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Latest ski & tourism news

Discussion in 'Japan' started by Ramenman, Sep 14, 2018.

  1. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    You can still choose the old one = Beetle too (both Beetle and Queen Beetle are sailing). The old one is faster (45knots = 83km/h) and it's 3 hours while it takes 3 hours + 40 mins if you choose the new one = Queen Beetle. However, you need to keep the seat belt fasten when you are on the old one (Beetle) while you can walk freely on the new one (Queen Beetle). There are duty free shop, cafe, etc inside Queen Beetle (the new one). The image below is Beetle.
    [​IMG]



    Inside Queen Beetle (cafe, shop, etc)
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
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  2. Lucky Pete

    Lucky Pete One of Us

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    Expect some good changes at Iwatake going forward. A seperate company has been formed to manage it exclusively rather than part of Hakuba Kanko. Good things should come from this change. Hopefully improvements in the winter management practices over previous years should happen this season which would be great as Im a bit of a fan boy but its done my head in the last couple winters.
     
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  3. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    It seems that Japan Flight Service is opening a new helicopter flight route between Tokyo and Aizu - Inawashiro region. I feel pricey services targeting at very rich people are opening in recent years. Till 5 - 6 years ago, most hotels / lodges belonged to very similar price ranges but recently, some expensive ones are opening here. Tokyo is a mega city, so there are surely a lot of people who can afford to fly to Aizu - Inawashiro region every weekend. It will land in front of Numajiri Kogen lodge. This is Numajiri Kogen lodge before renovation (It was renovated last year to become a bit pricey lodge)
    [​IMG]

    Numajiri Kogen lodge : https://www.facebook.com/沼尻高原ロッジ-104860870909821/
    [​IMG]
     
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  4. skichanger

    skichanger A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    Sorry to seem critical but I would have expected them to replace those windows in a serious renovation.
     
  5. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    The new owner has changed interiors a lot but I guess he didn't want to change how it looks seen from outside in order to respect the ex-owner who built it. Actually, Junko Tabei, the first woman in the world to reach the summit of Mt. Everest built the lodge and she was the ex owner (she passed away several years ago). If you are interested in, read this (about the lodge written in English)
    https://www.minyu-net.com/news/english/FM20191112-432578.php
    About Junko Tabei : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Junko_Tabei


    The lodge is on Mt.Minowa - Mt.Adatara (the peaks of the two mountains are easy hiking distance, so I rather consider them as one mountain). Mt.Minowa - Mt.Adatara is the easternmost mountain of Fukushima, which means, it is the closest good mountain seen from where I "mainly" live (= the Pacific Ocean side of Ibaraki Prefecture). So, I often visit the mountain. This video was filmed on the mountain this year (February, 2020). 2019 - 2020 season is the worst season in decades (my ski guru says it's the least snowiest season since he started skiing in 1980s), but it was still fun to ski last season (short hike from a ski resort).


    The same mountain (on which Numajiri Kogen Lodge is located)


    Some other videos filmed on the mountain (Mt.Minowa - Adatara)

    Filmed in March


    Filmed in March


    Filmed in March



    The mountain is very beautiful now (= autumn)
    [​IMG]
     
    #3305 Ramenman, Oct 14, 2020
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2020 at 8:24 AM
  6. skichanger

    skichanger A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    So for the sake of keeping weird inappropriate windows that look awful either guests freeze or the heating costs are astronomical. Well that makes sense, not.
     
  7. snowgum

    snowgum One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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  8. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    I think this is the same slope(the challenging slope = the slope in the last video) filmed on March 15th, 2019.



    It's a wild mountain, not inside a ski resort, hence, there are risks basically. The mountain has 4 tiny ski resorts (= Minowa, Numajiri, Adatara and Nihonmatsu) but what makes the mountain great is backcountry / sidecountry by short hike from those ski resorts. Unless you can judge the risk of terrains or you hire guides, the mountain is not for you. It's a common backcountry mountain for local advanced skiers / snowboarders and many are actually skiing OOB, but I have never heard that a skier / snowboarder got injured by an avalanche there. However, 3 people died there due to toxic gas. I mean, toxic gas sometimes fumes inside the crater, so you should not ski inside the crater. The image below is the crater in summer.
    [​IMG]




    This was filmed on October 2nd of this year (2020). I'd say it was 2 or 3 weeks too early for the best autumn color there.
     
