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  1. #126
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    90
    Such an awesome thread and it is really getting me stoked for Japan next year. So much I even got out and started running stairs to get my lazy ass back in shape so I can be ready for 9 contiguous days of skiing. Hopefully Mammoth is a little bit more giving in the snow department early season so I can get some powder days in prior as well.

    With all the back and forth I am still thinking I made the correct choice in staying in central Hokkaido compared to the Niseko area. For me a big part of this trip is to get away from the whiteys and really immerse myself in the Japanese culture ans it sounds like Niseko has turned into a crazy city which I want to avoid. We are staying in a place that is just a few minute walk from Furano. But will likely only spend a day or two there on the big days it is not worth driving but focus our time on places like Tomamu, Kamui Ski Links, Asahidake, Club-Med Sahoro, and Yubari Mt Racey. Also I am not a touring guy so we will be bootpacking it to where every we need to get to. Is not bringing touring gear going to be a mistake?

  2. #127
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Posts
    58
    Quote Originally Posted by pman View Post
    Such an awesome thread and it is really getting me stoked for Japan next year. So much I even got out and started running stairs to get my lazy ass back in shape so I can be ready for 9 contiguous days of skiing. Hopefully Mammoth is a little bit more giving in the snow department early season so I can get some powder days in prior as well.

    With all the back and forth I am still thinking I made the correct choice in staying in central Hokkaido compared to the Niseko area. For me a big part of this trip is to get away from the whiteys and really immerse myself in the Japanese culture ans it sounds like Niseko has turned into a crazy city which I want to avoid. We are staying in a place that is just a few minute walk from Furano. But will likely only spend a day or two there on the big days it is not worth driving but focus our time on places like Tomamu, Kamui Ski Links, Asahidake, Club-Med Sahoro, and Yubari Mt Racey. Also I am not a touring guy so we will be bootpacking it to where every we need to get to. Is not bringing touring gear going to be a mistake?
    I can tell ya as a touring guy who did the bootbacking/snowshoeing thing for a while, it will definitely make your life a whole lot easier, especially in deep snow. But if you're only make 15 minute jaunts outside the gate, may not be worth it but the hike back may suck if it's anything longer than that

  3. #128
    Join Date
    Nov 2017
    Posts
    11
    Anyone have any thoughts on Asahidake? I'm heading back to Hokkaido next winter, spent 5 days at Annupuri last year. Trying to weigh Asahidake and Furano vs a week or so all around Niseko United.

  4. #129
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
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    Between a rock and a soft place. Aberdare and The Brecon Beacons, Wales
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    2,742
    Quote Originally Posted by zfanatic View Post
    Anyone have any thoughts on Asahidake? I'm heading back to Hokkaido next winter, spent 5 days at Annupuri last year. Trying to weigh Asahidake and Furano vs a week or so all around Niseko United.
    If you've never been and there's a period of clear, sunny weather then it's hard to beat.

    Amazing views, easy skin to the summit, fumuroles spouting steam, deep powder.

    If it's socked in, then there are longer & steeper pitches elsewhere which give you more bang for your buck.

    I've always enjoyed staying here

    Deer Valley
    https://www.hamano-hotels.co.jp/lang...eer_valley/en/

    https://www.booking.com/hotel/jp/asa...ley.en-gb.html

  5. #130
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    CA
    Posts
    195
    I had 2 incredible days at Ashidake. It never stopped snowing the entire time we were on Hokkaido and especially so in Ashiadake.
    The terrain isn't that rad but the snow was absolutely un-real. It was a great place for my wife and I as we kept exploring new stashes and were getting freshies all day. It's deep not steep, just remember that. I'd say it's kinda "benchy" and maybe if you skinned from the top it might get a bit more interesting, but vis was near zero above treeline so we stuck to the tram. We were there midweek and there was little to no line. I believe weekends are a different story. There were folks from all over the world there, Euros, Aussies, Americans and of course, Japanese people, all lapping very light snow.

    Lodging and dining there is limited. We stayed at the hotel just down the street, Deer Valley linked above. I actually really liked it. Onsen, breakfast and dinner included, totally Japanese and wonderful if you like seafood. Dinner was 5 or 6 course. Staff spoke essentially no English but they gave you a menu in pretty rough English. I think we paid less than $200/night. For lunch you can get snacks/beverages at the snack shop at the base. We had a 4wd van and drove around that island. We stayed near Furano after that which was also great, but Ashiadake was better. The whole experience there was great.

    We've been to Japan twice to ski, haven't been to Niseko. Not really our bag.

  6. #131
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Posts
    357
    To me niseko is like whistler. Touristy but there are guns to be had on mountain and party scenes are something you should see and experience at least once even if itís not your thing 100%.

