interesting enough that it was made into a popular tv series in Japan. The main attraction for me is that you can buy quality whiskey thatís not available in the US. Even the stuff that you can get here is often a quarter to half the price in Japan.

  5. #80
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    Seriously considering booking something for this January, but would be traveling solo which seems to throw a wrench in things a bit in terms of logistics and $$$. Which also is why going on a guided trip seems like a fun way to meet some other people and ease the logistical costs a bit.

    Anyone in the market of buddying up?

  6. #81
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    Quote Originally Posted by jorion View Post
    Btw, if you like whiskey, Nikkaís Yoichi distillery is near Otaru. Itís a five minute walk from a train station (that has lockers if you have luggage) and is a pretty cool spot. Itís 100+ years old and the story of the founders is interesting enough that it was made into a popular tv series in Japan. The main attraction for me is that you can buy quality whiskey thatís not available in the US. Even the stuff that you can get here is often a quarter to half the price in Japan.
    ^+1 👏

  7. #82
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    Jun 2004
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Pow View Post
    Wise words Satori.

    Not all of Rusutsu is slammed mind you
    Yeah, but after I saw a mountain of ants flowing down I was over it. Still had an epic day on the top bowl. Nobody was hitting it, so rotating sides based on lifts up.

    You can access Yoichi from Kokusai, too. Both are like 90 mins up.

    Have you hit Tarumaezan or Fuppushi around Shikotsuko mate?

    With the new changes most likely coming, you getting a season pass at the same place? Or do you buy multiple passes?
    パウダーバカ!!

  8. #83
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    Jun 2004
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    Quote Originally Posted by jorion View Post
    Btw, if you like whiskey, Nikka’s Yoichi distillery is near Otaru. It’s a five minute walk from a train station (that has lockers if you have luggage) and is a pretty cool spot. It’s 100+ years old and the story of the founders is interesting enough that it was made into a popular tv series in Japan. The main attraction for me is that you can buy quality whiskey that’s not available in the US. Even the stuff that you can get here is often a quarter to half the price in Japan.
    Unfortunately, the Chinese have bought out any bottle worth a damn...Last time I was there two years ago they had F'all for sale, and even the higher end samples that you could pay for to try were meh.

    Unfortunately, all Japanese whisky right now is like the Sahara. Dry as hell.
    パウダーバカ!!

  9. #84
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    Jun 2004
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    851
    FWIW this camper van rental place might be worth a look. It's between ShinChitose Airport and Sapporo Station. It's a quick taxi ride from KitaHiroshima Station - 5 minutes prolly so it wouldn't cost you much. Maybe 1000 yen. Pretty sure they're open in winter, so camper vans would have snow tires, right? I'll keep an eye out this winter and post later. If someone really wants me to look/call I only charge a case of Ebisu per translation

    http://www.camperservice.jp/
    パウダーバカ!!

  10. #85
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    Quote Originally Posted by satori View Post
    Yeah, but after I saw a mountain of ants flowing down I was over it. Still had an epic day on the top bowl. Nobody was hitting it, so rotating sides based on lifts up.

    You can access Yoichi from Kokusai, too. Both are like 90 mins up.

    Have you hit Tarumaezan or Fuppushi around Shikotsuko mate?

    With the new changes most likely coming, you getting a season pass at the same place? Or do you buy multiple passes?
    Two sides to the resort 👍

    https://www.instagram.com/p/BfkvGX2n...=1imz7serzcoy4

    Done Tarumae and Eniwadake but not Fuppushi.

    Hopefully same place with Moiwa.

  11. #86
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    Quote Originally Posted by jorion View Post
    Btw, if you like whiskey, Nikkaís Yoichi distillery is near Otaru. Itís a five minute walk from a train station (that has lockers if you have luggage) and is a pretty cool spot. Itís 100+ years old and the story of the founders is interesting enough that it was made into a popular tv series in Japan. The main attraction for me is that you can buy quality whiskey thatís not available in the US. Even the stuff that you can get here is often a quarter to half the price in Japan.
    I am hooked on Japanese whiskey since my trip in January. Spent a night drinking it in the fridge door bar in Hirafu.

    Sent from my SM-G903W using Tapatalk

  12. #87
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    Aug 2013
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    Toshiroís Bar in Hirafu is also great. He and his wife are super sweet and they have some cool stuff. Pretty quickly I learned that the stuff I really liked you canít buy. Iíd ask and theyíd quietly say something like ďthis is one of only a hundred bottles and to buy them you had to preorder them directly from the distillery when it was announced.Ē Ok then! Of course Japan, the land of super limited craft everything.

  13. #88
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    Does it seem accurate that central Hokkaido (Furano) receives only about 250-300 inches each winter? While Niseko area is arround 500-600?

    Reviewing the data from last winter on this site: https://www.snowjapan.com/japan-dail...reports/charts

    If those numbers are accurate it seems like the likelihood of a DEEP day in central Hokkaido in January is much lower than Niseko, but does the smaller crowds + colder/drier snow make up for it? Assuming your hunting for untracked snow in the sidecountry.

  14. #89
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    Hokkaido Japan; Central Hokkaido or Niseko

    Iím not sure thatís a correct analysis of Central Hokkaido.

