1. There's more to this forum than meets the eye!

    We have a vibrant community here conversing about all sorts of non-snow topics such as music, sport, politics and technology. Simply register to reveal all our Après topics or continue browsing and reading as a guest.

    NOTE: This notice may be closed.

    Dismiss Notice

Question Alts Bandai question

Discussion in 'Japan' started by MadPow, Sep 10, 2019.

  1. MadPow

    MadPow Hard Yards

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2017
    Messages:
    83
    Likes Received:
    23
    Hey all,

    staying at Alts Bandai for 6 days and will check out other resorts from here, but is there any decent tree areas or slackcountry at Ats itself. Most of resort seems south facing, so not sure if any areas have decent aspect for snow quality. Will also be getting over to Nekoma. Posted here cause i figure at least Ramenman will have some useful insights!
     
  2. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2014
    Messages:
    2,826
    Likes Received:
    2,757
    Purple = The mountain ridge. Blues = top lift stations of Nekoma and a lot of advanced local skiers / snowboarders enjoy riding between the Purple and Nekoma. But the longest and the most challenging one is the Black line. The Red = 1410m asl and the vertical drop of the Black route is 310m(1410m - 1100m). But It's a lot less common route and can be risky, so I hesitate to recommend the route. 5 years ago or so, Australian group got rescued and Hoshino Resort became a bit strict and they started saying "Don't hike to the ridge / Don't hike between Alts and Nekoma". Advanced local skiers / snowboarders kept riding there, though. This late March or early April, Hoshino Resorts newly set an official backcountry gate between Alts and Nekoma, but I'm not sure when they'll set the gate in 2019-20 season. I hope they'll set the gate early January, if not late December(Edit: Yellow is the top lift station of Alts)


    This is the mountain ridge.


    Filmed on March 15th 2019.


    This is the Purple Ridge to Lake Oguni( = West side / Left side)



    Average day at Nekoma. Nekoma was as quiet as this video during last Chinese New Year holidays because most people were skiing at Alts:p(but it's a big problem because Nekoma lost one chairlift last season and Nekoma got closed mid-week since last season because they are struggling to attract enough number of guests).
     
  3. MadPow

    MadPow Hard Yards

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2017
    Messages:
    83
    Likes Received:
    23
    Thanks Ramenman
    Can you also access Nekomo from Alts by dropping from the yellow along the red line or is it best to hike the ridge to the left first.
    I think I will try and get a local guide for a day if there are any in this area. Im sure it would also be useful in helping find the good areas inbound off-piste also. I am there mid January so hopefully gate is set.

    Is there much opportunity for off-piste within Alts, its seems that a lot of areas groomed and strict off-piste policy

     
  4. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2014
    Messages:
    2,826
    Likes Received:
    2,757
    Hoshino Resorts haven't officially opened the terrains around the ridge, so I'm not sure if I can say "Yes, you can", but at least I can say a lot of local advanced skiers / snowboarders ride there, so you can ride there at your own risk;). Red line is okay, but the Yellow circle is 1300m asl while Red is 1410m. The lowest point of the ridge between Red and Yellow is 1280m. The view from the ridge is very beautiful, so most people ride on the ridge from 1410m toward 1300m, then skiing / snowboarding down to Nekoma side.
     
  5. blowfin

    blowfin One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2012
    Messages:
    1,989
    Likes Received:
    1,310
    Location:
    Perth
    The best in bounds tree riding at Alts is in the top two bowls. Super slow lifts though and none of the terrain is particularly challenging. South facing so get there before the sun bakes it. Probably more on offer on the far skiers left, but I didn't get out that far.


    You could hike the ridge if you wanted, there's a little bit of vert to be gained to the highest point (the blue marker), You'll funnel out at the same spot regardless. Something like this.


    Skiiers right of Ramenman's black line is very steep and prone to slide, plus you're in full view of the rest of the resort, would advise staying in the guts and avoiding being seen if you're going to do that. If it's a clear day i'd stick to the accepted methods of moving between the resorts, pretty sure the black line isn't one of them. :)
     
    MadPow and Ramenman like this.
  6. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2014
    Messages:
    2,826
    Likes Received:
    2,757
    This is the route that we did to see the very beautiful sunrise at the top of Mt.Nekoma. Blue is the highest point. So Blue to G (=Goal) is the most common popular skiing / snowboarding route. S (=Start) is a parking lot. It was before Nekoma opened, so we didn't use lifts and we climbed from the parking lot to the peak of Mt.Nekoma. In the region, there are Mt.Nekoma (1410m), Mt.Bandai (1820m), Mt.Nishidaiten (Grandeco's mountain = 2000m), Mt.Minowa (1700m), Mt.Adatara (1730m), and some other 1800 - 2000m mountains and they are not too tough nor too risky to hike to the peaks.


