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Trip Report Last ski vacation

Discussion in 'Japan' started by oldgeezer, Feb 17, 2019.

  1. oldgeezer

    oldgeezer One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    Just started thread for keeping some notes.

    Si far: As we back out from gate PE on JAL is very good!
     
  2. chicski

    chicski A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    Last...as in final? Or last as in the most recent?
     
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  3. oldgeezer

    oldgeezer One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    Last as in final, most likely. We are both retired now so pennies count so MrsOG has reminded me of my promise of non-ski vacations when we retire!!
     
  4. climberman

    climberman CloudRide1000 Legend Ski Pass: Gold

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    Bro
    Dude
    Mate
    Fella

    You have this arse about.
     
  5. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    What possessed you to make that promise? :(
     
  6. Pink

    Pink One of Us

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    It’s important to maintain or improve fitness, strength and mental wellbeing as we age. Alpine touring or Nordic skiing in the backcountry will achieve this, while being easier on the wallet than resort skiing.
     
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  7. PMG

    PMG One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Resort skiing in Japan if you are senior is dirt cheap.
     
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  8. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    This. Don't even need to be retired. Senior in some cases is 50+ but everywhere at 60.
     
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  9. oldgeezer

    oldgeezer One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    We are on the Azusa3 Express right now so thanks to @Sandy for putting us onto it. We were lucky though as I had not resreved the seats and the nice JR girl put us in Row1 either side of the aisle with bags just behind us. There were only two left after our seats. The 7:30 departure was no problem seeing we woke before 5am anyway still being on Canberr time.

    Anyways PE on JAL was great, on the B787 Dreamliner (which concept JAL has implemented). Very spacious and sensible meal service: Main meal (an early lunch) soon after levelling off plus a light meal (entre size spag bil) about two hours before arrival with dimming the lights and the windows for some hours in between, to nap. It felt a lot better than ANA Business which I posted on the End of A380 thread. Great leg room and MrsOG could get to aisle with me still seated. They have those shell seats to stop reclining which adds to the sense of space ut the sliding forward and down took a bit of getting used to, until I figured out to put the small pillow behind my lower back to ever so slightly restore a better lumbar tilt to relieve pressure on the tail bone. So a much better PE experience than Qantas and the dreadful PE on the AirCanada B777.

    As others have observed of JAK it was a bit warm but forewarned we dressed for that wearing the lightest summer shirt but the cabin air was fresh, perhaps due to the B787's better atmospheric control. I recall our flights on Singapore Air being warm and stuffy so JAL was a lot better.

    There were a couple of guys my age in frint if us though who engaged in animated conversation almost the whole time, even taxiing and on takeoff, a magic moment I still like to experience in quiet to take in the wonder and magic of it all. Wasn't so bad when I stood up to get something from the bin and saw them reading about Shiga Kogen in the inflight magazine so I asked if they were on a ski trip. Yep two blokes heading back to Japan to tick off a resort whose name begins with a letter not yet skied at, working their way from A to Z finding Q and X a bit of a challenge. Apparently there is a small ski hill in Maine starting with Q. Neighbours in Sydney they leave their wives at home and head off to ski and talk. By the end of it the effect was like Woody Wood Pecker getting inside one's ear. The ear plugs covered by headphones wstching movies and listening to movies meant it wasn't as bad as it sounds, to pardon the pun.

    Immigration saw us streamed to the ultra slow queue but despite that we were through them and the Green Customs channel in about 35mins. We had plenty of time to check the ski bag in with GPA Black Cat and the lovely Japanese girl speaking excellent Englsh said the bag should be at the hotel mid-afternoon today. Not bad.

    Plenty more time last night to get a couple of data SIMs and get the JR Passes plus reserve our seats for last night and now this morning.

    Still coolish in Tokyo this morning and sunny now we are at Otsuki station.
     
  10. oldgeezer

    oldgeezer One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    Always exciting to spot first snow even if off towards Mt Fuji
     

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  11. oldgeezer

    oldgeezer One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    The bluebird day is giving great views of Mt Fuji although a shaky phone camera through a train window does not do it justice. I spent four weeks with my son in Japan early 2008, a bit of skiing at Shiga Kogen, and Hakuba, but mainly sightseeing as he doesn't partake and we picked the wrong day bluebird day to go to that famous animee studio whose name escapes me and leaving Mt Fuji for thr next day when it was cloudy in the morning so making it hard to see anything there.
     
