Trip Report Hong Kong and Hokkaido Haiku

Tanuki

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Sep 29, 2010
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I'm posting this belated TR from our 2016 trip to Hokkaido. It's overdue cause I'm a procrastinating slack bastard and we're a month out from wheels up on our trip to Northern Tohuku, plus the stoke levels on this forum re the Northern Hemi winter are rising as fast a teenagers hormone levels as the summer holidays approach.

Linky to my only other, also late thread: https://www.ski.com.au/xf/threads/t...ngential-thread-now-focused-on-hornets.56457/

Unfortunately it'll be in parts due to the threadbare state of the fibre connecting our place to the wide, wide world.

I hope you enjoy.

The itinerary was Melb > HK for 3 nights. HK -> New Chitose -> snowy caboose -> Tomamu 7 nights. Another Caboose > Sapporo for 3 nights > bus Rusutsu 7 nights > Otaru 3 nights

We were travelling as family of three; me, my wife and out then 2yr old daughter.

We had high hopes for the flight with Cathay, unfortunately it got off to a bad start and was book ended by a long ending. We sat on the tarmac at Tullamarine for close to 3 hours as apparently a seat belt was broken and HK flight control wouldn’t permit take off??? I’ve got no idea how they sorted this out, and I don’t really care but the parts really should be interchangeable rather having to come from the same operator.

After eventually getting under way and in the sky everything was A-ok, the seats in cattle class were fine, the food was better than the average, the beer was free, the entertainment good and staff really nice. To top it off our 2yr old girl was well behaved and even had a sleep.

When we were finally in Chinese airspace and preparing to descend we were informed there would be delay due to access to a terminal, erghhh. The dude from HK sitting on the other side of the aisle leaned across and in hushed tones, with the air of deep paranoia about him, told me that this was a deliberate tactic by the tower operators as there is some sort of conspiracy against Cathay, as they’re owned by the English. I slowly retreated to the sanctuary of my family bubble and ordered another drink - Auspicious start, not. OMFG, just land the plane.

So what should’ve been a 9-10hrs flight was more like 13-14. Shitty start to a holiday but hey, were in HK and we’ve never been here before so onwards and upwards.

The hotel shuttle was prompt and off we went onto the seemingly endless expressway to Nathan Road. It was an interesting drive along the nigh time freeway with factories, refineries, bridges and sky scrapers illuminated in hazy smog, this gave the night a distinctly dystopian, Blade Runnerish feeling - kinda romantic actually (not sure what that says about me)

We’d hoped for a night out, or at least dinner on the street but we were all knackered and it was about 9pm by the time we turned the key on the hotel door. 45 mins later, with my wife and daughter snoring in the bed I slinked outside for a cold beer and a round of Dim Sum – yum. Welcome to old HK.

As a Strategic Urban Planner in my professional life I was immediately fascinated, and beguiled by the urban madness enveloping me, and all consuming hum of humanity (and ageing concrete) that was so immersive I felt under water; jet lag I guess.

We had three days to explore HK, with no plans but to walk the streets, eat some food and try to keep a toddler entertained and compliant ;) And a lot walking we did, I think we clocked over 20k back and forth and weaving through the laneways off Nathan Road and on HK island.

The ‘old’ town around Mong Kok etc is in a state of decrepitude and glitz, a place of contradictions and character. One block is full of glittering façades which then gives way to decay and a steamy, smokey urban nightmare. There seems to be a slow burning transition underway with a lot of the buildings along Nathan Road and within two street backs being refurbished and renewed rather than demolished and rebuilt. However most of the buildings have suffered the harsh decades of humidity, sun, rain and cold winters – I never saw inside any of the residence in this part of town but I can’t imagine the amenity is great. The disparity in wealth and inequality is definitely not hidden or obscured by anything.

I’m not sure what the catalyst for the renewal is but I assume it’s not the Central Gov planning or concern for the residents but rather organic response to higher land prices close to the harbour and lack of land on HK island. I didn't have the time nor resources to look into.

