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Trip Report Intermediate's 1st Japan trip: Nozawa Onsen

Discussion in 'Japan' started by fosphenytoin, Jan 7, 2019.

  1. fosphenytoin

    fosphenytoin Early Days

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    A little about me:

    I am a cautious intermediate, started skiing in ~2012. I grew up in Hong Kong (HK), now living in Washington D.C.. In weekends, I normally ski at our small hills in Pennsylvania. Since 4 years ago, I started venturing out to bigger ski resorts, I have been to Whistler/Blackcomb (WB), Lake Louise (LL), Sunshine Village (SSV) in Canada; Alta, Taos in the U.S.; Val D’Isere in France. Nozawa Onsen is my 2nd overseas ski trip. I mostly ski on blues groomers but also venture to blacks 2 year ago.

    Why did I decide to ski in Japan?
    I’ve always wanted to…., as I heard a lot about the powder snow in Japan. But I am mostly curious to know what is the “skiing culture”(if there is such thing) like in japan, as compare to western countries, e.g. U.S., France.

    Since I was going to HK for X’mas, I decided to utilize this opportunity to visit Japan for a short ski trip before returning to the U.S..

    Why did I decide Nozawa Onsen? I’ve only heard of Hakuba and Niseko prior to this trip. When I started planning, I have my eyes set on Hakuba since Niseko is too far for a short trip. I posted a thread on the Japan forum with questions about Hakuba, as well as my “bucket list” in “must have” and “nice to have” for what I was looking for. My must haves are: traditional authentic Japanese experience (including lodging, food), easy accessibility to public transportation. Nice to haves are good terrain, snow condition but they are not essential since I am only an intermediate skier.

    With that said, many of you suggested few places - Zao Onsen, Nozawa Onsen, Naeba, etc. I settled in Nozawa Onsen because its local tourism board was the first to give me a reply and found a lodging that fitted my time frame. Upon further research, I learned Nozawa is a traditional Japanese village, not as westernized but enough to get around with minimum Japanese.

    I also watched youtube video about Nozawa Onsen and posted a thread on Japan forum to learn more about the layout of the mountain.

    This is what I learned about Nozawa Onsen:
    1) It is considered as the birthing place of skiing in Japan (info. from Powderhound website). 2019 marked it’s 95th anniversary year since it first opened in 1923.
    2) Trails at top and bottom part of the mountain are considered to be mellow.
    3) Mid mountain section is where the steepest (blacks) terrains are.

    Now onto my trip:

    28th December - travel day. 5-hour flight from HK to Haneda Airport around 7 pm. Got on Chuotaxi (shared van) at 8 pm, arrived to Nozawa around 12:30 am. It was snowing pretty hard when I arrived.


    Day 1 - 29th December
    Got up early because I had to sort out few logistics: ski rental, lift ticket, figured out where the ski bus stop was…. it was still snowing pretty hard when I headed out around 8:30 am.

    My original plan was to take the Nagasaka Gondola to the top. As I was on my way to the gondola station, I was stopped by a staff, explained me something in Japanese.

    Me: sorry, I don’t speak Japanese….
    Staff: do you speak Chinese?
    Me: Yes, are you Chinese too?
    Staff: No. I am Taiwanese.
    Me: Alright… Great that you can speak Chinese. Can you explain me what’s going on?

    It turned out the gondola was not working this day. He advised me to take the Nagasaka triple chair and ski to Hikage station, which was another main base area. No wonder there was a long line at the triple chair behind the gondola station….

    My first impression of the lift chairs, they were very low, as if they were designed for kids! I am not very tall (1.65m), if I found these chairs were low, I wonder how would the taller westerns feel...

    Visibility was bad as it was snowing pretty hard, it was also cold and windy at times. I felt a bit uneasy with the poor visibility considering it was my first ski day of the season, to a foreign place I visited the very 1st time.

    In a way, I was glad I picked the holiday period because there was enough people for me to follow around. For someone who is not good at reading maps, this is a big plus! I spent most of my time off the trails around Hikage station, e.g. paradise (green), challenger course (orange), rinkan (green). I also ventured to Yamabiko (top of the mountain) area, I lapped all courses (Yamabiko course A to E) except B because it was very mogul’ly. It was a bit flat light in the area, I felt like I had to “feel” the terrain with my feet, coz I could barely see.