  12. Boodwah

    Boodwah One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Where for 50?
    That's enticing!
     
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  13. oldgeezer

    oldgeezer One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    She who pays the piper eventually wants to call the tune eventually. So MrsOG is paying for us to do a European river boat cruise and prior for three weeks then I raided my super piggy bank to pay for two weeks in UK and Portugal.
    Then she will head home while our son comes to join me for five weeks in Switzerland and Italy with about 8 or 9 days hiking split between Meiringen, Grindelwald, Wengen etc then Val Gardena in the Dolomites and then Tuscany. Have to work hard on my fitness for that. That is costing a pretty penny.
    Down the track I am hanging out for the Geriatric over 70s ski pass at home. Yeah there could be another 'vacation with skiing' pop up even if I can't see it happening e.g. QFF seats in PE become available at the last minute in Japan. Fingers crossed this week goes Ok with MrsOG to encourage her to be open about that idea.
     
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  14. oldgeezer

    oldgeezer One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    Wish it could stay like this
     
  15. oldgeezer

    oldgeezer One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    Looks a picture across to Hakuba
     
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  16. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    One I know about - Amihari Onsen in Iwate (Day ticket weekday Y2200).
    Also Tomamu at 55 yrs.
     
  17. Sandy

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

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    At Hakuba, it's 50yo at Goryu/47, Iwatake, and Cortina/Norikura iirc.
    60yo at Happo & Tsugaike, Nozawa, 60 at Niseko.
    Shiga Kogen was 55yo I think.
     
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  18. trenty

    trenty Hard Yards

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    60 at Shiga. We are here at the moment and the +1 qualifies. Works out about Aud $45 on current exchange rates.
     
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  19. Ozgirl

    Ozgirl A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    This reminds me of my parents, they bought their desired retirement destination home 20+ years ago... dad kept moving the goal posts of retirement age, each time saying they could afford it.

    The ended up going when dad struggled to get work, and have never looked back. They travel the globe and dad only admitted a few months ago that their daily expenses are higher than the ever were (pre retirement) but they are more than managing!

    It's good to be conservative but don't forget to reassess in a few years.
     
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  20. oldgeezer

    oldgeezer One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    What's a vacation without a hiccup?

    Checking at the Tsugaike ticket office to collect our local RFID cards MrsOG got hers in a snap. However when we bought the 2018 Epic Pass at the closing end of the 2017 season she received an Epic Pass RFID card in the mail whereas I never did. We thought it a bit odd at the time but all seemed well last winter when I used the MyRide RFID card no problems for ten or twelve days. At the ticket office my MyRide ticket number did not return any result and doing a search on the Perisher portal for Hakuba staff to use putting in my details (DOB/Name/Postcode) returned nothing!

    So I will be up for the Seniors day lift pass rate of Y3700 a day, although tomorrow might just buy a half day pass if the rain does look like coming in. Seniors are 60 or more, at least in Tsugaike. I tried to call the Perisher 1300 number but they were closed by 4PM AEDT time so emailed them and will call in the morning to follow up. Doubt it will be resolved in time for me to avoid being out of pocket over their stuff up but about $50 a day isn't worth getting too annoyed at and it is great relaxing knowing that we are relieved of GrandPa / GrandMa duties for a couple of weeks.
     
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  21. oldgeezer

    oldgeezer One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    An email and phone call to Perisher elicited my customer number and that accessed my Epic Pass so managed to get a couple of runs in before MrsOG called for a break. The sunny weather yesterdsy meant the surface is very hard pack so perhaps bringing my phat skis for the slush might have been the wrong call at this stage. However it is snowing nicely right now and the temp has dropped. Fingers crossed the wind shift south does not happen and it will be ok.

    From room across to lift base before going out, with a middle layer.
     
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  22. blowfin

    blowfin One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    Kijimadaira 50+ too
     
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  23. oldgeezer

    oldgeezer One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    Well on the chair I spotted some nice snow through the trees off between the two green runs so with MrsOG taking a rest I just had to try them for some 'tree skiing for dummies' and it was much nicer than the hard pack run beside the hotels. Still soft and giving.

