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  1. #401
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    Mar 2011
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    Hokkaido Japan; Central Hokkaido or Niseko

    Quote Originally Posted by climberevan View Post
    I've probably said this before, but no one needs to pay a guide to go up Yotei. It's the most obvious mountain in the region--follow the crowds. (Also, BD appears to be soliciting free skilled labor on this forum, so the people who "guide" you up the well-established skin track might not even be getting paid themselves.)
    I partly disagree with this statement.

    For those who havenít had experience touring volcanoes in deep powder / wind blown / avalanche gully conditions, Mt. Yotei can be a formidable opponent.

    If youíre not an experienced or expert backcountry skier, Yoteiís whiteout conditions can be difficult too.

    There are several trailheads that access this mountain, and wind is a huge factor, so following the lemmings isnít always the correct format.

    BDs guides are some of the best in the business, and thatís not even mentioning MANY other guide services that can get you up Yotei.

  2. #402
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    Mar 2011
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    Hokkaido Japan; Central Hokkaido or Niseko

    Quote Originally Posted by pfj View Post
    I am headed to Hokkaido this February, we have been talking about doing a guided trip to Mt Yotei one day....

    Is this something you need to book in advance?
    You will know when a Yotei summit bid is likely when local weather forecasts predict a 1-2 day bluebird weather window. This happens every couple weeks in February and increasingly so in March.

    Keep your eyes peeled on the local 5-7 day forecasts, and contact your tour operator of choice if you see the window start developing.

    Otherwise, low angle tree skiing on Yotei is quite possible any day, and is easy to manage in both guided and unguided scenarios.

    The problem is when you try to grab that Japanese volcano summit and get about 4 hrs up the damn thing, only to get socked in above some big, nasty avalanche gullies. Skiing in the fog on that mountain is not fun.

  3. #403
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    Mar 2011
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    Salt Lake City
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    10
    While the quality and definition of a ďguideĒ is certainly debatable your statement is seriously lacking in humility. Cool we get it, youíre a mountain bad ass, but some people arenít. Having a guide isnít just about the way up, itís about snowpack knowledge, adverse weather navigation, and a network of support in case things happen. Been a few times Iíve stumbled across people needing help in dire and not so dire situations. Often people donít know the number to call when they double femur on Yotei and even if they do, donít speak nearly enough Japanese to facilitate a mountain rescue. Even with that, the weather needed to facilitate a heli rescue is uncommon and although Japanese SAR puts a good effort fourth, they are severely lacking in comparison to N America/Euro personnel.

    So while the majority of experienced backcountry skiers are probably fine, you shouldnít be ragging on people who want a little more confidence. Especially if you havenít experienced the full wrath mountains have and when things go seriously wrong.

  4. #404
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    Mar 2011
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    ^ well said, MitchPee


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  5. #405
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    Jan 2009
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    51
    Think it's possible to book something the week of? I am fairly hesitant to book anything in advance. It doesn't look like there is a ton of snow in Japan right now and I don't want to be committed to skiing if the conditions aren't good. I am going with my girlfriend who is new to ski touring so a guide seems advisable.

    Right now I have overlapping hotels with cancellation policies booked in Hakuba / Otaru and Furano. Plan is to see where the snow is the best and go there. Thoughts on renting a car if we are going to be skiing at Hakuba? Would train bus be easier? I plan on renting a vehicle on Hokkaido. Do you guys think I should do this in advance?

    Thoughts on flying vs training to Hokkaido from Tokyo?

  6. #406
    Join Date
    Jan 2017
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    on the banks of Fish Creek
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    flyin’ vs trainin’.......


    https://www.ski.com.au/xf/threads/shinkansen-vs-flying-tokyo-to-niseko-kutchan.76668/



    lots o’ good japland travel tips from the aussies on that site.

  7. #407
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    Mar 2011
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    Thoughts on flying vs training to Hokkaido from Tokyo?[/QUOTE]

    Right now, the most snow in Japan is in Aomori.

    Hokkaido is dry, but the snow is coming this week.

  8. #408
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    Nov 2007
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    4,163
    Q regarding Yamato/Black Cat luggage service:

    Should I trust them to get my ski boots (along with skis/poles) from Narita to the hotel in Hirafu in 3 days?

  9. #409
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Posts
    51
    Thanks for the info - I was in Japan about five years ago skiing and we took the train. Really enjoyed the experience but figured that flying would be more convenient.s

    From a resort perspective what would you guys recommend? Right now we are planning to ski stuff around Otaru and Furano unless they are getting similar snowfall in the Hakuba area. We spent most of our time at Rusutsu and Kiriro last time we skied there.

