Japan 2017 thread

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LMB

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Suns out up north, slushy down low, -but deliciously creamy in the trees.

Tomorrow's a warm one - suns out/guns out and sunscreen required! Be interested to see how it hold up - it was very pleasant riding today I must say!
 
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Ramenman

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Zao this weekend, still good in the last week of March.
1ce85fb2-s.jpg


This is the same statue without snow in late summer.
images
 

Ramenman

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An avalanche hit a group of high school students this morning. 3 are in critical condition and 3 are still missing:(
 

Sandy

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Ramenman

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What on earth was the school thinking, taking students to a place that could be so hazardous?

The students belong to their high school climbing clubs, so I think they are more or less skilled climbers. Plus, the avalanche happened inside a ski resort, which is supposed to be safe enough. So no wonder if they thought it couldn't be so hazardous for them.
 
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PMG

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Nasu Onsen looks like it consists of fairly tame terrain. Just goes to show. Poor families. Just terrible news.
 
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Ramenman

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It's end of March now, but the base village had 35cm snowfall within 8 hours from 1am to 9am and I assume it had more snowfall on the slope where they were(the avalanche happened around 9am). The group consist of 62 people (students and teachers). As of 4pm, 8 people are in critical condition, two other students and a teacher are still missing and many students are injured.

More detailed information
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/03/27/several-feared-dead-japan-avalanche/
 
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LMB

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Absolutely tragic.
Kids in school care, they go where they are told by their teachers or guides.
I can imagine the grief of the parents. Bloody awful.
 
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Hyst

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The students belong to their high school climbing clubs, so I think they are more or less skilled climbers. Plus, the avalanche happened inside a ski resort, which is supposed to be safe enough. So no wonder if they thought it couldn't be so hazardous for them.

The skiseason was finished at the resort, so there was nobody - skipatrol or other who was monetoring the conditions.

:(:cry:
 

Charles

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Very sad about this news, just heard this on NHK just then. Very sad.

A few other incidents were reported also in the Fukushima prefecture, incident at Mount Adatara. Rain, snow and hail for the week.

Not just a day out for the students:
A total of 52 students and 11 teachers from seven high schools were taking part in a three-day mountaineering expedition near the Nasu Onsen resort, 93 miles north of Tokyo, when the incident occurred at about 9.20am (00.20am GMT) on Monday.
 
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Sandy

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What on earth was the school thinking, taking students to a place that could be so hazardous?
It seems that these were the heaviest March snowfalls in 25 years at Nasu, and avalanche warnings were posted.
7 students and one teacher confirmed dead. Others are still missing.
 

Vermillion

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It seems that these were the heaviest March snowfalls in 25 years at Nasu, and avalanche warnings were posted.
7 students and one teacher confirmed dead. Others are still missing.

Nasu Family was apparently closed for the season. It's a real proper beginner resort this one, 2 lifts. I've skied it for about an hour. It's in a pretty crap spot, the road up to it is normally more dangerous. It would have come off the side of the hill going up to Mt Nasu, which is a bit of a face. But with that much snow and snow operations at that ski hill closed for the season i'm not that surprised it slid. It wouldnt have been a short slide either, it's steep around there.
 

RunDLC

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Japan Avalanche Network (JAN) recently released a report on avalanche related deaths in Japan over the 25 years to 2015. It is in Japanese but probably easily translated. Makes for some interesting reading for those enjoying the backcountry in Japan.

http://www.nadare.jp/assets/cms/Fatalitydata_25years.pdf

A few noticeable things.
Mountaineers make up the largest share of deaths over 25 years, but skier deaths make up the bulk post 2006. Snowboarder deaths are relatively low. JAN suggests media bias on snowboarding.
Prefecture with most deaths is Nagano. Hokkaido and Toyama follow.
85% of deaths are men.
Mountaineer deaths predominantly clubs (ie uni students, climbing clubs), skiing deaths fairly even mix of clubs and other (mainly individuals etc).

No detail on timing / avalanche type which would have been interesting. My rough observation in recent years would be there is a noticeable increase in people (Japanese and foreigner) doing backcountry routes in winter. Spring remains very popular with Japanese skiers (many older). I suspect a data set in 10 years time might look very different and would reflect change in ways in which people are recreating in the mountains (more skiers, more snowboarders, more in winter etc). Just my guess.
 
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Mike Pow

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I've been out and about having adventures after spending my third season based around Furano. Here is my blog post about skiing on the Shiretoko peninsula in north-east Hokkaido (click on the photo).

Fantastic

Many thanks for sharing
 

Vermillion

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Lots of resorts are shutting down for the season now, either last weekend or through this week and this weekend. So sad when there's so much snow still left, but plenty of opportunity for those willing to earn their turns in resort on great snow cover. It's always sad this time of year in Japan when it's slowly (then quickly) melting away.
 