Due to the tiny residences it appears a lot people use the street for a lounge room so there’s a great communal vibe going on even though it’s the middle of winter. This is not an unusual way of or an aberration but perhaps a reversion to older ways of communing and cohabitating

HK Crossing from Above
P1010069 (2).JPG


Island Commercial District Street Scene
P1010048 (1).JPG

View from the Hotel Room,
P1010193 (1).JPG

Back Streets HK, Insouciant Local does not like Camera
P1010150 (1).JPG

Decay and Decrepitude
P1010121 (1).JPG

Waiting for the Ferry with One Super Cranky Toddler
P1010024 (1).JPG

The central park is great for a relaxing early morning walk, gawk and talk, by 8am, in the low, early morning light it’s full of people undertaking their personal morning ritual of Thi Chi or some other slightly bizarre stretching routine.
Solitude
P1010018 (1).JPG

Through the Gate to Harmony
P1010022 (1).JPG

P1010059 (2).JPG

People Watching
P1010156.JPG

Old Man Still Working Hard
P1010133 (2).JPG

To bookend the day we visited the Night Markets in the Mong Kok area, these are definitely worth visiting for a very unique experience.

I was going to write more but the mice are chewing on the fibre optics, each photo takes an aeon to uploa = beJesus Turnbull where's my broadband.

For the next instalment Cathay continues to disappoint, we fly the short hop to Chitose and voila, paradise in a frozen field.
 
Last edited:

Rabid K9

A Local
Ski Pass
Jul 15, 2008
6,225
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I'm posting this belated TR from our 2016 trip to Hokkaido. It's overdue cause I'm a procrastinating slack bastard and we're a month out from wheels up on our trip to Northern Tohuku, plus the stoke levels on this forum re the Northern Hemi winter are rising as fast a teenagers hormone levels as the summer holidays approach.

Linky to my only other, also late thread: https://www.ski.com.au/xf/threads/t...ngential-thread-now-focused-on-hornets.56457/

Unfortunately it'll be in parts due to the threadbare state of the fibre connecting our place to the wide, wide world.

I hope you enjoy.

The itinerary was Melb > HK for 3 nights. HK -> New Chitose -> snowy caboose -> Tomamu 7 nights. Another Caboose > Sapporo for 3 nights > bus Rusutsu 7 nights > Otaru 3 nights

We were travelling as family of three; me, my wife and out then 2yr old daughter.

We had high hopes for the flight with Cathay, unfortunately it got off to a bad start and was book ended by a long ending. We sat on the tarmac at Tullamarine for close to 3 hours as apparently a seat belt was broken and HK flight control wouldn’t permit take off??? I’ve got no idea how they sorted this out, and I don’t really care but the parts really should be interchangeable rather having to come from the same operator.

After eventually getting under way and in the sky everything was A-ok, the seats in cattle class were fine, the food was better than the average, the beer was free, the entertainment good and staff really nice. To top it off our 2yr old girl was well behaved and even had a sleep.

When we were finally in Chinese airspace and preparing to descend we were informed there would be delay due to access to a terminal, erghhh. The dude from HK sitting on the other side of the aisle leaned across and in hushed tones, with the air of deep paranoia about him, told me that this was a deliberate tactic by the tower operators as there is some sort of conspiracy against Cathay, as they’re owned by the English. I slowly retreated to the sanctuary of my family bubble and ordered another drink - Auspicious start, not. OMFG, just land the plane.

So what should’ve been a 9-10hrs flight was more like 13-14. Shitty start to a holiday but hey, were in HK and we’ve never been here before so onwards and upwards.

The hotel shuttle was prompt and off we went onto the seemingly endless expressway to Nathan Road. It was an interesting drive along the nigh time freeway with factories, refineries, bridges and sky scrapers illuminated in hazy smog, this gave the night a distinctly dystopian, Blade Runnerish feeling - kinda romantic actually (not sure what that says about me)

We’d hoped for a night out, or at least dinner on the street but we were all knackered and it was about 9pm by the time we turned the key on the hotel door. 45 mins later, with my wife and daughter snoring in the bed I slinked outside for a cold beer and a round of Dim Sum – yum. Welcome to old HK.

As a Strategic Urban Planner in my professional life I was immediately fascinated, and beguiled by the urban madness enveloping me, and all consuming hum of humanity (and ageing concrete) that was so immersive I felt under water; jet lag I guess.

We had three days to explore HK, with no plans but to walk the streets, eat some food and try to keep a toddler entertained and compliant ;) And a lot walking we did, I think we clocked over 20k back and forth and weaving through the laneways off Nathan Road and on HK island.