    Overall, the greens are true to it’s color, except short part in mid mountain was a steep. This was expected because Nozawa Onsen is known for it’s steep in mid mountain section, top and base areas are quite mellow.

    Yamabiko and Challenger courses are both orange (intermediate). I found Challenger course was steeper than Yamabiko, again expected because Challenger is in mid mountain and Yamabiko is on top.

    Throughout the day, I heard Public announcement (PA) in Japanese, something about Nagasaka Gondola. I assumed it was about the gondola was not working. I only heard PA announced twice in English about Nagasaka gondola and resort was extendig chair lift operating hours by additional 15 minutes to compensate the “mistake”. No other languages in PA.

    Lessons I learned that day:

    1) It is always good to follow the crowds if you are unsure where to go.
    2) It is never good to follow bunch of snowboards because you would find yourself heading toward a terrain park.
    3) Always dry your hair before heading out on a snowy day. Otherwise, your hair would remain damp throughout the day and it adds to the cold….
    4) When I am unsure how difficult a run will be, if I see someone “plowing” or “wedging” downhill, it gives me assurance that likely I could handle it and I try to make it my next run.

    Photos from Day 1: Since Nagasaka gondola was not working, many people had to take these type of vehicle to get to the Nagasaka base. Normally they were for kids.


    I had lunch at this restaurant near Nagasaka base. It was not really fast food, your ordered at a cash register, then staff brought food to your tables. I was so hungry, I literally inhaled the my bowl of udon in one breath.
    IMG_2145.JPG
    I noticed they have this type of heaters in many places, e.g. restaurants. There are hooks so people can dry /warm their clothing accessories near the heater while having lunch.
    IMG_2142.JPG

    I think this is a cemetery? I noticed it when I skied down this road heading toward the base of Nagasaka gondola station at the end of the 1st day.


    View of the Nagasaka Quad. I had to take this chair because the gondola was not working.


    This is the stair way to Nagasaka Gondola. At the time this picture was taken, it was still snowing very hard.


    I did not take many pictures on the slope this day because of the poor visibility.

    My dinner - Ramen noodles with dumplings, very delicious
    IMG_2161.JPG IMG_2162.JPG

    Day 2 - December 30th

    Before I headed out to the slope, I visited tourism office (across from the ski bus stop) because I wanted to find out the time and place for the New Year’s eve fireworks.

    I thought staff at the tourism office would speak some English, it turned out not to be the case. The female staff wasn’t able to understand my “fireworks” question and felt helpless to help me, I heard she murmured few times: “S.O.S.” (sigh).

    It continued to snow this day and visibility was worse than yesterday. But Nagasaka gondola was running…. My goal of the day was to ski the famous Skyline course (orange), 3.5 km long. I tried to find it yesterday but did not manage due to poor visibility.

    I knew there was a way to get to Skyline from Nagasaka gondola, and I even saw a sign for it. But I still wasn’t sure how (due to poor visibility) so I asked an older Japanese couple. The husband understood my question in English but he explained me in Japanese. He took the time and effort to explain but I could not understand anything… I felt very bad wasting his time…

    I found myself ended up in Yamabiko area in the top mountain again because I knew there was a way to Skyline from Yamabiko according to trail map. I spotted a western instructor with her student, so I asked her. She told me to stay on the left side and I would run into Skyline.

    Half way through one of the Yamabiko courses at a trail split, I saw signage to Skyline but there was no ski track, which meant no one has been on this trail for a while…. with the poor visibility, I decided not to be adventurous and ended up following the instructor with her student back down to mid mountain.

    On the next run, I was back to the same trail split point. This time I saw couple skiers, one seemed to be heading toward Skyline. I decided not to be shy and asked if I could follow him… He nodded. I usually ski slow but this time I tried to ski faster because I needed to keep up with him. He was nice and considerate, waiting for me at each trail split point. Finally, we arrived to a split that would either take you back to the chair lift or a catwalk… I think the catwalk was Skyline. So I told him I’d be ok to find my way and told him to take off… Before we parted our ways, he held out his fist to give me a fist bump. I thought that was a cute gesture and it was my very first fist bump….