  10. #410
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    Mar 2011
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    The tap turned on in Niseko today. About a foot and still coming down.


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  11. #411
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
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    1,445
    Yes. Trust what they say they can do. If they say they can, they mean it. They take pride in meaning it.

  12. #412
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    Oct 2006
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    Hokkaido
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    There is enough of a base now that any snowfall is going to create excellent conditions. Don't let the fact that we're below average scare you away. When it snows the skiing is great and it snows a lot.

    I boiled my thermometer, and sure enough, this spot, which purported to be two thousand feet higher than the locality of the hotel, turned out to be nine thousand feet LOWER. Thus the fact was clearly demonstrated that, ABOVE A CERTAIN POINT, THE HIGHER A POINT SEEMS TO BE, THE LOWER IT ACTUALLY IS. Our ascent itself was a great achievement, but this contribution to science was an inconceivably greater matter.

    --MT--

  13. #413
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    Oct 2010
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    701
    Quote Originally Posted by telepariah View Post
    There is enough of a base now that any snowfall is going to create excellent conditions. Don't let the fact that we're below average scare you away. When it snows the skiing is great and it snows a lot.
    Is it actually though? I've got a friend in Sapporo who says Teine sucks right now. I'd also be super worried that a lot of backcountry options are going to be super brushy still. We were planning on coming but now its looking like it might be better to wait a year.

  14. #414
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    Mar 2011
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    ^ some backcountry options are currently limited due to brush, and its brutal. However... the snow is coming. PS, I skied four full backcountry days last week here


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  15. #415
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    Oct 2005
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    Tahoe-ish
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    I was there in 2016 and 2017. '16 was a good to normal year, and '17 was bad, about like this year has started. Some places never really filled in, and we drove all over the island looking for snow.

    This year we snagged tickets for 1/2 of normal price, so we rolled the dice. Based on the current snow pack and forecast, we will likely cancel the trip if it doesn't snow hard in the next 10 days. Being there for 5 weeks, spending a ton of money and driving around, only to end up frustrated, left a pretty bad taste and I don't want to do it again.

    Hokkaido is like anywhere: amazing when it's snowing but no bueno when it's not. There is no exception to that rule.

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    ride bikes, climb, ski, travel, cook, work to fund former, repeat.

  16. #416
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    Oct 2006
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    Hokkaido
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    We have been getting more west wind than northwest wind last year and this year than I remember from years ago. That puts Teine in the rain shadow of most of the snowfall. I wouldn't judge all of Hokkaido based on Teine's conditions. West brings snow but northwest brings more. There is still a lot of sasa showing at lower elevations but if you get up around tree line the coverage is decent. And if you go to Daisetsuzan for backcountry, it's good already. Very good. I was just there for three days and have no complaints. If you are riding lifts, Furano is good now. Niseko is coming around. Hirafu is reporting over 2 meters of depth now. We are entering a period of colder temps and snow every day for the next several. It's only getting better.

    I boiled my thermometer, and sure enough, this spot, which purported to be two thousand feet higher than the locality of the hotel, turned out to be nine thousand feet LOWER. Thus the fact was clearly demonstrated that, ABOVE A CERTAIN POINT, THE HIGHER A POINT SEEMS TO BE, THE LOWER IT ACTUALLY IS. Our ascent itself was a great achievement, but this contribution to science was an inconceivably greater matter.

    --MT--

  17. #417
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    Mar 2011
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    Montucky
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    Hokkaido Japan; Central Hokkaido or Niseko

    Rusutsu Resort picked up several feet of fresh in the NYE storm, and skied excellently on Wednesday.

    Just last week, the sasa bamboo was chest high, and is now mostly buried.

    However, once the Niseko crewís collective hangover wore off, Rusutsu became packed and had a one-hour line to buy a ticket on Thursday.

    Iíve never seen a busier ticket window line. Donít even ask about the cafeteria lines! Yet, there were goods yet to be had even with the crowds. However, Iím not sure Iíd recommend a destination trip to Rusutsu in January anymore... things have sure changed here.

  18. #418
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    Oct 2010
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    701
    Quote Originally Posted by SUPERIOR View Post
    Rusutsu Resort picked up several feet of fresh in the NYE storm, and skied excellently on Wednesday.

    Just last week, the sasa bamboo was chest high, and is now mostly buried.

    However, once the Niseko crew’s collective hangover wore off, Rusutsu became packed and had a one-hour line to buy a ticket on Thursday.

