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

Hakuba -am I jumping at shadows -help wanted

Discussion in 'Japan' started by miro67, Sep 29, 2009.

  1. Donza

    Donza Pool Room

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2004
    Messages:
    72,779
    Likes Received:
    16,611
    Location:
    wollongong
    Sandy I asked one of the most senior travel consultants in one of the largest ski travel wholesalers in Australia about Naeba,Kagura, Yuzawa, Zao and all i got was a huh? Until its on their radar it won't be on aussie travellers.
    It was like this she/he said.
    Nozawa...magical village..(this seems the new "it" place
    Myoko...like Niseko snow but with less people.
    Shiga Kogen..uncrowded and "european like experience.
     
    #51 Donza, Oct 2, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 18, 2013
  2. smitty484

    smitty484 Old n' Crusty

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2006
    Messages:
    21,943
    Likes Received:
    1,234
    Location:
    Brisbane
    Interesting thougts about the property in Japanese ski resorts. I must say that I found that two skycrapers in Tomamu a bit obscure and there was definitely not enough people at the resort when I went there, in order to keep the buildings fully operational. I never got great photos, but you can see them circled in the yellow below. I was talking to a local while I was there, and apprently there was some boom in the 80's in ski resorts in Japan, but all that is left now are unused buildings.

    [​IMG]
     
    #52 smitty484, Oct 2, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 11, 2013
  3. smitty484

    smitty484 Old n' Crusty

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2006
    Messages:
    21,943
    Likes Received:
    1,234
    Location:
    Brisbane
    The concerns I have with Yuzawa is that it gets mega crowds on weekends due to its ease of access from Tokyo. Is this true?
     
    #53 smitty484, Oct 2, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 18, 2013
  4. Sandy

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

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 1998
    Messages:
    63,982
    Likes Received:
    11,272
    Location:
    Yokohama, Japan, Melb. Expat.
    Well, around Yuzawa Town, I guess it gets a little crowded on a weekend, because it's right next to the Shinkansen station. I've only skied two places there (Gala Yuzawa & Ishiuchi Maruyama), and the liftlines get a little busy I suppose. (not like Buller or Hotham though)

    And Naeba/Kagura are a distance out of town. I've only seen the crowds almost unbearable at Kagura once on a weekend, but that was early season when nothing else was open (like December 1st)

    I mean, last February 28th was a saturday, and I was skiing DIRECTLY onto the Kagura peak chair, no line at all. And mid week is almost deserted.
     
  5. damian

    damian A Local

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2009
    Messages:
    5,323
    Likes Received:
    184
    Location:
    Hakuba, Japan.
    Wot, in Japan? Nah. Really? [​IMG]
     
    #55 damian, Oct 2, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 18, 2013
  6. smitty484

    smitty484 Old n' Crusty

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2006
    Messages:
    21,943
    Likes Received:
    1,234
    Location:
    Brisbane
    I don't know much about it, pretty much when I was born [​IMG]
     
    #56 smitty484, Oct 2, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 11, 2013
  7. Donza

    Donza Pool Room

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2004
    Messages:
    72,779
    Likes Received:
    16,611
    Location:
    wollongong
    Yeps..don't you know it....and the fashion is still seen on the slopes.
    [​IMG]
     
    #57 Donza, Oct 2, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 18, 2013
  8. rangerider

    rangerider A Local

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2008
    Messages:
    6,549
    Likes Received:
    167
    There was a heap of investment in Hakuba for the 1998 games but the funds dried up after that so a fair bit of the infrastructure is pretty old but still in good nick. Not too many high speed quads from what I saw. Apparently when the lift cables have seen better days they sell them to the Chinese to use on their lifts. [​IMG] Aussies are running lots of accom places now which is a good thing I reckon.
     
    #58 rangerider, Oct 2, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 11, 2013
  9. smitty484

    smitty484 Old n' Crusty

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2006
    Messages:
    21,943
    Likes Received:
    1,234
    Location:
    Brisbane
    And the Chinese use their labour to sell new lift cables to the Japanese [​IMG]
     
    #59 smitty484, Oct 2, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 11, 2013
  10. Donza

    Donza Pool Room

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2004
    Messages:
    72,779
    Likes Received:
    16,611
    Location:
    wollongong
    Yeah true...but 47 would have to the "newest" resort i've ever been too.
    With the best music.
    No j-pop. Just early 90's RNB...ice ice baby....
     