The ‘old’ town around Mong Kok etc is in a state of decrepitude and glitz, a place of contradictions and character. One block is full of glittering façades which then gives way to decay and a steamy, smokey urban nightmare. There seems to be a slow burning transition underway with a lot of the buildings along Nathan Road and within two street backs being refurbished and renewed rather than demolished and rebuilt. However most of the buildings have suffered the harsh decades of humidity, sun, rain and cold winters – I never saw inside any of the residence in this part of town but I can’t imagine the amenity is great. The disparity in wealth and inequality is definitely not hidden or obscured by anything.

I’m not sure what the catalyst for the renewal is but I assume it’s not the Central Gov planning or concern for the residents but rather organic response to higher land prices close to the harbour and lack of land on HK island. I didn't have the time nor resources to look into.

Due to the tiny residences it appears a lot people use the street for a lounge room so there’s a great communal vibe going on even though it’s the middle of winter. This is not an unusual way of or an aberration but perhaps a reversion to older ways of communing and cohabitating

HK Crossing from Above
P1010069 (2).JPG


Island Commercial District Street Scene
P1010048 (1).JPG

View from the Hotel Room,
P1010193 (1).JPG

Back Streets HK, Insouciant Local does not like Camera
P1010150 (1).JPG

Decay and Decrepitude
P1010121 (1).JPG

Waiting for the Ferry with One Super Cranky Toddler
P1010024 (1).JPG

The central park is great for a relaxing early morning walk, gawk and talk, by 8am, in the low, early morning light it’s full of people undertaking their personal morning ritual of Thi Chi or some other slightly bizarre stretching routine.
Solitude
P1010018 (1).JPG

Through the Gate to Harmony
P1010022 (1).JPG

To bookend the day we visited the Night Markets in the Mong Kok area, these are definitely worth visiting for a very unique experience.

I was going to write more but the mice are chewing on the fibre optics, each photo takes an aeon to uploa = beJesus Turnbull where's my broadband.

For the next instalment Cathay continues to disappoint, we fly the short hop to Chitose and voila, paradise in a frozen field.

Nice photos.
 
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Tanuki

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DSC_0063_2.JPG


Part 2, or 'when the Rodents Relent and Stop Chewing on my Fibre Optics. I apologise in advance for the disjointed nature of this TR, my internet is K-rap. Seriously, I'll get back in here later tonight and try and clean this up.

Whoa is me, so the Cathay experience gets worse, the plane left HK 25 mins late and then sat at the Sapporo terminal for a loooooong time and to top if off the luggage took 45 mins to arrive. This was an unusual experience in the context of what is normally a hyper efficient Japanese arrivals system.

This experience was in stark contrast to our 3 previous trip when we’ve out of immigration and holding our bags within ½ an hours. Perhaps Chitose has gremlins? This was out first time on Hokkaido so who knows, maybe they do things differently up there.

We’d budgeted 2.5hrs for arrivals rigmarole to allow us to get to the last train to Tomamu. I imagined a languid times filled with chilled lager and ramen at an airport cafe, but NO, Run Lola Run.

Well we all know how prompt Japanese trains are right, well by the time we got through immigration we literally had 10 mins to get to the office on the concourse, purchase tickets then get to the train, this with a huge ski / board bag, two oversize trolleys and a toddler, what a mission. The guy behind the counter was an exemplar of Stoicism while I silently melted on the inside as I contemplated missing the train and having to find alternate accom for the night.

The man kept a wooden face and stared at me dispassionately and without blinking (are you alive sir)- fortunately he understood my instructions, printed out the tickets and sent us off in with directions to the station. We ran, ambled and fell our way to the platform, I could hear the departure routing happening down the below us, only one more escalator to negotiate and we’re on the train, please Huey I thought, guide me there.

After negotiating the escalator with the luggage and a toddler I literally had to jam my hand in the doors of the train to prevent it from leaving, all done in an unflappingly polite way of course. There was a few askance looks thrown my way, but hey no one was hurt during this exercise. On previous trips I would have frowned upon this sort of blatant Gaijin behaviour, oh how the times have changed.

What a mission, in particular the final escalator descent with all the luggage, a screaming toddler and train on the platform. Phew, we made it.

In retrospect I wouldn’t take that Cathay leg again as you essentially waste a whole day in travel. But hey this thread is incredibly negative, so let's accentuate the positive from here on in.