    While coastal areas typically receive more snowfall than inland areas, Iím suspicious of those stats.

    The Japanese sometimes donít even bother to measure snow in some places due to the massive amounts they get.

    The photo below is from central Hokkaido in February. Kurodake doesnít matter measure the snowfall.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    FWIW Powderhounds.com is a way better resource than Snow Japan.


    Sent from my iPhone using TGR Forums
    Last edited by SUPERIOR; 08-15-2018 at 04:01 PM.

  15. #90
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    Aug 2016
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    Quote Originally Posted by jtran10 View Post
    Does it seem accurate that central Hokkaido (Furano) receives only about 250-300 inches each winter? While Niseko area is arround 500-600?

    Reviewing the data from last winter on this site: https://www.snowjapan.com/japan-dail...reports/charts

    If those numbers are accurate it seems like the likelihood of a DEEP day in central Hokkaido in January is much lower than Niseko, but does the smaller crowds + colder/drier snow make up for it? Assuming your hunting for untracked snow in the sidecountry.
    I wouldn't read too much into those numbers (based on my limited experience of a ~10 day trip). We had deep powder days in central Hokkaido and in the coastal areas. It seems like anywhere else, where storms can hit a nearby region hard and miss the other.

  16. #91
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    Quote Originally Posted by jtran10 View Post
    Does it seem accurate that central Hokkaido (Furano) receives only about 250-300 inches each winter? While Niseko area is arround 500-600?

    Reviewing the data from last winter on this site: https://www.snowjapan.com/japan-dail...reports/charts

    If those numbers are accurate it seems like the likelihood of a DEEP day in central Hokkaido in January is much lower than Niseko, but does the smaller crowds + colder/drier snow make up for it? Assuming your hunting for untracked snow in the sidecountry.
    Definitely more annual snowfall closer to the coast compared with Central Hokkaido - there are exceptions like Asahidake - but never had a problem finding untracked snow in and out of resort at either.

  17. #92
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Pow View Post
    Definitely more annual snowfall closer to the coast compared with Central Hokkaido - there are exceptions like Asahidake - but never had a problem finding untracked snow in and out of resort at either.
    Thanks for the info. Getting pretty close to booking a trip for about 15 days or so mid/late January, skiing 9ish, sightseeing Tokyo and/or Kyoto the rest.

  18. #93
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    This whole thread is incredibly timely and helpful. My girlfriend and I are going to make the pilgrimage to Japan this January and we've come to the point in summer when we want to start getting everything all planned out.
    Currently thinking of going for two weeks in later January. We want to actually do some cultural things while we are there (and eat around Tokyo) so the plan is probably 8 days skiing in Hokkadio with the rest of the time used for travel/sightseeing.
    Seems like lots of people have the same idea we have, so I will keep close tabs on this thread.

  19. #94
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    Oct 2015
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    NIseko Japan, or Gold Coast Australia
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    Quote Originally Posted by jtran10 View Post
    Does it seem accurate that central Hokkaido (Furano) receives only about 250-300 inches each winter? While Niseko area is arround 500-600?

    Reviewing the data from last winter on this site: https://www.snowjapan.com/japan-dail...reports/charts

    If those numbers are accurate it seems like the likelihood of a DEEP day in central Hokkaido in January is much lower than Niseko, but does the smaller crowds + colder/drier snow make up for it? Assuming your hunting for untracked snow in the sidecountry.
    they sound about right.
    niseko had a good dec-jan-feb last year and other areas missed out a lot.

    however the snow inland can be considerably lighter. sometimes so light its like dust and takes a minute for it to settle when you stop.

    but it also matters where you measure the snow from. most japanese ski resorts haven't worked out the whole western thing of measuring the snow depth in a hole behind a snow catching wind break to get fake high numbers.
    several times ive gotten 2 feet overnight but its only 5 inches on the report.

  20. #95
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    Quote Originally Posted by anything View Post
    they sound about right.
    niseko had a good dec-jan-feb last year and other areas missed out a lot.

    however the snow inland can be considerably lighter. sometimes so light its like dust and takes a minute for it to settle when you stop.

    but it also matters where you measure the snow from. most japanese ski resorts haven't worked out the whole western thing of measuring the snow depth in a hole behind a snow catching wind break to get fake high numbers.
    several times ive gotten 2 feet overnight but its only 5 inches on the report.
    The feeling I'm getting is you can't really go wrong, and with a little work fresh tracks will be around all day if you're away from the crowds. Sound accurate?

    Sent from my SM-G965U using TGR Forums mobile app

  21. #96
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    Oct 2015
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    Quote Originally Posted by jtran10 View Post
    The feeling I'm getting is you can't really go wrong, and with a little work fresh tracks will be around all day if you're away from the crowds. Sound accurate?
    spot on.
    even at <shock>niseko</shock>, if you can traverse more than 10 meters and know where to go you're almost guaranteed fresh all day.
    elsewhere in hokkaido the mountains are smaller, but plenty enough for a couple of days of skiing, and certainly non-stop pow. i can almost bet that your legs will wear out before the snow does.

    sometimes the weather is too much. in dec/jan/feb you can get a blizzard where the winds are so high you cant do anything much at all, its all scraped down to ice and isnt fun to ski on and at the resorts most the lifts are closed anyway.
    there is also potential to hit a rain event in march.
    for this reason I suggest people budget a flexible down day or two into their plans. soak in an onsen, go to the distillery, maybe see the snow festival if its on, empty a gallon bottle of whiskey (yes, they're sold in 4L bottles).

