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Trip Report Lady P’s return to Honshu: Shiga Kogen and Nozawa Onsen

Discussion in 'Japan' started by Lady Penelope, Dec 25, 2018.

  1. Donzah

    Donzah Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Some Alcohol is great as well..................



    On the windscreen
     
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  2. Kletterer

    Kletterer Thredbo Doughnut Tragic Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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    Yeah nah. Just crap summer wipers probably. You need good winter blades and it shouldnt be a problem .
     
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  3. Tonester

    Tonester Lift Line Nazi Ski Pass: Gold

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    Thanks for the qualification
     
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  4. Zimbooo

    Zimbooo One of Us

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    My brother showed us their method in the US years ago..................white vinegar over all the windows.
     
  5. Kletterer

    Kletterer Thredbo Doughnut Tragic Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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    When you have to shave 5mm thick hoar from all the inside glass you have something to complain about.
     
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  6. Donzah

    Donzah Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Sounds like inside of my caravan glass door
     
  7. Kletterer

    Kletterer Thredbo Doughnut Tragic Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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    Alcohol induced post washing in the hand basin convection ?
     
  8. Donzah

    Donzah Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Minus five internal glass temp. ..
     
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  9. Kletterer

    Kletterer Thredbo Doughnut Tragic Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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    Ah the 80s Winters in Jindy van. Small gas bottles and those that left gas stove going got horrid mildew.
     
  10. Donzah

    Donzah Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    The Van is a 8x 3 metre box in this case. With the heat source at one end and the glass sliding door and condensation at the other (imagine a shipping container )
    The condensation freezes on the internal glass and rollers . Freezing the door shut.
     
  11. Lady Penelope

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

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    Alcohol ... I feel like some right now! I think the wipers just weren’t very good - regardless of the speed at which they were running, snow still built up on them and the windscreen. It took the driver 2 hours to get the 60 odd kilometres from Shiga Kogen to Nozawa (we thought we might have to get out and push at one point). Half an hour before we even got out of Shiga.

    Anyway, here now and a warm welcome awaited us at our place of residence in Nozawa, Utopia. Nice rooms (more futons ....):





    The view from my window ...



    Bit different to last time we were in Nozawa (no snow in the village).

    And then a rather nasty hike up through the village to the Nagasaka Gondola (might try Hikage via the U road tomorrow) carrying skis and boots. The children and other adults preferred to have a steamed bun and device/book afternoon so it was just me .... Just a little bit of snow around ;)











    I found that my 90mm underfoot Atomics were too wide for the ski locker racks at Nagasaka. Soo back down the road they came with me. Grrr ... there’s going to be some whinging tomorrow from certain people as we hoik our gear back up the hill again. @Nozawaman - what are ski and/or boot storage options like at Hikage (or alternatives at Nagasaka?).
     
  12. Lady Penelope

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

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    Oh, nearly forgot this one. The view of Nozawa village from Skyline ...

     
  13. Lady Penelope

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

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    Hi @Canuckskier. Our taxi cost 39,800 yen and today it was worth every one of those yen. Eight of us plus a heap of ski bags and suitcases in very heavy snow. Google Chuo Taxis and you will find they have an English language enquiry page. I received very prompt replies from them in English and found them professional and courteous to deal with. An added bonus was the fact that we could pay the driver by card.
     
  14. mannyk

    mannyk One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Looks like you have timed your dates well.. Village looks great in its winter outfit.
     
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  15. Canuckskier

    Canuckskier Hard Yards

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    Thanks for the report sounds like it will be just fine then. I am keen to also stock up on snacks etc before heading up to Shiga so sounds like a plan. cheers
     
  16. Canuckskier

    Canuckskier Hard Yards

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    Thanks I agree that price was worth it especially for the conditions! I am jealous the snow you have is amazing! I can’t wait I am coming to japan in just over two weeks. Love your reports and let me know if you find ski lockers that hold skis 116 underfoot! Cheers
     
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  17. Lady Penelope

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

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    After the storm ... there is the visibility and plenty of fresh powder stashes ....





