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SR : HokkaidOH! 2013/14

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#21
MikePow

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DAY 4 : SUNDAY 01 DECEMBER 2013

4 cm in the past 24hrs at MQ


Light snowfall mixed with gusting winds throughout the day.

Noticeably cooler today compared with yesterday afternoon which will hopefully create a firmer base for the next big dump of snow.

Three of the four Niseko United resorts are now operational for the 2013-14 season.

Annupuri opened today with uplift on the gondola and the Jumbo Pair #3.

Niseko Village opened today with uplift on the Community and Banzai chairs.

Grand Hirafu continued on from yesterday's opening day with uplift and downlift on the Ace Quad #2 (Center 4) and skiing off the Ace Pair Lift #3.

They also opened the beginner Ace Family Pair and Family Run.

It was disappointing to see no groomed beginner terrain available yesterday.

There are a number of Chinese, Taiwanese, Thai & Malaysian guests in resort experiencing winter and winter recreation for the first time.

Trying to learn to ski or snowboard in ungroomed knee deep powder is a joke.

For the 2013/14 winter season the Niseko Free Passport Committee (NFP) representing the four ski areas of Niseko United has introduced the Niseko United Snowsports School Accreditation System.

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The Niseko Free Passport Committee (NFP) has determined that Snowsports Schools (Ski and Snowboard) not directly aligned to or owned by an NFP member lift company must now become formally accredited by the NFP in order to use the NISEKO UNITED (Annupuri, Niseko Village, Grand Hirafu, Hanazono) lift network.

The aim is to ensure that the quality of skifield experience in Niseko continues to improve and that the enjoyment and safety of guests is maintained at all times.

As such, the NFP has established a formal NISEKO UNITED Snowsports School Accreditation System for third-party Snowsports Schools (i.e. those not owned or directly associated with NFP members) in order to become recognised as a NISEKO UNITED Accredited Snowsports School.

Please note that it will no longer be possible to operate a Snowsports School business within the NISEKO UNITED ski area without becoming formally accredited by the NFP.


http://www.niseko.ne...hool/index.html


I received accreditation today and picked up my Niseko United Commercial Lift Pass for the season.

In my experience the Niseko Resort Area is unique in allowing non-resort employees to operate independent snowsports schools.

And long may it continue.


Snowing lightly at 9pm.

Most probably Grand Hirafu tomorrow for Ian MacKenzie's first day on snow this season.

#22
Ureshii

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Great!

#23
Hyst

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Envious, Japan in the summer is just not the same. :bestsnow:
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We love mountains

#24
Winter Vacation

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Summer deffo not the same.

#25
MikePow

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DAY 5 : MONDAY 02 DECEMBER 2013

10 cm in the past 24hrs at MQ


A grey miserable day so I had a lie in and then lunch at Chez Doudou on the way to Chisenupuri.

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Ate there a number of times at the end of last season and I'm happy to report that it's just as good.

But unfortunately still as quiet.

I was the only one in for lunch today. But I did have the chef's dog for company.

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Chez Doudou closes from 20 December 2013 to 01 March 2014 as the chef is the private chef for Niseko Cuisine, a company which provides high end dining at your accomodation.

3-course lunch with coffee was JPY 2,200

Potato Quiche

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Pork Spare Ribs with patsa and carrots

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Apple & Prune Tart

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Another fabulous meal. Highly recommended.



DAY 6 : TUESDAY 03 DECEMBER 2013

1 cm in the past 24hrs at MQ


I spent the morning lapping the Annupuri gondola.

Grey skies, a little flat light, but deserted and a surprising amount of untracked boot top spongy pow to enjoy.

It was good to put more vertical under the skis.

The best snow was under the gondola. The terrain out of Gate 7 needs a whole heap of snow for it to go.

Riding solo again, so no action shots. Most waiting for the next dump of snow.

And the small matter of getting ready for the influx of guests ;)

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Not much new snow on the horizon, but I did see the Niseko Village gondola running today.

So that could well be the destination tomorrow morning.

#26
seemore

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Looks Yummy.

Riding under chairlifts Mike thought you weren't keen on that practice?

#27
634-maru

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Thanks Mike. Hope it snow lots soon.

#28
MikePow

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View Postseemore, on 04 December 2013 - 01:58 PM, said:

Riding under chairlifts Mike thought you weren't keen on that practice?


If it's roped off, then no.

If it isn't roped off then definitely yes.

Early season it's the best place for powder. Typically the lift lines are cleared of sasa and rocks so the lifties can walk the lift line for maintenance.

By mid-season it gets a little dicey as the base gets closer to the bottom of the chairs.

#29
TubbyBeaverinho

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keeps you on your toes!! (or not as the case may be)
The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil, is that good Chairmen do nothing

#30
MikePow

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DAY 7 : WEDNESDAY 04 DECEMBER 2013

0 cm in the past 24hrs at MQ


Another grey December day. Thought I'd left this rubbish behind in Wales.

It brightened up in the afternoon so I went for a little drive up to Goshiki Onsen to scope some potential lines for when the snow comes.

Mt Yotei made a brief appearance

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DAY 8 : THURSDAY 05 DECEMBER 2013

0 cm in the past 24hrs at MQ


It's beginning to feel like 'The Benjamin Button' season.