    #60 Donza, Oct 2, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 18, 2013
  11. rangerider

    rangerider A Local

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2008
    Messages:
    6,549
    Likes Received:
    167
  12. Donza

    Donza Pool Room

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2004
    Messages:
    72,779
    Likes Received:
    16,611
    Location:
    wollongong
    You mean 47?

    Its got this cool vibe...its hard to describe.
    snowpark like.
     
    #62 Donza, Oct 2, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 18, 2013
  13. rangerider

    rangerider A Local

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2008
    Messages:
    6,549
    Likes Received:
    167
    [​IMG] Yeah I like 47 very much. I was scoping it from Happo and thought I better go over for a look.
     
    #63 rangerider, Oct 2, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 18, 2013
  14. Donza

    Donza Pool Room

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2004
    Messages:
    72,779
    Likes Received:
    16,611
    Location:
    wollongong
    It looks super steep from Happo and the booters look huge.
    Weird looking down at it like that

    They should get the groomers from 47 to groom Happo..

    Its the sort of place (47) that makes you enjoy riding every little biot of the hill.
    Whereas Happo it feels like youre always riding somewhere to enjoy that bit...
    Am I making sense?
     
    #64 Donza, Oct 2, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 18, 2013
  15. Stemik

    Stemik Hard Yards

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2009
    Messages:
    64
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    Hakuba, Japan
    47 groomers are very good, Happo are not very good to say the least. I think they just want to get the job done, park up and have a sleep.
     
  16. rangerider

    rangerider A Local

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2008
    Messages:
    6,549
    Likes Received:
    167
    Yeah know what ya mean Donza. The runs look super steep and narrow from Happo though I reckon Happo is great too. I gotta say I had no complaints with the groomers on Happo. They need to lift their game marking hazards though, I saw a few potential leg breakers down low on a couple of occasions that were there the whole day.
     
  17. Donza

    Donza Pool Room

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2004
    Messages:
    72,779
    Likes Received:
    16,611
    Location:
    wollongong
    They groom crap at Happo and the bury VW beetles all over the hill. Way too many moguls.
    I don't buy the whole moguls is big at Happo vibe, some of the runs weren't moguls, they were just lumps.Just laziness or lack of money
     
    #67 Donza, Oct 2, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 18, 2013
  18. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2005
    Messages:
    25,214
    Likes Received:
    7,899
    Location:
    Adelaide
    The 80's Japanese bubble period is fairly well documented. Economy was very good, skiing was very fashionable and plenty of big resort complexes were built. Groups of regular Japanese skiers would all buy matching Descente race team suits. Tomamu was just one of those resorts. Prince hotels were a major player. Here's a slightly closer view of the Tomamu towers.
    [​IMG]

    Now back to the topic...
     
    #68 Heinz, Oct 2, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 18, 2013
  19. miro67

    miro67 Hard Yards

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2009
    Messages:
    50
    Likes Received:
    1
    A simple question about the weather was what I thought I asked -didn't expect to trigger some of that discussion.

    Thanks for the great input all -some great stuff on Hakuba -look forward to seeing it and experiencing something different from Niseko.
     
  20. fattwins

    fattwins One of Us

    Joined:
    May 5, 2004
    Messages:
    3,528
    Likes Received:
    9
    Location:
    japan
    Are forums ever simple?
    Ive it is a busy forum then you will get tons of opinions.

    Naeba and Kagura can be zoos on weekends. My friends that ski there perfer Hakuba on the weekends due to less people competing for fresh lines. Yuzawa I cant see taking off as compitetion to large inbound volumes. It really isnt very pretty. Great for the city market!
     
  21. Sandy

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

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 1998
    Messages:
    63,982
    Likes Received:
    11,272
    Location:
    Yokohama, Japan, Melb. Expat.
    Naeba/Kagura are not too bad on weekends. 80% of the time I go there on weekends, and it's no worse than Happo on a busy weekend day (and not as bad as the the lifts Kokusai, Skyline and the Gondola at Happo)
    Ok, Sun Alpina, Iwatake, Norikura etc are WAY quieter than Naeba/Kagura on a weekend.
     