    The views from Skyline were particularly pleasant. Note to anyone unfamiliar with this run: it is rated as a red/black but isn’t too difficult. The main tricky part is an uphill section (yes, uphill) where you really need to get some speed up coming down the preceding hill to avoid a nasty hike. Loose legs a must over the bumps!



    I decided to challenge myself a little today and tackle some of Nozawa’s black runs, which seem to be steeper than those on offer at Shiga Kogen. I think the maximum gradient of the black runs there was around 30 degrees. Today I took on the Schneider course with warning signs posted at alarmingly frequent intervals leading up to this: “very steep slope. 39 degrees”. And it was ungroomed. Yikes. In for a penny .... I made it down unscathed, apart from one minor hiccup. You can see it in the background from the Hikage area, where the next photo was taken. Probably a walk in the park for many, but not for me :eek:



    The children chose to ski together and surprisingly opted for the less adventurous runs. At the end of the day, the free toboggans and ski bikes (?) at Hikage were put to good use ....



     
  18. Rush

    Rush Pool Room

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    Yep, the black runs at Nozawa are definitely ‘proper black’ - they’d be double blacks in some resorts
     
  19. fennekeg

    fennekeg Addicted Ski Pass: Silver

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    Are the toboggans for adults as well or would that be considered weird? (we'll be there end of February during the week so perhaps fewer kids around).
    Enjoying your TR very much!
     
  20. Lady Penelope

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

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    Thanks! No reason why adults can’t use the toboggans ... just not much of a slope.
     
  21. Lady Penelope

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

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    Yes! Feeling stoked after managing Schneider, I did a little research last night. 39 degrees seems to be about the equivalent of some of the harder blacks (eg Kamakazi, top of Olympic) at Perisher (my ‘local’) from what I can gather, and also one of the steeper grades in the Nagano area. This table provides an interesting comparison of local resorts and their steepest slopes:

    https://www.snowjapan.com/japan-ski-resorts/prefecture/nagano?sort=SteepestSlope&sortdir=ASC
     
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  22. Legs Akimbo

    Legs Akimbo Grumblebum Ski Pass: Gold

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    This is why god invented small children. It gives you the opportunity to do good stuff because you are "looking after the children". Mine is 24. I haven't been to a water park for years. :(
     
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  23. hatto

    hatto One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Try Shirakaba ski hire underneath Moss Burger at hikage
     
  24. Lady Penelope

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

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    A cool day today up on the hill (the thermometer measured -6 at the base of the Uenotaira lift, despite the weather forecast for Nozawa village stating it would be a maximum of 1 degree ... elevation). Some light snow overnight provided a dusting of powder. The trees were beautiful with their rhime of snow/ice:



    Mr 12 and I explored a few more of the black runs, including one of the ‘easier’ ones from the Nagasaka gondola mid-station, and the more adventurous “Challenge” course (another 39 degree pitch). This went well until I was one third of the way down and had a spectacular crash. One of those situations where a ski ends up 5 metres above one on a very steep slope. I was struggling to heave myself back up the hill when a helpful skier retrieved my ski, only to crash himself shortly afterwards :whistle:. Despite this, I find my confidence growing in bumps and on the steeper runs. My new Atomic Vantage 90s are so much better suited to these conditions than my old Roxy skis (which were significantly shorter and narrower).

    And yes, I found some ski lockers that would accomodate wider skis (or, ahem, snowboards) in a small building to the right of the Nagasaka Gondola:



    After a very reasonably priced wax (500 yen, boy do my skis go faster now!), we headed back to the room and then onto a pricey but delicious dinner at Haus St Anton. Nozawa Onsen pays homage to Hannes Schneider, who is credited with introducing the Arrlberg technique to the area in the 1930s. The Japan ski museum here is well worth a visit (near the Hikage area). Dessert tonight was the rather decadent Heissen Lieben: strawberries marinated in something alcoholic with very yummy ice cream. Definite Austrian influence (just no strudel so far!). @Kletterer - for you :)

     
    #324 Lady Penelope, Jan 11, 2019
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2019
  25. Lady Penelope

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

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    A beautiful day, and the start of a long weekend for the locals, so for once we saw more Japanese than Westerners on the slopes. Terrible lift queues: I think we had a three minute wait to load onto one of the gondolas ;). Mr 12 and I headed down black run 23 from the Nagasaka Gondola mid-station.