    So over lunch in Tsugaike village the precipitation is in the form of light rain on and off being sleet at times but at the top of the not terribly much higher chair it was snow.
     
  24. oldgeezer

    oldgeezer One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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  25. oldgeezer

    oldgeezer One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    While somewhat disappointed with the rain hopefully it will be Ok from tomorrow so stopping early on our first day on account of MrsOG neing less than match fit meant we didn't miss out on much.

    There was a first for me tonight though at dinnner: raw horse meat - a couple of thin slices about 3*2 sq cms. A youngish assistant chef with pretty good English at the family hotel explained the dishes and seeing the slight baulk on our faces asked about and understood the cultural diversity issues! Nevertheless having once tried escargot I figured on giving it a go. So with lashings of wasabi on the first one it was Ok and the second immediately following and washed down with a beer was Ok too.

    Rain is coming in heavier now so tmrw morning will probably be a good time for the laundry.
     
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  26. oldgeezer

    oldgeezer One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    Here's hope
     
  27. oldgeezer

    oldgeezer One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    Have to get onto the slopes NOW MrsOG
     
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  28. oldgeezer

    oldgeezer One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    The cloud is already coming in at Tsugaike and testing the condition of the groomed outside it is Ok. A bit crusty on top of spring snow so after doing some laundry the crust will soften to make for a spring slush and we will see how we go.
     
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  29. LMB

    LMB Old but definitely not Crusty! Ski Pass: Gold

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    Basashi!
    oishiiii!

    I tried to convince the 19&20yr old we are with to try it last night - no go! Where’s the adventurous spirit?!
     
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  30. oldgeezer

    oldgeezer One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    Today worked well and I even managed to coax MrsOG away from the very base area.


    Usual practice is she finds the easiest green and just does that the whole vacation so I was pleased about that although it did mean people racing past which scares her, one reason she sticks to the bunny slope - and another reason why this will be the last ski vacation.

    I have been given a leave pass should I wish to try the upper slopes but don't know about that and instead will checkout the rest of the expansive lower greens at Tsugaike so as to coax her over to them if the visibility is good. The cover down low though is a lot stickier but MrsOG is happy with it so all good.
     
  31. oldgeezer

    oldgeezer One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    Try again! It is an interesting Northern European adverse reaction to the idea, apparently Southern Europeans e.g. Italians not being so set against it even if not positive either (and they won't eat pumpkin because it is something you feed to horses), so I was told by on years ago. My guess is that horses were too valuable to Northern European agriculture as working farm animals to slaughter for meat when young enough to eat whereas Japanese agriculture eg rice paddies did not have much use for them.
     
  32. oldgeezer

    oldgeezer One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    Head out the window check Tursday morning suggests maybe a couple of cms overnight


    Not a huge amount but the fresh breeze will help make it feel more like the real thing.
     
  33. oldgeezer

    oldgeezer One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    Breakfast saw us chat briefly with the assistant chef / kitchen hand who has quite good English. He is living the dream for a young boarder: a job in a hotel by the slopes with accommodation provided and a wage with boarding in his free time.

    So after another unhurried breakfast we were out onto the slopes. My hope to get MrsOG to leave the bunny slope went well so we took the Eve gondora to 1st station and she had a coffee while I checked out how to get to, around and back from the Kane-no-naru-oka area, serviced by the 'BP' lifts.


    The snow on the run just outside the hotel was dust on frozen slush but much better over at the Kane-no-naru-oka area.

    So I got back to the Eve midstation coffee shop and said "you will be fine" over there. Not yet sure she elected to do go down to the base area and back up letting me take the gondola up and back down to her. Sort of a double blue in places and the cloud up higher made for flatter light. A tad hard packed with a bit of chopped sugar on top was a bit testing for me on wide skis but I was pleased as punch when MrsOG said she would head across to Kane-no-naru-oka and she was pleased as well.

    The snow there was delightful, softened nicely by this time to a rich creamy texture not at all sticky and no hint of hardpack underneath and plenty of untracked corduroy still around at 12:30.

