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Hakkoda

Discussion in 'Japan' started by RyanMM75, Mar 30, 2019.

  1. Lonepeak

    Lonepeak Hard Yards

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    Good to know. I’m scoping out other areas as far south as Iwate as back-ups if I need to spend a few day’s elsewhere.
     
  2. bluestick

    bluestick One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Been to Hakkoda a few times. Definitely worth a visit but even the season before last it was busy around the weekends. Mid week ok.i reckon feb would be better than Jan. We toured without a guide with no problems except it did involve waiting for the bus service. Ok runs under the rope way. The chairs at the bottom are a bad weather option although skies out quick. There are not a lot of nearby options although Aomori spring is worth a visit as are some of the smaller resorts heading towards morioka. Heaps of options out of morioka ... lots of tr’s on here re this area particularly those by heinz
     
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  3. Lonepeak

    Lonepeak Hard Yards

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    Bus? Is it possible to catch a bus back to the ropeway after a side/back country route? I recall reading the guides will have a dirver/van at the end of a route to get back to ropeway. Bus is an option as well?
     
  4. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Certainly not that I remember, although that was a few years ago. It was always a prearranged pick up by the guide with the hotel or ski school.
     
  5. bluestick

    bluestick One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    There is twice daily (from what I recall ) jr bus service from Aomori that you can use for a pick up from the historic onsen and hotel up the road from the ropeway. If staying at these places they provide their own bus shuttle to the ropeway as well as guided group tours and you can then ‘tour’ back to the Onsen. There are other tours as well with various pick up points although I haven’t done those. The main routes have markers once you get in the forest and in summer probably above the tree line.
     
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  6. geeoff

    geeoff Hard Yards

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    That route to Sukayu Onsen only opens later in season. IIRC March. If you search Hakkoda-ski.com there is a downloadable contour map of the area showing the various routes and the roads around the base. As Heinz says you basically need a guide to get transport back along the road if you take a route that does not connect back to the front courses (forest and direct) from which you can access the ropeway base. There are a multitude of lines that do connect back to the base, but because of terrain and weather it is very easy to get lost without a guide. We used a very good local Yoshitaka Hirai www.hakkoda-hirai.com as our guide.
     
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  7. Lonepeak

    Lonepeak Hard Yards

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    Thanks all. I like the late season option so I can try other areas on my to-do list Jan-Feb (Iwate, maybe Alts Bandai). Hakkoda has been on my radar since my first trip to Niseko a few years ago. I rode the gondola with a 70 year old (!) Tokyo skier who showed me some pics of Hakkoda on blue bird days. Had me drooling...
     
  8. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Have a look here https://www.ski.com.au/xf/xfa-blog-category/japan.14/view-entries
    2009 & 2010 reports for winter conditions
    2012 report for spring conditions
     
    #58 Heinz, Jul 24, 2019
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2019
  9. Lonepeak

    Lonepeak Hard Yards

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  10. AdyL

    AdyL First Runs

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    Hi just reading this forum for the first time. We are booked in for feb , were not exactly BC skiers/boarders but have wanted to ski here for years. I feel it might be above our skill level , advanced but not hardcore. Finding a good guide service is the key from what you say here . also is it easy to hire quality skis and boards ? thanks in advance - we are booked for 9 days here.......any tips for next feb welcome.
     
  11. geeoff

    geeoff Hard Yards

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    The rental options at Hakkoda are few in number and only have limited range. There is the ski school rental and Sensou lodge shop.
    Definitely recommend BYO!
    The skiing is not “”extreme”, in fact a lot is quite mellow, it is more the fact the terrain is varied (ie forests, creek beds, quirky contours) and this makes route planning difficult. You are not in a ski “resort”.
    This is why a guide is recommended.
     
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  12. skifree

    skifree grey Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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    The guide should route you through terrain that suits the ability of the group.

    As above much of the guided terrain is mellow and should be no real issue for ski any blue run skier.