The train ride was uneventful as expected, and not much to see, and as it was dark the landscape was only in my imagination. On arrival at Tomamu station, we were picked up by the free shuttle and quickly deliver to Risonnaire Tower, oh boy, what a place. We were ushered to the lounge seats next to the 360 degree open fire, given some champagne and some snacks and asked to relax for minute while our sitch was sorted. Bliss

Honestly, we just wanted to get to the room, feed the toddler and hit the sack, but hey, what are you gonna do. Our room was on the 20 something floor with expansive views over the whole resort.

Some nighta was going on but we opted to put Lil Moo to bed, have a drink and some snacks and hit the spa bath. I hit up the in house bottle shop and got myself a mini whiskey, some Orion Beers and some snacks. Orions were surprisingly good for a commercial lager.

We slept like kings and queens and woke for our first day on snow.

Tomamu Day 1

Wake up, roll over and out bed and look out the window to a blue sky day with some high Cirrus clouds stretching out like Wraith Fingers from the western Horizon, goooooood, yes my precious.

No fresh snow today. We skied down to day care and dropped Lil Moo off which went surprisingly well, we then proceeded to hit up the main hill via the access lift.

First impressions: this is going to be awesome if the predicted / expected storm eventuates. First survey from the top lift reveals a relatively small resort (no surprise here) with limited pistes available, that I assume would get boring without fresh after a few days. The central bowl is a large concave, south facing slope, it’s good a very good pitch and long consistent fall line that drain down to a long flatish run out.
Top of the gondola, Unkai Terrace with Lil Moo
DSC_0149.JPG


Why have I never got into Japanese Scotch, or for that matter any spirits? Gut rot, that's why. Booze with a view
DSC_0036_1.JPG

P1200140 (1).JPG

The trees at the top are really well spaced and get a bit tighter towards the bottom. It appears they’ve thinned a lot recently to enhance the riding experience. Either side of the central bowl are some nice steep runs leading back to the top lift or the gondola base station. Further afield to the skiers right is a nice intermediate area accessed from either the top lift or other lifts down the bottom.

From the top lift you pass this new touristy piece of infrastructure:
P1200120 (1).JPG


Apparently this is a new addition, purpose built to attract the non skiing East Asian clientele.

To the skiers left are a couple of nice ‘hidden’ bowls and further afield the other Hill which is accessed via a connector lift or straight out of the Rissonare tower.
P1200119.JPG

To the skiers right is some very sweet looking side / backcountry


We had a nice morning getting our legs warmed up cruising the main hill, a scoping lines for the next few days. There was dry stashed all over the place from a storm a few days earlier but no lines left.

We picked up out daughter at 1pm for her 2pm sleep. Once she was in bed I headed out again and went straight to one of the two ‘experts only’ area, this one on the small hill. This is the area you need to sign in for. Basically it’s the peak of the smaller hill that used to be serviced by a lift. There’s 3 or 4 old pistes running of the peak alongside the old chair line.

Sassa abounds at they do no summer grooming and it’s been a lean season on Hokkaido. I assume they pulled a lift out (as happened on a places around the mountain) after the bubble burst and they now see this as a good marketing tool to attract westerners and powder hounds. The view east from the summit is frkn glorious and views of the mountains sensational.
P1200139 (1).JPG


The old pistes are a good pitch, with a very nice fall line and some variation but are essentially dark blue groomers, in the trees there’s more variation in the terrain and some great open glades. Overall it’s a great little area and the hike is definitely worth it, particularly considering that the last storm was a few days ago I was getting fresh lines – fun times indeed.

Sunrise over the Old Pistes in the 'Expert Area' (small hill)
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P1200172 (1).JPG


That night the storm arrived, and apparently it was perfect for this part of the island and Furano with Niseko etc missing out. The winds were unusual as they had some east in them, the storm delivered – big time

Bad videos to come.
Walking to Dinner
View attachment 33351
The storm arrives. The main mountain was shut for two whole days as the storm raged. Whilst the storm and blizzard blew we skied beautiful fresh on the little hill for two mornings in a row. I didn’t hike the ‘experts area’ during the storm so we were quickly bored of the lil hill and waited with anxious anticipation for the wind to slow and the ‘mountain’ to open.

On the third morning of the storm they finally opened the big hill. We’d anticipated this and had got our ‘experts’ arm band early and were only people ten back in the que for the Gondola. I started ‘talking’ to some local boarders and rode the gondola with them. After a sayonara they took off, being a nosey person I followed them along the top cat track and down into what was some mother fkn insane, although a bit wind packed, knee to thigh deep powder. I kept up with these dudes and was led into some very, very noice places. At the bottom of the gonora they politely invited me to join them on a few runs and we whooped it up all over the hill.