  22. #97
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    Apr 2016
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    37
    this thread has been awesome. will be headed to Japan roughly around Jan. 1 for 3 months to snowboard/splitboard. unfortunately tail guide gigs aren't working out since I cannot easily get a work visa as an american, so I'll probably just be bumming it for 3 months.

    it's been proving pretty damn hard to find any long term affordable housing in either hakuba or hokkaido, so I'm thinking of doing the camper van life. anyone have any leads or advice on buying one, or renting one if it's affordable enough? plan on getting the international driving permit and from what I've seen it looks like buying a vehicle as a foreigner is a possibility. if anyone has any beta, please let me know.

    other than that, if people want to link up, let me know! will be doing a lot of touring and some filming, so if you wanna ride or show off your skills and get featured in some ~siiiik~ instagram edits to be seen by 17 people, send me a PM.

  23. #98
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    Jan 2004
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    Quote Originally Posted by thefortrees View Post
    I wouldn't read too much into those numbers (based on my limited experience of a ~10 day trip). We had deep powder days in central Hokkaido and in the coastal areas. It seems like anywhere else, where storms can hit a nearby region hard and miss the other.
    Yah that I kind of why I decided to do central Hokkaido compared to Niseko. We are just storm chasing anyways so I think we will always be able to find the goods at the end of Jan and beginning of Feb. That and if it doesn't snow for a few days it sounds like central Hokkaido doesn't attract near the amount of people that Niseko does so you can always find the goods since it gets tracked out slower and stays so cold there. One way or the other it should be a killer trip.

  24. #99
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    Jun 2004
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    Quote Originally Posted by dongy View Post
    this thread has been awesome. will be headed to Japan roughly around Jan. 1 for 3 months to snowboard/splitboard. unfortunately tail guide gigs aren't working out since I cannot easily get a work visa as an american, so I'll probably just be bumming it for 3 months.

    it's been proving pretty damn hard to find any long term affordable housing in either hakuba or hokkaido, so I'm thinking of doing the camper van life. anyone have any leads or advice on buying one, or renting one if it's affordable enough? plan on getting the international driving permit and from what I've seen it looks like buying a vehicle as a foreigner is a possibility. if anyone has any beta, please let me know.

    other than that, if people want to link up, let me know! will be doing a lot of touring and some filming, so if you wanna ride or show off your skills and get featured in some ~siiiik~ instagram edits to be seen by 17 people, send me a PM.
    Try here for long-term in Hakuba. Nicks a great guy.

    http://www.hakubapowderlodging.com/lodge.html

    You can try here for Niseko - think it's 3500/night. Good luck finding anything cheaper that close to the slopes in the heart of Hirafu for that price. If you do, please share. FWIW this is my old dorm when I worked in Niseko eons ago.

    https://owashilodge.com/
    パウダーバカ!!

  25. #100
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    Oct 2010
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    Quote Originally Posted by dongy View Post
    this thread has been awesome. will be headed to Japan roughly around Jan. 1 for 3 months to snowboard/splitboard. unfortunately tail guide gigs aren't working out since I cannot easily get a work visa as an american, so I'll probably just be bumming it for 3 months.

    it's been proving pretty damn hard to find any long term affordable housing in either hakuba or hokkaido, so I'm thinking of doing the camper van life. anyone have any leads or advice on buying one, or renting one if it's affordable enough? plan on getting the international driving permit and from what I've seen it looks like buying a vehicle as a foreigner is a possibility. if anyone has any beta, please let me know.

    other than that, if people want to link up, let me know! will be doing a lot of touring and some filming, so if you wanna ride or show off your skills and get featured in some ~siiiik~ instagram edits to be seen by 17 people, send me a PM.
    Without a work visa you'll have a hard time buying a car, or if you can the process to take care of it was incredibly difficult even for a buddy who spoke japanese but you never know. I think there's a huge difference in their eyes between someone on a tourist visa and working visa. You will also have to try and sell it when you leave. You might be able to get a good deal on a long term rental though, but im thinking it would be more expensive than dorming in Niseko. http://www.japan-campervan.com/ looks good.

    To all the people who are talking about skiing 8 days and doing 6 days sightseeing, you guys are crazy. If you get out of Niseko you will see so much incredible culture on a day to day basis that Tokyo will be a horrible shit show by the time you get there. Spend a night or 2 in Otaru and/or Sapporo, still ski the day, but you can go out and find crazy ramen holes, the best nigiri, great izakayas, whiskey bars all over the place. The drive out to tokachidake thru furano is super cool, basically everywhere you stop no one speaks a word of english. For me that is a far better and authentic Japanese experience than seeing fatburger and all the chains that are everywhere thru tokyo.

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