    I decided not to take the catwalk because I saw no one there…. so I was back to Yamabiko again…. this time around, I heard a group of westerns chatting about getting to Skyline… So I decided to follow them, they arrived to a double chair lift, located near the top of Nagasaka Gondola station, called Skyline Link. The leader of this group said to her group: “you guys take this double chair to Skyline.”

    It finally dawned on me that the signage I was looking at this morning (near Nagasaka Gondola), it was actually pointing to this Skyline Link chair lift, which would take you to the start of the Skyline course… (I think that was what the husband trying to explain me in the morning…)

    Finally, I arrived to the famous Skyline course. During this time, the sky started to clear a bit and I could finally see…. I came at the right time. The view was good from top of Skyline, where I could see the mountain and the village.

    Compared to Yamabiko, Skyline was about the same in terms of steepness but it was a bit wider…. there was a long flat section after the initial pitch.

    Skyline then splits to either the black or green. I opted to take the green, which was a very long catwalk. Scenery of this long green reminded me of Great Northern in Killlington, Vermont. After the long catwalk, it merged to another green called Karasawa. I’d say, this was one of my favorite green trails at Nozawa. It was a wide tree-lined trail and not crowded at all.

    I fell today on a cat track near the base area of Nagasaka Gondola. It was the stupidest mistake as I was trying to practice my edging and steering. I turned too far left and luckily I got “caught” by the safety net.

    Lessons learned this day:
    1) On a more challenging run, if you are unsure where to go, try to see if there are instructors with students around. Follow them because instructors usually know the good places.

    It is the "little"things that mattered. At the Ryokan stairway, there was no snow accumulation because they sprayed water to melt the snow....
    IMG_2164.JPG

    I noticed people don't use snow blower machine to clear snow off the road, people (young and old) do manually, one bucket / shovel at a time.
    IMG_2166.JPG

    This was the visibility in the morning, can you see much? I can't! because it was still dumping.... took this picture as I got out of Nagasaka Gondola. From here you can hit Paradise area, or take other chairs to Yamabiko or Skyline course


    Finally, blue sky showed up a short period while I was on Skyline line. Did you the flat run offs at the "bottom" of the Skyline course? I had to push quite bit to get over that flat area.



    Many "S.O.S." signs throughout the Skyline course
    IMG_2200.JPG

    From Skyline course, continues onto the green trail Karasawa, one of my favorite green runs. The view was spectacular, it is a wide tree line trail).



    Again, it is the "little" things that count. These are charcoals placed in restrooms to absorb odors (I assume). I see these in almost all the restrooms throughout this mountain.
    IMG_2204.JPG

    I stopped for a bio break at this place (near Nagasaka gondola). Then, I went upstairs to check it out. To my pleasant surprise, it was a break room. Here, you can see there are people gathered for a hot pot, used the heater to warm up the rice cakes....
    IMG_2217.JPG IMG_2194.JPG IMG_2195.JPG

    More pictures and content innext thread...
     

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  2. fosphenytoin

    fosphenytoin Early Days

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    Day 2 pictures continues:

    At the end of the day, I see these Instructors are getting "trained" (?) by an older experienced instructors. I see them on this slope next day as well.




    Pictures of the Nagasaka Gondola. As you can see, it is quite small but it supposed to fit 12 people. I say, most comfortably, maybe 8 people at most. Inside, they are not really chairs, more like "standing room".
    IMG_2209.JPG IMG_2211.JPG

    My dinner: beef shabu shabu. I decided to splurge on dinner this day since I skipped lunch altogether. I was starving and I ate everything except the pot, bowl and the plate.
    IMG_2212.JPG IMG_2213.JPG

    Day 3 - December 31st

    Finally, it stopped snowing and I saw a blue sky. I could finally see where I was heading! My goal today was to revisit my favorite runs from previous 2 days, and to check out trails I did not get to visit due to visibility issues past 2 days.