    #71 Sandy, Oct 3, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 18, 2013
  22. Donza

    Donza Pool Room

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2004
    Messages:
    72,779
    Likes Received:
    16,611
    Location:
    wollongong
    Anyways for the aussie punter on a 14 day ski trip to Hakuba a saturday morning is the perfect day to sleep in and have a layday, unless its puked.
    Go for a 1/2 day somewhere.
    Strangely it seems Sunday is nowhere as worse? Or more spread out crowds..?
     
  23. Sandy

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

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 1998
    Messages:
    63,982
    Likes Received:
    11,272
    Location:
    Yokohama, Japan, Melb. Expat.
    On Sundays, to avoid the incredibly crowded road gridlock near Tokyo, people often leave (if they are driving) just after lunch.

    Often when I'm going for a ski on a long weekend (say Monday is the holiday), I'll take Friday off, travel early Fri morning or Thu night, ski Fri/Sat/Sun and drive home late Sun, to avoid the traffic jam on Monday from 1pm onwards.

    For regular weekends, the same applies except the gridlock starts around 3pm.
     
    #73 Sandy, Oct 3, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 18, 2013
  24. Stemik

    Stemik Hard Yards

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2009
    Messages:
    64
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    Hakuba, Japan
    Just reading the above regarding the ski boom in Japan. Yeserday in a meeting I had access to the ski numbers at Tsugaike, Norikura and Cortina .........for the Tsugaike and Norikura the figures were well down (I think their peak was '94)
    Surprisingly Cortina, apart from a blip in '07, their figures have actually been rising, abliet very gradually.
     
  25. HakubaBCbum

    HakubaBCbum First Runs

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2008
    Messages:
    86
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Hakuba, Nagano prefecture, Japan
    I wonder if Cortina's are rising because more people are discovering the insane amounts of powder there...and more importantly, I wonder if the Cortina management realise this if it is true??
     
    #75 HakubaBCbum, Oct 3, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 18, 2013
  26. Go Native

    Go Native One of Us

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2004
    Messages:
    5,568
    Likes Received:
    63
    Location:
    Inverloch
    I certainly feel that the Hakuba crowd need to tone down the whole steep terrain card. Let's face it the sort of slopes that fattwins and damian ski and post photos of are amazing but would only be able to be skied by a very small fraction of the skiing market out there. As pretty much all successful resorts around the world have realised it's families that are the big money spinners. These families want medium to luxurious accommodation, they require many different services including kids clubs at ski schools, childcare, etc. They will often barely be able to ski anything more than an intermediate slope and will not want to ski everyday and want other things to do besides just skiing. What I think Donza is alluding to above is that unless you have extensive knowledge, experience, skills and full avie gear it's not like you will ever be skiing many of the areas that fattwins does. That is one difference to Niseko where much of the terrain, even the off-piste, is easily accessible to a march larger section of the market rather than just some group of somewhat hardcore, expert skiers and boarders. Now I'm sure that Hakuba has a huge range of all sorts of terrain it's just you guys don't exactly feature the not so steep stuff too often.

    I believe the only reason that Niseko has become even slightly successful is that foreign companies have set up businesses here. The Japanese companies are basically completely and utterly useless when it comes to attempts to market to foreigners and that's assuming they even try. They are pretty damned useless at marketing to their domestic market as well, it's a bunch of old men who haven't quite realised that the sport has moved on a bit from the days when when carving perfect gs turns with your long and skinny skis was the thing to do. With 2 of the 4 ski areas in Niseko now bought out by foreign companies hopefully it won't be much longer before the other 2 sell up. The litany of missed opportunities by Tokyu in Hirafu is truly beyond incompetence, they must go! Unlike down south we don't have the hordes of Tokyo to draw upon so the growth in the foreign market is very important.
     
    #76 Go Native, Oct 3, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 18, 2013
  27. damian

    damian A Local

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2009
    Messages:
    5,323
    Likes Received:
    184
    Location:
    Hakuba, Japan.
    And there is the difference between people like me and people like you.

    I think in terms of mountains: terrain aspects, treeline, alpine peaks and everything that comes with the experience of traveling in the mountains and riding what they allow to be ridden on any given day.

