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Travel Life Hakuba 2020

Discussion in 'Japan' started by BMWRX, Oct 13, 2019.

  1. BMWRX

    BMWRX Hard Yards

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    I've booked to go for my first Japan ski trip in the first week of March next year. We're off to Hakuba and will be staying at Hotel De Laile, right next to the Sakka lifts.

    All of my skiing so far has been in NZ conditions in July and August, so not overly cold (I have a habit of being there the week before snow falls). I tend to be relatively toasty at the base of Cardrona, then get a bit chilly at the top after the lift up. However, my concern is that my current ski clothes won't cut it for Japan.

    What is the general consensus on types of clothes that are required? Will I need full under-thermals and insulated jacket and pants, or will my NZ experience be a fair indication for what I'll need to be wearing in Hakuba?

    Thanking all in advance.
     
  2. Donzah

    Donzah Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Hakuba isn't that cold IMO.
    The biggest thing is face protection when it snows.
     
  3. Lucky Pete

    Lucky Pete One of Us

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    At that time of year an insulated jacket may well be overkill, its very unlikely to be proper cold. I dont even wear one in winter. Layers are your friends.
     
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  4. Tanuki

    Tanuki A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    I've had both rain and minus 15c in Hakuba in Jan and February. I'd plan and pack for what might be the coldest so that you're prepared.

    In my kit is merino base layers for top and bottom, 3 layer goretex shell pants, a mid layer for cold days and a mid for warmer weather plus a shell jacket.

    Never been there in March though.
     
  5. person s

    person s Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    thermals are always desirable, and I’d rather have a shell jacket with various options for other layers
    I agree that Hakuba isn’t super-cold but some of it is subjective and you might still need 3 or 4 layers
    gloves are important too
    when I was in Sweden early this year it got to -27° and I found mittens with liners necessary, but that was the first time ever that a regular pair of leather ski gloves wasn’t enough
     
  6. Crispy013

    Crispy013 One of Us

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    What rated gear do you have at the moment?
    I wear thermals and Goretex shell jacket and pants during middle of winter and always been fine. Sometimes I need a mid layer, but only very rarely when it’s bitterly cold. Neck/face protection is a must IMO. As others have said, Hakuba is pretty mellow temp wise. Probably not too far off what you would experience in NZ. Should be heading into spring like conditions down in the valley.
     
  7. Lady Penelope

    Lady Penelope One of some lot ... Ski Pass: Gold

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    Make sure you have very good gloves or preferably mittens. Aldi gloves just don’t cut it.
     
  8. Donzah

    Donzah Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Early March in Hakuba ...i've often ridden in a hoody and thermals.
    Just depends on the wind direction
     
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  9. Sandy

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

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    Late Feb / early March is often heading into late winter, so it could be warmish or cold.
    Take a shell and carry layers.
     
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  10. Donzah

    Donzah Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    I've been in everything from neg five to sixteen degrees in those dates
    (in the valley)
     
  11. LMB

    LMB Old but definitely not Crusty! Ski Pass: Gold

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    Agree with all above posters.

    Extra layer will do the trick.
    Face protection is key.
    As are decent gloves or liners under the gloves.
     
  12. BMWRX

    BMWRX Hard Yards

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    Thank you for the replies. I'll layer up it seems. I've got thermal tights and shirt already, so I'll hunt down a decent mid layer.

    Face protection is something I've been remiss on. I've just used a buff pulled up so far but I'm guessing that won't hold up well if I'm playing in the powder.

    And I agree with the gloves comments. I had a pair of Aldi's this year in NZ and experienced rain on the first day of the trip. I couldn't get to the stores quickly enough to buy a decent pair. One pair of Pow Warner GTX (I couldn't justify getting the Stealths) found their way into my kit and have proven themselves well worth the money.
     
  13. Sandy

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

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    Often the issue with face protection, is that if there's a lot of powder, that face protection will get clogged with powder.
    Not so much an issue with a snowboarder, but if powder is deep, it tends to hit you in the face on every turn.
    If looking for gear, check out the Tokyo ski shop area:
    https://www.ski.com.au/xf/threads/buying-ski-snowboard-gear-in-tokyo-season-2019-2020.86008/
     
  14. BMWRX

    BMWRX Hard Yards

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    Thanks @Sandy. We're skiiers so will definitely need to protect our faces a bit better.

    Sadly, we got to Tokyo after hitting the snow, so will have to pick up stuff locally before our trip. However, if it is as good as I'm told Japanese skiing is, we'll certainly hit up those shops in your link in preparation for 2021.
     
  15. LMB

    LMB Old but definitely not Crusty! Ski Pass: Gold

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    A buff is fine.

