Jump to content

Gunma

Oze Iwakura White World

- - - - - gunma powder steep deep trees off-piste

8 replies to this topic

#1
Bushiman

    SJ'er with 50+ posts

  • SJ Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 61 posts
  • 4 topics
  • Joined: 10-January 12
  • Local time: 11:42 PM
  • Nationality:British
  • Currently:Japan
  • Country:Japan
  • Location:Nagano

*
POPULAR

Having spent the last 10+ years riding your typical big/popular resorts in Nagano/Niigata/Hokkaido, this season I fancied a change...
Pre-season I'd spent a good long while looking at Google Earth, and topographical maps searching for the kind of resort I like... Something a long the lines of Hakuba Cortina.

For any of you that have ridden at Cortina, you'll know that the whole resort centers around a large bowl with everything (pretty much) funneling down to one run in the middle. No traverse ins/outs. Steep. Trees. Perfect.... Only problem is that over the last 3years, Cortina has become the Mecca for powder hounds from home & abroad and the resort is too small to deal with this influx of new customers. I went this season in early FEB and got maybe 8 lines in the entire day due to queues for lifts!? Shocking. /rant
Anyway, my search was on...

That search led me to Oze Iwakura 'White World'.
From the satalite images/topo map it looked perfect. One giant bowl. Steep. Trees. Perfect... I googled photos of the resort, and was instantly keen to give the place a whirl. Now, I needed winter to turn up and the opportunity to go....

Posted Image
Posted Image
Posted Image

That opportunity came thanks to a SnowJapan giveaway!

The week prior to going it rained... Pretty much everywhere... So my expectations weren't high, even though I knew that region of Gunma had been forecast snow...

My buddy NECK & I headed off early that morning full of anticipation, and after 3hrs, rocked up into the carpark just before 10am where we met Gunma Boarder -who had provided us with lots of useful info on the SJForums... It was snowing... It was getting heavier....

We hopped on the shuttle bus that took us the 5mins from carpark to resort, and jumped in the (single!?) line for tickets. That took a while. Then onto our first lift up the mountian... Potential tree lines everywhere! I was hyped indeed -especially as I couldn't make out a single track in any of it, and it was gone 10am!?

First line. Steep. Bottomless. Tight trees. Easy in, easy out. Perfect.
Second line. Steep. Bottomless. Tight trees. Ridge line. Gully. Amazing.
Third line. Steep. Tight trees. Bottomless. Cliffs. No patrol. Big smiles all round!
Rinse & repeat...

Posted Image
Posted Image

We explored a bunch of areas, safe in the knowledge that eventually we'd get spat out somewhere inbounds thanks to the bowl layout.
The one and only piste line we did all day (the Milky Way,) was, er... good!? Hahaha! We only rode it to scope some more trees, but the piste itself was fairly wide, open, long, with mild gradient -perfect for beginners...

For those of you into riding piste, I did note that they actually closed off Champions Course A&B during lunch and re-groomed them for the afternoon...

Lunch was decent, cheap and just off the main piste halfway down. What impressed us was that they had two large heating stoves in the restaurant with plenty of coat-hangers, pegs and hooks so everyone could de-layer and get things dried before heading back out.

After lunch, thanks to it absolutely puking fat chunks of snow, our tracks had filled...
We rode till almost last lifts, and only then did patrol come have a word... Unfortunately for him, we'd had the most epic day and were just leaving so threatening to take our tickets was met with much laughter! Hahaha... Poor chap. It kind of flummoxed him, and he skied off muttering angrily to himself....

Conclusion:
I wish White World was closer than 3hrs away...

#2
onehunga

    SJ'er with 1000+ posts

  • SJ Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,342 posts
  • 22 topics
  • Joined: 17-January 12
  • Local time: 11:42 PM
  • Nationality:New Zealand
  • Currently:Japan
  • Country:Japan
  • Location:Totsuka, Kanagawa
Sounds good, thanks for the report. After all the "pre day" posts I was wondering how the day turned out.

#3
Bushiman

    SJ'er with 50+ posts

  • SJ Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 61 posts
  • 4 topics
  • Joined: 10-January 12
  • Local time: 11:42 PM
  • Nationality:British
  • Currently:Japan
  • Country:Japan
  • Location:Nagano
Yeah, we were so lucky to catch the conditions as good as we did!
A line or 2 may weasel their way into my yearly round-up vid, that's for sure...

