Hakuba 21/22

Sandy

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I'm not sure if it makes sense. 14.3 degrees in the valley, no cloud on the radar. Freeze level at about 3500m. No cold air forecast until Tue/Wed next week.

I'm thinking bugs flying right near the camera.
 
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skichanger

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Was thinking... what is this crazy Hakuba microclimate?!
You do get some unexpected local snow falls. Whilst not Hakuba, we have driven home from Joetsu with snow falling most of the way. We were thinking we would have to dig the car park out. Get to Sekiyama and it stops. Almost no snow at my place but Sugi was fresh tracks all day.
 

TJ

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after the mothgate false start we now have lift off :)
First snow 2022.jpg
 
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snowgum

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Down to 1400 meters overnight. I still get that feeling when I see the snow for the first time each winter. Kid in a candy shop feels. Talking to the converted here no doubt.
First snow Happo.JPG
Very nice - seems so early when viewed with Aussie eyes.
 

skichanger

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Noooo! I have a guy from Hakuba doing 2 more trips to Furano. Just hoping it all gets done before there is to much snow. Will still be doable, just more difficult.
 

snowgum

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Went and checked out the snow moths at Happo Pond this morning. It wasnt warm :) #notlongnow

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Great pics, vibe LP.

Can I please ask (having skied Happo a few times while staying near Sakka 3);

- Is it possible one skis over the pond mid-winter and is just not aware of it?
(I don’t recall any area immediately near the top lifts being ‘that flat’)

- Thinking of Aussie lift company comparisons? Do the Happo lift owners mind running lifts when clearly, they’d be running at a loss over much of summer? Or does the winter/spring bounty allow for loss-making periods.

- Thredbo aside, it seems a very different policy space to Aussie summer operations. And quite good to see too! Such easy access to snow and alpine meadows!

(One day I’ll return). :cool::thumbs:
 

Lucky Pete

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Hi Snowgum
The pond is an hour hike off the very top lift so very much back country only accessed by crew going up high on the ridge so perhaps unlikely you have ridden over it, I imagine it does freeze over though.

Counter intuitively Happo moves more people in the green season than winter, which suprised me too when I 1st heard that. At 11am when I was coming down there was a lot of people headed up ands its a Monday with far from perfect weather. Id guess I saw 500 people in a couple hours today. Not sure if that's normal though.

Whilst the access is good to these areas its very much restricted to formed trails but gives access to people of all ages. LOTS of elderly folks out today slowly working their way up to the pond and possibly beyond to Karamatsu. Its epic seeing the older people out there and they always light up when I stop say hi and have a chat.
 
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Jacksong

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Counter intuitively Happo moves more people in the green season than winter, which suprised me too when I 1st heard that.
I see these sort of stats often in Japan which are very interesting. Are the 20 or so lifts running occupied at high capacity all day every day in summer like winter?
 

snowgum

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Snow to almost the top of the Gondy at Happo this morning. It sure feels like November here. Cold, rain/snow and still quite a few chores to do :) This pic is from our place above the Gallery, will try and get a better pic later when I go over to our Apartments as the views there are much better.

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Very nice, cheers. Winter is closing in? :cool:
 

Sandy

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Counter intuitively Happo moves more people in the green season than winter, which surprised me too when I 1st heard that.
I think this is statistically selective. It probably refers to:
1. Just the gondy & the 2 upper chairs only.
2. Green season runs from May to November, while the winter season nominally runs from December to May, the bulk of the snow riders only use the lifts from January until the end of March.... so 7 months vs 3 months.
3. The top chair is often not open in winter, so the total number of days running in the winter is small compared to summer. So if you compare just summer to winter, I think the gondy would have more total traffic in the winter, but the top chair would have more traffic in summer.

I've climbed to the Happo Pond in June, and there were not a huge number of people using the gondy compared to winter.
 
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Sandy

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I think this is statistically selective. It probably refers to:
1. Just the gondy & the 2 upper chairs only.
2. Green season runs from May to November, while the winter season nominally runs from December to May, the bulk of the snow riders only use the lifts from January until the end of March.... so 7 months vs 3 months.
3. The top chair is often not open in winter, so the total number of days running in the winter is small compared to summer. So if you compare just summer to winter, I think the gondy would have more total traffic in the winter, but the top chair would have more traffic in summer.

