Results 1 to 17 of 17
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2016
    Location
    SEA>DEN>Spokanistan
    Posts
    1,385

    TR: Tohoku, Japan - 2020

    What up collective—

    Hanging out on the Shinkansen and figured this was a great time to process the massive amount of stoke from the last week of skiing in the Tohoku region on Honshu. In an effort to protect the ski areas I went I’ll be avoiding using the names. If you want to know just shoot me a PM and I’m happy to share.

    We flew into Narita about 4 days early to catch up to the jet lag and allow bags to transport to Morioka. Spo-Sea-JP was a 23 hour day so gear up and try to not sleep. We passed out by 20:00 local time in Tokyo and slept all night!

    A couple rapid fire thoughts: the Yamoto Bag service location we used is on the south side of terminal one, the next stall over is Sakura mobile so this made it quite easy to mail bags and get a SIM card. Yamota will weigh your bags so make sure your shit is <50kg we had to pull out ski boots and our avy packs.

    Tokyo:
    Day 1-4
    Jet Lagggggged but here!
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMG_1399.JPG 
Views:	55 
Size:	334.2 KB 
ID:	313968
    night cap before crashing!
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMG_1413.JPG 
Views:	61 
Size:	187.5 KB 
ID:	313969
    Night lights
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMG_1658.JPG 
Views:	58 
Size:	189.8 KB 
ID:	313971
    Shibuya Crossing
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMG_1495.JPG 
Views:	58 
Size:	389.1 KB 
ID:	313972
    Monster bar — I’d pass on this in the future.
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMG_1584.JPG 
Views:	60 
Size:	437.4 KB 
ID:	313973
    Fuck the food was good!
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMG_1720.JPG 
Views:	57 
Size:	247.2 KB 
ID:	313974
    Do the robot bar!
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMG_1893.JPG 
Views:	58 
Size:	110.6 KB 
ID:	313975
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMG_1869.JPG 
Views:	57 
Size:	206.5 KB 
ID:	313976

    We booked the “Frontier Explorer” trip from Japan Ski Tours (JST). It had high reviews on Powderhounds and seemed about our speed. Pretty much lift accessed backcountry with 2 days of tram accessed touring on the end. Hearing of the low tide in Japan had me worried but since I was with a guide service I figured they would help us find good snow!

    Rough outline:
    Days 1-5 were in Morioka
    Days 6-8 were in Aomori

    Day 2 - resort 1
    Snow report - 10-15cm of heavy cream cheese
    Temp: 32-35*
    Wind: none

    First run was a gang bang on the gondy line it was heavy but fun, low snow meant there were a ton of things to jump off!!
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMG_2060.JPG 
Views:	59 
Size:	189.5 KB 
ID:	313977

    As the day moved on it set up and got pretty ugly! The sun baked it... what happened to the classic endless Japow? Sure it was a low tide season but fuck.

    There was also some pretty shitty guiding from JST. After a heavy first run Mrs SkiLyft needed to chill and let the legs recover — they assured me there would be however we got to our next run they showed a path to the right which “would open up to a groomer”. In short it didn’t; it was 1200 ft of concrete that set up to be hammered dog shit. I skied the run under the chair which the first bit was heavy but good and the bottom was survival skiing. Halfway down I poked right to meet up with the Mrs but when I looked up and saw the run they sent her down I was pissed! Her day was pretty wrecked from a confidence standpoint.

    As the day went on we poked into some other trees but the low tide meant ALOT of brush was showing. That in combination with the dense snow meant your shit needed to be dialed — good thing I was on my goats as they ate that shit UP!

    At least it was pretty
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMG_2036.JPG 
Views:	58 
Size:	184.7 KB 
ID:	313978
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMG_2019.JPG 
Views:	56 
Size:	179.4 KB 
ID:	313979

    Went to our first onsen that evening not knowing what to expect but getting nekkid with strangers was a bit intimidating. This one was co-ed meaning separate entrances to one common pool. The water was murky so all was good! After copious amounts of sake was ordered we got over our nudity.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMG_2074.JPG 
Views:	57 
Size:	177.5 KB 
ID:	313980

    Day 3 - resort 2
    Snow report - nil
    temps - 28-30*
    Wind : Moderate

    This was a smaller place that supposably had good trees. The top was around 1300m so was my thoughts were “go high” and maybe we can get away from that crust that was definitely there from the now re-frozen 10-15cm from the day prior.