    My original plan was to stop at early afternoon because I wanted to do some sightseeing, and onsen’ing in the village before it got dark.

    Of course things never turned out the way I planned, I skied until the last chair at 16:30 (more explanations below).

    I had so much fun and I wanted to soak in all the incredible views I did not get to see the last 2 days. I was all over the place.

    I found these 2 trails have the best views: Kokenashi A and B (from Skyline Link double chair - that same chair takes you to the beginning of the skyline course).

    Even though these 2 trails are only 200 m long, they offered the most incredible views of the entire mountain. The trees along these 2 trails were covered in white, it was magical. I lapped around the trails many times in the morning so I could soak all these in, knowing I would not be able to see such views in any other places. This place is it….

    With good visibility, I became brave, as long there were signages for orange (intermediate) trails, I would explore them…. I got to check out mid mountain area: Yunomine and Mizunashi. This was a closed loop area and I actually got stuck for an hour or so because I could not find my way out. I even got nervous thought I had to ski a black diamond to leave that loop.

    Fortunately, my map reading skills was not as hopeless as I thought, I found a way to get back to Nigasaka gondola mid station.

    In Yunomine / Mizunashi areas, I saw ski racers had their practice.

    I went back to Paradise area. My understanding is: Paradise area is as well-known as Skyline. Actually I lapped around Paradise multiple times the past 2 days but I did not get to appreciate it until this day because of visibility. I discovered there was even a Paradise quad chair just to serve the Paradise run. Paradise area was so wide that it could divide into 4 little areas: 1) race course; 2) x-country course; 3) terrain park; 4) Paradise run itself…..

    In my opinion, Paradise leads to the 2 best intermediate runs in Nozawa : Challenger and Utopia. Challenger was steeper and bumpier than Utopia.

    While I was on Challenger, I thought to myself, if I were ended up on this trial 2 years ago, my legs would tremble and I would paralyzed with fear, likely I would take off my skis and walk down the trail.

    This time, even though I could not ski it with elegance, at least the fear was gone. I felt relaxed and knew I could ski this run with good control. Reflecting back, I came a long way (from a struggled beginner to an intermediate) and this was a good feeling. For this reason, I cherished this run very much.

    I also stopped by the tourist information center at HIkage base to ask my “fireworks” question again. Fortunately, no one had to call “S.O.S.” this time. There was few Chinese speaking staff on site that I could communicate in Chinese. The fireworks was scheduled to be held at Nagasaka station at midnight. They also had night skiing starting at 5 pm until 11: 30 pm. I was going to do the night skiing and then watching fireworks at midnight. Then I found out there would be no bus running after 5 pm. Logistically, it’d be too difficult to do these without a car. So I decided to ski until the last chair and skipped night skiing fireworks altogether.

    Lesson learned today:

    1) skiing is as much of a head game as a game of skills. After my fell on a cat track yesterday, I had some fear issues. There were cat tracks that I know in my heart I have the skills to ski them, but my head said no. So I side slipped on those until they became wide enough for me to make turns again.

    Photos from this day:

    Taken in the morning, as I got out of Nagasaka gondola, I saw this magnificent view.
    These 2 are the Kokenashi trails (200 m in length) that I raved about. Trees covered in white, I have never seen such incredible view in other places. Have you? I could make laps along these two trails all day long....






    This is where I got stuck in the Yunomine / Mizunashi loop. I saw racers had their trainings here:


    This is the line at Paradise Quad (serves Paradise area). With this long line, I thought the chair was malfunctioning at one point. It turned the line is this long...


    My dinner: yakitori (skewed meat) and steam buns. For skewed meat, I had chicken skin and pig's cheek meat. The chicken skin was not very good, I was expecting crispy crunchy texture. It turned out the texture was very rubbery....not my thing.
    For steam buns, I had 2 - red bean paste filling and nozowana vegetable filling. The savory bun tasted better as I am not a "sweet" person.
    IMG_2238.JPG IMG_2240.JPG IMG_2237.JPG IMG_2182.JPG IMG_2241.JPG

    It snowed pretty hard 2 out of 3 days while I was in Nozawa. I supposed it would be the best time to explore powder, but I chickened out since I did not really know how to ski powder properly. Besides this was my first ski trip of the season and I was on my own in a foreign country, I decided better to be safe than to be sorry, so I decided not to do it this trip.