    If it’s a heavy snow day I may stick a spare one in my pocket to swap out through the day.

    But my latest trick has been a double layer - a buff underneath that gets pulled right up, and a neck warmer over the top that I can sink my face down into on the lifts for extra toasty cheek defrostation.

    The neck warmer of choice is one of these:
    https://www.roxyaustralia.com.au/womens/collections/biotherm#intro
    But any will do.

    I used to get annoyed that neck warmers wouldn’t stay up, too many exposed bits. That’s why I swore by buffs. But the combo is awesome!

    Even awesomer if you’ve picked up a winter cold is adding a couple of drops of essential oil (I use a “breathe blend” but plain old eucalyptus works just as well) onto the neck warmer and when you’re settled on the lift breathe the warm cosyness and open up those sinuses!
     
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  16. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us

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    Hakuba Valley recently uploaded this video.
     
  17. Lucky Pete

    Lucky Pete One of Us

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    I wear a thin balaclava type set up under my helmet that pulls up over my face. It serves too functions. Stop inhaling pow, particularly if ending up under the snow which can easily kill you in addition to when turning etc and for warmth. No neck warmer etc. Dont recall ever getting too cold running that system. Its Hakuba not Siberia :)
     
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  18. TJ

    TJ One of Us

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    First snow for the season, Here we go again :) Needless to say I am slightly pumped. Could be riding in a month.
     
  19. snowgum

    snowgum One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Re early Mid Feb (when I'll hit Hakuba and then Shiga): just wondering what sort of a mid layer people are using? - along with good Merino thermals (with zip) and Gtex shell top. & bottom (non negotiable).

    So I've recently picked up an Arcteryx Atom Jacket (don't see myself using my trim but warm down hoodie on lifts) and wondering if that's enough on the colder days (say < -10c, wind etc...)

    I am a very warm skier when moving - but being in my 50s now I reckon I cool down a bit faster than I used to. Would this mid layer be OTT on the milder (Feb) days?

    Just while I'm there, for the valley, is a down or warm sythetic mid layer (over thermals) enough for most days? (Shell for wind or precip). More relevant acne on the down hoodie walking to pub?

    Also I assume good waterproof (Gtex/leather) are a must walking around snow covered streets?

    Cheers.
     
  20. Lucky Pete

    Lucky Pete One of Us

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    Gortex is king although for years I just had high cut vans or do what most locals do and rock some insulated gumboots. As for mid layers you will just have to suck it and see, EVERYONE is different. My Mrs will layer right up whilst I may not.
     
  21. ojisan

    ojisan station master Ski Pass: Gold

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    I get by with just a uniqlo thermal under my jacket.
    They come in various warmths and I find that ultra warm is perfect
     
  22. Crispy013

    Crispy013 One of Us

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    uniqlo for the win
     
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  23. snowgum

    snowgum One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Weather conds on lifts /in town will be interesting. Being from xc/bc/walking brigrade originally I am prone to gearfreaking and like have a layer (or two as a spare) for most types of weather.

    The unknown is wind. I think I have a rough idea of temps and except they’ll be up & down
    over a 10 day stay (plus 5d at shiga Kogen - up high). Having skied at TC NZ recently with windchill temp max of -16 at the top, I’ve had a wake up as to what ‘cold’ can mean OS.
    Of course that day was coldish for NZ (-8c max) but the interesting thing was that while the wind was fresh, it wasn't like a top of Hotham/Thredbo gale.

    So if anyone had any intell on what winds are like at Hakuba (lifts & valley), I’d be grateful, as I’m sure would anyone else about to head up for their first visit.

    Funny I skied Canada way back in 88/89 and mostly BC in April/May 94’ and I dont recall wind being much of a factor.

    It was very cold in /around Banff & resorts, Ottawa, Winter Park Co. & coolish at Whistler but not gusty like Aus & Nz - thankfully! (;-)
     
  24. Chowder11

    Chowder11 Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    2nd.
    For also just general clothing.
     
  25. Chowder11

    Chowder11 Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    Hard to say.
    Was there last year mid feb and it was 10 deg and I was skiing in a T-shirt and shell jacket only and was still warm.
     
  26. snowgum

    snowgum One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Wow! Not so different from Oz at the warmer end of scale. Cheers.
     
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  27. M_G

    M_G M_G_ = Make skiing great again Ski Pass: Gold

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    Hakuba Iwatake

     
  28. Chowder11

    Chowder11 Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    It it could be -15. That was very unseasonal.
     