    Another fairly steep pitch. Mr 12 bounded down gracefully with his hop turns, waiting at the bottom while I picked my way carefully down. At least the powder is more forgiving than the icy moguls we have back home. No stacks today ...

    Nozawa Onsen is renowned for its picturesque alleys and onsens. A few snaps from today:









    Sadly, a phone call from the housesitter minding our house (and cat) indicates that our much loved elderly feline may not last much longer (end stage kidney failure). She’s back at the vet’s on fluids, but the chances of her lasting until we get home (without undue suffering) are not good :(. Dilemma: to tell the children or not if she does need to be put down while we are still in Japan.
     
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  26. Donzah

    Donzah Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    :(
    That's really sad.
    What a dilemma
     
  27. Untele-whippet

    Untele-whippet beard stroker Ski Pass: Gold

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    Good luck with your dilemma.
    Hope your old feline is coping OK.
     
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  28. Lady Penelope

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

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    Yes. It was on the cards but the vet seemed optimistic when we left. I think a run of hot days in Canberra didn’t help ...
     
  29. Crispy013

    Crispy013 One of Us

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    I would tell them. We’ve had 2 family dogs pass whilst on holiday. Being away from home made it easier to deal with IMO. I know it sucks not being able to say a final goodbye, but being really close would be tough for me. This way you can reflect on their life whilst being away and then come home to start a new chapter. Just my 2c.
     
  30. Donzah

    Donzah Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Yeah.
    I hated saying goodbyes to pets.
    I wanted to remember them happy
     
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  31. Tanuki

    Tanuki A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    Hi Lady Penelope, re the third picture, have you been into one of those great public onsen yet? The one in the pic is great but super hot, too hot for me. Diagonally opposite is a great, but volcanic foot bath.
     
  32. Lady Penelope

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

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    Yes, I have been in the onsens. Very hot! Sometimes the locals take pity on the poor westerners and turn on the cold tap. Certain outdoor onsens are reserved for the villagers; some of them are so hot that they cook food in them ....
     
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  33. Donzah

    Donzah Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    The further the onsen is away from the main source. The cooler it is. Lower village etc.

    I like outdoor onsen more. ...but Nozawas are a good substitute for a shower.
    * I've never showered in Nozawa
     
  34. Lady Penelope

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

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    Hmm, we’re directly across from the O-Yu onsen, just up from Haus St Anton on a side street. That was pretty darned hot! I’ve become quite used to the ritual of scrubbing oneself down on a stool (in the company of other ladies) prior to submerging in a hot bath/pool, and to her credit my teen seems to be ok with this (more so than she was three years ago, interestingly).
     
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  35. Donzah

    Donzah Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Miss P loves onsen.
    I couldn't get her out of them.
    In the end I would have to send random women in to tell her to get her bum into gear.
     
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  36. Lady Penelope

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

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    :p
     
  37. Canuckskier

    Canuckskier Hard Yards

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    So sorry to hear about your kitty. I am leaving 4 behind when I go traveling now and it’s always a thought, what if ? They pass while I am away. I think I agree with the other poster who said to tell them now while you are there. I too hate the saying goodbye part it’s a necessary evil of pet ownership I guess but the love and companionship always outweighs it. Remember the good times and happy times as best as you can . My thoughts are with you and the fam...

    I’m glad you all are having a great time and your reports are great and very helpful to me. Thank you for posting a pic about the lockers and the town I feel like I am almost there...
     
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  38. chicski

    chicski A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    Mine did as a youngster. I found her one day seated in a chair with an older lady blow drying her long blonde hair LOL Last trip, aged 14, wouldn’t go near them.
     