    I’ve never seen a busier ticket window line. Don’t even ask about the cafeteria lines! Yet, there were goods yet to be had even with the crowds. However, I’m not sure I’d recommend a destination trip to Rusutsu in January anymore... things have sure changed here.
    I have a friend who lives in rusutsu, looks like it has been a great few days.
    What do you use for forecast? Looking at Windy and snow-forecast it looks pretty bleak for the near future.

    My girlfriend is pretty keen to come over, but i've done a couple of trips before and this isn't convincing me to hurry back this season.

  19. #419
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    Oct 2003
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    Seattle
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    @telepariah thanks for the report from Daisetsuzan as Iím heading up there in about a week.

    I skied on Yotei today. Starting at 300m it was extremely brushy. We skied from 1000m and there was still a lot of brush even there. The snow quality was excellent, skiing was very fun and we had a great time - but snow depths definitely limited the lines available.

  20. #420
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    Mar 2010
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    Portland/Kelowna
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    Quote Originally Posted by climberevan View Post
    I was there in 2016 and 2017. '16 was a good to normal year, and '17 was bad, about like this year has started. Some places never really filled in, and we drove all over the island looking for snow.

    This year we snagged tickets for 1/2 of normal price, so we rolled the dice. Based on the current snow pack and forecast, we will likely cancel the trip if it doesn't snow hard in the next 10 days. Being there for 5 weeks, spending a ton of money and driving around, only to end up frustrated, left a pretty bad taste and I don't want to do it again.

    Hokkaido is like anywhere: amazing when it's snowing but no bueno when it's not. There is no exception to that rule.

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-T707A using TGR Forums mobile app
    There is more to life then tits deep pow. Was there in Hokkaido for Feb 2017, snow quality was respectable but defs not japow (toured almost exclusively however, im sure resorts were crap at the time). Lowtide means tour further afield, and get dem views. There are some big lines around too if you are a pro google mapper, although I will agree that they generally seem to be wind scoured.
    Also, lots of votes for Furano in here, I wasn't a big fan, felt like I was in Europe (rather then Australia at Nieseko). Sidecountry was shralped quickly, although got fairly quite with just a short tour out of bounds. I'm sure all the resorts are fun though if its puking...

    All from Feb 2017 (a 'shit' year)






















  21. #421
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    Jan 2017
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    on the banks of Fish Creek
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    Name:  A3C726C7-BF05-467F-B1AB-082291E596DA.jpeg
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  22. #422
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    Oct 2005
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    Tahoe-ish
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    ^^^ Nice depiction. (But it should be noted that Nozawa is on Honshu, nearly 1000km from Hokkaido.)

    I didn't mean to sound like such a downer. Rather, I wanted to cut through a little of the "Japow" hype.

    I tour exclusively, so I can't speak to the resort conditions, but the common wisdom seems to be that the popular ones get tracked out quickly now that the Yanks have discovered Hokkaido.

    For another perspective, one could ask my SO. 2017 was her first trip to Japan, and she thought it was great. The pow was better than anything she's experienced in the US, and she loved the daily onsens and the other non-ski parts of the trip. If you haven't been and don't have unrealistic expectations, you'll probably love Japan. It really is a fantastic place to visit, snow or not.

    I, personally, am looking for deep, light powder with regular refreshes, and I'll go where I need to to find it. That is not always Hokkaido. Last year, it meant staying home at Tahoe.
    Last edited by climberevan; 01-03-2020 at 11:11 AM.
    ride bikes, climb, ski, travel, cook, work to fund former, repeat.

  23. #423
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    Oct 2010
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    701
    Quote Originally Posted by climberevan View Post
    I, personally, am looking for deep, light powder with regular refreshes, and I'll go where I need to to find it. That is not always Hokkaido. Last year, it meant staying home at Tahoe.
    This is the same for me. I've been before, know how good it can be and have flexibility to go wherever. If im going to Japan, its to ski deep pow.

  24. #424
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    Mar 2011
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    Montucky
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    Hokkaido Japan; Central Hokkaido or Niseko

    If I had a budget and was going pow hunting now-ish, Iíd be heading to Revelstoke, as all signs point to mega nukage. Been seeing updates regularly.

  25. #425
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    Oct 2003
    Location
    Seattle
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    Rusutsu received significant snow for maybe the third day in a row so we headed there. Despite the thin snowpack and a decent line to get in the gondola at first we had an extremely awesome day there. The snow was deep and light - perfectly right-side-up and fast. I did get more familiar with punching bamboo than I have since my racing days.

    Has anyone skied Kiroro or Sapporo Kokusai since this last storm? Are they skiable or just too thin?

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