    I never attempted any black runs either. Therefore, I had not idea how the blacks were like. The closest I got to the black was the Skyline course, which was rated half orange and half black.

    My favorite green runs at Nozawa are: Karasawa (wide tree line trail and not crowded) and Paradise (even wider than Karasawa).

    2 most challenging orange runs (intermediate) to me: Challenge course, utopia course.

    Few trails had rather long and flat run offs, e.g. Skyline course. This reminded me of some runs at Sunshine Village in Banff.

    Few places I had to climb “uphill” after downloading from the chair. e.g. hiking uphill to one of the Yamabiko courses, Skyline Link from Nagasaka Gondola, Uenotaira chair from Hikage Gondola Station.

    As a first timer skiing in Japan, below are my observations and impressions:

    Plenty of restrooms throughout the resort, they can be found almost near every chair lift. I think I visited almost all of them because I had to stop for biobreak very often due to the cold.

    Skis and boards are always put on racks, I have yet seen any laid on the ground. This is very different from what I’ve seen in U.S., Canada or France, people put their skis / boards on the ground all over…….

    Despite lift lines, I noticed Japanese does not like to share chairs. Handful times that I shared a chair, it was with a westerner. Same observation applies to table sharing at cafeteria and restaurant.

    Just like France, people are kept to themselves during lift rides, they don’t chitchat with you at all. So, I kept to myself the whole time and did not initiate conversation with others.

    PA announcements could be heard throughout the resort, not offensively loud but loud enough I could hear. Almost all were announced in Japanese. The only times I heard in English was: 1) Gondola not working, resort extends operating hours to compensate. 2) Closing of the Yamiboko trails. I suppose these trails close at an odd time 15:20 (?).

    The lifts opening times and closing times are staggered. Earliest chair opens little after 08:00, last opens 09:00. For closing times, they ranged from the earliest closing at 15:30 to the latest at 16:30. I suppose if you are strategic, you can maximize the slope time by starting at the earliest chair before 8:30 to the last one closes at 16:30. However, the lift operating hours are not mentioned on trail map. It only displays at lift stations.

    At the end of the day, a Japanese song was played over the PA, likely it signified it’s closing time.

    I did not see grooming status mentioned anywhere. Does it mean they are all groomed at all times, so there is no need to mention it?

    Most of the lift chairs are quite dated, but they are not slow. For the fixed grip, lift attendants don’t slow down the chair for you, they can be fast approaching and slammed toward you, so be prepared.

    There is a bubble chair, it is also quite dated. I rode that chair 4 times, still did not know if the cover lift itself automatically upon downloading or I had to lift the cover myself? I’ve seen people did both ways.

    Trail ratings are pretty accurate and consistent.

    My impression is, they rate it based on the steepness of the majority of a trail. If there is a short section of a trail is bit steep, but remaining majority is rather “flat”, it is rated “Green”.

    Trail signages at Nozawa are adequate, but not as detailed as the ones I’ve seen in some other places like Val D’Isere. Probably I am just not used to how the signages are displayed / communicated…. With the combination of sign posts and trail map, for someone who has poor sense of direction (i.e. me), I managed to navigate around the mountain without getting too lost.

    As my experience of staying in a traditional Japanese accommodation (Ryokan), it was good overall. My only 2 issues were: tatami can be a bit hard to sleep on, but I supposed I can remediate the problem by doubling up the futon to soften it. I was also not used to have no chairs in the room. I had to sit on floors to do things.
     

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  3. blowfin

    blowfin One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    Welcome to Nozowa! :)

    Great write up so far.
     