LMB

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Pure economics. Not much use keeping lifts open with so few punters.
What truly surprised me in Niseko last week was HOW MANY people were still on the hill! Yet the closures were still happening. I was lapping Hanazono just a couple of days before it shut and didn't slide into the lift line once on my own - not that there was ever much of a queue, but it certainly wasn't deserted.

The bar and restaurant shut downs seemed slightly premature given the numbers in town and the snow cover too. All the restaurants we ate in were pretty full, bars less so, but still not deserted.

It would be a great time to go as a young family to learn - warmer weather, snow cover usually soft - either fresh or slushy (never icy for long). We bumped into quite a few first timers taking the opportunity of quieter pistes and discount prices.
 
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Sandy

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What truly surprised me in Niseko last week was HOW MANY people were still on the hill! Yet the closures were still happening. I was lapping Hanazono just a couple of days before it shut and didn't slide into the lift line once on my own - not that there was ever much of a queue, but it certainly wasn't deserted.

The bar and restaurant shut downs seemed slightly premature given the numbers in town and the snow cover too. All the restaurants we ate in were pretty full, bars less so, but still not deserted.

It would be a great time to go as a young family to learn - warmer weather, snow cover usually soft - either fresh or slushy (never icy for long). We bumped into quite a few first timers taking the opportunity of quieter pistes and discount prices.
When I was at Niseko in late Feb, I noticed how very busy it was mid week, compared what I'm used to in central Japan.
I ended up spending more time skiing elsewhere (Rusutsu & Kiroro), than at Niseko.
 
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LMB

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When I was at Niseko in late Feb, I noticed how very busy it was mid week, compared what I'm used to in central Japan.
I ended up spending more time skiing elsewhere (Rusutsu & Kiroro), than at Niseko.
Yep. Feb is now as busy as January. March is the new Feb. Which is why it surprised me that things were closing!
 

Vermillion

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Pure economics. Not much use keeping lifts open with so few punters.

I didnt say closing down was a bad thing. It's spring now, the farmers and people in the country need to start their work, and visitors to these regions now have other festivals and things to do instead of skiing, so it makes sense. It's just a shame, unless you can take advantage of it.
 
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Sandy

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For most of Japan (generalising) March was a pretty good month in terms of snowfall! I might look at visiting a bit later next year...
You can expect much more rain events in March on average, and less powder. This March was colder than usual in Nagano City for example. (Max 9.5 degrees, vs 12.2 for last year, while the average for the last 10 years is around 11)
 
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Zimboo

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Shiga will have a few lifts spinning (Shibutoge) till the end of May.
It's a long way up for very little vert..............
 
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Sandy

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Shiga will have a few lifts spinning (Shibutoge) till the end of May.
It's a long way up for very little vert..............

However, from the 8th May, the mountain wide tickets will not be valid. i.e. Individual area tickets available only.

Areas open after 7th May:
- Kumanoyu A&B lifts until 14th May
- Yokoteyama 2&3 until late May
- Shibutoge until late May

Many will only run on weekends during the rest of April.
 

LMB

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HOWEVER, Gassan mountain should be opening for the season, within the next week or so, running until July!!!
Skiing all year round isn't too hard if you're able to pick and choose locations then! Doing a full year with no missed days has to be the kind of challenge someone has on their bucket list!! Although - travel time might cheat you of a day or two. Maybe a 6 out of 7 days a week average over the year - which would give you flexibility for a sick day or 5.
 

Vermillion

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Serious Japan SDS today. Having some tunes playing at work this morning that are similar to the stuff I have cranking in the car whilst road-tripping in Japan, reminds me of the late night trip-planning, watching weather charts and speaking to people at the resorts over chu his, then up early in the morning and driving through the Japanese countryside to some unknown ski hill with 7 people on it. Home for a feed and more chu hi then rinse and repeat the next day.
 

Heinz

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Skiing all year round isn't too hard if you're able to pick and choose locations then! Doing a full year with no missed days has to be the kind of challenge someone has on their bucket list!! Although - travel time might cheat you of a day or two. Maybe a 6 out of 7 days a week average over the year - which would give you flexibility for a sick day or 5.
Surely @Heinz would have already done this?
Quite likely.
If anyone, I'm sure Heinz!

LOL No, not a chance, never had that much free time.
Have read various articles in the past though (Powder mag maybe?) about people trying that. It would get tricky when crossing continents - have to find somewhere with night skiing for a run or two.
Doesn't really appeal to me - going to all that trouble having to ski little hill somewhere just for the sake of it. It would get tiresome pretty quickly.
 
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