    You think in terms of big money spinners.

    As to the off-piste terrain in Hakuba, with a bit of luck over the coming years there will develop a competitive population of internationally qualified guides to serve the English speaking market. And you might be surprised to learn that despite not being “big money spinnersâ€, there are a lot of life-long skiers who travel the world for terrain. Life long skiers, with soul, not money spinners.

    And as much as Japanese management seem in our eyes to be incompetent at taking advantage of the direction skiing is going, I’d rather them and all their faults, than the arrogance of “get out of our way, you had your chance and screwed it up†foreign management that you espoused.
     
    #77 damian, Oct 3, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 18, 2013
  28. Go Native

    Go Native One of Us

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2004
    Messages:
    5,568
    Likes Received:
    63
    Location:
    Inverloch
    I just want to see a vibrant and flourishing skiing industry in this country, simple as that. On the whole that's not what it is currently with massive declines in skier numbers since the heady days of the bubble.
    I'm a telemark skier and much of my skiing is backcountry. I have no business interests myself in Niseko, besides having a job here and believe me if money was what drives me then I'd hardly be living here. I've never earned so little money, even 1st year out of uni many years ago.
    Up here in Hokkaido we're unlikely to see any massive jump in the domestic market so the growth in the foreign market is the only real growth there's going to be. And if you're happy with incompetent management who cannot take advantage or further this growth then you're a fool. It matters not to me what the nationality of the management is, I just want to see good management that further grows this great resort. How many resorts down in the Hakuba valley have closed or are on the verge of going bankrupt? It that the direction you want see the industry going? I love skiing backcountry down big lines myself and have traveled to many parts of the world over the years to do so but the small percentage of the market into that sort of thing isn't going to save the skiing industry in this country.
     
  29. Donza

    Donza Pool Room

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2004
    Messages:
    72,779
    Likes Received:
    16,611
    Location:
    wollongong
    Well this could get out of hand SJ forums style.
    In all fairness GN thats not really want I was alluding too.
    I'll try to articulate what I mean , in regards to the growth of foreign skiing.
    Correct me if i'm wrong, but Niseko was never really the darling of Japanese skiing during the boom? It was a bit of sleepy backwater with about 6 lift companies that really didn't have a clue.
    Then people like Glen from DPT visited during the early 90's.
    They recognised it for what it was, exceptional snow and great potential.
    DPT, snowwave, NPC etc etc started to get the word out and were offering properties to stay in hey? The united lift pass came along...
    The aussie invasion begun.
    Then they built the condos, started in implement the "canadian curve" of skiing etc.

    Together all these companies promoted Niseko. They had developed inadvertently a collective message and brand. I don't think it was intentional.
    Niseko had the best snow and a great price in a exotic country.
    The first aussies felt like pioneers , like they had some sort of secret..
    However somewhere along the line the wheels have fallen off (well in my opinion) Niseko has developed a stigmah. One that GN will defend. That Niseko became the Bali of the ski world. Drunks, fights etc. Off course it was kind of all exaggerated..(bit like Hakubas snow drought).
    Anyways...the thing is Niseko still has a brand. With slick websites and a collective hard hitting message. However untrue the substance might be.
    I always find it ironic that most of my mates that goto Niseko have their best experience at either Moiwa or Rusuts...Neither of those resorts are anything special. Sun Alpina and Cortina would shite all over both of them in terrain price, lack of crew and punters .

    The thing is people like TJ, timmy FT and Damien are putting out a particular message. They are all individuals and I can't begrudge the fact they are staying true to themselves. It would be silly for FT to be spruiking someone jamming on groomers. Thats not really his gig.
    All the tour companies seem to be keen on developing Hakuba. Yet i reckon you'd struggle to find one that has a local offiice and is linked to a value tours, skimax etc etc.

    Niseko has its attractions sure, but seriously its so close to being played out skiing wise. So what do they do? Build massive fancy apartments.
    Hakuba is potential plus. There should b a united lift pass. A road linking happo to 47 right across the top of echoland. A shuttle bus between those two hills constantly on that road...Iwatake should link to Happo..
     
  30. Go Native

    Go Native One of Us

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2004
    Messages:
    5,568
    Likes Received:
    63
    Location:
    Inverloch
    Don't disagree at all. Hakuba has far more potential in terms of skiing than up here.

