Advice on first trip to Japan for newbie

Discussion in 'Japan' started by john_k, Jul 7, 2018.

  1. john_k

    john_k Hard Yards

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2008
    Messages:
    80
    Likes Received:
    27
    Hi guys,

    Just wanting some advice for my first ski trip to Japan - have been skiing resort and back country in OZ for 10+ years but never OS, and never in anything other than ankle deep OZ back country snow for up to a week (Main Range and Vic Alps) ski touring style.

    Wanting to mix it between long resort ski runs (the thing I miss most when skiing in OZ resorts) and to get a real taste for some back country Japan style skiing with a mix of getting some instruction, and also some time to ski in a resort(s) perhaps on my own.

    Will be travelling solo, and I'm in the 35+ y.o. range, so not going there for nightclubs or heavy drinking sessions.

    Looking to head over there over the Xmas - NY's period.

    Any advice that can be offered including who best to organise through, best locations/resorts, do's/dont's etc.

    Appreciated.

    John K.
     
    Jacko4650 likes this.
  2. Seth

    Seth Old n' Crusty
    Ski Pass - Gold

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2000
    Messages:
    38,513
    Likes Received:
    16,140
    Don’t forget your passport.
     
    Any, M_G and Hyst like this.
  3. Sandy

    Sandy Dark Sith Lord of the Pool Room
    Moderator Ski Pass - Gold

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 1998
    Messages:
    61,324
    Likes Received:
    8,071
    Between Xmas and new year is not the most reliable time in central Japan, so better to look to Hokkaido (or change your time). Even there, back country may not be covered up.

    If you have only skied ankle deep back country in Australia, you probably don't really want to be skiing back country in japan, where it could be waist deep, and terrain traps become a serious issue.

    Off piste resort skiing is often very accessible, so I'd stick to that on your first visit , to refine your deep snow skiing.
     
    Mike Pow, Kash, Any and 1 other person like this.
  4. mijs

    mijs Hard Yards

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2013
    Messages:
    15
    Likes Received:
    12
    I'm a fan of off piste skiing and usually travel with my son and/or brother. Two years ago I was planning a solo trip but didn't want to risk skiing OOB by myself so I joined a Whiteroom tour (https://www.whiteroomtours.com). I liked it so much I went back the following year with two others and am flying solo on another tour with them in 2019. They have tours for various experience/abilities and make things easy for first timers to Japan. I could not recommend them highly enough. I'm sure others will be able to recommend other tour groups.
     
    billykate and Jacko4650 like this.
  5. Olgreg

    Olgreg One of Us
    Ski Pass - Silver

    Joined:
    May 21, 2011
    Messages:
    1,365
    Likes Received:
    1,260
    Def Hokkaido for that time, crowds should just be starting to build. Def take yr time to get used to the powder, especially tighter tree runs. Instruction is useful for this. BC, other than a quick duck into in bounds off piste, or out gates and back, you should get a guide. Things can go seriously wrong very quickly if you don’t know the way home.
    So all that costs a lot, but maximises your enjoyment and safety. Then suddenly you find yourself back every year.
     
    LMB likes this.
  6. Crispy013

    Crispy013 One of Us

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2010
    Messages:
    1,294
    Likes Received:
    1,388
    Given the time-frame...Niseko or Furano as a base should tick most of your boxes.
     
    Mike Pow likes this.
  7. Hyst

    Hyst One of Us
    Ski Pass - Gold

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2014
    Messages:
    1,270
    Likes Received:
    375
    I have often wondered about these questions - here in Europe we have many ski-clubs, who arrange ski-trips for their members.
    Does that not exist over there?

    If such ski -clubs exist it would be the way to go first time to Japan - as there would be experienced members allonge.

    (only old piste skier living far away from the mountains).
     
  8. Budgiesmuggler

    Budgiesmuggler A Local
    Ski Pass - Gold

    Joined:
    May 7, 2010
    Messages:
    6,687
    Likes Received:
    3,321
    It doesn’t really exist in the same way as it does in Europe.
     
