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Hokkaido

Hokkaido Touring 2013

- - - - - hokkaido tomamu asahikawa otaru niseko

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#41
seemore

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:lol:

#42
annika

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Fun day at Kiroro today. Snow was a little heavier and not as deep as yesterday but it was still nice out there-- and much more pleasant weather. The mountain had definitely been wind affected-- I'm not sure the technical term but you could see the ridges and shadows of snow carved by the wind. Our first expeditions into the trees in the most obvious spots were a little disappointing after yesterdays ventures as the snow changed from boot deep powder to ice rapidly. But as we found our way a little later we found some fun knee deep sections with plenty of fresh lines. We still had freshies on the last runs of the today with a few face shot worthy turns. Nice way to finish up :)

With despair we are still leaving tomorrow... although looking at the forecast we might well be stuck at the airport for a while. We'll try get a sneaky quick session at maybe Moiwa in the morning (another benefit of having a car and not being on the bus). I can't believe we haven't been there yet this trip--- a couple of epic days at this little place on previous trips was one of the motivators to start exploring more in the first place.

Actually it's a little weird finishing off a trip without really riding at Niseko either (only 2 hours at Hanazono on a windy day)--- we've been having so much fun exploring other places and with the weather we kind of ran out of time (despite staying here the past 4 nights). I suppose haven't spent quite a bit of time there in other years and this trip was about trying elsewhere - so thats where our motivation was.

#43
TubbyBeaverinho

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Riding new places and expanding ur horizons is always good, no need for apologies or regrets :)
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#44
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And if you can get a quick sesh in at Niseko, you'd have fresh notes for your tip comparisons. Good reporting. Thanks.

#45
annika

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Thanks... not a regret or an apology there. Just an observation. When we planned this trip we thought it would be nice to finish in Niseko. Back in the comfort zone and staying walking distance to lifts. But once we got into this trip we were loving freedom to choose our destination for the day and finding new routes and we didn't want to stop.

Niseko has served us very well in the past as our riding developed - and in my mind still has a purpose/place depending on what your looking for on a trip. It still served well as a nice base camp this time round--- and it was a change of scene having English conversations again after our first 10 days trying mime/bad Japanese/English.

#46
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Indeed. Good trip, good report. Thanks again.

#47
seemore

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Cheers Annika

really enjoyed your report safe flight home

#48
pie-eater

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Cheers dude

:thumbsup:
Pies.

#49
Rucky Inu

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View Postseemore, on 07 February 2013 - 09:57 AM, said:

Cheers Annika

really enjoyed your report safe flight home


Me too.

#50
Mick Rich

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Just read my way through this - sounds like a good trip! :thumbsup: Did you manage to squeeze in a sneaky trip to Moiwa and if so, how was it?
Playing in the trees on a Prior Khyber, with Ride Contrabands & Salomon Synapse wides! :D

#51
annika

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Thanks guys. Sadly the Chitose snow clearing army are too good and we managed to get out (did have fingers crossed for a cancellation till Saturday) :sadface: . Back home to 35 degrees today- not pleasant. It was pretty cool seeing 6 or more snow clearers speeding around the runway at a once though.

We didn't end up getting to Moiwa this time round. We've had couple of awesome days there on previous trips so we know to keep it on the books for next time round (everyone else seemed to disappear out the gates leaving the inbound trees and groomers all alone). The morning was windy with no new snow so we opted to go through Sapporo and check the snow festival instead-- for the record looking at ice sculptures whilst in the snow is cold. A few funny ones but I must be getting less impressed with snow as I remember enjoying it more our first year here.

It was a fantastic trip - summary 13 days on the slopes at 10 different resorts. The friendliness and welcoming nature of the people we met made the trip a pleasure and a lot easier than I expected to find our way around - despite not speaking any Japanese. The GPS made getting around super easy too. Not sure of the exact plan for next trip -- but would definitely rent a car and keep exploring.

#52
surfarthur

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How did you find the car / driving on the snow and ice? I am pretty keen on a similar sort of trip, but my better half is not keen on hiring a car in Japan due partly to the snow and partly to navigating.