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  4. mijs

    mijs Hard Yards

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    Outstanding trip report. Well done. I'm going to Nozawa for the first time at the end of the month and while I'm more interested in black and tree runs, I still found this quite interesting. I'm sure that others travelling to Nozawa for the first time will get a lot out of these too.
    Cheers
     
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  5. fosphenytoin

    fosphenytoin Early Days

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    Final day 1st January, 2019 - travel day

    I did not get to visit Ogama - hot springs where locals cooked their vegetables. So I had to wake up early to check this place out.
    IMG_2245.JPG IMG_2246.JPG IMG_2247.JPG IMG_2248.JPG IMG_2249.JPG IMG_2250.JPG IMG_2251.JPG IMG_2252.JPG IMG_2253.JPG

    Also, I never got to do the Onsen the prior 3 days. So this was the day to do it. Otherwise, I don't know when I would get a chance next time.
    This was the Onsen I had my "soak". It was not the main one, this one was closer to my Ryokan.
    I admit, I was a bit hesitant to do this at first. That's why I procrastinated until my last day. However, I really enjoyed this experience. After the soak, I felt much rejuvenated. Since the temperature is quite hot, I only soaked for ~5 -10 minutes? Even it was short, I felt much better afterwards. Now I understand why this becomes a daily rituals for many locals. I regretted why I did not try it sooner.
    IMG_2173.JPG
    I had to read up the "etiquette" before entering. Make sure you do too, if you want to try onsen and don't know about the proper etiquette of Onsen'ing.
    Also, make sure you are entering the right door.... males and females have separate entries.
    IMG_2174.JPG IMG_2177.JPG

    I also soaked my feet at the foot bath, this is located just across from the main onsen: O-Yu
    IMG_2256.JPG IMG_2257.JPG

    These are the photos of my Ryokan, as it turned out, it has a dry room where you can dry your boots and a ski storage room. The dry room was very warm, I got to have warm boots the next day.

    IMG_2186.JPG IMG_2187.JPG

    Final thoughts:

    French Alps may have the terrain, but Japan has the snow, in vast amount and good condition.

    Language barrier is the biggest issue for me. Knowing Chinese definitely helped, but often times, I still felt like a deaf, blind and mute.

    In the foreseeable future, I would very much like to check out few other ski resorts in Nagano prefecture, e.g. Zao Onsen, Naeba. Because I don’t have a good knowledge base to figure out how the bus or the shinkansen works, plus the language barrier, probably I will have to check out these places one at a time for couple more trips. Once I have done that, I shall feel more comfortable to do a ski safari type trip to visit multiple places in one trip.

    In any case, despite the language barrier, I still prefer Japan over Europe for reasons: 1) better snow condition and in vast amount… 2) food is more agreeable to my Asian stomach, I much prefer shabu shabu over fondue, ramen /soba/ udon over pasta, rice over potato, you get the idea.
     

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  6. ponyrider

    ponyrider Addicted

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    Great reporting, well done.
     
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  7. Hyst

    Hyst Enjoyer Ski Pass: Gold

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    Nice to hear you had a great trip. Next time Onsen every day after skiing.

    How did you father do on the trip - saw you did not drag him through Tokyo on the way?

    Thank for you trip report.
    Try to communicate in writing with Japanese
    - could help the SOS situations.:clown:
     
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  8. willsnow

    willsnow Addicted Ski Pass: Silver

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    Always do this.

    Assuming you can write Chinese characters, it doesn't harm to try it. You'll have better chances with it then communicating with them in English. For example, fireworks in Japanese is 'Hanabi', but written '花火'. Try adding '時間' with a question mark to ask for time, and then you might get an answer to your question.
     
  9. dawooduck

    dawooduck relaxed and comfortable Ski Pass: Gold

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    I always enjoy a story that ends with potato
     
  10. Donzah

    Donzah Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    I feel this TR lacks detail
     
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  11. Lady Penelope

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

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    Behave yourself!

    Great trip report, @fosphenytoin , and useful info. We are off to Nozawa in a few days after venturing there for the first time in Jan 16.
     
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  12. Tennex

    Tennex Hard Yards

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    Great trip report. I don't think I will be doing one! I am in the air tomorrow hope to catch some pow in Kagura Wednesday PM.
     
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  13. skivet

    skivet Addicted

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    Really enjoy reading your trip report, thanks so much!
     