    After the day priors stunt I sent the Mrs to ski with one of the other couples (on piste) while I followed the guides knowing I could billygoat through anything. First run they chose was below 1000m and as we poked in there, there was a wicked breakable crust and trees were again TIGHT! WTF “where are these guys taking us” I thought... this is your hill. They had us traverse out right on to the windward aspect. It was even more fuq’d!! Umm I’m out — this is bullshit. Maybe there just wasn’t any good snow on this hill! Time to hunt!

    Met up with the Mrs and said fuck these guides, were are going high and to the leeward aspects to find lighter density snow. We ascended to the top chair and from the chair was looking down on what appeared to be high quality H2O!!

    First run I chose — fucking titty deep
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMG_0224.jpeg 
Views:	56 
Size:	212.3 KB 
ID:	313981

    We poked through all these trees that morning and found amazing snow. Never once did we see our guides — in fact after the fact was talking with Ekke (a great German guy on our trip) who skied the morning with the guides and they continued to make poor choice after poor choice.

    Moar stoke!!
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMG_2191.JPG 
Views:	62 
Size:	210.0 KB 
ID:	313910
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMG_2136.JPG 
Views:	60 
Size:	113.3 KB 
ID:	313911

    During lunch the guides did not offer intel on where they were skiing and basically were useless — knowing that we had found great snow I grabbed Ekke and the Mrs and we began our self guiding — despite paying for guides who were useless other than making dinner reservations and taking us to the hill!

    Ended the day at a traditional onsen. At this point Ekke and I began to question some of the decisions our guides were making. In efforts to prevent continued errors on their route finding choices. We were told that we were heading north the next day as the forecast was a bit more favorable. “Hmm that’s interesting” I thought — the snow forecast was more favorable to the south and looking at telemetry the south had cooler temps. Mrs SkiLyft told me to relax — as they maybe had “on snow” information that the internet couldn’t tell us. Okay — fine!

    Day 4 - resort 3

    Snow report - NONE
    Temp - 28-32*
    Wind - light

    When we met for breakfast and our guide said “the mountain is reporting 10cm mid mountain” cool I thought new snow! We jumped in the van and right as we left I refreshed my regional snow report and saw that to the south there was a report of 30cm... hmmm interdasting wonder why were are not going south?

    We showed up to the base and it was pretty warm, there was no snow and when I questioned the guide he said “huh, that forecast of 10cm seems to have disappeared”. I just about lost it knowing there was 30cm to the south, in fact one of the other customers did and started crying! I was pissed — he straight up lied to us!

    It was clear the guides had no plan and were being lazy — at this point I was preparing myself to chase good snow — I threw skins in our packs and Ekke, the Mrs, and I ascended the resort to the highest chair where low and behold there was a backcounty gate— not once did our guide mention this but thankfully I was prepared. There was a splitboard group that was skinning up (ironically from JST) their guide was laser focused and had a plan, clearly!

    We jumped in their track and I am so glad we did — a winter wonderland opened up, we skinned up to 1450m and surveyed our options.

    Mellow rolley terrain but great snow
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMG_2279.JPG 
Views:	59 
Size:	187.7 KB 
ID:	313917

    Cool terrain — but there was a visible crown from a recent avalanche and without a guide to navigate the valley below we did not feel comfortable navigating out. (Once back at the lodge we found out that the snowboarding group rode that arm)

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMG_2294.JPG 
Views:	58 
Size:	138.6 KB 
ID:	313919

    We lapped the mellow sub 30* slopes a few times and farmed some high quality snow!
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMG_0334.jpeg 
Views:	59 
Size:	1.03 MB 
ID:	313925
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMG_2339.JPG 
Views:	60 
Size:	196.6 KB 
ID:	313926
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMG_2311.JPG 
Views:	60 
Size:	179.2 KB 
ID:	313928

    We got back to the base around 1:30 to a pretty devastated group. They had skied garbage snow that morning and stopped after an hour. We were pretty stoked at the turns we found but felt bad for those who did not bring skins as they missed out but this was another huge miss by the guides on preparing the group for what the day could hold!
    That night as a group we sat down with the main guide who was our “taxi” driver and said “This is not working”... we are paying a whole lot of money for a self guided trip. I also qualified my statement basically saying you’re blaming the shit year but I have been finding awesome snow EVERY DAY, I’m just using the weather/wind report to find it — something a guide with 6 years of experience in a region should easily be able to do.

