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Advice needed Late Dec - Early Jan | Where to go for powder?

Discussion in 'Japan' started by nt89, Aug 28, 2018.

  1. nt89

    nt89 First Runs

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    Hey everyone,

    I'm looking at a trip from 30th Dec - 11th Jan, and wanted to get some advice on which travel plan below is best based on my two preferences - powder and inbound off-piste/tree runs.

    I've been to Japan 3 times previously (Niseko, Rusutsu, Noz, Myoko, Madarao, Hakuba), but all during late Jan to early Feb, so I'm not sure what the powder would be like in early Jan.

    Plan 1:
    30/12 - 2/1: Geto Kogen
    2/1 - 4/1: Appi Kogen
    4/1 - 9/1: Niseko
    9/1 - 11/1: Otaru

    Plan 2:
    30/12 - 4/1: Furano
    4/1 - 6/1: Otaru
    6/1 - 11/1: Niseko

    Appreciate everyone's advice!

    Thanks,
    nt89
     
  2. M_G

    M_G M_G_ = Make skiing great again Ski Pass: Gold

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    First of all, NY is super peak travel in Japan. So I'd be scouting what is actually available at that time before making other plans. Two, what's the intent in moving around so much? Are you intending to only ever make one skiing trip to Japan? If not, do two resorts at the max. More skiing, less time on trains and buses.
     
    Mils likes this.
  3. nt89

    nt89 First Runs

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    I've looked into accommodation for both plans and it looks like there's multiple accommodation options for all locations on both plans. Looking to book in the next week so the places I've scouted should still be available.

    Leaning towards Plan 2 as I'd prefer to do Central Hokkaido but was hoping to get a view on what the snow conditions will be like at that time of year, i.e. likelihood of powder days. Could definitely leave Tohoku for another trip.
     
  4. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    For a 2 week trip I'd concentrate more on one region at a time, so you have shorter transfers between areas, so you can still ski every day if you want. Central Hokkaido is more than Furano and Tohoku is much more than Geto & Appi.
     
  5. Crispy013

    Crispy013 One of Us

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    Yeah way too much moving around for what is a 12 day trip.

    Given the timing, it will generally be pretty busy at most well known resorts (ie your Niseko, Hakuba, Myoko, Nozawa, etc). If you want to maximise powder, then the best advice is to be mobile and avoid the majors. Pick a central spot and budget for a vehicle.

    You can never guarantee the snow - it might be a bumper Dec and this rolls into Jan, but it can also be a lean start and you are contained to higher piste runs. So keep elevation and aspect in mind when selecting a spot.

    I did a pretty epic trip a couple of years ago and did 12 different resorts in 12 days based on conditions. 7 days based out of Myoko (Akakura Kanko, Suginohara, Seki Onsen, Togakushi, Ryuoo, Charmant Hiuchi, Madarao), then the remainder around in Yuzawa (Hakkaisan, Kagura, Tenjindaira, Cupid Valley, Oze Whiteworld).
     
    Any and M_G like this.
  6. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Yes, it is not necessarily the number of moves you make but the length of the transfers. You will lose a day travelling from Appi to Niseko and likewise from Furano to Otaru. If you have allowed for that and don't mind then fine, but if you stick to one region you don't need to miss any days unless you want to.

    Niseko is likely to be busy with Australians on school holidays so you will have to compete for your powder.

    Also a JR East flexi pass works very well for Tohoku.

    Have a look at my blog for possible examples of both Central Hokkaido & Tohoku itineraries.
     
  7. nt89

    nt89 First Runs

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    Thanks guys! Think we'll spend most of our time at Asahikawa and Niseko as bases.
     
  8. Donzah

    Donzah Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    If you're trying to maximize powder.... Why go to Niseko ?
     
    Froff Life, Crispy013 and hotsaki like this.
  9. nt89

    nt89 First Runs

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    My girlfriend hasn’t been (she’s only boarded in Honshu) so thought we might do Niseko this year (will be doing day trips to Moiwa, Rusutsu, Kiroro). Where would you suggest for powder?
     
  10. Sandy

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

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    And that's not only the only reason......
    The holidays in Japan line up in such a way that there's an extra holiday around NY.
    1st January is always a public holiday, but this NY, the Mon 31st Dec, Wed 2nd, Thu 3rd are also holidays. Just about every worker will take Friday 4th Jan off, so it will be busy at most resorts from Sat 29th Dec until Sunday 6th Jan.

    One thing I've noticed in the last 3-4 years, is that more Japanese ride powder. A Japanese friend of mine said he saw lots of Aussies riding powder, about 5 years ago, and he started riding powder, and realised that it was great and that it put an entirely new outlook on resorts he'd been to before.... almost like going to new resorts, even though he'd been to them before.
     
    blowfin likes this.
  11. Annabuzzy

    Annabuzzy Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    No one can tell you what the snow will be like at that time of the year, or any time of the year, at least not this far out. It could be great. It could be bad. It’s a nature dependent activity - it is what it is.
     
  12. Froff Life

    Froff Life A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    Instead of Niseko maybe base yourself in Sapporo or Otaru and ski the smaller resorts within an hours drive of those cities? More opportunity for powder and more of an authentic Japanese experience. Niseko is good, and a big resort, but powder competition is very high!
     
  13. Donzah

    Donzah Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Yeah it's only powder until someone rides it.
     
  14. Mike Pow

    Mike Pow One of Us

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    You've got it covered