    I think ski/snowboarding is better here in the states, but when you add other experiences, it becomes way cooler than any ski trips in US. So in my opinion, if all you do is go straight to the mountain, and stay there till you leave and eat the same thing over and over, youíre missing something.


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  7. #132
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Between a rock and a soft place. Aberdare and The Brecon Beacons, Wales
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    2,742
    May change a few people's plans

    NISEKO UNITED BECOMES IKONIC

    The Ikon Pass announced this morning that they will be adding NISEKO UNITED to its pass for the upcoming 2018/19 winter season.

    That brings the Ikon Pass offering to 33 destinations across 3 continents, and must be very welcome news for Thredbo based Ikon Pass holders.

    "Japan’s mountains are a longtime bucket list destination for skiers and riders, and we are so excited to open up this part of the world to Ikon Pass holders, providing the opportunity to immerse themselves into the Japanese culture and snow."
    - Erik Forsell, Chief Marketing Officer of Alterra Mountain Company

    The Ikon Pass offers 7 days at Niseko United
    The Ikon Base Pass offers 5 days at Niseko United with blackouts

    For more information please visit the link below
    http://www.ikonpass.com

  8. #133
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Sonoma & Truckee
    Posts
    11,503
    It increases the odds of me going there for maybe 1 day, just to check it out.

  9. #134
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Posts
    58
    Anyone have any insight on single day passes vs season pass?

    I'm going to be living in a camper van for 3 months. Doing some videography/guiding contracts late Feb - March and doing a trip to Rishiri, but I am going to want to do a fair bit of resort riding. Will likely be 50/50 split of backcountry and resort riding, and since I have a campervan I will be probably exploring a lot of the resorts.

    Has anyone had experience jumping around to resorts and doing day passes? What are average prices around the smaller resorts? Niseko season pass is $1100 USD which is pretty steep. I've also just found this Tomamu season pass that gets me lift tickets at a bunch of resorts like Niseko, Kiroro, Furano, and for for 1500-3500 JPY. If it's on sale this year, this sounds like it might be a good deal.

    Curious what people's thoughts and experiences are. Will be doing at least 7 days at Niseko in January when a bunch of friends come out. I'm thinking just doing day passes wherever I go is best, but wondering what sort of price that comes out to doing 30ish resort days, probably 30 backcountry, and maybe 20 days on contract at Rishiri and some other places.

  10. #135
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
    Location
    NIseko Japan, or Gold Coast Australia
    Posts
    136
    Quote Originally Posted by dongy View Post
    Anyone have any insight on single day passes vs season pass?

    I'm going to be living in a camper van for 3 months. Doing some videography/guiding contracts late Feb - March and doing a trip to Rishiri, but I am going to want to do a fair bit of resort riding. Will likely be 50/50 split of backcountry and resort riding, and since I have a campervan I will be probably exploring a lot of the resorts.

    Has anyone had experience jumping around to resorts and doing day passes? What are average prices around the smaller resorts? Niseko season pass is $1100 USD which is pretty steep. I've also just found this Tomamu season pass that gets me lift tickets at a bunch of resorts like Niseko, Kiroro, Furano, and for for 1500-3500 JPY. If it's on sale this year, this sounds like it might be a good deal.

    Curious what people's thoughts and experiences are. Will be doing at least 7 days at Niseko in January when a bunch of friends come out. I'm thinking just doing day passes wherever I go is best, but wondering what sort of price that comes out to doing 30ish resort days, probably 30 backcountry, and maybe 20 days on contract at Rishiri and some other places.
    Day passes mean you can be more flexible. Biggest mistake people do is lock themselves into one place and cant adapt based on the weather.
    It'll be more expensive, and its the absolute worst queuing up for a lift ticket on a 2 foot powder day (the ticket office doesn't open much earlier than the lifts).
    But if you're not basing yourself anywhere then I don't see any other options really.

    When I'm skiing other places I usually get hour based passes. Eg you can save $10 by getting a 6 hour pass and skipping the night skiing at Kiroro or Rusutsu.

    I thought Niseko United had an 8 hour day pass too, but I can't seem to find it. Maybe its only Niseko Hirafu that has that. (ps: Don't be that guy who cant ski half the resort because you wanted to save a few $).
    Niseko United also has two different special "hourly" passes where you pay for 10, 20, 30 or 50 hours on a ski pass and can ski unlimited lifts during that time, the normal niseko united hours pass and the internet lift ticket pass. You ski from 9:00 on your 1st hour, then at 10:05 you take the next lift and your 2nd hour only starts then. So you gained 5 minutes, it seems small but it really adds up. Stop for lunch or finish early and your ticket isn't wasted either. Its the most efficient pass you can get, but you can't refund any leftover hours. The rechargeable internet pass may be the best option for you and your friends 7+ days there, but you have to preorder it well ahead of time (http://www.niseko.ne.jp/en/web-liftpass/index.html).