    Day 5 - resort 4 for some cat skiing in the AM and lift accessed turns at resort number 2 in the afternoon.
    Snow report : nil
    Temp: 26-29*
    Wind: moderate

    Based on the conversation with our guide the owner of Japan Ski Tours showed up to guide as lead guide. I was stoked!! Something got through!!

    Before jumping on the Cat I grabbed him and shared what my experience had been — he listened and honestly was shocked. He wanted to continue the conversation as the day went on! We got in the cat and found some great turns at the top — with a lead guide who was navigating the terrain with us and showing us the way... finally!!
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMG_2362.JPG 
Views:	59 
Size:	205.7 KB 
ID:	313929
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMG_2474.JPG 
Views:	58 
Size:	385.9 KB 
ID:	313930
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMG_2383.JPG 
Views:	62 
Size:	200.0 KB 
ID:	313931
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMG_0410.jpeg 
Views:	59 
Size:	393.2 KB 
ID:	313932

    We grabbed a quick lunch then went back to resort 2 — owner of JST wanted to follow me around to see where I found good turns on day 2 as “chair 4 has never held good snow”. We jumped in the trees and it was DEEP, Cold, and Loaded! After a few runs he continued to guide us into some great spots including down into a crater of a volcano where the onsens draw their water!! Pretty rad day — and finally felt like there was guidance. We continued talking and he mentioned that his guides were having a really hard time keeping the stoke up this year and they have never had to work this hard to find good snow in the past so it’s stretching them; I understood but basically said; with climate change this will become the reality!
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMG_2466.JPG 
Views:	59 
Size:	209.6 KB 
ID:	313933

    After this we loaded up the van and drove up to Aomori!

    More food!
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMG_2478.JPG 
Views:	59 
Size:	182.0 KB 
ID:	313937
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMG_2487.JPG 
Views:	58 
Size:	187.5 KB 
ID:	313935
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMG_2483.JPG 
Views:	54 
Size:	184.2 KB 
ID:	313936
    Last edited by SkiLyft; 02-05-2020 at 01:54 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2016
    Location
    SEA>DEN>Spokanistan
    Posts
    1,385

    TR: Tohoku, Japan - 2020

    Day 6 - resort 5
    Snow report - 10-15cm
    Temp - 20*
    Wind - HIGH (60km/hr)

    We arrived at the Ropeway knowing it was borderline to run and after waiting for 30 min they aborted the operation. No sweat JST works with a local guide service who know the resort incredibly well and so we jumped on the chair lift and ascended to the highest chair and skinned up. Wind was ripping near the top - so we stopped shy of the summit and dropped in!! Ahh some pretty incredible turns were made!

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMG_2574.JPG 
Views:	54 
Size:	202.5 KB 
ID:	313982
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMG_2598.JPG 
Views:	50 
Size:	1.28 MB 
ID:	313983
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMG_2642.JPG 
Views:	49 
Size:	253.2 KB 
ID:	313984

    We made it back to the base of the resort in time for lunch — but the local guide disappeared I was a bit confused as we only had 1 run... the option was to ski the chair that was still running but the snow was so much better higher up. We ate some ramen which was incredible (curry ramen was FIRE).

    ~$12 lunch!
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMG_2657.JPG 
Views:	49 
Size:	212.7 KB 
ID:	313986

    Just as we geared up the lift was closed due to wind!! Ughhhhh we were mega bummed because this was the best snow of the trip. At that point we all we’re disheartened and I folded — I was sick of pushing for more and a bit tired... so more onsen was in order!

