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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2016
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    SEA>DEN>Spokanistan
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    1,078

    Japan 2019-20 Meet ups

    Talks of BBI Japan 2020 - Unsure if that works for Japan but figured that I'd get the conversation rolling.

    Just booked with Japan Ski Tours and plan to be in Tohoko from Jan 29-Feb 5th. Will overlap on both ends of the trip and plan to spend some time in Tokyo prior to skiing.
    - current dates are 1/25-2/8 (ish).

    Who's planning on skiing FAT POW in Japan this year?

    As a side note - 3 slots left on our trip for those interested.
    -https://www.japanskitours.com/fronti...d-booking.html

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
    Location
    NIseko Japan, or Gold Coast Australia
    Posts
    107
    im based up in Hokkaido, say hi if you end up my way.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Hokkaido
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    1,251
    I too am in Hokkaido. Retired and moved back to Sapporo last fall. My first winter here in 25 years and I found myself lacking for backcountry partners. My friends from back in the day are very old or dead now and I am a still youthful 62. My friends here now are mostly guides who don't ski with partners; they have clients. So here is my deal. I want to hook up with experienced backcountry skiers and develop a new network. I am experienced at a high level, still strong, and a solid partner. Long time avalanche educator and retired adult learning professional. Co-founder of Hokkaido's first public avalanche education program and former AIARE advisory board member. Telemark skier who shamelessly makes alpine turns whenever I feel like it. I also put together and host a couple of trips a year for experienced visitors--max 4 people, explicitly unguided--mostly friends/word of mouth. Or I can connect visitors with local guides if that's an experience they want. I'm all about sharing the stoke, not running a business.

    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--

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Behind the Potato Curtain
    Posts
    3,363
    Booked flights 1/27-2/7. No itinerary yet.

  5. #5
    Gman's Avatar
    Gman is online now Mack Master William Large
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Beantown
    Posts
    1,936
    I've been wanting to japan for a few years. If i move to the west coast it would be a lot easier trip.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Hokkaido
    Posts
    1,251
    Not as big a difference as you might think. LAX to Narita 11:20. Denver to Narita 11:50. O'hare to Narita 13:00. Boston to Narita 13:45. Newark to Narita 13:55. Do it!

    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--

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Posts
    55
    I'll likely be back for the winter this year. Did 3 months in a camper van last year all across hokkaido and honshu. Always looking to stack up touring partners.

    Shameless plug, but those looking for an itinerary, I started a side-hustle building Japanese powder roadtrips for people. Specialize in van/RV tours, but plan roadtrips as well so you can enjoy a hotel or traditional ryokan versus an RV bed. Check it out and tell your friends
    http://www.vandurajapan.com

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2016
    Location
    SEA>DEN>Spokanistan
    Posts
    1,078
    Itinerary set

    January 26-28 : tokyo - eating/drinking/looking/jet lagging

    Japan 29-feb 5 : Tohoku skiing a guided trip

    Feb : 6-7 Sapporo ice festival / drinking / eating

    Feb 8 fly out of Tokyo

    Reach out if days overlap.


    Sent from my iPhone using TGR Forums

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Cowtown
    Posts
    314
    Im in the initial planning stages of a late Jan trip. Ill have my wife and 12 year old with me. Im leaning towards Niseko cause that sounds easiest for us Japan rookies. But it also sounds pretty Westernized without the authentic Japanese ski experience.

    Were longtime Fernie passholders and my daughter has no problems in advanced terrain/deep snow. Doubt wed bring full touring setups but may bring avi gear for easy access slackcountry if its worthwhile to do so. Any feedback would be welcome.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Cowtown
    Posts
    314
    Oh yeah - we arent looking for posh accommodations, nightlife, etc. Were kinda past our dirtbagging phase but Im not ruling it out.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    cordova,AK
    Posts
    2,640
    Quote Originally Posted by Merlyn View Post
    I’m in the initial planning stages of a late Jan trip. I’ll have my wife and 12 year old with me. I’m leaning towards Niseko cause that sounds easiest for us Japan rookies. But it also sounds pretty Westernized without the authentic Japanese ski experience.

    We’re longtime Fernie passholders and my daughter has no problems in advanced terrain/deep snow. Doubt we’d bring full touring setups but may bring avi gear for easy access slackcountry if it’s worthwhile to do so. Any feedback would be welcome.
    do you know Turk?
    off your knees Louie

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
    Location
    NIseko Japan, or Gold Coast Australia
    Posts
    107
    Quote Originally Posted by Merlyn View Post
    I’m in the initial planning stages of a late Jan trip. I’ll have my wife and 12 year old with me. I’m leaning towards Niseko cause that sounds easiest for us Japan rookies. But it also sounds pretty Westernized without the authentic Japanese ski experience.