    In the region, there is Moku-moku Shizenjuku(It's like Niseko's NAC = Niseko Adventure Center) and they have many guides for mountain activities in the region, including sidecountry / backcountry tours. But the problem is, they can't speak English and at least one of your group must be a Japanese speaker. Since 4 years ago, I kept telling them "You should organize English speaking backcountry tours for advanced skiers / snowboarders from abroad", but they didn't have English speaking tours last season either. There are some very cheap lodges for sale there, so someone on this forum should buy one and organize English speaking backcountry tours;)
     
    #6 Ramenman, Sep 11, 2019
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2019
    MadPow likes this.
  7. Hyst

    Hyst Enjoyer Ski Pass: Gold

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2014
    Messages:
    1,625
    Likes Received:
    837
    Location:
    Copenhagen
    Better someone would join the company and work with them - otherwise you get "them and us" situation like outher places.
     
  8. MadPow

    MadPow Hard Yards

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2017
    Messages:
    83
    Likes Received:
    23

    Thanks for that,
    much appreciated, probably only do the black line with someone with knowledge, sth facing, potential terrain trap after checking out topo maps and as Ramenman indicated can be risky etc. Looks like a few other options anyway, plus will check out other nearby resorts as well, so no point doing anything crazy!
     
  9. MadPow

    MadPow Hard Yards

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2017
    Messages:
    83
    Likes Received:
    23
    I would like a small lodge or house, but i just want to ski & snowboard - not work!!!
    I was going to look when I was there.

    Agree with Hyst, they can partner up with an English speaker for the season to help in organisation and come on the tours for communication.
     
  10. MadPow

    MadPow Hard Yards

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2017
    Messages:
    83
    Likes Received:
    23
    Is the yellow frozen waterfalls nearby Urubandai?
     
  11. jjs

    jjs Hard Yards

    Joined:
    May 1, 2009
    Messages:
    80
    Likes Received:
    122
    I'm heading there too - does anyone know what go is with the cat tours at Alts?

    I have a trail map that has the cat touring area marked on it, but no actual information on them.
     
  12. blowfin

    blowfin One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2012
    Messages:
    1,989
    Likes Received:
    1,310
    Location:
    Perth
    Sounds like it's organised through the "Mountain Adventure Centre". You might want to contact the resort and ask directly about it. It looks like there's a tour company offering the cat booking (minimum 5 people) so they might cater for English speaking guests, but again I'd see if you can book directly rather than go through these guys.
    http://minttours.com/japan/alts-bandai/alts-bandai-cat-ski/

    From what I saw of the cat skiiing terrain, it's pretty flat, and it's south facing. Probably more suitable for beginners, and I can't see it offering the greatest snow quality.
     
  13. blowfin

    blowfin One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2012
    Messages:
    1,989
    Likes Received:
    1,310
    Location:
    Perth
    I think that was near Zao Onsen, Yamagata prefecture.
     
  14. jjs

    jjs Hard Yards

    Joined:
    May 1, 2009
    Messages:
    80
    Likes Received:
    122
    Thanks for the heads up - I'd be going solo so looks like it's out of the question if it's for groups only.

    Funny you say that about the terrain, Mint Tours says the exact opposite;
    "The guides know every inch of the mountain and will get you shredding some of their secret pow stashes, all accessed from the comfort of their 10 person cat. "
     
  15. blowfin

    blowfin One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2012
    Messages:
    1,989
    Likes Received:
    1,310
    Location:
    Perth
    Yes well, a couple of years back I saw the way they operate and the crowd they target. I can confidently say if I did a group tour in Japan again, I'd never book it through Mint. Just mentioning them because they do seem to be offering the Alts Cat skiiing operation via their business.
     
    jjs likes this.
  16. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2014
    Messages:
    2,826
    Likes Received:
    2,757
    Both Urabandai and Zao region have frozen waterfalls and the yellow one is in Urabandai Highland. But, it's for hikers not for skiers / snowboarders. There is a large flat land at 1100m - 1200m. This is the flat land. It's a 2 hour snowshoe hiking course. 80% of foreign people visiting Japan are from East Asia(Such as China and Korea) and South East Asia. In South East Asia, it's too warm / hot to snow and northern China is quite dry(Korea is also dry if not as dry as northern China), so for those tourists from Asia, experiencing very deep snow by hiking to the frozen yellow waterfall might be something very special, but I don't think skiers / snowboarders highly rate it.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    fennekeg likes this.
  17. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2014
    Messages:
    2,826
    Likes Received:
    2,757
    By the way, Alts is famous for parks. Especially snowboarders enjoy the parks.