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  39. Lady Penelope

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

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    Thanks @Canuckskier . We have lost 3 cats in 2 years (including our last remaining girl - Shorty - who I mentioned here, and made the call today to have euthanised based upon our trusted vet’s advice). All lived to a good age (Shorty was 21).
     
  40. chicski

    chicski A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    RIP Shorty :emoji_cat2:
     
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  41. Lady Penelope

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

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    I’ll post photos with just a few words today. Adjusting to the reality of life without cat upon return ...

    Firstly, Japanese breakfast - the first course ....



    A deceptively mild day in the village with very chilly conditions and sporadic snow up top. The busiest day we have come across, given the Monday holiday tomorrow. More Japanese than Westerners on the slopes, and lengthy queues for the gondolas (nowhere near Whistler proportions, however).

    Mr 12 and I hit up the black runs again, including Schneider and the one above Utopia. This shows the view from the top of Schneider (with Mr 12 waiting patiently at the bottom):

     

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  42. Donzah

    Donzah Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Rip shorty.
    Great innings with some loving serfs
     
  43. Lady Penelope

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

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    Thanks. Yes, there is no doubt about it. Humans are merely servants to the great felines ....
     
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  44. chicski

    chicski A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    Schneider...there may be a video somewhere of me sliding down that on my bum after falling, losing a ski and having it navigate down the entire run by itself. I don’t ski on one ski, especially not down moguls!
     
  45. Lady Penelope

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

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    :D Well, you’ve seen me trying to get off the Mt P triple on one ski (didn’t work too well)! I witnessed a skier crash today on another black with both of his skis careering off down the hill. The slide of shame ;)
     
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  46. PMG

    PMG One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Have you been over to Kandahar at all? If there's no pow it's a lot of fun for a fang first thing in the mornings and maybe won't be so busy. One side is usually closed for training.
    Scrap that. Just checked and it's not open for general public atm.
     
  47. Lady Penelope

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

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    Yes, we’ve been looking enviously at that course - lovely groomed steeps. Definitely off limits to the public ATM.
     
  48. Rush

    Rush Pool Room

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    Did a day of guided backcountry today around Nozawa today, my first ever go at skinning.

    Amazeballs - will post a trip report in the BC section later.
     
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  49. Lady Penelope

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

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    Our second-last day of skiing at Nozawa (and in Japan) today. Mr 9, after suffering a crisis of confidence over the past week or so, suddenly decided to do some black runs with his brother and me this morning. We duly tackled Schneider and Utopia A (or B, whichever it is). That meant I had two of them waiting at the bottom for me.



    The children headed off to have fun in the little terrain park on the Uenotaira run ....




    I tackled Skyline again, which was becoming quite smooth, fast, and icy. This picture shows the uphill section prior to which you need to cast caution to the winds and straight line it down the hill (avoiding novices snowploughing from side to side).



    Miss T and I continue to sample various sake labels, apres ski (of course). Our accommodation place make their own delicious sake, quite creamy and rich. Yum... They also stock a selection of Japanese whiskey (along with some recognisable Western brands of liquor), although I haven’t imbibed any of that alcoholic brew:





    Some observations from the past few days. Helmets appear to be the exception than the rule at the resorts we have skiied at in Japan; even kids in the ski school classes often appear without them. I was also rather shocked (and this is purely my opinion; others on this forum may think this is perfectly reasonable) to see the number of skiers and boarders carrying small children while heading down the slopes, either strapped to their front or (in one case today) hoisted on a father’s hip. I kept thinking about what might happen if an edge became caught, or someone careered into that person, resulting in a frontal face plant. To me, the risk is not worth it. But that’s just me. The other interesting observation related to the appearance of various dogs on the slopes, accompanying their skiing or boarding humans. Today alone I spotted a corgi, a husky, and an Afghan hound. Interesting .....
     
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  50. Rush

    Rush Pool Room

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    I spotted a tri-colour corgi in the town today!

    Are you staying for Fire Festival finale tomorrow night?