I've climbed to the Happo Pond in June, and there were not a huge number of people using the gondy compared to winter.
Nope, based on what members of the management team have told me and others they sell more tickets in green season than winter. Its not how many times a bum gets on a chair. There are lots of days here in March and April where Happo has relatively few skiers, particuarly during the week.
But you said that "Happo moves more people in the green season than winter".
What I'm getting at is that Happo may SELL more tickets (Alpen line 3,000 yen & Kurobishi line 1,680 yen tickets for single round trip rides) in 7 months, but Happo will MOVE more people in January to March on 6000yen tickets on multiple rides across the whole mountain.
 

Lucky Pete

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Weather is closing in again this afternoon, not sure on temps up top but its cool in town. Wont be surprised to see more snow up top and lower again in the morning. Sure feels like early/mid November. Best go put my tools away and start thing about pulling snowboards out and find my waxing kit :)
 
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skichanger

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Weather is closing in again this afternoon, not sure on temps up top but its cool in town. Wont be surprised to see more snow up top and lower again in the morning. Sure feels like early/mid November. Best go put my tools away and start thing about pulling snowboards out and find my waxing kit :)
Someone I know is on the ferry from Niigata to Otaru Did the same trip a fortnight ago. Vehicles not tied down. This time vehicles are tied down. So if it is coming from that direction there could be a bit. Apparently Shiga looks skiable already.
 

TACKIE

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Went and checked out the snow moths at Happo Pond this morning. It wasnt warm :) #notlongnow

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Last time i hiked up there was Oct 2019. Cool, but not cold. Nice Autumn colours everywhere. Then sitting in the sun watching the Paragliders take off. An elderly Japanese couple struck up a conversation with us and shared there sweets with us. Ahh, memories. F##k you Covid.
 

Lucky Pete

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Sub Zero temps last night here with ice on the cars this morning. Once it clears will be a stunning day. There is a real buzz in town about the season and the early snow to almost mid station (since reetreated a little). Will be interesting to see what the next couple weeks brings. At least this year all our renos will be finsihed mid Nov, makes a pleasant change.

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Lucky Pete

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As expected after the initial blast of really cold weather its kind of warmed up again. We went to Iwatake on the weekend and enjoyed it. They have done really well with the green season activities there. Hopefully they can build more MTB trail and get their act together with winter. :) Was good to be back there and spotting some more lines for this season.


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Sandy

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New Norikura lift from the Japan tourism thread:

Ok, so it DOES run between the Alps No.3 and No.4, higher above the Highway course.
It's a huge game changer for Norikura. Looking at the photo, you can see where the lift goes. Here's what it looks like IMO:

Runs from just near the top of Lift No.5, and along the southern side of the ridge. It can only come out on that south facing slope.
Green lifts are Cortina, blue lifts are Norikura & red lift is the new lift.

Norikura new lift line2.jpg


Red outline area is the main area. Dotted red are tree runs. Green outlines are the main hazardous areas. The left green area is the one that had lots of glide cracks and snow slides. The right area is the current avalanche zone.
Since the bottom of that whole area is really flat (runs back onto the very flat Lift No.1, I assume that they will groom a cat track along the whole length of the marked road, to make it accessible for lower skilled snow riders.... Otherwise the lift is not a cost effective option if it only caters for off piste riders.

Looking from Tsugaike:
DSC00145bbb.jpg


Hazardous part of area. It's not usually as bad as that, but the glide cracks are often there. You can just the the top of lift No.3, so you can see that there's always been access to this lower area.
DSC00144.JPG



Note that only a single short lift from Tsugaike is enough to join Norikura & Tsugaike.
 
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Donza

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New Norikura lift from the Japan tourism thread:



It's a huge game changer for Norikura. Looking at the photo, you can see where the lift goes. Here's what it looks like IMO:

Runs from just near the top of Lift No.5, and along the southern side of the ridge. It can only come out on that south facing slope.
Green lifts are Cortina, blue lifts are Norikura & red lift is the new lift.

