1. SPECIAL NOTE TO NEW REGISTRATIONS

    If you recently registered and have not received a confirmation email - please check your 'Spam or Junk' folders. Especially if your email is Hotmail. More help with confirmation issues

    NOTE: This notice may be closed.

    Dismiss Notice
  2. 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

Cat Skiing in Niseko (Late Dec - Early Jan)

Discussion in 'Japan' started by snowsurfer2000, Jun 19, 2019.

  1. snowsurfer2000

    snowsurfer2000 First Runs

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2019
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    1
    Hi,
    I was curious how far in advance should I book for cat skiing in Niseko around late December - Early Jan for the 2020 season? Does it sell out early? Looking specifically at Weiss PowderCat and Chisenupuri Cat Skiing operations.
    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. Slowman

    Slowman One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2016
    Messages:
    277
    Likes Received:
    690
    I believe the better locations do book out. Have a look at http://blackdiamondtours.com/heli-cat/cat-skiing/

    I've not actually done any cat skiing in Japan but I've heard that some of the operations near Niseko are a bit lacking in gradient.
     
  3. Nozawaman

    Nozawaman A Local

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2002
    Messages:
    6,353
    Likes Received:
    2,401
    Location:
    Gold Coast/Nozawa Onsen
    Get the fattest pair of skis you can if you are cat skiing in Japan....... it's not very steep !!!!!
     
  4. Mike Pow

    Mike Pow One of Us

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2014
    Messages:
    702
    Likes Received:
    854
    Hmmmmm...It's steep enough

    177cm 114-84-105 skis

     
  5. Any

    Any One of Us

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2015
    Messages:
    614
    Likes Received:
    793
    Location:
    oz/japan/usa
    Nozawaman is correct, Weiss and Chis are very flat and short. 200m vertical.
    They're great for first time powder skiers - Those who want private pow to play around in and nobody's gonna steal your line giving you heaps of time to crash have fun and learn. It's not the sort of terrain an experienced pow skier is looking for tho.
    I agree that it is a great product for beginners, but the marketing is overstated. If I paid $600 for a day cat skiing and I was unexpectedly taken to Weiss or Chis, I'd be freaking livid.

    Shimamaki, also opereated by Black Diamond, is more proper cat skiing. 1600m vertical. Its 3-4 hours away on the mountains out there, involves a night stay at their lodge.

    There are also other cat ski operations sold via various operators like Niseko Photography that take you to short, but steep lines, that are more for an experienced skier. I haven't been, but I've heard almost all good feedback, however some bad feedback because the cat is so old and slow you don't get as many runs. Imo the number of runs mostly depends on the group tho.

    Another option is Pars Powder Paradise. Instead of snowcats you're towed on ropes behind snowmobiles. Yes, you can stuff around and jump off stuff on the way up. The runs are short/medum length but have plenty of pitch. I think we got 7-8 runs on the day I went, with the group opting to trade 2 runs for 1 longer better run at the end of the day.


    As far as ive seen, all cat skiing in the area seems to be quite booked out all the time, so id recommend getting in early.
    There are a lot of cancellations due to weather tho, so maybe the rescheduled people are also whats causing it to fill up all the slots.
     
    snowsurfer2000 likes this.
  6. Billy_Buttons

    Billy_Buttons A Local Ski Pass: Gold

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2011
    Messages:
    5,747
    Likes Received:
    3,751
    Real cat skiing...

     
    snowsurfer2000 and Any like this.
  7. Mike Pow

    Mike Pow One of Us

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2014
    Messages:
    702
    Likes Received:
    854
    Niseko Weiss Powder Cats is operated by Hanazono Niseko

    https://hanazononiseko.com/en/winter/activities/weiss-cat-skiing

    From their web site:

    "You will be able to ski an average of 8-10 runs in one tour. The steepest run would be 30 degrees and an average would be 20 degrees. The maximum vertical descent is 450 meters.

    Though the amount and quality of snow here is magnificent, the altitude is not high so there are no worries of thin air. The CAT base, where the tour would begin, is located 450 meters above sea level and the peak drop-off is 930 meters above sea level."

    The House of Powder / Chisenupuri Snow Cat Experience run by Hokkaido Backcountry Club has a 281m vertical drop each run.

    Neither operation makes any secret that the terrain is aimed at intermediate skiers and snowboarders looking for a relaxed powder experience on what were formerly ski areas.

    Whilst the terrain surrounding both operations is steeper and wilder that is not what they are selling.


    This is incorrect.

    Mt Kariba, the highest peak in the area, tops out at 1520m and whilst it's possible to ski from the summit to the shore Hokkaido Backcountry Club do not offer that option

    From their web site

    "The Shimamaki cat skiing zone reaches up to 1,520 meters at the top of Mt. Kariba and runs descend an average of 450 vertical meters. The terrain is a mix of open alpine bowls and perfectly spaced trees. Slopes range from 15-35 degrees (a typical resort black run is 32º). On average guests ski and ride 4,000 vertical meters of powdery snow. As with any cat ski terrain the amount of runs/day depends on weather, avalanche conditions, and the groups ability level."
     
  8. snowsurfer2000

    snowsurfer2000 First Runs

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2019
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    1
    Thanks to all that responded about the terrian. It was quite informative, as I will have two kids with me. They are good skier and a snowboarder but don't quite want to get them into gnar terrain on a cat just yet. So fairly beginner cat ski terrain will be fine for the moment. I think they will be quite excited just getting to ride a cat
    The question was however around timing for booking. From what Any suggests, booking earlier is better. Was curious if there is a dry spell for a few days, do the cat ski companies that I mentioned still run the cat even if there are no more fresh lines? or they cancel until they get new snow?
    Thought, it would be good to ask you guys before I approach them
     
  9. Any

    Any One of Us

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2015
    Messages:
    614
    Likes Received:
    793
    Location:
    oz/japan/usa
    Both Weiss and Chis have a reasonable area. With just that one cat, even maxing it out, i think it'd probably take quite some time of no snow to track them out. When we have long dry patches, like two weeks, I sometimes hear of peoples cat skiing and backcountry guiding getting cancelled.
    Of the two, Chis probably has more variety. Further you go skiers left it gets steeper, with some features created by the abandoned lift line, further around there's some pillows in the trees there too but you get stuck.
    Ive never been to the onsen at chis, goshiki onsen is 5 mins drive further up the road. I think its copper minerals in the water instead of sulfur, and its freaking hot. One of my fav.
     
  10. Mike Pow

    Mike Pow One of Us

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2014
    Messages:
    702
    Likes Received:
    854
    Earlier is always better with all cat operations. Limited seats means it sells out quite quickly.

    The advantage Niseko Weiss Powder Cats has over The House of Powder / Chisenupuri is you get a good view of the Niseko Resort Area, especially the backside of The Peak.

    The advantage The House of Powder / Chisenupuri has over Niseko Weiss Powder Cats is a higher base area which usually translates to better snow.

    For your needs you won't be disappointed with either.

    May I suggest a day or two at Niseko Moiwa Ski Resort prior to the cat day so your kids can get a hang of the transition from piste to powder to trees and the timing of the runouts back to the lift.
     
  11. snowsurfer2000

    snowsurfer2000 First Runs

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2019
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    1
    Thanks for good info. I decided to go with the House of Powder group over Niseko Weiss base on the suggestions and recommendations here.
    Yes, we are planning to spend a few days riding at Kiroro and then at Moiwa before the Cat tour.
    Think snow..


     
    Mike Pow likes this.