  9. Hyst

    Hyst One of Us
    Ski Pass - Gold

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2014
    Messages:
    1,270
    Likes Received:
    375
    Thanks for info. :(
     
  10. Sandy

    Sandy Dark Sith Lord of the Pool Room
    Moderator Ski Pass - Gold

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 1998
    Messages:
    61,324
    Likes Received:
    8,071
    I sure there are. If you've ever noticed Japanese skiers who all dress in the same gear, they are members of a ski club. They are mostly older skiers (maybe 45yo+), who've probably been doing that since the 1990s.

    There's also two gaijin "ski clubs" that run bus trips every weekend. I've been on around 15 of these trips.
    - https://www.tokyosnowclub.com/
    - http://www.tokyogaijins.com/
    These weekend trips are fun because you meet a lot of people and there's evening parties & activities as well.
    A typical weekend will cost around $300, including bus there and back from Tokyo (leave early Friday evening, back Sunday night ~ 9:30pm), two nights accomm, two breakfasts, one dinner, one day lift ticket.
     
    Jacko4650 likes this.
  11. Hyst

    Hyst One of Us
    Ski Pass - Gold

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2014
    Messages:
    1,270
    Likes Received:
    375
    :whistle: Over there was Australia for me. (went with me a Japanese Skiclub in 1982/83 Tokyo tech or as named at that time TIT);)
     
  12. Froff Life

    Froff Life A Local
    Ski Pass - Gold

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2014
    Messages:
    5,298
    Likes Received:
    2,070
    Do a tour with a group (like Whiteroom) in Hokkaido over that period. You will have mates to ski with, have proper experienced guides to help you dable in the back country and they will take the stress out of accommodation and transport on your 1st trip to Japan.
     
  13. skichanger

    skichanger A Local
    Ski Pass - Gold

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2012
    Messages:
    5,529
    Likes Received:
    2,106
    Go later if you can. Either do an organised tour that accommodates singles or stay somewhere that has other Aussies or staff you can hang out with.
     
  14. Mils

    Mils One of Us

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2011
    Messages:
    1,082
    Likes Received:
    29

    Tell us how you go working stuff out my partner and I are doing the same trip around the same time
     
  15. Nozawaman

    Nozawaman A Local
    Ski Pass - Gold

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2002
    Messages:
    6,084
    Likes Received:
    1,965
    How do you know the staff will want to hang with them ?
     
  16. skichanger

    skichanger A Local
    Ski Pass - Gold

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2012
    Messages:
    5,529
    Likes Received:
    2,106
    Unless you ask you do not for sure. And the situation can change season to season. Last season my staff at Myoko took great care of solo travelers but the season before my staff spent as much time as they could visiting another lodge.
     
    Annitowa likes this.
  17. LMB

    LMB Old but definitely not Crusty!
    Ski Pass - Gold

    Joined:
    May 6, 2010
    Messages:
    22,273
    Likes Received:
    9,499
    You often get back what you give out in those situations. I had a great day out with a couple of skichangers staff, and remain friends to this day. If you’ve got similar interests, you’re nice and you shout them a feed or drinks it can be a win win for everyone.
     
  18. Annitowa

    Annitowa One of us
    Ski Pass - Gold

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2013
    Messages:
    366
    Likes Received:
    384
    I can vouch for Skichanger's comment, I stayed at Chalet Myoko last year and the staff often took me out with them all made sure i was set for the day, as well as izakaya trips and chu hai shopping in Joetsu followed by tastings. :)
     
    skichanger likes this.
  19. skichanger

    skichanger A Local
    Ski Pass - Gold

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2012
    Messages:
    5,529
    Likes Received:
    2,106
    mmm some of the evidence of that tasting is still sitting on top of the bar shelves. LOL Several types I had not seen before. Those guys were very diligent at finding every type of chu hai.

    Actually it is very satisfying for me when staff and guests have a great time. This is what we are aiming for.