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMG_2674.JPG 
Views:	50 
Size:	205.2 KB 
ID:	313989

    That night went to a rad little performance — with more killer seafood!
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMG_2684.JPG 
Views:	49 
Size:	192.8 KB 
ID:	313992
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMG_2726.JPG 
Views:	54 
Size:	215.4 KB 
ID:	313990
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMG_2710.JPG 
Views:	49 
Size:	255.8 KB 
ID:	313991

    Back at the hotel the group pushed our guide as to what happened on the hill today? Why did the local guide disappear? Why did we not tour up after the chair was closed as the forest we we’re in was very safe and low risk... we didn’t get answers. We asked that the following day whether or not the Ropeway was running we wanted to tour ALL DAY!! This did not seem like such a crazy request as we BOOKED this trip TO SKI!

    Day 7 - resort 5
    Snow report 20cm
    Temp 10*
    Wind - Moderate

    Again we arrived at the Ropeway hoping it would open and it DID!! We were itching for a big day and finally got it!!

    Toured out and found some amazing quality snow and LOTS OF IT! The local guide put us on the perfect aspects and skiing was all time!

    Jim is a rad dude still slaying at 62!!
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMG_2759.JPG 
Views:	53 
Size:	221.1 KB 
ID:	313993
    Ekke and I
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMG_2837.JPG 
Views:	50 
Size:	324.9 KB 
ID:	313994

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMG_2861.JPG 
Views:	53 
Size:	223.6 KB 
ID:	313995

    Dropping!
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMG_2882.JPG 
Views:	50 
Size:	1,020.7 KB 
ID:	313996

    Tracks to the right
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMG_2924.JPG 
Views:	50 
Size:	192.6 KB 
ID:	313997

    Rinse - repeat
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMG_2943.JPG 
Views:	48 
Size:	229.7 KB 
ID:	313998

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMG_2956.JPG 
Views:	48 
Size:	213.9 KB 
ID:	313999
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMG_2958.JPG 
Views:	47 
Size:	157.8 KB 
ID:	314000

    Whole lotta stoke — finally feeling like I’m skiing in Japan!
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMG_2975.JPG 
Views:	49 
Size:	209.7 KB 
ID:	314001

    Skied out — caught the Ropeway for another round!
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMG_2997.JPG 
Views:	48 
Size:	170.9 KB 
ID:	314002

    So good!
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMG_3033.JPG 
Views:	50 
Size:	171.3 KB 
ID:	314003

    Dinner was another show — pretty sure we were the entertainment!
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMG_3046.JPG 
Views:	50 
Size:	325.8 KB 
ID:	314004
    Shochu goes straight to the head
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMG_3055.JPG 
Views:	51 
Size:	216.8 KB 
ID:	314005

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	IMG_3064.JPG 
Views:	51 
Size:	238.1 KB 
ID:	314006

    All in all this has been a wonderful trip so far; I have made new friends and memories I will hold onto for my whole life — the guides we paid for were essentially a taxi service and the last 2 days skiing we used the local guides at the mountain so I question what we paid for? In reality the hiccups did not affect my trip as we were prepared and when things were not going well aborted and found the goods on our own.

    My question to the collective is; do I ask for some sort of refund as 3 of the 6 days were essentially self-guided? When the trip very clearly outlines that this would not be the case?!? I mean I can understand if there was no good snow — ski trips depend on good weather and with climate change that is becoming more challenging but this was NOT THE CASE.

    Cheers
    Off to Sapporo to the winter festival for some non-skiing activities!
    Last edited by SkiLyft; 02-04-2020 at 08:57 PM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    seatown
    Posts
    3,278
    fukkkk yea

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Gaperville, CO
    Posts
    3,929
    FKNA!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Between a rock and a soft place. Aberdare and The Brecon Beacons, Wales
    Posts
    2,732
    Boom Boom

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Revelstoke; Rogers Pass
    Posts
    868
    Looks fun. Which onsen was the coed one? I've struggled to find much in the way of mixed bathing.
    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.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2016
    Location
    SEA>DEN>Spokanistan
    Posts
    1,385
    Quote Originally Posted by Wiilbert View Post
    Looks fun. Which onsen was the coed one? I've struggled to find much in the way of mixed bathing.
    Of all the onsens the two coed were:
    Montsukawaso
    Sukayu

    Not sure it’s a great place to pick up ladies as the youngest may have been ~65 years old... unless you’re into that!