Starting off with spring temperatures, sunshine, limited terrain open, and a quickly disappearing snowpack and working it's way back.

Spent the morning skiing Annupuri.

Glorious sunshine down low, thick fog half way up the gondola.

Did one warm up lap and then shared the gondola back up with Johan from Melbourne who was over on holiday.

Ended up skiing together the rest of the morning and helping him develop his skiing.

At the start Johan was beginning his turns with a slight wedge, with too much balance on the uphill / inside ski

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So we worked on standing tall, keeping the skis parallel and being more patient in the fall line

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And then he was off

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Johan

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Pleasure skiing with you Johan. Enjoy the rest of your holiday.

The snow was in good shape considering how little we've had. But we need more. Lots. Now.

For lunch I went to The Grove in Annupuri.

Fabulous katsu pork, rice and salad followed by bread & butter pudding and coffee.

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#31
TubbyBeaverinho

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I think I've jinxed the Hokkaido pow train!! ;)
The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil, is that good Chairmen do nothing

#32
iiyamadude

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I think you have, Tubby.
It's Bottomless over in Hakks!
:thumbsup:
Let's ing

#33
MikePow

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View PostTubbyBeaverinho, on 05 December 2013 - 10:55 PM, said:

I think I've jinxed the Hokkaido pow train!! ;)


It's stuck in the station, not derailed ;)

#34
iiyamadude

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Dunno, there have been lots of JR Hokkaido derailings this year.
;)
Let's ing

#35
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Quote

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Wow.

#36
Ajax

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Maybe a tip for Johan when I saw his pictures. I used to tell my kids to get the posture of a big bear, leaning forward into their boots with arms out front and away from the body, don't look like a chipmunk with arms tucked in beside the body and lower arms bent out at 90 degrees which causes upper body rotation and a shuffling type turn. If they can keep that posture, face down the hill and put the weight on the downhill ski, the ski will start to carve on edge through the turn.

#37
muikabochi

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That is a fab photo of Yotei!

:thumbsup:

#38
Mr Wiggles

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Always great to read about people getting out there.

View PostMikePow, on 30 November 2013 - 07:30 PM, said:


Currently on Coreupt The Caspers (173cm, 112-79-106)

Got a pair of Idris Renard for the piste (175cm, 116-71-100) and a pair of Majesty Local Hero (176cm, 116-82-111) for everything else when the Coreupts give in.


So you don't ride fattys then?

View PostMikePow, on 01 December 2013 - 09:06 PM, said:


They also opened the beginner Ace Family Pair and Family Run.

It was disappointing to see no groomed beginner terrain available yesterday.

There are a number of Chinese, Taiwanese, Thai & Malaysian guests in resort experiencing winter and winter recreation for the first time.

Trying to learn to ski or snowboard in ungroomed knee deep powder is a joke.


By the sound of things, the vast majority of people who come to Hakuba super early from overseas are also beginners. They're just stoked to see snow and aren't that bothered if the whole mountain is open. As you say, the resorts have a duty to set up something for them.
Be Natural in Nature
Go Outside Enjoy Life

#39
MikePow

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Thanks Matabo Oyaji and muikabochi.

#40
MikePow

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View PostMr Wiggles, on 06 December 2013 - 09:42 AM, said:

Always great to read about people getting out there.


Yeah fair play, Johan was making the most of the conditions and loving it.


View PostMikePow, on 30 November 2013 - 07:30 PM, said:

Currently on Coreupt The Caspers (173cm, 112-79-106)

Got a pair of Idris Renard for the piste (175cm, 116-71-100) and a pair of Majesty Local Hero (176cm, 116-82-111) for everything else when the Coreupts give in.


So you don't ride fattys then?


No.

The widest I've skied on Hokkaido has been the 173cm Movement Jam (136-85-117).

I found that they kept me closer to the surface of the snow, when what I'm looking for is an immersive powder experience.

With the quality and low density of Hokkaido powder I want to be in it not surfing on or just below the snow surface.

If you ski aggressively enough and use your upper body to initiate the turn you can submarine any size ski. But that's not the way I ski or teach.


View PostMikePow, on 01 December 2013 - 09:06 PM, said:


They also opened the beginner Ace Family Pair and Family Run.

It was disappointing to see no groomed beginner terrain available yesterday.

There are a number of Chinese, Taiwanese, Thai & Malaysian guests in resort experiencing winter and winter recreation for the first time.

Trying to learn to ski or snowboard in ungroomed knee deep powder is a joke.


By the sound of things, the vast majority of people who come to Hakuba super early from overseas are also beginners. They're just stoked to see snow and aren't that bothered if the whole mountain is open. As you say, the resorts have a duty to set up something for them.


Agreed. But for them to continue with the sport and not just tick one off their bucket list there should be appropriate terrain for their ability level.

I've seen far too many beginners and instructors struggle this past week because the areas which have been open and the grooming or lack of it have been wholly inappropriate.

Hokkaido has a wonderful combination of

low angled terrain
wide slopes
great snow
low skier numbers compared with other alpine countries

which make learning to ski ideal.

The Japanese resort managers could learn a tremendous amount from countries which don't have these favourable conditions and who still introduce and keep hundreds of thousands of new skiers each winter

e.g. Australia, Scotland, and the East Coast of the USA to name but three.







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