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SR : Hokkaido 2011-12

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#1
MikePow

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DAY 1 : WEDNESDAY 28 DECEMBER 2011

Back on Fantasy Island, and it's great to be back.

Welcome to Hokkaido
(courtesy of Sapporo Classic and Takeo Shimuzi)

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I was met at Chitose Airport by Ian MacKenzie of Niseko-Wow, regular partner-in-crime from my visit back in March 2011 and all around good egg.
http://www.snowjapan...html#Post405321


On the way to Ian M's home in Makkari we stopped off at the Mushroom restaurant for a snack. Grilled pork on a stick and a new one for me, sausage on the bone. Both delicious.

Ian M with his Atkins Diet 'hot dog'

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Dropped my gear off at Ian M's house and then went out to dinner at a small restaurant in Makkari. Fried chicken, pork and beef on sticks, cheese sticks, apple sours and beer. Fantastic.

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Managed to stay awake until 10 pm after the 21-hr travel time, and went to bed looking forward to picking up our Kiroro seasons passes and skiing the Kiroro powder on Thursday.

#2
panhead_pete

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Yeah those sausages on a bone look freaky but taste nice :)

When you take the quads up at Kiroro make sure you don't go over the ridge on the far skiers right of the of the resort - its a long way out of there.... But you most likely know that.
Silence is gold but duct tape is silver.

#3
muikabochi

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Look forward to hearing more Mike.
Have fun. As if you need telling!

#4
Inseok Shim

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wow SAPPORO CLASSIC BEER!!
I WILL GO SAPPORO FEB 2012.

#5
MikePow

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Thanks guys and thanks for the heads up panhead_pete.

We are aware of the pros and cons of Kiroro but it's important to point out that there are plenty of hazards at Kiroro which can easily catch you out if you take your eye off the ball.

#6
MikePow

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DAY 2 : THURSDAY 29 DECEMBER 2011

ALL ABOARD! THE KIRORO POWDER TRAIN IS NOW LEAVING THE STATION

A cold and clear morning in Makkari as Ian M and I packed up the car and headed for Kiroro.

http://www.mfresort....ish/kiroro.html


For the second season in a row, we'd bought Kiroro seasons passes which at JPY 38,000 is one of the best deals on Hokkaido.

The mountain centre was a hive of activity and excitement but it was all just a bit too much for this gentleman

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And even with the holiday skiers we never waited more than a minute for a chair or a gondola, and barely crossed a track all day.

It was greybird all day, but the snow was oh so inviting.

Ian M accepting his invitation

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Not a bad way to open our account.

#7
ltd1982

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Awesome report!

However, this is not going to help me anxiously wait until I get over there in Feb... :p

#8
snowjunky

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Unreal you can still find deep shots on such a busy weekend..........................well busy most places
Unsane

#9
muikabochi

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Great to see you back Mike!

:thumbsup:

#10
@tokyo

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:party:
@i like polls

#11
MitchPee

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Hey Mike

Get at me when you are around Niseko! Would love to take some runs with you.
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knowledge is the key then the world is yours
and take control of yourself of course

#12
quattro

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I need to get the hell out of Florida. Less then two weeks left then it's back home to Sapporo.

Rock on guys.
I know what dude I am. I'm the dude playin' the dude, disguised as another dude!

#13
BagOfCrisps

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Great stuff Mike.
You must be pleased.
:)
That's a smashing blouse you've got on

#14
MikePow

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Thanks guys.

Teaching full time at the moment, so falling behind in days.

But slowly catching up.

More to follow :friend:

#15
MikePow

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DAY 3 : FRIDAY 30 DECEMBER 2011


Woke to a cold and clear sunrise at my cabin in Higashiyama, my home away from home this winter.

A Room With A View

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But by the time I met with Hirafu village homeowners and regular visitors to the Niseko Resort Area the Banks and Wikman families from Brisbane, Australia the clouds had rolled in and we skied the first day of their lessons under greybird skies.

After 6 months off snow (a year for some) it was a day of finding your feet and balance on the groomed runs of Hirafu.

http://www.grand-hir...r/en/index.html


We had lunch at the King Bell restaurant - roast pork slices in miso ramen for me - and in the late afternoon Tim Banks and I took a run into Miharashi for the first time this winter. Creamy, windblown pow with most of the sasa and brush buried.

Met up with Ian M after skiing and we called in to see Cezar at Niseko Pizza's new location in the J-Sekka building. We couldn't leave without a bite to eat and a glass of vino, and the caesar salad, large bianco pizza, and sangiovese wine were all delicious.

#16
MikePow

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DAY 4 : SATURDAY 31 DECEMBER 2011


I met the Wikmans and the Banks' at the bottom of the Ace Family Chair, and after an hour or so of skiing the groomed slopes of Hirafu we headed over to Hanazono.

It was a cold, clear day interspersed with frequent squally winds that made the mercury drop quickly and bitingly. The tree lined runs of Hanazono afford protection from the wind and are a good choice on days like this.

At the end of Silver Dream is the Jib Park, and when the sun came out Tim W, Annie, Claudia, and Jack headed in

Tim W in the Jib Park

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Annie in the Jib Park

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Claudia in the Jib Park

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Jack in the Jib Park

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After lunch at Hanazono 308 - Pork donburi (pork slices, poached egg, bean sprouts, rice) for me - we headed to the nose of Waterfall to acquaint ourselves with the powder.

Annie enjoying her first foray in the powder

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Jack in Waterfall

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Claudia in Waterfall

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Liz in Waterfall

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Jackie in Waterfall

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Tim W in Waterfall

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For the last hour or so of daylight Tim W, Tim B & I played in the Hirafu powder. Tim W had been working hard on his stance and balance all day and was showing marked signs of improvement by days end

Tim W on the fringes of Furiko

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Tim B on the fringes of Furiko

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After an excellent day on and off the groomed runs Tim W, Tim B & I enjoyed an Apres-ski drink at Herbie's Umbrella Bar on the former Scott Hotel site between the Alpen and King base areas.

#17
Hokkaidough

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Nice Mike.
Have fun up there.
I'll say hi when I go if I see you.
:wave:

#18
clopidogreat

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returning to Niseko in February - couldn't wait, but seeing this has made it even more terrible now!!! Great pics!!

#19
snowhuntress

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WAHOOO Mike is in Niseko!! Great photo's and love the reports. Hope you are there when we get there so we can catch up for that drink :cheers:

#20
MikePow

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Thanks guys. Look forwad to meeting up.


DAY 5 : SUNDAY 01 JANUARY 2012


HAPPY NEW YEAR

And what better way to welcome in the New Year than a return to Kiroro with Ian M

http://www.mfresort....ish/kiroro.html



The sky was pretty clear as we drove Route 393 from Kutchan to Kiroro and its elevated position at the head of the valley afforded great views

Mt Yotei

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The Niseko Resort Area, Iwaonupuri and Niseko Weiss from Route 393

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As always Kiroro was quiet on and off the groomed runs. The snow wasn't as stellar as last Thursday (29th) as there was a wind blown layer about 20-25 cm down on some aspects. But we did manage to find some powder around the hill ;-)

Ian M at Kiroro

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