    The Hokkaido Ski Season Net discount (the 1500-3500JPY/day passes you found) require you to have a season pass at any of those resorts. But the discounts are usually only about $5-$10 per day. So if you're doing 30 days in resorts, buying access to the season pass would have to be $300 or less no make it worthwhile.
    You can find a table of all the discounted prices here: http://www.niseko.ne.jp/en/seasonnet...st_2017-18.pdf
    The discounts are small because the Japanese people in general are a special combination of frugal and stubborn. They will walk 20km and waste a whole day in a queue to save 100yen.
    It'll also mean you have to stop by there first to pick it up. The costs (fuel?) in a special trip to pick up your season pass might make it less attractive also.
    Many places have earlybird discount season passes available (Niseko doesn't), but I think you usually have to be there in person to pick it up. for example, Tomamu's $250 early bird season pass purchase conditions read weird enough that I'm guessing that it won't be suitable for you (the Japanese aren't so great at putting conditions in writing, let alone in english).

  11. #136
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Montucky
    Posts
    1,291

    Hokkaido Japan; Central Hokkaido or Niseko

    Teine Lift pass includes deals with Rusutsu I believe... donít buy a season pass at Niseko United. Instead, go online and try to buy an hours pass.

    If still available, they are preloaded for 1,000 Yen ($8) an hour and only count down after the lift turnstyle scans you. Can be refilled online too. Have to pick up in person in December at the main resort bus stop for some weird reason (at least thatís how it was in 2015).

    Sounds janky, but works incredibly well because Niseko gets tracked quick.


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  12. #137
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Posts
    58
    Oh wow didn't know about the hourly system. Sounds like absolutely the way to go. Really appreciate the info. Seems like a great way to hit the pow at the resorts early until it's gone then head out for a lap in the bc.

    If anyone is anywhere in Hokkaido or Hakuba January thru April, send me a PM. Always looking for touring partners. Camera time included free of charge if you're rackin up G.N.A.R. points.

  13. #138
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Evanston, IL
    Posts
    1,135
    Quote Originally Posted by dongy View Post
    Oh wow didn't know about the hourly system. Sounds like absolutely the way to go. Really appreciate the info. Seems like a great way to hit the pow at the resorts early until it's gone then head out for a lap in the bc.

    If anyone is anywhere in Hokkaido or Hakuba January thru April, send me a PM. Always looking for touring partners. Camera time included free of charge if you're rackin up G.N.A.R. points.
    We are planning to be there in early March to ride. I would be very down to do some BC. Looking at opportunities and there seem to be a couple worth exploring. Iíll DM with contact info.

  14. #139
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
    Location
    NIseko Japan, or Gold Coast Australia
    Posts
    136
    Quote Originally Posted by dongy View Post
    Oh wow didn't know about the hourly system. Sounds like absolutely the way to go. Really appreciate the info. Seems like a great way to hit the pow at the resorts early until it's gone then head out for a lap in the bc.

    If anyone is anywhere in Hokkaido or Hakuba January thru April, send me a PM. Always looking for touring partners. Camera time included free of charge if you're rackin up G.N.A.R. points.
    i live in Hokkaido near Niseko, say Hi if you're nearby.

  15. #140
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Between a rock and a soft place. Aberdare and The Brecon Beacons, Wales
    Posts
    2,742
    Quote Originally Posted by dongy View Post
    Oh wow didn't know about the hourly system. Sounds like absolutely the way to go. Really appreciate the info. Seems like a great way to hit the pow at the resorts early until it's gone then head out for a lap in the bc.
    The Tomamu pass is cheap but unless you're going to do 5-7 days at Tomamu then it doesn't save you in the long run.

    I get the Kiroro-Moiwa Combined Season Pass at about JPY 55,000 because I ski at those places more than anywhere else.

    Gives me cheaper tickets via the Hokkaido Net system when I want to ski Niseko United and the like.

    The K Pass is another alternative. JPY 74,700 for unlimited skiing at Rusutsu, Teine, Sahoro, Nakayama-Toge.

    You really need to work out where and when you'll be resort skiing to see what will work best.

    If you have a Powder Alliance mountain season pass, that will give you free days at Kiroro.

  16. #141
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Revelstoke; Rogers Pass
    Posts
    868
    Flights from the PNW to Tokyo are dirt cheap right now if anybody is looking. We just booked for January 21- Feb 2.
    Quote Originally Posted by grrrr
    There are good men out there. Good men who are good looking, who ski hard, have their shit in order, know their priorities in life and will make you happy. I'm not one of them, but they are out there.