     
  18. skipperlee

    skipperlee Hard Yards

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2018
    Messages:
    47
    Likes Received:
    26
    Location:
    uk
    I really liked Inawashiro - some nice trees to be had off top lift lookers right.
     
    Tonester, Ramenman and MadPow like this.
  19. MadPow

    MadPow Hard Yards

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2017
    Messages:
    83
    Likes Received:
    23
    thanks skiperlee
    you gonna be around anywhere this year
    bumped into u at geto last year
     
  20. MadPow

    MadPow Hard Yards

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2017
    Messages:
    83
    Likes Received:
    23
    yes my oldest son is happy about this
     
  21. MadPow

    MadPow Hard Yards

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2017
    Messages:
    83
    Likes Received:
    23
    what time period are you going jjs?
     
  22. skipperlee

    skipperlee Hard Yards

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2018
    Messages:
    47
    Likes Received:
    26
    Location:
    uk
    yeah got a 5 week pass! hitting Hokkaido on a road trip for 2 weeks before heading to Honshu early feb for 3 weeks working my way south starting at Appi - we may cross paths again!
     
    MadPow likes this.
  23. Crispy013

    Crispy013 One of Us

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2010
    Messages:
    1,688
    Likes Received:
    1,950
    Location:
    Port Macquarie, NSW
    I'm working the other way.
    27th - 29th Jan: Minowa / Nekoma
    29th Jan - 1st Feb: Geto Kogen
    1st - 5th Feb: Tazawako / Ani / Shizkuishi / Amihari Onsen
    5th - 8th Feb Appi / Hachimantai

    Could cross paths.
     
    Tonester, blowfin and Ramenman like this.
  24. Tonester

    Tonester Lift Line Nazi Ski Pass: Gold

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2001
    Messages:
    5,054
    Likes Received:
    2,050
    Location:
    Sydney
    There's a possibility we might cross paths as well. I'm heading back to Tohoku in early Feb. Work permitting.
     
  25. MadPow

    MadPow Hard Yards

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2017
    Messages:
    83
    Likes Received:
    23
    5 weeks would be great but not happening. At Alts Bandai area Jan 13-19. Being flexible for the 2 nd week and just follow the conditions. but likely northern tohoku
     
  26. MadPow

    MadPow Hard Yards

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2017
    Messages:
    83
    Likes Received:
    23
    when up north of geto worth being flexible. assume you have a car with that sort of itinerary. Each of the resorts would be best in different conditions. found shizu and amihari bake quickly due to aspect but great storm riding etc. Appi can be wind exposed etc. so keep things open is my recommendation. i had no issues booking what i wanted a day or two out.
     
  27. Crispy013

    Crispy013 One of Us

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2010
    Messages:
    1,688
    Likes Received:
    1,950
    Location:
    Port Macquarie, NSW
    Car - tick.
    We’re staying on the mountain for Geto.
    Then 4 nights on Lake Tazawa. Then round to Appi for 3 nights. Aim is very much flexibility.
     
  28. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2014
    Messages:
    2,826
    Likes Received:
    2,757
    I love Amihari - Hachimantai region. All of the videos below were filmed in Amihari - Hachimantai region at about 900 - 1500m asl. Tree line is very low there, so 1000m above sea level = the tree is already nicely sparse(not too dense / tight) for skiing / snowboarding, so high quality sidecountry / backcountry terrains are very easily accessible. What makes Amihari Onsen ski resort special is, the top lift is at 1350m asl and with almost 0m vertical hike from the top lift station, you can enjoy very nice powder treerun sidecountry terrains. Plus, you can see very beautiful winter Mt.Iwate(2040m).



    This video was filmed at Amihari Onsen ski resort. The highest point of this video is 1410m, and the top lift station of Amihari is 1350m, so only 60m vertical hike, and most of the video was filmed lower than 1350m = lower than Amihari's top lift station.



    This is also a very common sidecountry / backcountry route from the top lift station of Amihari Onsen ski resort(they are skiing around 1400m -850m in the video)



    This was also filmed in Amihari area. The first half = lower altitude area than the videos above(=lower than upper slopes of Amihari Onsen ski resort). The last half = 1300m or higher area.
     