    Going off the groomers will take you into very challenging terrain if you’re not careful.

    Tho dropping into chest deep pow for the whole line presents new challenges to skiers of Oz ice.

    Take your own gear, include a helmet, the bc lines pretty much all involve long runouts thru forest.
     
  13. Lucky Pete

    Lucky Pete One of Us

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    If you are going off piste count on hiring BC gear as well if you dont have it. Beacon etc etc etc.
     
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  14. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    I am surprised you booked there for 9 days without knowing more. For that length of time you would certainly want some form of BC capability ie. touring skis or snow shoes as well as a guide and avi gear. You can spend a few days there just skiing the two marked runs but that would be it. Otherwise for a 9 day period you would be better off elsewhere. The skiing itself probably won't be above your skill level but you will need a guide to show you the various routes and avoid the terrain traps.
     
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  15. pedub

    pedub One of Us

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    Is Hakkoda OK early Jan? (for snow cover)
    What about further south i.e. Akita, Iwate?
    Thinking about spending NYE around Sapporo but thinking about trying to get over to Honshu maybe on the shinkansen. I guess it would mean hiring a car at Aomori perhaps....
     
  16. skifree

    skifree grey Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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    We flew Hokkaido to Aomori, pre Shink, and bus to Hokkoda.
     
  17. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us

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    JMA has a weather station at 880m asl on Hakkoda and according to JMA, the snowdepth on January 1st this year(2019) was 222cm(and it reached 370cm a few weeks later). Hakkoda is a lot more snowy than Niseko and the altitude is higher than Niseko's base, so it's colder too. This video was filmed on December 26th 2018.
     
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  18. buckwheat

    buckwheat One of Us

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    You'll be right in jan!
     
  19. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us

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    You are willing to hike or going to ski only inside ski resorts?. If I choose backcountry spots which are close enough to Tohoku Shinkansen stations(less than one hour by car from Tohoku Shinkansen stations), they are Mt.Gentagadake, Mt.Mitsuishi and Mt.Chausu. All of them are in Iwate(Akita is a bit far from Tohoku Shinkansen stations). The elevation of those mountains are about 1500m, and it's northern Tohoku, so I feel 1500m there is like 2000m + of Central Honshu. Mt.Gentagadake is accessible by use of the lifts of Shimokura Ski resort. Mt.Mitsuishi is accessible by use of the lifts of Amihari ski resort. Appi has backcountry tours to Mt.Chausu.

    This is Mt.Gentagadake on January 4th(hike from Shimokura ski resort)


    Iwate's backcountry spots are mainly for spring skiing for us, though, not January. This was filmed in early May(May 3rd).


    This is around Mt.Mitsuishi. The elevation of Mt.Mitsuishi is about 1500m, but they are skiing around 1350m - 900m in the video. The top lift station of Amihari ski resort is at about 1350m, so almost 0m vertical hike from the top lift station of Amihari ski resort, and that's why I like Amihari ski resort.



    This is around Mt.Chausu on Jaunary 3rd. There was a ski resort there but closed more than 10 years ago. The ski resort was at 900m - 1420m(Mt.Chausu is 1580m). Usually, very snowy roads are closed in winter, but there are geothermal power plants at about 1000m asl there, so the road is open in mid winter, so you can drive there in winter too. Now Appi has CAT tours there, so you don't need to drive by yourself, though.
     
    #69 Ramenman, Sep 1, 2019
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2019
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  20. pedub

    pedub One of Us

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    Yeah we will do resorts and BC too.
    It looks alright :nerd:
    Why do you mainly do spring skiing there @Ramenman?

    It looks like an option to explore Aomori area (incl Hakkoda) then head down to Morioka too. Probably looking like 5 - 12 Jan.
     
  21. skifree

    skifree grey Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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    Hokkoda not much viz traditionally in Jan & Feb.
     