After many thank you’s from me, heaps of high five and general stoked miscommunication’s I left them after the fourth run to meet up with Tash and we proceeded to get into it. Tash had been watching powder tutorials on Youtube the night before to brush up and she straightlined it on the first run – so proud of her.

It was an incredible morning, by lunch time there were still lines everywhere and I reckon there were only a couple of hundred people on the mountain.
P1200147.JPG

Up top, very nice pitch and pen, gladed trees.
DSC_0164.JPG


Tips for first time visitors: 1. If the storm is a raging, ring up and check the lift status. 2. Find the Yurt and have lunch and a beeru there, it’s great.
P1200156.JPG

It was Tash’s turn to pick up the poo factory so I took the chance to check out the sky bridge and retreat to the Yurt for a beer next to the fire. I was knackered so took the connecting lift home, via the bottle shop for my new vice, whiskey and whilst the ladies slept I had a long spa and a sauna.

The sauna broke so I expected that that would be it for the week, I rang the front desk and fifteen minuted later the electricians were in the apartment with an entirely new system which they installed within an hour.

Here's a gratuitous shot of the view from the spa in our room
DSC_0035_1.JPG

TBH, at the time of writng this a close to two years later I don’t recall too much about the last couple of days on the hill. We rode every day, onsened every after noon and chilled at night. There was another small storm and some good snow but nothing on the storm earlier in the week.

This place has a loooot of untapped potential within and adjacent to the resort. There’s some glorious bowls to the west that could easily be lift serviced, terrain over the back and more all the way down to the train station (old terrain that could be re-opened).

The vertical drop on the big hill is good, the pitch for the top two thirds steep and trees really well space and the fall line is great. The runout at the bottom is a pain.


The vista from the top is spectacular and the surrounding landscape, in particular the mountains to the east are gorgeous.
P1200142.JPG


P1200071.JPG

The indoor wave pool and baths are absurd and over the top, but a lot of fun. We went most afternoons.

We went to the Ice Village one night but it was absurdly cold and out two year could only manage about half an hour.
P1190038.JPG

P1190054.JPG


Eating and drinking – although it’s a closed shop there’s some newer places and small imitation laneway venue so there’s actually a lot of options and it’s not all that expensive. The Forrester Hall buffet was by our favourite. It’s a nice stroll through the covered walkway in the forest to the expansive hall, it has huge 3 storey floor to ceiling windows overlooking the forest. The buffet food quality is exceptional, however if you get there any time after 6 it’s packed.

The new faux izakaya / laneway set up is really good too, it’s a two storey outdoor food court masquerading as laneway eatery. Not sure if they are independent operators but it had that kinda vibe to it.
P1200119.JPG

P1200099.JPG

Expansion Opportunities. Tomamu has been purchased by a Chinese conglomerate, they've sold a bunch of old 4 storey buildings to Club Med who are up and running this season, however it seems the owner is more interested in catering for the non skiing visitor, with new infrastructure development catered towards them e.g walkways and sky bridges etc. In my estimation two new lifts in the immediate side country to the west would create and epic resorts experience. I hope they do it.
After seven nights we were off to Sapporo for some R&R. We Takyubinned our gear to Rusutsu and caught a ‘slow’ train into town, from memory maybe 1.5 hours. There were some lovely bucolic views along the way and it started puking snow as we approached Sapporo.

This pattern of heavy afternoon snow flowed by a clear night continued almost every day over the next two weeks. It was interesting phenomena

Next stop Sapporo and then Rusutsu
 
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Tanuki

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Here's some phone pics to show some of the terrain available in the 'experts area'. As you can see from these pics taken on the small hill, it's essentially old pistes and the trees in between. A lot of fun, and all to myself. The area on the main hill is larger, steeper and has longer runs, however where that area starts and stops could be a bit confusing.