  29. Sandy

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

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    How long is a piece of string?
    Without wind, in early/mid Feb, Hakuba can be anything from +7 to -8 at the bottom (Happo), to -3 to -15 at the top.
    (Shiga Kogen, subtract 4 degrees)

    With wind, yes wind chill be colder. But it's more about what is closed. A northerly blows down the Hakuba Valley, and the first to shut in strong winds are Goryu/47 and the top of Happo. Next are Iwatake & Tsugaike. Next Cortina, then Norikura.
    Generally, when this happens, the wind is much stronger at certain levels....
    e.g. Wind might be strong above 1400m, which will close most Goryu/47. Above 1200m will close gondola at Happo.
    If it's cold and wind is strong, you could have a wind chill of -30, so windchill of -16 in NZ is not so very cold.
     
  30. Lucky Pete

    Lucky Pete One of Us

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    Dont worry about the wind, if its windy nothing will open anyway.... :(
     
  31. Tanuki

    Tanuki A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    A shell jacket and a thin thermal layer? Sheesh, to U must run hot
     
  32. ojisan

    ojisan station master Ski Pass: Gold

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    A hairy back has its advantages LOL
     
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  33. Hyst

    Hyst Enjoyer Ski Pass: Gold

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    Snowmonkey? Careful, some might be attracted to you! LOL
     
  34. snowgum

    snowgum One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    I confess my back /legs are pseudo Viking/meditteranean in terms of hair!! Does act like a thin thermal which can be c good or v bad.

    Unlike a thermal, its hard to whip out a Gillette /Schick in the lift Q !! (;-)
     
  35. BMWRX

    BMWRX Hard Yards

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    Hmm, I'm up there the first week of March and planned to ski every day I'm there (six days). Windy conditions are usually a crap shoot but is it likely I'll have at least one day blown off?
     
  36. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us

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  37. Annabuzzy

    Annabuzzy Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    I’d expect spring conditions, so mainly warmish and possibly rain. But it could and likely will snow at least once. Who knows?

    personally I wouldn’t worry about an insulated jacket. A shell plus a mid layer if needed, plus thermals or base layer, is all you’ll need.

    I tend to use insulated pants but in March I’d be tempted to take shell pants too, provided you can also pack some warm thermal pants to wear underneath if it gets quite cold. If you just have insulated pants, bring them - they’ll be fine
     
    #37 Annabuzzy, Nov 16, 2019
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2019
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  38. Lucky Pete

    Lucky Pete One of Us

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    There are 10 resorts in the valley, although at that time of year a couple may well be finished depending on snowfall etc. Even with some shut no matter how windy it is it will be hyper unlikely that everything will be shut.
     
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  39. chunky

    chunky Old n' Crusty

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    Are there accomodations in Hakuba that aren't scary pricey for 2 families say for 7 adults and 4 kids to stay together for two weeks in 2nd half of January ?
     
  40. Donzah

    Donzah Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Why not stay in a lodge?
    eg
    http://blackpinelodge.com/
     
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  41. Lucky Pete

    Lucky Pete One of Us

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    Most people I know are fully booked over that period. There are very limited self contained places that can hold 11 people at any time so as Donzah suggested a lodge may be your best option. Gary etc at Blackpine are nice guys as are Pep and Alex at Wasabi Lodge, amongst many others in town. Your best bet will be contact them directly and also jump on the main booking sites and check places for availability. If you PM me some info about your budget I may be able to suggest some other places.
     
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  42. BMWRX

    BMWRX Hard Yards

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    Ninety days to go until our trip. We've got all of our gear sorted except apres clothes. What is the recommendation for pants to wear when not on the slopes? In QT we generally just wear jeans but I'm thinking that won't cut it in Japan in early March.
     
  43. Donzah

    Donzah Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Jeans are fine . Its not the arctic . Early march has the potential to be quite warm.
     
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  44. Crispy013

    Crispy013 One of Us

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    Jeans, t-shirt, down puffer jacket. Basically my staple in Japan.
     
  45. Donzah

    Donzah Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    I take shorts as well...
    * cause the lodges are too hot
     
  46. BMWRX

    BMWRX Hard Yards

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    Great. Jeans it is.
     
  47. Zimbooo

    Zimbooo One of Us

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    With underpants on the outside.........be the super hero you want to be. LOL
     
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  48. chunky

    chunky Old n' Crusty

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    Thank you Lucky Pete. Very preliminary at this stage. I will look at your suggestions :)
     
  49. 2ESki

    2ESki Addicted

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    Stayed there last year with Miss 15, older place but lovely owner, terrific views from the rooms over the forest, really close to the Sakka lifts, great places to eat nearby and a outside onsen :thumbs: very jelly, can't wait to go back:)
     
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  50. Nozawaman

    Nozawaman A Local

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