    Still Donza I don't think you have it all correct in terms of what happened in Niseko. You seem to suggest that the building boom here was because the skiing was played out?? The building boom occurred purely and simply because in those initial years when the first western companies set up shop here the biggest complaints we all received were about the standard of accommodation. Sure it was fine for the ski bum crowd wanting to spend a whole season here for a pittance but wasn't attractive to the international ski market used to staying in some of the world's great resorts like Whistler. It was from all these complaints that a few enterprising individuals saw the opportunity and started building luxury western-style apartments and houses. Without doubt the biggest complaints we got were about sleeping on futons. Westerners on the whole just don't enjoy it.

    Also the main reason that the big wholesale travel agents in Aus, like Value Tours, SkiMax, Travelplan, etc got right behind promoting Niseko was because it was easy to deal with and book accommodation and services through the western tour operators here like Ski Japan, Deep Powder, NPC, Hokkaido Tracks, etc. These operators made it easy as everything was in english and everything could be done online (so many Japanese hotels still need everything to be done by fax!!!). Similar operators based down south like Japan Ski Experience are doing pretty well these days and certainly receive booking through Aussie wholesalers.

    The thing we have learned up here though is, as I mentioned earlier, the money is in families and we're more and more focused on SE Asia rather than Australia these days. So we have moved on from only promoting the huge snowfalls and powder this and powder that. Maybe that's what is still pushed in Aus by the wholesalers, I really don't know. We even have whole packages now that don't include any skiing at all as so many from SE Asia are coming here purely to see snow. This isn't because we're all just money hungry bastards with no soul as damian seems to suggest it's purely just to allow businesses here to survive.

    Marketing to a very small niche market like extreme backountry skiers might be ok to fill up a little pension like FT's but the company I work for alone manages over 200 apartments and houses. We need to appeal to a much broader market to get that many places filled throughout the winter. One thing I think FT and damian have struggled to understand over the years is why on earth Niseko became so popular when it doesn't have anything like the terrain in Hakuba. Well it's because, and I know they'll find this hard to comprehend, Niseko's terrain is actually more than enough to challenge and delight a very large portion of the skiing market because most people can't ski anything close to what FT and damian can. Much of our success over the years wasn't due to any slick coordinated marketing, most companies here still don't even have a marketing manager with marketing qualifications, it was purely down to word of mouth. For a very large portion of the skiing market Niseko is an awesome place to come for a ski holiday, simple as that.
     
  31. damian

    damian A Local

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2009
    Messages:
    5,323
    Likes Received:
    184
    Location:
    Hakuba, Japan.
    Man, I am not trying to engage in I-said-you-said interenet table tennis. I take all that you posted as given. No rebuttal. Its all good.

    But this...

    ...is a pretty scary thing for a ski resort to say considering the debt that must be lurking behind Niseko's tourist infrastructure developed over the last few years.

    And that isn't me poking a bit of giggles at Niseko.
     
    #81 damian, Oct 3, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 26, 2013
  32. Go Native

    Go Native One of Us

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2004
    Messages:
    5,568
    Likes Received:
    63
    Location:
    Inverloch
    What you think we're all rich, pot bellied, cigar smoking entrepreneurs up here? [​IMG]
    Even the biggest companies here were hurt very badly during last season with the global financial crisis and the strength of the Yen to most other currencies. Few if any companies made any profit and most made considerable losses. This last year many companies have had to lay off a fair portion of their staff. Those of us left are generally working harder for less [​IMG]
    So believe me not too many of us will be buying that yacht and retiring to a villa in the the south of France anytime soon I can tell you. [​IMG]
     
    #82 Go Native, Oct 3, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 11, 2013
  33. Charles

    Charles Addicted Ski Pass: Gold

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2006
    Messages:
    759
    Likes Received:
    146
    Location:
    Adelaide
    Niseko was a little quieter I guess and there were a few incidents due to drunken behavior but what really made me sigh was the little noodle shop at the bottom of the green run being replaced with an apartment complex thing with a ski hire at the bottom. For the tourist looking for a bit of Japan, Niseko may end up being more of a Nabisco. Saying that, even westernising the place still will not detter people who want that utter white, dry fluff that falls out of the Northern sky.