All those tracks are ours, except for the little creatures ones to the left.
DSC_0144.JPG

DSC_0145.JPG

Looking across part of the 'experts area' on the main hill. This is a nice face, however it all funnels into a creek.
DSC_0159.JPG

P1200165.JPG
P1200164.JPG

Dropping into the experts area, skiers right off the top lift. Great, consistent fall and gradient here with quite a good vertical drop. All of the cat trails and pistes that encircle and cross the area do not require the arm band.
DSC_0164.JPG

A little bit of Tomamu levity
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Aforementioned fire place in the main tower and two of the better vending coffees, well worth a visit for an apres drink.
DSC_0028_3.JPG


Before I get to the Sapporo and Rusutsu bit I though I'd add these two pics of the scale model that was on display at Rusutsu. As you can see from the first image (blue circles show current building - at least for approx. size I think) they are planning a relatively huge expansion including golf courses and sprawl.

The smaller circlei isthe main hotel that was sold to Starwood back in 2015.
InkedDSC_0030_5_LI.jpg

DSC_0031_5.JPG


And just for the teaser, here's a ridge off Shirebetsu in her glorious morning glow, taken from our room.
P1270343 (2).JPG


So off to Sapporo for some R&R it was, this guy was stuck on the wall of the train (graffiti?)- anyone know what's going on?
DSC_0032_2.JPG
 
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Rabid K9

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Shiribetsu pic is a ripper, great light, brings back memories.

Wouldn't have thought Rusutsu needed more bubble though.
 
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Tanuki

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Shiribetsu pic is a ripper, great light, brings back memories.

Wouldn't have thought Rusutsu needed more bubble though.
Yeah I'm not sure what the deal with expansion is, @Ramenman reports that the owners sold Appi so they could focus on expanding rusutsu. They also sold the main hotel so they probably have a big bucket of cash to spend.
I assume it's a four season expansion aimed at the Asian market. They'll need more lifted terrain if the bed capacity grows 10 fold.
The old Daniel Street with its cheesy, hokey restaurans and theme park stuff could do with a Reno.
 
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Rabid K9

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Has been years since I've been at Rusutsu, but surely they could make better use of the ghost buildings first before scarring the landscape with more?
 
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Tanuki

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Has been years since I've been at Rusutsu, but surely they could make better use of the ghost buildings first before scarring the landscape with more?
Apparently, like Tomamu they're either refurbishing them, demolishing them or selling them off.Tomamu sold of a few large 4 storey blocks to Club Med
 

Ramenman

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Yeah I'm not sure what the deal with expansion is, @Ramenman reports that the owners sold Appi so they could focus on expanding rusutsu. They also sold the main hotel so they probably have a big bucket of cash to spend.
I assume it's a four season expansion aimed at the Asian market. They'll need more lifted terrain if the bed capacity grows 10 fold.
The old Daniel Street with its cheesy, hokey restaurans and theme park stuff could do with a Reno.

The president of Kamori Kanko, the owner of Rusutsu, Sahoro and Sapporo Teine has been saying "In order to invest more in ski resorts in Hokkaido, we've been selling ski resorts in Honshu, theme parks, etc". Kamori Kanko is closing a huge theme park "Space World" in Fukuoka to sell the huge land they own and they actually sold Appi. They opened new off-piste runs at Sahoro in 2016 and it was a big expansion. They had to wait for 4 years or so to get the permission from the local government to cut trees to make the new runs. They say Kamori Kanko is planning to expand Sapporo Teine too, let alone Rusutsu and I guess they are waiting for the permissions from the local government now.

Interview with the president of Kamori Kanko, the company which own and operate Rusutsu resort.
http://www.zaikaisapporo.co.jp/interview/世界のルスツを実現する

Here is the summary.
・He thinks ski industry in Asia will grow, especially in China and he will keep investing in Rusutsu to attract more skiers from abroad.

・Kamori Kanko is planning to build 8 ski-in ski-out condominiums and 2 commercial buildings with shopping malls inside in Rusutsu village.

・Kamori Kanko own the land of more than 2,000 ha in and around Rusutsu village, and they are thinking to build an airport for private jets.

・Rusutsu resort area doesn't belong to a Japanese national park, so Kamori Kanko can do whatever they want.

・Kamori Kanko don't own Mt.Shiribetsu. Three local villages including Rusutsu village own the mountain. Kamori Kanko think Mt.Shiribetsu is a steep interesting mountain that can attract advanced skiers form Western countries, and Kamori Kanko is negotiating with the local villages to use Mt.Shiribetsu for their ski resort.

・Kamori Kanko used to own Appi Kogen ski resort but sold it to invest more in Rusutsu.

・Kamori Kanko think they need to work together with Niseko to make the area more united attractive resort area.