#4
NECK

    SJ'er with 250+ posts

  • SJ Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 331 posts
  • 23 topics
  • Joined: 28-October 11
  • Local time: 11:42 PM
  • Nationality:Necksville
  • Currently:Japan
  • Country:Japan
  • Location:Nagano

*
POPULAR

View PostBushiman, on 17 March 2014 - 05:45 PM, said:

Having spent the last 10+ years riding your typical big/popular resorts in Nagano/Niigata/Hokkaido, this season I fancied a change...
Pre-season I'd spent a good long while looking at Google Earth, and topographical maps searching for the kind of resort I like... Something a long the lines of Hakuba Cortina.

Yeah, I have lived in various places in Japan for a good 9 years or so. Also done the majority of my riding in the Hakuba valley/Nozawa/Shiga/Myoko/Niseko areas. A bit of exploring in some of the more obscure resorts up in Hokkaido, but mainly the bigger, popular areas.

View PostBushiman, on 17 March 2014 - 05:45 PM, said:

For any of you that have ridden at Cortina, you'll know that the whole resort centers around a large bowl with everything (pretty much) funneling down to one run in the middle. No traverse ins/outs. Steep. Trees. Perfect.... Only problem is that over the last 3years, Cortina has become the Mecca for powder hounds from home & abroad and the resort is too small to deal with this influx of new customers. I went this season in early FEB and got maybe 8 lines in the entire day due to queues for lifts!? Shocking. /rant
Anyway, my search was on...

Everyone likes the hot-lap buffet and the bowl resorts like Cortina are great....... but as Bushiman said, the place is a joke these days! It was good while it lasted though :eyes:

View PostBushiman, on 17 March 2014 - 05:45 PM, said:

That search led me to Oze Iwakura 'White World'.
From the satalite images/topo map it looked perfect. One giant bowl. Steep. Trees. Perfect... I googled photos of the resort, and was instantly keen to give the place a whirl. Now, I needed winter to turn up and the opportunity to go....

Posted Image
Posted Image
Posted Image

The place sure looked like a winner! After reading Gunma Boarder's review on the place I was keen as chips to get over there and give it a taste for myself :p !

View PostBushiman, on 17 March 2014 - 05:45 PM, said:

That opportunity came thanks to a SnowJapan giveaway!

Yeah, you kind folks at SJ hooked Bushy up with not one, but TWO tickets to use at Oze!! Naturally, I got to share the luck :thumbsup: :happyshades: .

View PostBushiman, on 17 March 2014 - 05:45 PM, said:

The week prior to going it rained... Pretty much everywhere... So my expectations weren't high, even though I knew that region of Gunma had been forecast snow...

My buddy NECK & I headed off early that morning full of anticipation, and after 3hrs, rocked up into the carpark just before 10am where we met Gunma Boarder -who had provided us with lots of useful info on the SJForums... It was snowing... It was getting heavier....

We hopped on the shuttle bus that took us the 5mins from carpark to resort, and jumped in the (single!?) line for tickets. That took a while. Then onto our first lift up the mountian... Potential tree lines everywhere! I was hyped indeed -especially as I couldn't make out a single track in any of it, and it was gone 10am!?

The drive there was a little longer than we had expected for sure, but on that first lift ride up we could see that the drive was well worth it! Gunma Boarder led us straight to the goods and it looked deep. Bingo!

View PostBushiman, on 17 March 2014 - 05:45 PM, said:

First line. Steep. Bottomless. Tight trees. Easy in, easy out. Perfect.
Second line. Steep. Bottomless. Tight trees. Ridge line. Gully. Amazing.
Third line. Steep. Tight trees. Bottomless. Cliffs. No patrol. Big smiles all round!
Rinse & repeat...

Posted Image
Posted Image

It was pretty much perfect conditions. The first nugget we started lapping was nice and steep, well spaced trees and all kinds of fun terrain features. More than enough in there to give the three of us a good 5 lines each without having to cross any tracks until the exit. Ride in, ride out and straight back on the slowish lift to go get another one :D .