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  14. Tonester

    Tonester Lift Line Nazi Ski Pass: Gold

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    That is one detailed TR. I'm lucky if remember what I had for lunch, let alone all the nuanced reasons behind each decision you made, or each run you did.
     
  15. Froff Life

    Froff Life A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    Great TR :)

    The part about the snowboarder and your first fist-bump was so kawaiiiii!
    [​IMG]
     
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  16. Dumphfish

    Dumphfish Hard Yards

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    It's a very special, beautiful place and you have done in justice and some. Thanks
     
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  17. fosphenytoin

    fosphenytoin Early Days

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    Good memory! (My father decided not to come because the airfare from HK was too expensive for that peak holiday time. With a 3-day trip, it did not really justify the cost. But I told him I will bring him back in the future, likely off season, since he likes onsen.

    I did try to communicate in writing (only once). The hotel staff could not come up with the english word for temple, so I asked him to write in Kanji for me. I should do it more often.
     
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  18. fosphenytoin

    fosphenytoin Early Days

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    Thanks for the suggestions, that's good advice! I noticed, there are some differences in semantics (?). For e.g. 饅頭 in Chinese means steamed buns without fillings, in Japanese it means steamed buns with fillings. I guess, as long as I "use" the right word, I shall be able to communicate better... but it may take few attempts, w/ different words (characters / kanji).
    ('Hanabi' - in Chinese, we would write as 煙花).
     
  19. fosphenytoin

    fosphenytoin Early Days

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    I did leave out few details, mainly logistics. Main reason is I figure folks on this Japan forum are way more knowledgable in traveling in Japan than me (this was my 1st "Do it myself" Japan trip). I decided not to bore them with things they already know, if they don't know, there are other threads which offer more informative details.
    Main purpose for this TR is to capture my experience, impression and observations of skiing in Japan.
    I was able to materialize this trip because of the valuable input from folks on this forum. I'd like to share with them my "take" on Nozawa onsen...

    I belong to another online ski forum (the ski diva), I plan to post my TR on their website as well. For that posting, I plan to include more details on travel logistics, as I think not many folks from that site have visited / skied in Japan, so info. on logistics would be useful for them (if they are curious about skiing in Japan).
     
  20. fosphenytoin

    fosphenytoin Early Days

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    My short term memory is better than my long term. Plus, i had the trail map next to me when I was typing this report. Of the 3 days skiing, I only had lunch 1 day.... so it wasn't hard to remember what I ate since it was the only lunch I had.
     
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  21. fosphenytoin

    fosphenytoin Early Days

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    I know!!! I thought it was a cute and sweet gesture. :D

    Thank you. I love all places rich in history and tradition. Nozawa struck me as a place that is "old schooled" filled with rich tradition. It hits my special spot.
     
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  22. fosphenytoin

    fosphenytoin Early Days

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    Thank you. I have been following your TR. I have to say, I wish the Ryokan I stayed would offer breakfast, I very much wanted to try a traditional Japanese b'fast...
    The photo of your Mr 13's less-than-impressed expression at breakfast table, that was classic. :D

    Hope you enjoy Nozawa... I know I did.
     
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  23. Donzah

    Donzah Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    For the record I'm glad you came back and contributed a TR.

    Many OP disappear after their trip has finished.

    Fist bump
     
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  24. fosphenytoin

    fosphenytoin Early Days

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    I made a promise that I would post a TR, I was just keeping my promise. More importantly, I ought to establish good rapport w/ y'all, especially I am considering future ski trips in Japan. :thumbs:
     
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  25. Mils

    Mils One of Us

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    You started your trip just as I left!
     
  26. willsnow

    willsnow Addicted Ski Pass: Silver

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    Yup, that's part of the fun. Learning the subtle differences between Chinese and Japanese kanji is another topic itself.

    I suppose in the future you'll learn a few Japanese phrases that will make your life easier. But in any case, Google Translate App on the phone is always handy.
     
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  27. LMB

    LMB Old but definitely not Crusty! Ski Pass: Gold

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    Ha ha!!
    Welcome to our newest white powder addict :emoji_snowflake:
     
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  28. shepski

    shepski Addicted

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    Great write up, cheers!