  17. #142
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    The Wilds of Maine
    Posts
    2,708
    Looking at 12/28-1/13 or so, meeting some friends in Sapporo on 1/3 and planning to base out of Otaru & Furano for the mix of the stay.

    If anyone's planning on going on those early dates (12/28-1/3) LMK as I'd love to partner up and do some touring especially since my crew is going to be resort/sidecountrying it and not keen to walk top to bottom for it.

    It is pretty mobbed over christmas break/new years generally? I think the Japanese get five days off at that time?
    "We're in the eye of a shiticane here Julian, and Ricky's a low shit system!" - Jim Lahey, RIP

    Former Managing Editor @ TGR, forever mag.

  18. #143
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Sonoma & Truckee
    Posts
    11,503
    I'll be on Hokkaido Jan 11 - 18th, probably based out of Otaru but not sure yet. Just pulled the trigger on round trip direct flights from SFO to Tokyo for only $675.

  19. #144
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Norcal
    Posts
    1,669
    Spent a few days in Kiroro and a night in Otaru. Got free tickets via the powder alliance. I think it stopped snowing for like an hour the whole time we where there, snow was amazing. Poor visibility keep us from touring, but we did nearly all our skiing out the backcountry gates that required no skinning to return to the resort. Although I did have to punch out a exit track once and they tend to be on the long and flattish side. Quality pitches are quite short there, I imagine if given the chance to skin away from the resort it would be rewarding.





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    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iEb4Ot1nMbo



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  20. #145
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Posts
    58
    Quote Originally Posted by WaistDeepGroomers View Post
    Looking at 12/28-1/13 or so, meeting some friends in Sapporo on 1/3 and planning to base out of Otaru & Furano for the mix of the stay.

    If anyone's planning on going on those early dates (12/28-1/3) LMK as I'd love to partner up and do some touring especially since my crew is going to be resort/sidecountrying it and not keen to walk top to bottom for it.

    It is pretty mobbed over christmas break/new years generally? I think the Japanese get five days off at that time?

    I'll be arriving in Sapporo on 12/29 to start my 3 month trip. Hit me up via PM and we can exchange details. I've got a camper van rented so wherever the snow's good, we can tour. Have a crew of 10 friends coming out for a week, but they don't arrive until around 1/12, so I would love a tour partner while I'm bouncing around until then.

  21. #146
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    100'F and Muggy
    Posts
    589
    Subscribing.. looking to book a Japanuary trip

  22. #147
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Sonoma & Truckee
    Posts
    11,503

    Hokkaido Japan; Central Hokkaido or Niseko

    Best night skiing? Howís Niseko for that? I see they have it but is a lot of terrain lighted?

  23. #148
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Seattle
    Posts
    1,358
    Quote Originally Posted by TahoeJ View Post
    Best night skiing? Howís Niseko for that? I see they have it but is a lot of terrain lighted?
    I've done both Rusutsu and Kiroro. I thought Rusutsu had better terrain for night, but I had no fresh snow. At Kiroro it was dumping the entire night after 30cm during the day and was the best snow I had the whole trip. Honestly amazeballs. The run was short with a high speed quad. I pulled 40 runs in 5 hours by going nonstop. I was also solo, so that helped.

  24. #149
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
    Location
    NIseko Japan, or Gold Coast Australia
    Posts
    136
    Quote Originally Posted by TahoeJ View Post
    Best night skiing? How’s Niseko for that? I see they have it but is a lot of terrain lighted?
    Niseko Hirafu used to have more, but they cut it back a bit a few years ago and stopped night skiing on king 3 because nobody was using it (id literally be the only one skiing there, with like 8 staff running the lift). The upside is that snow is untouched between 4pm and 9am so it accumulates more now.

    However its still plenty enough to melt most tourists faces, especially if they haven't done night skiing before or are eager to ski the evening that they arrive.
    Most often the nighttime weather means it's snowing 5cm fat flakey snowclumps and zero wind, so much so that your tracks are filled in by the time you do another lap.
    The lighting (especially when its snowing) glows and throws enough that you can still hit most tree and off piste areas.

    If you're going off piste, you can easily spend several hours lapping the lifts for night skiing, and still have more pow that you haven't destroyed yet.

    Its a bit of a hassle messing with gear when you have frozen fingers, but I've used a headlamp a couple of times too to get extra visibility for further out areas, worth trying.
    This year I have 2x 2000 lumen monsters to try out (standard is 150-250lm). They're so bright that when I tested in my local park they caused animals to fall out of trees, so i cant wait to see what it does to snowboarders.

  25. #150
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Posts
    725
    Done both Niseko and Rusutsu. Rusutsu would be pretty dope with fresh a massive load of fresh. I had about 15 on crust. I also did Sapporo Bankei which you can access by taking the subway and bus from downtown. Was weird walking around downtown in full snowboard gear.
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