    Tonester, blowfin and skifree like this.
  29. skipperlee

    skipperlee Hard Yards

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2018
    Messages:
    47
    Likes Received:
    26
    Location:
    uk
    im staying in appi from 3rd till 7th maybe hook up for a morning/ afternoon somewhere?
     
  30. skipperlee

    skipperlee Hard Yards

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2018
    Messages:
    47
    Likes Received:
    26
    Location:
    uk
    ah looks like I arrive just as you leave!
     
  31. skifree

    skifree grey Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 1998
    Messages:
    22,389
    Likes Received:
    13,667
    Location:
    Middle Oz
    Gorgeous.
     
    Ramenman likes this.
  32. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2014
    Messages:
    2,826
    Likes Received:
    2,757
    Speaking of CAT tours at Alts, I think they are the same tours Alts have been doing in recent years, not new ones. I mean, there was a lift station at 厩岳山(1261m) in the map below. Now the lift to 1261m was removed and courses 1,2,3,4 and 5 have become CAT only courses. Course 6 - 7 are parks and they are still accessible by use of a lift.
    [​IMG]

    This February(or January), I saw 30 Australian people in a shuttle bus to a hotel near Alts / Nekoma. I talked to one of them and his group consist of 16 skiers / snowboarders. So the rest 14 people belong to other group(s). I wonder they were MINT tour or not. Anyway, it was the first time for me to see 30 Australian at a ski resort in Tohoku within a day.
     
  33. Tonester

    Tonester Lift Line Nazi Ski Pass: Gold

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2001
    Messages:
    5,054
    Likes Received:
    2,050
    Location:
    Sydney
    I, quite possibly, might cross paths with you. I'm there 1st two weeks of Feb. I haven't decided where I'm going yet. All the place you mention here I have been and happy to revisit. But, you know, there's a few more that I'd like to check out too. Ahh, decisions, decisions!
     
  34. Tonester

    Tonester Lift Line Nazi Ski Pass: Gold

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2001
    Messages:
    5,054
    Likes Received:
    2,050
    Location:
    Sydney
    I agree. I visited for the first time last Jan, on a weekend. It was busy-ish. I reckon it'd be great on a weekday
     
  35. Tonester

    Tonester Lift Line Nazi Ski Pass: Gold

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2001
    Messages:
    5,054
    Likes Received:
    2,050
    Location:
    Sydney
    Plus there is THE hottest (outdoor) onsen I've ever stepped into at the bottom. With a gorgeous view!
     
  36. Tonester

    Tonester Lift Line Nazi Ski Pass: Gold

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2001
    Messages:
    5,054
    Likes Received:
    2,050
    Location:
    Sydney
    Has anyone done the cat skiing over at Shizukuishi?
     
  37. Crispy013

    Crispy013 One of Us

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2010
    Messages:
    1,688
    Likes Received:
    1,950
    Location:
    Port Macquarie, NSW
    Heard reports it very tame. I’m looking at trying to schedule in one at Tazawako and/or Hachimantai.
     
  38. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2014
    Messages:
    2,826
    Likes Received:
    2,757
    If you are skiing at Amihari Onsen ski resort on the day, Shizukuishi's Sunrise CAT tour might be good in that it is only 20 min drive. l like seeing sunrise and sunset on snowy mountains. But, you might need to stay at Prince Hotel to join the Sunrise CAT Tour. If I remember correctly, I think we needed to stay at Prince Hotel if we wanted to join the Sunrise CAT tour 3 years ago(2016), not sure about 2019 - 2020 season. It's going to be like 6:00 - 8:00am = Shizukuishi's Sunrise CAT Tour + Breakfast + Driving to Amihari, then from 8:00am or 8:30am, starting skiing at Amihari.
     
    Tonester likes this.
  39. MadPow

    MadPow Hard Yards

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2017
    Messages:
    83
    Likes Received:
    23
    I did this with my son last season. It was okay, a bit of a novelty but if in the area you may as well do it. It’s quite cheap and I don’t think you need to stay at the Prince. The ungrounded section is quite narrow after the cat goes up so make sure you are one of the first ones down. No one spoke english so we just got ready and went down, so we were first. There would be no point being on the second trip as it will be all chopped up. It was super icy at the bottom too as the aspect ain’t great but higher up was okay. The best part was that got chatting to one of the drivers and he took us all over the resort afterwards finding all the hidden stashes. It was pretty quite for a saturday.
     

    Attached Files:

    Tonester and Ramenman like this.