    Maybe people will alternate the North with the mainland each year.
     
  34. snowchasser

    snowchasser First Runs

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2009
    Messages:
    184
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    VIC
    National holidays for Jpn: Jan 1,12, Feb 11, March 20,April 29....others in b/w but probably not of interest and Dec 23.
    I'm going to Hakuba mid Jan for 1 week- hope the rain stays away!!!!!
     
  35. Sandy

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

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 1998
    Messages:
    63,982
    Likes Received:
    11,272
    Location:
    Yokohama, Japan, Melb. Expat.
    I think overall, the truth lies somewhere between what damian is saying and what GN is saying.

    GN talks up the "amount of snowfall" & "lack of rain" at Niseko, and damian & FT talk up the "serious terrain" further up the mountain from Happo. Ok, fair enough, really..... both are true.
    The trouble is, we hear these arguments time an time again. Backward and forward sniping. It's not necessary.

    There are some real truths though.
    1. Many people visiting either Hakuba or Niseko cannot take advantage of powder more than 15cm deep. Maybe 80%.
    2. 95%+ of people at either Hakuba or Niseko will not go OOB or into the trees for powder.
    3. Hard core skiers/boarders who look for powder and are willing to hike for it represent only a tiny fraction of visitors to either. Probably less than 1 in 500. This is good for people who ARE hard core!!! A Japanese guy once told a friend of mine "Don't go to Kagura in February, as it snows too much then!!!!"
    4. Most Japanese resorts do not cater for powderhounds, as evidenced by the "no ducking the ropes" policy at most resorts. When they DO have "powder zones", they are ungroomed and invariably end up being bump runs until the next BIG dump.
     
  36. HakubaBCbum

    HakubaBCbum First Runs

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2008
    Messages:
    86
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Hakuba, Nagano prefecture, Japan
    Only a small number of skiers can take advantage of sick terrain or deep powder but I would say its that minority that are the ones in any group who decides where to go.

    Say for example theres a group of 10 people going on a skiing holiday (and groups of 6 to 10 are very common from experience running a lodge). If theres 9 people who can't ski for crap and one expert they're not then going to go to some bunny hill because "its good for families", they're going to find somewhere where the guy whos good can get his kicks too. Hell, the guy who's good in the group is probably the one who got everyone together in the first place and got them riled up to go skiing!

    This is I think why resorts all over the world (except for Japan) play up their "extreme" areas. Naturally the people who are most into skiing are the ones who drive the industry and big resorts realise this and make sure they have a great reputation for expert terrain..

    Anyways, its 9:47 on a saturday night and I'm going out for a beer!!
     
  37. TJ

    TJ One of Us

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2000
    Messages:
    3,509
    Likes Received:
    519
    Location:
    Hakuba, Japan
    Great post and takes this thread away from my one is bigger than yours. [​IMG]

    The most common quote we get from our aussie guests is they didn't want to go to Little Perisher. I think Niseko has been a victim of it's own success however it is a big market and one that should not be ignored for you guys. It is interesting that Niseko is embarassed about it however somewhere like Bali embraced it and profited hugely from it. Hakuba has always had a bigger international market however there are probably only 10% foreigners here. Maybe 30-40% of those are from oz now (recent addition). An American company bought Hakuba47 and have huge development plans there. I would suggest that they will develop a big marketing campaign throughout North America but also understand that the local market is their biggest asset. With 35 million people at our doorstep it is certainly the biggest market. I think Hakuba and Niseko can compliment each other especially when competing on a world scale.
    At the end of the day though I am here to board and I think that the majority of the westerners here are still of that mind. Inevitably there will be others that come in just for investment however GN, Fattwins and Damian have found their stoke and happy to tell others how good it is wherever they may be.
     
    #87 TJ, Oct 4, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 18, 2013
  38. Charles

    Charles Addicted Ski Pass: Gold

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2006
    Messages:
    759
    Likes Received:
    146
    Location:
    Adelaide
    Good call.

