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Hokkaido

Hokkaido Touring 2013

- - - - - hokkaido tomamu asahikawa otaru niseko

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#21
annika

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Last two days have been somewhat warm without any new snow. Apparently it's raining out there now... so we're having a lazy morning. We leave Otaru and headed for Niseko way today.

Kiroro

Only one day after some light snow... so there were fresh tracks to be found but the snow was quite heavy and took some pushing through on the board. Was still a fun day but I can imagine this place would be epic with good powder. There are plenty of nicely spaced tree sections to find without the need to duck any ropes--- and a particularly nice run between the peaks if your willing to duck ropes (our first rope ducking for the trip--- no sight of ski patrol chasing after ppl though). The lift system is awesome with mostly hooded 4s (with feet rests) and a gondola. After freezing on slow open pairs the last few days it felt like luxury. Think we'll try make another day here before this trip is out. Can definitely tell we are getting closer to N.... There were quite a few bus loads form there on guided tours and plenty of people sniffing around trying to find powder.

Edit--- inserted picture



Teine Highland
Being the 2nd warm day -- and with no new snow we weren't expecting much else. Off-piste was very hard and bumpy. It had definitely seen some action in the last few days. I could imagine it would be quite good on a powder day with some runs with nice pitch and good tree spacing. We had a few good on-piste runs until I hit a super icy bit on one of the black runs and slid for quite a while... with the groomers getting pretty busy with school groups and the off piste hard work we decided to call an early day and have some rest.

#22
panhead_pete

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Hi Annika thanks for the update. If you can do head back to Kiroro on a pow day, its a great place as you sussed out. Be there early to beat the day trippers. As a little heads up when you are up the top at Nagamine (?) dont drop off under the rope on skier's right. Couple guys I was with last year did and spent the whole day getting out, wasn't a pleasant experience by all accounts. So glad I passed on that oppurtunity. Stoked for you that you are having a great trip.
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#23
gozaimaas

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I dropped right at nagamine but kept within sight of the trail and it was one of my fav runs of the day, if you go to far yeah theres no riding back to a lift lol. I found Kiroro to be painfully flat everywhere except the nagamine area. Lots of big flat runouts that drove me nuts.
In japan may 3-25

#24
annika

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Arrived in Niseko to rain... which has since been snap frozen - but at least the snow is falling again now. Hopefully tomorrow will be rideable somewhere.

We went to the right of nagamine... but stayed in sight of the trail as you said Gozaimaas and had some fun. Thanks for the tip Pete--- I could see it falling away there so we stayed quite close to the piste. We are relatively conservative- so unless we can scope the way out visually from hte lift or a scoping run we don't stray too far. The run I was actually talking about is to the right of the Gondola---- I imagine on a full powder day the flat spots would be a bit of a pain. But on Thursday there were enough ppl through there to make a track out. Might head your way sometime in the next few days Gozaimaas-- lets hope the snow/weather settles a bit.

#25
gozaimaas

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Tuesday will be epic. Beware of todays layer if you venture into steep terrain, its going to be a problem for a while.
In japan may 3-25

#26
annika

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Cheers- will do. And looking forward to Tues/Wed - looking like fun. Looks like 15cm or so overnight on top of the frozen crust. It's a start.

#27
seemore

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Great thread and photos Annika

Cheers

#28
annika

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Yesterday the wind was howling-- but at least there was some fresh snow. We headed to Niseko- Hanazono to try find shelter in the trees. That there was (it was still cold out there though) but unfortunately not enough snow had gathered to cover the ice layer beneath. We gave it a shot for an hour or two before deciding a big lunch-- then beer/onsen was more appealing.

Today was another story :) With the avi report saying some of the gates may not open or be delayed we decided to somewhere we could stay in bounds and still find untracked fun:

Rusutsu
Honestly it was terrible.. don't bother going there :happyshades: .
Unfortunately I think it's a bit late to play that card as there were plenty of Westerns there today... but with so many tree patches to pick from at least it spread the crew out. Some areas were wind affected and very icy... others were awesome. Had a good day picking easy routes between the groomers in the trees. There are so many "legal" tree runs here-- and most pop out nicely onto a groomer to get back to a lift. With a bit of caution watching for creeks ect. at the bottom of some of the gully's ect it's a pretty easy place to explore.

Rusutsu
Uploaded 04 Feb 2013 - 16:44


Rusutsu sunshine.
Uploaded 04 Feb 2013 - 16:40



We stayed at the resort a few years ago - and oh my is it quirky. It's not really our style- so it's nice coming here for a day trip now. I do like the addition of the dog shaped bus running between the carparks.

#29
gozaimaas

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You picked a fantastic day. It was great out there today and yes that bus KILLS ME every time I see it. Its so dumb and dumber.
In japan may 3-25

#30
seemore

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I have never seen the bus photo please

Looks nice and fluffy (the snow not the bus)

#31
annika

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Yeah... still got a grin from ear to ear. Waiting for the forecast snow to dump tonight... fingers crossed and tomorrow should be epic.

Sadly the bus isn't fluffy.... that would be even more awesome. I didn't pull the camera in time unfortunately.

#32
gozaimaas

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Ill try and get a pic of the bus lol. Tomorrow looks good with snow falling pretty much all night . Friday is going to be HUGE!
FWIW I filmed a heap of sick runs today with no card in the gopro!!!
In japan may 3-25

#33
annika

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I'm trying not to look. We fly out Thurs arvo (seriously looking at pushing flights back a day or so).

Nice one with the gopro. Better than our effort though---- we were having too much fun to stop and pull our old fashioned camera out (and your had gets cold).

#34
gozaimaas

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OMG delay those flights. It may not even be possible to fly out thursday arvo looking at the forecast. Better to be riding than sitting in chitose
In japan may 3-25

#35
seemore

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Yeah that much snow may delay the flights

wish I was there

#36
annika

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:D :D :D :D :D
It's days like today that remind me why we love it so much here and keep coming back each year. It was a day you needed wiper blades for your goggles (after the face shots) and a defroster to unfreeze the smile on your face.

Seeing the avi report and weather reports it looked like Niseko top lifts might not run---- and definitely no high gates. But good news was at least 15cm overnight and still snowing. We made the call to head back to Rusutsu - as when I checked on Monday with similar winds most lifts ran that day and there a lot of runs in gullies where you can get out of the wind. We had to dig the car out to get there - but boy we were rewarded. Deep stashed on some runs --- and we were still finding freshies on our last runs of the day. It was cold out there so the ice left on after face shots were punishing once you were back in the open- but soooo worth it. Sorry no pics---- couldn't bring ourselves to stop and pull the camera out (and visibility wasn't great).

Beer now and after a hotpot tonight I'll be very contented--- it's amazing how one day like this makes the whole trip worthwhile.

Think tomorrow will be good also as the wind will die down and all the places closed today will be on.

I got as far as calling Cathay to try push our flights back-- no seats available doh! Ah well-- we should be able to manage a sneaky one Thursday morning on the way tot he airport.

#37
annika

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Oh. And here is one snowy dog bus:


Rusutsu Bus
Uploaded 05 Feb 2013 - 17:48



Got to love it.

#38
gozaimaas

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Thats my car in the background LOL
In japan may 3-25

#39
annika

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Classic---- prime bus viewing location!

#40
gozaimaas

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I think the bus pissed on my car as it went past LOL
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