Thanks for an awesome trip report :thumbsup:

#53
annika

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The car thing was much easier than I thought. With the snow/ice you just had to be careful and adjust your speed - and more so start braking much earlier than normal and turn at very slow speeds. With that said it took us about 20min to realise that none of the Japanese stick to the 50km/h speed limits -- I would have thought they have speed cameras there but didn't seem like it as we had buses fly by (so we speed up a little too). The roads are cleared very well-- so we didn't have any problems there. Only time we had to dig our way out was from a parking sport in Niseko after the snow plow machine nicely hemmed us in--- note don't try ram your way through when this happens. That doesn't work.

The navigation was super easy with the english GPS. For most places (ski resorts, main hotels ect.) I could just type the name (in English) and it would find it. For smaller places you code use a "map code" or the local phone number. The only tricky part is in the cities when there are traffic lights every 50m it can be difficult to know which "right" turn they are talking about - but you get used to it.

#54
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Thanks :thumbsup:

#55
Andrew59

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In regards the GPS I've had really good results using my Garmin Nuvi with an "english" Japan map software that I downloaded from the net a few years ago. I think it was Upside Down , or Up Up Down or something wacky Japanese like that. All the maps, and guidance are in English. - I just spent a bit of time before we first used it and made all the ski hills we wanted to visit as "favourites" and it was an dream. From memory it only worked on a few brands of GPS units though.

#56
annika

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Well.

2014 trip has begun with style.

5/2/2014

Picked up our trusty wagon and ready to go. Seemed clear as we landed but as we headed towards Niseko the snow got heavier. Probably the heaviest snow we had driven in… so slow going but no complaining here. We're basing ourselves at Higashiyama for the first 5 nights and then we'll see how the forecast looks after that.

6/2/2014

About 20-30cm overnight. With forecast of wind to pick up we decided to head to Rusutsu to find shelter in the trees. Along with what felt like half of Hirafu…. defiantly seemed busier than in previous years. But was still goof fun. Perfect starter day to remember how. Easy runs-- including knee deep powder down marked ungroomed trails for the first hour or so. Frigging freezing though. Too cold to stop for photos...

7/2/2014
It continued snowing lightly overnight but the wind had dropped off. Reports stating another 15cm-- but down low on the mountain didn't look like that much. We decided on Moiwa and got quite lucky. It appears the quad lift had been closed the day before and there was good untracked powder to be found off that lift well into the afternoon. Got to love that floating feeling :D
Definitely more people here than in previous years… even had to wait up to 10min for the lift at times :omg:

Still cold today but at least the sun came out for a few brief glimpses.

No snow forecast for today/tomorrow so not sure where to tomorrow yet….

Moiwa
Uploaded 07 Feb 2014 - 20:28


Ananpuri
Uploaded 07 Feb 2014 - 20:29


Sukiyaki awesomeness
Uploaded 07 Feb 2014 - 20:29



#57
kokodoko

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welcome back :)

#58
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Annika, :wave: Moiwa don't seem to be that busy no?

#59
annika

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WV it was busier than I've seen it in previous years. There was a wait for the quad at times… but it was on go slow from wind. And there is plenty of terrain available.

#60
annika

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After seeing that there may have been snow closer to Otaru we decided on Kiroro this morning. It was well worth it.

We had one of those rare beautiful bluebird days. Even though there wasn't much overnight snow the cold temps kept the snow in great condition and there was still plenty of fresh lines to be found in bounds. I'd say maybe all those don't ride off piste signs are working-- but more likely that there is just so much terrain). The resort was busy but mostly with locals form Sapporo.

We could see the more adventurous choosing lines in the back country-- a few riders may have had a risker path than they thought. From the distance it looked like they came very close to a bad looking line in the snow-- you can just see it in the pic below.

On the way back to Niseko area we were treated to fantastic scenery with views of Yoti, Sheribetsu and Niskeo range. The sunset behind Niseko was great.

Another good day :sjcool:

Tough decision for tomorrow now. Forecast currently shows decent snow Tomamu way for late Sunday and Monday- more so than in other areas. I just don't know whether to believe it, and it isn't a short drive :confused: . We'll make the call tomorrow.

Yoti
Uploaded 08 Feb 2014 - 20:24


Sunset behind hirafu
Uploaded 08 Feb 2014 - 20:24


Kiroro backcountry
Uploaded 08 Feb 2014 - 20:24


Kiroro bluebird
Uploaded 08 Feb 2014 - 20:24









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