    The terrain is easy blues with a very consistent overall pitch but with interesting feature such as a ridge across the middle making it necessary for two short two seaters to regain height and a few gentle knolls for added interest.

    This shot shows the nice surface reasonably well.

    I could have stayed longer but MrsOG was keen not to overdo it today wanting to go back tomorrow besides this beckoned
     

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  34. oldgeezer

    oldgeezer One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    The hotel's carpark is now snow free whereas Monday when we arrived it was still slushy. Next door though is still covered despite the best efforts of the proprietor using his snow clearing machine at 4AM this morning
    :mad:



    Anyways it looks like two days of spring skiing and back at the Kane-no-naru-oka area will suit us: soft creamy snow for a few hours and almost empty slopes. If the hotel we are in is on a run equivalent to Friday Flat at Thredbo then Kane-no-naru-oka is like an empty Merritts and the main intermediate run from the top is like Supertrail / High Noon with rider density to match.
     
  35. oldgeezer

    oldgeezer One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    We have a bit of off slope luck with our timing of this stay: Our last day and night coincides with the 48th Tsugaike Snow Festival tomorrow!
     
    #35 oldgeezer, Feb 22, 2019
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2019
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  36. oldgeezer

    oldgeezer One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    So as it happened I was given another leave pass and did the gondola ride to top and the blue/red main drag back down.

    I stopped to take a couple of pics and got to chat with a lovely young French lady just to the edge of this shot who skied over to me just before the pitch increased a bit.


    It was my chance to help a damsel in distress as she was snow ploughing already and was looking for the green run. Uh? It seemed she had skied a day in France five yeats ago and friends had put her onto the cat track and was looking for it. Luckily we were just near the chair back up to the gondola top station so I suggested she take it back up then download on the gondola and so she did and I hope she took up my suggestion to ski on Kane-no-naru-oka.

    I liked the main drag heaps better than yesterday. Sunny and softer snow and not too slushy and hardly anyone on the run this time


    On the lower slopes I did a few more runs on Kane-etc and still nice creamy untracked all over. Weird though with a run 200m wide or so it seems and almost empty a boarder shot past me about 2m away then across just a few metres in front. Just so unnecessary.

    I wound up early enough for us to get the shuttle into Hakuba to reserve seats back to Tokyo Sunday afternoon and just check out any retail places for gifts.
     
  37. oldgeezer

    oldgeezer One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    So our last day on the slopes ends. Next times will be local. Despite there being maybe 1cm of new snow during the morning it was a tad wet so the surface became slushy or sticky. But on the whole I and MrsOG enjoyed ourselves. The skiing gives a reason to get away and the benefit comes from being on vacation. I am looking forward to a few days in Tokyo, a place MrsOG remembers well from a couple of years ago when she went with some of her students for a short student exchange.
     
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  38. oldgeezer

    oldgeezer One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    Back in Tokyo has me reflecting on what was probably my favourite memory at Tsugaike and I think it has to be skiing for the first and last time on what I now think just had to be corn as it is termed in the US, beautiful soft and creamy.
     
  39. oldgeezer

    oldgeezer One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    So the wind down phase of the vacation is a few days in Tokyo and I was delighted to spot an oyster bar restaurant right by the hotel. I just love oysters but have had so many disappoints with them in more recent times with so many foul tasting ones that I gave up on them but tonight I went overboard.




    Some were so big I had to cut them in half, but still very tasty.

    All washed down by a very nice South African chenin blanc, an uncomplicated drop just perfect for allowing the variation in oyster taste to come forward.
     
  40. oldgeezer

    oldgeezer One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    I should have gone back to the oyster bar for dinner last night but we just had raman. Still peckish we went looking for a treat and found the Mr Waffles kiosk back at the JR station. I had one and we both had an ice cream cone. I woke about 3AM with a stomach ache to accompany me on our last day in Tokyo before heading to an airport hotel later this afternoon. MrsOG did tell me not to have it so no sympathy.
    :(
     
  41. oldgeezer

    oldgeezer One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    So today we are flying to Melbourne for a late night check-in on our 37th wedding anniversary enjoying champagne breakfast in the JAL business lounge.

     
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