View attachment 240109

Red outline area is the main area. Dotted red are tree runs. Green outlines are the main hazardous areas. The left green area is the one that had lots of glide cracks and snow slides. The right area is the current avalanche zone.
Since the bottom of that whole area is really flat (runs back onto the very flat Lift No.1, I assume that they will groom a cat track along the whole length of the marked road, to make it accessible for lower skilled snow riders.... Otherwise the lift is not a cost effective option if it only caters for off piste riders.

Looking from Tsugaike:
DSC00145bbb.jpg


Hazardous part of area. It's not usually as bad as that, but the glide cracks are often there. You can just the the top of lift No.3, so you can see that there's always been access to this lower area.
DSC00144.JPG



Note that only a single short lift from Tsugaike is enough to join Norikura & Tsugaike.
Looks great...

You're missing a lift at Nori.
Runs upto Cortina.
The fun lift.
 

Lucky Pete

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Great pic of some of the risks of that Nori Northside area Sandy. Been looking for a pic like that to show others for a long time so thanks.

DSC00144.JPG


Whilst the risks in that area are well known although often ignored, its the area opposite the backside of Cortina which is what most people are excited about with this new lift and is the one with probably a higher risk. Its already a popular BC area and some folks are bummed it will be lift access in 22/23.

See the rough estimate of that area in the screenshot below with the red line being approximate guess at where the lift is going although Im yet to see any definitive mapping showing how high it will be going up the ridge although crew out that way are saying all the way to the top :) Its steep in places, known to slide into narrow treed gullies including over the exit which it shares with Cortina backside. Add in waterfall or 2 and small rock faces and you need to be on your game in there.

Screenshot (156).png
 
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snowgum

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Should be waking up to a pretty white town in the morning. Will be interesting to see how it pans out. Forecast up high looks good. With a meter forecast prior to Sat will be interesting to see if anything opens....

Screenshot (164).png
Ah, where was this forecast in mid Feb 2020? :rolleyes:

…Regardless of the vagaries of 19/20’ - I hope you get ‘lucky’ wth the snow Pete. :thumbs:
 
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snowgum

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That season was a once in 60 year strike out, so you shouldn't keep saying that any good snow in Japan is just "lucky". :p
Fair call Sandy - I say luck with a smile - with my interest in met stats and climate, I’m the first (second after you!) to admit 19/20 Honshu winter season was remarkable for its mildness and reduced snowfall.

The fact I could ‘just’ get back to the bottom of Sakka3 to Wadano some days (rather than download) in an atypically ‘bad’ season is testament to the quantity of snow that does or did fall.

Fwiw: I’m watching these tourism developments from the sidelines - it’s lovely to see fresh snow in Japan anytime, even if we can’t there for some time? :ski::cool:
 
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Lucky Pete

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Woohoo Goryu opened today at 12pm. Got a phone call at 11 it was going to happen and was in line by 11.30 with some friends like Steve from Hakuba Connect and Patrick from Powdermania, was in the 2nd Gondy going up. Only the top little double and about 50 people max but great vibe and some fun turns. Check out their instagram page for live vids etc.

With snow in the forecast tonight Im thinking we may see Tsguike open tomorrow and I wont even guess when the muppets at Happo will open.

Big thanks to Never Summer Japan, Bern Japan and Wax Hakuba.

@snowgum that pic is the Hakuba Train Station :)

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Donza

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Woohoo Goryu opened today at 12pm. Got a phone call at 11 it was going to happen and was in line by 11.30 with some friends like Steve from Hakuba Connect and Patrick from Powdermania, was in the 2nd Gondy going up. Only the top little double and about 50 people max but great vibe and some fun turns. Check out their instagram page for live vids etc.

With snow in the forecast tonight Im thinking we may see Tsguike open tomorrow and I wont even guess when the muppets at Happo will open.

Big thanks to Never Summer Japan, Bern Japan and Wax Hakuba.

@snowgum that pic is the Hakuba Train Station :)

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Fux!
 
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