  22. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us

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    From where we live and work, ski resorts in southern Tohoku are the most accessible. My family own a lodge in Zao (=Yamagata Pref) and I jointly bought a used tiny loge in Urabandai Highland (=Fukushima Pref) with my ski mates, so I ski in southern Tohoku the most. March is still good enough for many backcountry terrains in southern Tohoku which are easily accessible by use of lifts of ski resorts. From last week of March, we tend to go to northern Tohoku for better snow quality. Actually, Fukushima has the tallest mountains of Tohoku (2100 - 2400m) and they have good snow quality in late March and early April, but there aren't ski resorts on those mountains, which means, we need to hike a lot. I enjoy 200m - 300m vertical hike. 400m vertical hike? Hmm, sometimes okay, but more than 500m, no, it's too much for me. So, for me, less hike & better snow quality is the reason to go to Iwate, Akita and Aomori in April. From late December to mid March, southern Tohoku is good enough for me.

    This video was filmed on the mountain very close to our lodge in Urabandai Highlands on April 3rd 2019(this year). It's Fukushima = Southernmost prefecture in Tohoku, but it was still this good between 1500m and 2000m in early April this year. It's one of the most common backcountry spots for us. There is a ski resort there and the top lift / gondola station is at 1600m. 400m vertical hike between 1600m and 2000m(=less than 500m vertical hike), not too steep nor too flat, so we enjoy those backcountry terrains in southern Tohoku till the end of March.


    This is the same mountain on April 12th this year(2019), accessible by use of the lifts / gondola of Grandeco ski resort.


    This is also the same mountain filmed in April(not this year, but in 2014). Sorry, this thread is Hakkoda, not Fukushima:p
     
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  23. AdyL

    AdyL First Runs

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    Thanks for that We are definitely on the careful side , so will seek a guide .
     
  24. AdyL

    AdyL First Runs

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    Yes we didn’t really look at the nitty gritty of the place, but skied japan 6 times and felt like something more Japanese... I’m thinking maybe doing a more commercial resort for 4 days. Any recs in the area - is there anywhere else nearby in the same region that’s worth going too ? Cheers
     
  25. Crispy013

    Crispy013 One of Us

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    Aomori Springs?
    Or further south, there’s a bunch of places around Morioka.
     
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  26. geeoff

    geeoff Hard Yards

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    I agree with Aomori Springs and would organise a night in Hirosaki on the way. It’s an interesting city with some nice bars and restaurants.
    I would suggest Aomori Springs first and then on to Hakkoda.
    Some interesting deserts in Hirosaki!
     
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  27. blowfin

    blowfin One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    How would folks do a transfer from Otaru to Aomori?

    I default to thinking about trains but it's a 6hour journey for around about 15,000 yen, and there's 3 transfers. The train ride along the Hokkaido coast (Muroran/Hakodate line) looks like it might be spectacular, has anyone done it?

    Meanwhile a flight looks like it's going to set me back about 100 AUD, with maybe 2000-3000 Yen of airport shuttle costs thrown in. Plus it's going to save me a couple of hours.
     
  28. fennekeg

    fennekeg Addicted Ski Pass: Silver

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    I've done it this Feb, and it certainly has nice views. I would save the 'spectacular' for more mountainous lines like the Akita Nairiku line or the Ou main line, but on the Muroran/Hakodate line I spent quite some time looking out the window instead of reading.
     
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  29. geeoff

    geeoff Hard Yards

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    Did the trip in reverse stopping overnight in Hakodate and then going via Kutchan.
    The part that was spectacular was after we came out of the tunnel on Hokkaido and then hugged the sea around to Hakodate. It had been a blizzard on Honshu and then we came out to blue sky and snow to waters edge.
    Unfortunately the new Shinkansen line appears to go more inland.
    I recall the trip from Hakodate to Oshamambe was also close to the coast in parts but don’t remember it being as scenic but may just have been the weather.
    From Oshamambe to Otaru was a slow local train but interesting, snowy terrain.