    We’re longtime Fernie passholders and my daughter has no problems in advanced terrain/deep snow. Doubt we’d bring full touring setups but may bring avi gear for easy access slackcountry if it’s worthwhile to do so. Any feedback would be welcome.
    A bit of a dump;
    was supposed to be quick and short, but it turned out to be a long post anyway :/

    yes Niseko is very easy for first timers. Easy to get to and from with all the western targeted setup, not hard to organize yourself if your accom doesn't do it for you. However you only need to go one or two streets off the main street of the villages to get a more Japanese experience, or drive 5 mins out and you're back to proper culture shock terrain again.
    But don't be afraid of the rest of Japan tho either. There's a shitload of english signage and speaking people around. To give you an idea, the airports even have english in big letters and japanese in small letters. They're also super accommodating friendly people if you're respectful, and with extremely low crime rate, its pretty hard to go wrong.

    If you're looking for tall mountains, long smooth piste runs, warm weather, apres ski destinations and like to see the sun at least once on your holiday, then Hokkaido isn't for you.
    If you want a tiny almost abandoned 1 lift 1 run ski resort to yourself and expect a single pitch of untouched snow topped with 4" of pow that nobody skis right next to the chair that you can just lap repeatedly all day, then I'd suggest go elsewhere. These exist in plenty supply btw, boring after 15 mins if you ask me, but 15 mins is all you need for the Japan segment of your ski movie. Somehow many tourists expect this everywhere, even of the big resorts.
    Niseko is a large commercial ski resort, with often busy beginner areas. The villages are near max occupancy in the busy times of the year (chinese new year). There are lift queues, tho usually queues only at 8:30 for first chair or if the mountain closes from wind, its not your own private ski resort. It has as much terrain as a pretty well sized north american resort (if you count the off piste), a huge variety of deep untouched slackcountry pow inbounds and out gates, blizzard conditions 90% of the time, often so heavy snowfall that your tracks are already filled in next run, frequent strong winds that close many of the lifts, freezing your ass off every day, so much pow you can drown (from experience!), and where you need to be careful not to have too much fun because suddenly you realize you're smiling too much that your teeth froze.

    You should 100% bring your avi gear for slackcountry, this is the reason to visit Niseko. Setup a comfortable lightweight basic kit, because you should expect to wear it every day.
    Touring gear is a plus to getting good snow if you hit a gap in the weather. But usually not required. I reckon it's a waste of time chasing 10/10 perfect pow when you can ski 9/10 pow all day in the slackcountry. Local rental shops have touring gear too.

    You should plan to stay longer if possible. That weather isn't a joke, expect at least one down day per week, often two. Come for 2-3 days at a bad time and you could literally be doing nothing.

    "Niseko" is the name of a huge region. The ski resorts on Mt Annupuri are named Hanazono, Hirafu, Niseko Village and Annupuri, and are on the one Niseko United lift ticket.
    It's possible to buy non-united lift tickets for just Annupuri, or just NV, or just Hirafu&Hanazono tho.
    imo, Niseko Village is a dump (to stay in, good to ski tho)
    Moiwa is a 5th ski resort on the mountain, is connected and can ski to/from, but is on its own lift ticket and is way out of the way from everything.

    I recommend Hirafu or the villages either side of Hirafu, Izumikyo and Kabayama, to my friends. Many restaurants & shops you can walk to.
    My recommendation would be to book accommodation asap.
    I don't have many recommendations tho. I would suggest theredskihouse (because I'm friends with the owner), simple 3 star bed and breakfast. Not 5 star and not a dump, in the middle, which I think is great. Last I heard he has Jan already booked out.

    If you're not so precious about a 5 min walk, or riding a bus, usually you don't need a car if you're staying in the Hirafu/Izumikyo/Kabayama villages. Transport is probably required for the other villages I mentioned or Kutchan Town or Niseko Town.
    (warning there is a town 10 mins drive away named Niseko Town, that isn't part of the ski resort. don't fall for the trap. nice town, you just need transport)

    You should plan to base yourself somewhere and hit Niseko mostly, but depending on the weather also some nearby smaller resorts. Specifically Rusutsu (45mins away, great groomers, lots of beginner/medium level deep pow tree skiing), and Kiroro (1 hour away, short steep hits of deep pow and sluff management and medium/advanced tree skiing). This is doable by bus, but easier with a car. There are car rental companies in town btw.

    Say hi if you end up in town.
    Last edited by anything; 09-16-2019 at 01:02 AM.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    5,373
    Anyone have any advice on some hikes with good weather today through Thursday? I was going to run up to Hanukkah Valley but it looks rainy to stay at a hut, anyone know a plan B? I have to be back in Tokyo Thursday night so I can’t go far.

    Thinking of just renting a bike and riding lifts....and skipping hiking but what’s a locals take?

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