    Sent from my iPhone using TGR Forums

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    idaho panhandle!
    Posts
    7,687
    Well freakin done broseph!!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2016
    Location
    No longer Alexandria, VA
    Posts
    1,527
    Hah small word. Tell Ekke I say hi. I skied with him in Japan 5 or 6 years ago. We made a trip up to AK for heli-skiing together the following season, got skunked by weather, then diverted down to WA for a few days of skiing.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Posts
    5,411
    Quote Originally Posted by SkiLyft View Post

    My question to the collective is; do I ask for some sort of refund as 3 of the 6 days were essentially self-guided? When the trip very clearly outlines that this would not be the case?!? I mean I can understand if there was no good snow — ski trips depend on good weather and with climate change that is becoming more challenging but this was NOT THE CASE.
    I suggest you let it ride. Anything else risks effecting your memories of some awesome stoke. You won.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Posts
    2,234
    Well done and nice photos!

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Paper St. Soap Co.
    Posts
    2,402
    Nice, good you made the best of it. So the company would sub out to a local at each hill to guide you? It wasn't the same guide skiing and driving you around each day?

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Couloirfornia
    Posts
    8,818
    Quote Originally Posted by huckbucket View Post
    I suggest you let it ride. Anything else risks effecting your memories of some awesome stoke. You won.
    Awesome TR. And I agree with this. Win some; lose some. Sounds like it still ended up being a killer trip and good lesson for the rest of us.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ernest_Hemingway View Post
    I realize there is not much hope for a bullfighting forum. I understand that most of you would prefer to discuss the ingredients of jacket fabrics than the ingredients of a brave man. I know nothing of the former. But the latter is made of courage, and skill, and grace in the presence of the possibility of death. If someone could make a jacket of those three things it would no doubt be the most popular and prized item in all of your closets.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Bottom feeding
    Posts
    7,569
    Well usually there’s a tip for the guides. Maybe you talk to the owner and say “I really don’t want to tip these guys”.

    Still, fun trip all around.
    Well maybe I'm the faggot America
    I'm not a part of a redneck agenda

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Nov 2016
    Location
    SEA>DEN>Spokanistan
    Posts
    1,385
    Quote Originally Posted by thefortrees View Post
    Hah small word. Tell Ekke I say hi. I skied with him in Japan 5 or 6 years ago. We made a trip up to AK for heli-skiing together the following season, got skunked by weather, then diverted down to WA for a few days of skiing.
    Get out — he mentioned those trips!! We’re thinking mustang powder cats next year. You should come!

    Quote Originally Posted by huckbucket View Post
    I suggest you let it ride. Anything else risks effecting your memories of some awesome stoke. You won.
    That’s my thought — money is spent and I had a blast!

    Quote Originally Posted by 406 View Post
    Nice, good you made the best of it. So the company would sub out to a local at each hill to guide you? It wasn't the same guide skiing and driving you around each day?
    So our main guide was with us the whole trip as the driver. Then each day a second guide would join. In Morioka it was someone from JST but in Aomori it was subbed out to the local guiding service.

    Quote Originally Posted by plugboots View Post
    Well usually there’s a tip for the guides. Maybe you talk to the owner and say “I really don’t want to tip these guys”.

    Still, fun trip all around.
    Ohh ha there was no tip — and I have never NOT tipped a guide but this was a joke. The final straw was on the last night Ekke and I wanted to go to a local bar and buy his drinks, chat, and tip him but he said “don’t go to the bar across the street as our last customers got kicked out because they don’t want foreigners” and failed to give a recommendation to a bar, almost like he didn’t know a spot.

    Thanks for the recs gents!!

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Seattle
    Posts
    4,612
    The fun you had on your trip really comes through. I appreciate a thorough TR of old!

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Location
    Before
    Posts
    20,952
    ++++!
    Merde De Glace On the Freak When Ski
    >>>200 cm Black Bamboo Sidewalled DPS Lotus 120 : Best Skis Ever <<<

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •