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Discussion Starter #1
Went out on Saturday to a beautiful bluebird day, which can be a little unusual here in Japan. The powder was still nice in the morning and we did a few hikes out along the ridge above the resort and got some awesome views and nice lines. The sun did its damage though and turned the snow heavy by the afternoon. Still a great day to be out and about, very spring-like. A little too early for my liking.





 

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Nice Pics!

I was out there on Sunday. Definitely spring conditions, especially for the lower areas. We tried out the #5 Romance lift option a couple of times but since *everyone* who is chasing powder goes there, the lift lines were stupid and the snow was far too heavy to be interesting.

But, like moths to a flame, everyone goes to the Kagura area of the resort hoping to score good snow, making chaos at all the lifts and leaving the Mitsumata and Tashiro areas nice and quiet. Lucky for me the park is in Mitsumata, and they also have a banked slalom course, wave track and a bunch of other fun stuff. The gondola return course is also a bunch of fun, and 15 minutes on the gondola beats 15 minutes standing in a lift line so we did that a few times too.

One of the better resorts of the area for sure
 

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Discussion Starter #3
The lifts weren't that bad, top lift was ok but last week it was ridiculous.....queue up the slope to the 2 dead trees then it doubled back up towards the quad, about half way up the cat track!! I only rode the back runs twice because the wait was stupid. Thankfully Saturday was ok
 

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Yeah i have seen it like that. But thats because everyone lining up there is actually "lining up", unlike most of the other lifts where people just make a massive human traffic jam crowding near the lifts.

These last 3 weeks have been the peak of the season, its when all of the Once a year skiers/boarders come out on their package plans that they booked back last year. I am looking forward to the subdued spring season, but given how little snow there is, i doubt it will go much past march
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Yeah, we figured that last weekend, it being the last weekend of February, was the "last weekend we HAVE to go snowboarding" for the twice a year mob.....hopefully now back to decent lift lines and longer untouched.

We're heading to Hakuba this weekend for the Powder Love party, but it sure doesn't look like there's gonna be much powder about and looking at the number of guys going up....I'm guessing there won't be much loving going on either!! ;)
Saturday looks like its gonna be full on spring slushy turns under a perfect bluebird sky.......if anything it'll just be another beautiful day to be out and about. The views around Hakuba on a bluebird day certainly are spectacular. Sunday is gonna rain......and rain hard! So no shredding for me....a good excuse to have a few too many beers at the party on saturday night!
 

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I am headed to Hokkaido on Friday :) This monster storm they are having right now should make for some great conditions.

I have been meaning to join one of them TSC events one day though.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
a few of my mates are DJing, we aren't going up with the 2 main groups though, we've organized our own bus. Its gonna be fun if not stellar riding. My mate in Sapporo has been sending me pics of the snow….once the wind dies down it should be epic….its going to warm up over the weekend tho even up there, but nothing as bad as down here and then on sunday night the temps plunge again……I want to get another hokkaido trip before the season ends. Where are you gonna ride?
 

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We are staying in Sapporo so our choices are really just the resorts nearby. Doing Rusutsu on Sat and Teine on Sunday where i have had loads of fun on the Kitakabe run the last couple of years. Might go for another resort on Friday or Monday, but need to keep the Missus happy and check out some sightseeing on one of the other days.

There are some incredibly cheap deals on at the moment. Under 20k for airfares and 3 nights accommodation for some of them. Ours was a little more, for a better rated hotel.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
We are staying in Sapporo so our choices are really just the resorts nearby. Doing Rusutsu on Sat and Teine on Sunday where i have had loads of fun on the Kitakabe run the last couple of years. Might go for another resort on Friday or Monday, but need to keep the Missus happy and check out some sightseeing on one of the other days.

There are some incredibly cheap deals on at the moment. Under 20k for airfares and 3 nights accommodation for some of them. Ours was a little more, for a better rated hotel.
Ignore kitakabe......its mogully hell......hit the bowls. If you are unsure about where to drop in after the short access hike through the gate, you can traverse from kitakabe all the way through to the top of bowl 1. Actually you pass through another sweet run if yo get there early, locally known as the power line run.....for obvious reasons....you run under the power lines :D

Also the trees between the power line run and bowl 1 are pretty good as well, there's kind of a mini bowl between them that is often ignored by people (who enter bowl 1 from the ridge or the small access chute from above the cliff) and has some sweet untouched lines for most of the day.

There are a series of 7 bowls and they are awesome to hit, at the bottom of each bowl is the cat track back to resort and its pretty well defined by this time in the season, just look out for all lines converging skiers right near the bottom of the bowls. The further out you go, the shorter your bowl-run will be as you need to traverse longer to get back to resort.....unless you're on skis.

Rusutsu's trees are just the best ever. I deffo wanna get back up there before the season ends.

Which website did you use to book?

If you need restaurant recommendations....let me know :thumbsup:
 

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I think it was good-trip-ex.com that we used; but we were also looking at hokkaidotours.co.jp and Yahoo travel. Not trying to sound like a weaboo, but i find that booking on Japanese sites gives you cheaper prices and more options (perhaps the English sites are restricted to booking hotels that are foreigner-friendly)
 

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Also, thanks for the advice on Teine. The main face on kitakabe is pretty terrible, but off to the sides its pretty good. I am a bit timid when it comes to off-course runs, mainly because to me the joy of powder is not worth the risk of having to hike back if i get stuck. I am going to keep the info in mind though.

Oh and i will have some beginners with me this time.

And for the restaurant recommendations, my wife is full of them :). Its her main reason for going to Hokkaido (food), the snow is just a bonus.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
yeah the Japanese sites are definitely where you find the better deals (and amazingly, rooms in resorts that advertise themselves as 99% booked up! ;) )

Nakasawa (the trees n bowl to the left of the summit express as you come up) are also really good and open. There are no hidden dangers in there and the exit is onto a green that leads back into the resort.
 

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Its because Australians dont know about it. If it isnt Knee-say-cow, hekooober or nezaaaawa then it doesnt exist.

The thought of hearing that accent all over the place is one of the reasons i am not actually all that interested in Niseko
 

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Its because Australians dont know about it. If it isnt Knee-say-cow, hekooober or nezaaaawa then it doesnt exist.

The thought of hearing that accent all over the place is one of the reasons i am not actually all that interested in Niseko
By the phonetics you've used, I'm pretty sure you haven't even met an Aussie!!!!!
 

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Its because Australians dont know about it. If it isnt Knee-say-cow, hekooober or nezaaaawa then it doesnt exist.

The thought of hearing that accent all over the place is one of the reasons i am not actually all that interested in Niseko

Nah mate…they definitely have. The place is crawling with Aussies. Before the trail led south to Hakuba and Nozawa, it meandered over to Rusutsu. Its the next go-to place when either the snow is off at Niseko or they are old Niseko hands and are "branching out" Rusutsu is no secret.

Yeah it is a little strange that the development didn't spill over. I dunno what Niseko was like pre-Oz invasion but Rusutsu isn't really a village…there is a kind of built up area called "Rusutsu village", but its really no more than a few houses and farms. A friend of mines was the local english teacher for the area's schools and she said that it was absolutely dead. Totally nothing going on at all. The hotel is in the middle of nowhere, the only other set of mountains in the area is Yotei and the Niseko mountains. All around it is rural farmland.

The past few years its been getting busier and busier which ultimately means the chances of first tracks gets smaller and smaller. Even Sapporo Teine has been feeling the pinch with tour groups coming over from Niseko with giant groups of gaper tourists mangling up our best runs! :wink:
 

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Nah mate…they definitely have. The place is crawling with Aussies. Before the trail led south to Hakuba and Nozawa, it meandered over to Rusutsu. Its the next go-to place when either the snow is off at Niseko or they are old Niseko hands and are "branching out" Rusutsu is no secret.

Yeah it is a little strange that the development didn't spill over. I dunno what Niseko was like pre-Oz invasion but Rusutsu isn't really a village…there is a kind of built up area called "Rusutsu village", but its really no more than a few houses and farms. A friend of mines was the local english teacher for the area's schools and she said that it was absolutely dead. Totally nothing going on at all. The hotel is in the middle of nowhere, the only other set of mountains in the area is Yotei and the Niseko mountains. All around it is rural farmland.

The past few years its been getting busier and busier which ultimately means the chances of first tracks gets smaller and smaller. Even Sapporo Teine has been feeling the pinch with tour groups coming over from Niseko with giant groups of gaper tourists mangling up our best runs! :wink:
Agree, Australians have been hitting Rusutsu in droves for years. This season I noticed a big increase in American accents around the place.
 
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