    Sandy,
    It is true that a lot of people out there may struggle with over 15cm of powder but I think that most would want to try. It is a novelty thing I guess, something that we don't get that often over here in Australia. The first time I hit knee high powder in Niseko I tumbled down the hill the first few goes but hell, I was like a kid in a candy store, the smile just would not go away [​IMG]
     
    #88 Charles, Oct 4, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 18, 2013
  39. Sandy

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

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 1998
    Messages:
    63,982
    Likes Received:
    11,272
    Location:
    Yokohama, Japan, Melb. Expat.
    True, but what I was getting at was that those people are not there to ski powder exclusively. Being on piste would represent 95% of their intent.
     
  40. Go Native

    Go Native One of Us

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2004
    Messages:
    5,568
    Likes Received:
    63
    Location:
    Inverloch
    As TJ points out above since being bought out by a foreign company Hakuba47 now has 'huge development plans'. Are there any Japanese owned resorts that also have big development plans?
    I know up here that Niseko Village and Hanazono also have big development plans since being bought out by foreign companies and Hirafu and Annupuri wouldn't know what a plan was whilst still being owned by Japanese ones...
    Also TJ as I have tried to point out numerous times previously the whole 'Bali' thing really is becoming a thing of the past in Niseko. Although still somewhat reliant on the Aussie revenue, more and more our market is now from SE Asia, that is the real growth market here now. I certainly noticed a big change in the vibe of the village last season. It was much more multicultural and it wasn't unusual to go out for dinner and be hearing 4 or 5 different languages being spoken, with only a smattering of Aussie here and there. Also if you look back through my posts over the years I was never embarrassed by the Aussies out having a good time. I actually got more embarrassed by all the Aussies complaining about other Aussies and claiming to know something about Japanese culture after 10 minutes of reading a Lonely Planet Guide on the plane trip over.
     
  41. Sandy

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

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 1998
    Messages:
    63,982
    Likes Received:
    11,272
    Location:
    Yokohama, Japan, Melb. Expat.
    It's interesting though, I'm not sure what "huge development plans" there could be for 47, apart from accommodation, a bigger base complex and a bridge to Echoland. The key thing there, is that I'm not sure 47 could sustain larger crowds than it already has. 47 really has only one intermediate course down and a single beginner trail, with a couple of black runs mid mountain and more easy intermediate further up.

    In order to sustain more development, 47 needs more courses cut, but where?
     
  42. Donza

    Donza Pool Room

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2004
    Messages:
    72,779
    Likes Received:
    16,611
    Location:
    wollongong
    Yeah 47 is not a very good groomer skiiers mountain.
    Ideally Happo and 47 could both cut courses towards each other. That would be cool.
    Down from the top of the gondie at 47 straight down towards the south face.
     
    #92 Donza, Oct 4, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 18, 2013
  43. sli1

    sli1 One of Us

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2001
    Messages:
    1,546
    Likes Received:
    23
    Location:
    Perth
    Cool, but so much of a step out from the terrain managemenet that currently exists in the valley that is hard to pictue it happening anytime soon. Geez, opening up some of 47's terrain and avie controlling it would be a massive step wouldn't it let alone cutting runs towards Happo.
     
    #93 sli1, Oct 4, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 18, 2013
  44. damian

    damian A Local

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2009
    Messages:
    5,323
    Likes Received:
    184
    Location:
    Hakuba, Japan.
    I'm with Sandy (I hope he doesn't mind). "Huge development plans"... that have nothing to do with developing skiing or terrain = almost no development at all. H47 is managed by a great guy and I mean no offense to his work. But a hotel does not equal developmnet of skiing. It is real estate. And chances are, the model of debt-backed realestate providing operating cash flows to ski resorts, is over.

    Who cares if Japanese owned resorts do not have real estate based "huge development plans". Real estate does not equal skiing. Terrain does.

    As for lifts and terrain between 47 and Happo. Probabaly not likley, but have a close look at this map for Happo south side. There is one lift that never got built but was aproved.