View PostBushiman, on 17 March 2014 - 05:45 PM, said:

We explored a bunch of areas, safe in the knowledge that eventually we'd get spat out somewhere inbounds thanks to the bowl layout.
The one and only piste line we did all day (the Milky Way,) was, er... good!? Hahaha! We only rode it to scope some more trees, but the piste itself was fairly wide, open, long, with mild gradient -perfect for beginners...

For those of you into riding piste, I did note that they actually closed off Champions Course A&B during lunch and re-groomed them for the afternoon...

We did that long groomer off the gondola in order to scope a line....I wasn't on the right set-up so just the one was more than enough for me. Got to see a lot of what was available in that area though and it had obvious potential. Some slightly sketchy looking outs though if you end up in the wrong gully perhaps :confused:

View PostBushiman, on 17 March 2014 - 05:45 PM, said:

Lunch was decent, cheap and just off the main piste halfway down. What impressed us was that they had two large heating stoves in the restaurant with plenty of coat-hangers, pegs and hooks so everyone could de-layer and get things dried before heading back out.

It was a good, swift feeding. We were the only foreigners in there...... In fact, I'm pretty sure I only saw two other foreigners on the hill the whole day! It is a world away from Hakuba or Niseko.

View PostBushiman, on 17 March 2014 - 05:45 PM, said:

After lunch, thanks to it absolutely puking fat chunks of snow, our tracks had filled...
We rode till almost last lifts, and only then did patrol come have a word... Unfortunately for him, we'd had the most epic day and were just leaving so threatening to take our tickets was met with much laughter! Hahaha... Poor chap. It kind of flummoxed him, and he skied off muttering angrily to himself....

Conclusion:
I wish White World was closer than 3hrs away...

It was a really good day for sure. We scored it pretty much perfect! I'd guess around 60cm+ of the champagne and it puked all day and stayed nice and cold. The lines are pretty much everywhere you look and the patrol seemed oblivious/unconcerned about us going wherever we wanted to....until the very end when we had just done our last line :lol: . Thanks SJ for giving Bushiman the tickets. Thanks Bushy for giving me a ticket :thumbsup: . Thanks Gunma Boarder for sharing the treasure and for a fun day out there. Enjoy the new board :friend: !

#5
Gunma Boarder

    SJ'er with 250+ posts

  • SJ Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 475 posts
  • 29 topics
  • Joined: 16-December 11
  • Local time: 11:42 PM
  • Nationality:American
  • Currently:Japan
  • Country:Japan
  • Location:Gunma

*
POPULAR

Good times. Thank you guys for coming! It was definitely one of my best days of the season. We'll have to do it again sometime.

#6
pwat42

    SJ'er with 10+ posts

  • SJ Members
  • PipPip
  • 30 posts
  • 0 topics
  • Joined: 11-May 13
  • Local time: 01:42 AM
  • Nationality:Australian
  • Currently:Not Japan
  • Country:Australia
Are the runs on the bottom left hand corner of the trail map part of the resort? Looks like it has some ok terrain as well.

#7
Bushiman

    SJ'er with 50+ posts

  • SJ Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 61 posts
  • 4 topics
  • Joined: 10-January 12
  • Local time: 11:42 PM
  • Nationality:British
  • Currently:Japan
  • Country:Japan
  • Location:Nagano

View Postpwat42, on 18 March 2014 - 11:33 AM, said:

Are the runs on the bottom left hand corner of the trail map part of the resort? Looks like it has some ok terrain as well.

Don't think so... On the satelite photo it says that area is Katashina Miyahara(?) Ski-jo...

#8
Gunma Boarder

    SJ'er with 250+ posts

  • SJ Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 475 posts
  • 29 topics
  • Joined: 16-December 11
  • Local time: 11:42 PM
  • Nationality:American
  • Currently:Japan
  • Country:Japan
  • Location:Gunma

View Postpwat42, on 18 March 2014 - 11:33 AM, said:

Are the runs on the bottom left hand corner of the trail map part of the resort? Looks like it has some ok terrain as well.

I think it is Katashina Kogen.

#9
grungy-gonads

    Hello ladies!

  • SJ Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 15,556 posts
  • 394 topics
  • Joined: 25-July 01
  • Local time: 11:42 PM
  • Nationality:Brit
  • Currently:Japan
  • Country:Japan
  • Location:Tokyo
It is. Skiers only.
Hi ladies, do you like my avatar?







5 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 5 guests, 0 anonymous users


This topic has been visited by 18 user(s)