Is he serious:eek:!?
 
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Tanuki

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The president of Kamori Kanko, the owner of Rusutsu, Sahoro and Sapporo Teine has been saying "In order to invest more in ski resorts in Hokkaido, we've been selling ski resorts in Honshu, theme parks, etc". Kamori Kanko is closing a huge theme park "Space World" in Fukuoka to sell the huge land they own and they actually sold Appi. They opened new off-piste runs at Sahoro in 2016 and it was a big expansion. They had to wait for 4 years or so to get the permission from the local government to cut trees to make the new runs. They say Kamori Kanko is planning to expand Sapporo Teine too, let alone Rusutsu and I guess they are waiting for the permissions from the local government now.
Thanks @Ramenman
 

Ramenman

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This is also coming to Rusutsu soon. https://www.hotelnewsresource.com/article97409.html

I wonder how crowded major Hokkaido ski resorts are between Dec 15 and 20th. Honshu ski resorts are never crowded before Christmas, I think. I have worked for a hotel in Hokkaido as an internship when I was a student, but it was 6 years ago or so. I think it's been getting even more popular there compared to 6 - 7 years ago.
 
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Tanuki

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So I'll add some words later but here's a few pics from of stay in Sapporo. We spent three nights in an Air BnB a few subway stops from the CBD, turned out to be a good spot for us as there was a kids drop in centre in the local park and directly opposite the apartment was the fire station, hmmm, well they practised their drills every day in the carpark which brought a huge smile to out daughter's face. She may as well have been watching Fireman Sam.

Even in the depth of winter it was still an easy town to walk around and navigate with a two year old, plus there's a good network of subterranean walkways and covered markets.

Sapporo Kid's Space
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You try and get a two year old to play on this

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A Memorial
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Night Time Views Downtown
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Night Market
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Subway Busker
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Getting Brutal (not technically) in Sapporo
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When chasing my daughter around the room on the final morning in Sapporo I kicked a table leg and broke my little toe, ouch and a very uncomfortable bus ride ahead - next stop in Rusutsu.

Here's a few vid mash ups from the trip, unfortunately all shot on a hand held Sony phone, so the quality is not great, the vibrations is and well, you can see. It's mainly just vids of snow falling.

I've succumbed to the allure of the narcissistic pool and have purchased a good cam for this upcoming trip.

Soooo, apologies to those who get motion sickness, but hey too bad.

Rusutsu Time Lapse



Rusutsu Mash, this opens with the significant others first attempt at deep Hokkaido blower, deep, deep derp. Fun



Tomamu Mash

 

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Tanuki

Part of the Furniture
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Off to Rusutsu, with a broken toe, anangry Toddler and an indomitable spirit :whistle:H

Caught a cab from the apartment in to central Sapporo to catch the bus to Rusutsu, it's about a three hour journey with a stop at a roadside servo. Very nice scenery on the way.

First Morning on the Hill (it's a hill)
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We were fortunate to have a room overlooking Mt Shirebetsu and West Mt.

Shirebetsu is a brooding beast of peak, a temptress who beguiling spell attracts both the brave and experienced, and also the foolhardy and stoopid. The siren song is strong, but without the appropriate gear or a guide I did not venture up that attractive ridge. I got invited along about five times but politely declined. three of the groups had no avalanche or safety gear - none.

Next time.

From the resort, and from our window I saw some people take some very foolhardy lines, yes they lived to tell the tell but that does not diminish the risk they took, nor prove their decision to ride was the right choice to make. In my estimation the risk far outweighed the benefit and I guess you can't prove a negative and the burden of proof lies with me.

See the pics below of the lines people took directly below and adjacent to recent slides and Crown Walls.

Here's some pics of her under different light. I could post heaps, indulge me :thumbs:
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Crown Walls in blue circles
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And now for something completely different, a couple of the local lagers that i'd never tasted before, or since. Delicious.
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We settled into a pretty simple daily routine for our stay at Rusustu.

Be woken by our toddler at 6am, one us fall out of bed to be with her whilst the other tries to sleep. Brekky at the buffet, then one of us would catch the monorail with our daughter to get her to day care. Meet up at the Gondola on Isola and hit up the hills. Ride all morning then one of use would pick up Lil Moo for a late lunch. Finish the day, Onsen then dinner and drinks somewhere on the other side of the resort. Rinse repeat.