    [​IMG]
     
    #94 damian, Oct 4, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 18, 2013
  45. Donza

    Donza Pool Room

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2004
    Messages:
    72,779
    Likes Received:
    16,611
    Location:
    wollongong
    Thats a huge
    lift? from the valley to the top of the grat?
    no trees..imgaine chucking a couple of groomers down the guts and managing the rest..would be epic

    kind of like this area...
    [​IMG]
     
    #95 Donza, Oct 4, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 11, 2013
  46. damian

    damian A Local

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2009
    Messages:
    5,323
    Likes Received:
    184
    Location:
    Hakuba, Japan.
    The ghost lift is one bowl to the lookers right of that main bowl center of your pic.
    The sharp ridge that runs lookers left-to-right in your pic is the ridge at the bottom on the topo with elevation 1447 marked on it. Slightly bigger map here http://poachninja.com/image/view/1767/_original

    The bowl in your pic is full of goodness. However few people recommend skiing it all the way to the bottom into that narrow drainage. There are other ways out of it that are safer and more fun.

    And just for stoke, the following terrain runs into the bowl in Donza’s picture (it is out of shot in the top lookers left of his shot). These pictures are from early season so the trees are still there, but covered in Donza’s. And yes, we ski it all quite frequently.

    The zoom lense focused on the skier in this photo seems to have distorted the background cliff heads somewhat. They are not that abrupt.
    [​IMG]

    Look closely at the very middle of this picture, on the ridge. Hello.
    [​IMG]
     
    #96 damian, Oct 4, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 14, 2013
  47. Go Native

    Go Native One of Us

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2004
    Messages:
    5,568
    Likes Received:
    63
    Location:
    Inverloch
    Well I had no idea what the plans at 47 were. Just wondering if there are any other resorts out there with any sort of plans for the future and I wasn't asking specifically about real estate.
    Niseko Village has plans of opening Mizu no Sawa this winter, a previously forbidden zone which is exciting news and nothing to do with real estate.
    On the master plan for Hanazono there's certainly some more lifts and more terrain planned. Now that they've been bought out by one of the richest guys in Hong Kong at least they appear to have the money to really get some stuff done in the coming years.
    So again does anyone know of any Japanese owned resorts that have any major development plans for the future?
     
    #97 Go Native, Oct 5, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 18, 2013
  48. Sandy

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

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 1998
    Messages:
    63,982
    Likes Received:
    11,272
    Location:
    Yokohama, Japan, Melb. Expat.
    Re: The "Huge development plans" for Hakuba 47. Without lift development, I think it's pointless.
    Here's the area around Hakuba 47. The area in green is the current resort boundaries, and you can see Goryu off to the SE. The lifts are shown in dark pink.

    There IS a possibility of lifting out towards the northwest I'd say, according to the contour map. It's hard to see down that direction for the trees, but I would presume they would need to cut some down. I've marked possible areas in light pink, with possible lifts in blue. Comments?

    [​IMG]
     
    #98 Sandy, Oct 5, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 11, 2013
  49. Go Native

    Go Native One of Us

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2004
    Messages:
    5,568
    Likes Received:
    63
    Location:
    Inverloch
    Is it part of a National Park there Sandy? I know up here areas of the resort are within a 'quasi' National Park and cutting trees down there would be very difficult to do.
     
  50. damian

    damian A Local

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2009
    Messages:
    5,323
    Likes Received:
    184
    Location:
    Hakuba, Japan.
    It is hard to get approval to chop done any more trees. And those north side proposed blue lifts that you put up would need to be right down on the river otherwise the lift base would be subject to avalanche from higher up. But putting them on the river makes the lift base subject to summer river flooding (it roars during the melt!) and also infrequent but massive avalanche from the south side of Happo. I have seen south Happo slides run across the river and up the north side of 47 by 30 meters or so. Lift placement could be done expertly and judiciously to minimise this I am sure, but I doubt it would come easily.

    Scroll up to Donza’s photo and look for the big triangle face that dominates the middle right of the shot. All those chutes are aimed at where some of your lifts would be, one in particular. It is big terrain to avalanche manage, with access from a resort that 47 doesn’t own.

    Here is one avalanche from last season, south side of Happo. It almost reached the river, but further down stream closer to the 47 car park and the crown wall isn't even that deep, a few feet.

    [​IMG]

    Is this an ego game for you? What does it matter? Do you want to feel better about yourself if you can evidence your prior assertion that Japanese resort management “needs to go†on the basis that they have no plans for the future, irrespective of which part of the country the ski area may be. Why are you so eager to find candidates of failure in places that don’t even concern you?
     
    #100 damian, Oct 5, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 18, 2013