The snow fell consistently and reliably the whole time were there, never in huge quantities but rather just 10-20cm every night. It was an interesting phenomenon - around dusk the snow would start falling lightly, then get heavier into the evening and lighten off some time after midnight.

I'm not sure if this is the usual pattern but it was very different from the big storm at Tomamu and from out trips to Honshu. I understand the weather pattern (thanks @Sandy) but it seems quite peculiar. Maybe something to do with the NW winds strengthening at that time of day, which seems counter intuitive as I thought the solar radiation during the day, however feint, would mean stronger winds during the day. Anyway, it was great.

On Isola one and two this meant plenty of fresh snow every morning on the lee side of the hills and in the gullys, and scoured ridges and icey pistes that faced the tempest.

After a couple of days we'd sussed out a few stashes that we'd revisit every morning, and on almost every time they were filed in again, brilliant.
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Looking South from Mt Isola
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Yotei and Niseko by her side from Mt Isola
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Tonnes of Fun
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Heaven is a Field of Sparkling Crystals
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Here we Go
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Next stop, the hospital in Kutchan. After a few days with this broken toe it was time for some pain killers, I took the afternoon bus from Rusutsu town into Kutchan. It was nice journey across the snowey plans of Hokkaido and a nice stroll around Kutchan Town.

The hospital visit was uneventful and all went well. The emergency room and waiting room was chockers with injured skiers and boarder with all manner of broken limbs on display.

The doctor was courteous and efficient, after checking my toe and prescribing me some pills (nothing else you can do) she also diagnosed my cough as a chest infection and prescribed some other nasties for that.

After the hospital I stopped by the co-op for a gander and got some warming whiskey for the bus ride home.

My kinda Sculpture
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Bus Station with Snow Falling
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Kutchan Bus
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Tanuki

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Food, the big questions matter people. As Rusutsu is a stand alone resort the dining options appear to be limited at first.
Over at the main resort you've got Daniel Street with it's kitsch animatronic bears, talking tree and two storey merry go round. It's also got a pub and range of fast food options and convenience / trinket stores. There's the noodle bars nearby a couple of other restaurants throughout the building. I highly recommend the Mongolian BBQ.

At the Sheraton there's the buffet and a couple of fine dining restaurants.

And within the orbit of the resort are some lesser stars that actually outshine anything on offer within the bubble. There's a couple of Izakaya opposite the 7/11 and some of the Pensions do dinner as well. Options like Pirateman are the commensal beasts to the mothership, they derive the benefit of proximity but do no harm to the beast, in fact I think Rusutsu could do with more of these independent places as it would improve it's image and reality.

Whilst eating pizza and listening to the bears sing Tie Me Kangaroo Down Sport (for the 100th time) I observed some likely people scoping Daniel Street, dressed in black and carrying sketch pads I assume these architects were scoping a remodelling or complete reno of the place. It needs it, something like the faux street scene at New Chitose Airport would work well there.

Outside Pirateman
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I can't remember the name of this Izakaya but it was very good.
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Mongolian BBQ - Oishi
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When you can't be bothered waiting for the Mono rail the only other option is walking. The 7/11 is the perfect Pit Stop for Chu-Hi, Lager and something warm. Also trinkets and a toy to warm a toddlers heart.
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Don't get Lost
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In the Daniel Street Ecosystem
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spunk72

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Jun 30, 2005
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Thank you Tanuki for posting your most interesting TR words and pics. You take some really wonderful photos. I particularly enjoyed your observations and pics of Hong Kong. I have been living in HK for two years now - it is a fascinating place - a real clash of old HK and new. I think your pics summed up Mong Kok very well. I haven't flown Cathay as yet - we are due to fly with them to Tokyo for our upcoming Northern Honshu trip over Chinese NY in Feb... fingers crossed. Cheers
 
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Tanuki

Part of the Furniture
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Sep 29, 2010
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813
Thank you Tanuki for posting your most interesting TR words and pics. You take some really wonderful photos. I particularly enjoyed your observations and pics of Hong Kong. I have been living in HK for two years now - it is a fascinating place - a real clash of old HK and new. I think your pics summed up Mong Kok very well. I haven't flown Cathay as yet - we are due to fly with them to Tokyo for our upcoming Northern Honshu trip over Chinese NY in Feb... fingers crossed. Cheers
Cheers, I'm glad you enjoyed it (more to come)
 
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