    #3308 Ramenman, Oct 15, 2020 at 10:44 AM
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2020 at 8:00 PM
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  9. snowgum

    snowgum One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    I don’t meant to cast aspersions- It looks wonderful and aFAIKT would be happy to enjoy teles there with a guide.

    FWIW the terrain (slope) lessons quite as trees are approached. But yes, based on my one and only tour in Japan (within the tree line above Tsugaike (Hakuba) 19 Feb this year, a day after 30 cm fell in high winds), I would imagine guides or ‘experts’ would take a fair bit of caution with regard to skiing the top portion near the cornice. Less so near the trees with a modest slope.

    I was impressed with my Commercial guides At Hakuba btw - I encourage anyone interested to go with a guide, but get fit first, esp. For an ‘advanced BC’ trip climbing 6-800m in the day. :thumbs::p

    And test gear beforehand - I struggled on New really heavy resort tele gear and skins that did not want to glide (exhausting!) :eek:
     
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  10. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    It seems Appi is expanding treerun zones further this coming season too. They newly started having official treerun zones several years ago and they've been expanding the zones every year since then. 6: Explore is the new treerun zone. They've enlarged 5: Dragon Tail a bit too. The vertical drops of 1: Attack and 5: Dragon Tail are 300m or bigger and the lengths are about 1km, which is nicely big as treerun zones. It's northern Tohoku = trees are nicely sparse and snow condition is good even 1000m asl or lower.
    [​IMG]

    These videos are treerun zones in Appi.




    Filmed in 2020 (the least snowiest season in decades)


    Freeride tour was held at Appi too this year (2020).


     
  11. snowgum

    snowgum One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Looks terrible! Don’t go! :p:D:)
     
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  12. Donzah

    Donzah Pool Room Ski Pass: Gold

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    How unlike Japan....
     
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  13. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Haha, but surely, ski resorts in Tohoku need more guests in order to survive and in order to maintain the number of lifts / gondolas. Near Appi, there is Shimokura ski resort. Shimokura also has great powder treerun terrains. Between Shimokura and Appi, there was a very good ski resort, but closed 10 years ago (it's a real pity). In the region (Northern Iwate), there is Shizukuishi ski resort. Shizukuishi used to have 2 longest gondolas of Japan. Both of them had 800m vertical rise. None of Japanese ski resorts has a gondola which has 800m of vertical or bigger. Shizukuishi had two 800m vertical gondolas, now they've lost both. I've seen quite many similar cases, so I'm motivated to promote ski resorts here. Especially ski resorts in northern Tohoku are important for me. We own ski lodges in Fukushima pref and Yamagata pref, so more people going to northern Tohoku means some of them might drop in at ski resorts in southern Tohoku (Fukushima and Yamagata) as well because southern Tohoku are between Tokyo and northern Tohoku. Central Honshu is located between Tokyo and Osaka, and it's near Nagoya too. Tokyo - Nagoya - Osaka are the 3 most populated areas of Japan, which helps ski resorts in Central Honshu to survive. Tohoku is very far from mega cities, which makes ski resorts in the region suffer even though the snow quality and terrains are good.
     
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  14. snowgum

    snowgum One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Sounds good - do you have any good guides to the region pls? I’ve looked at Powderhounds. Are there any others?

    It must be hard to steer Aussies to a virtually unknown area. Every tour company pushes Nagano or Hokkaido as though Northern Honshu doesn’t exist.

    I found this general tour guide - at least I know where Tohoku is now. :cool:
     
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  15. snowgum

    snowgum One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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  16. bluestick

    bluestick One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Really appreciate your regular updates Ramenman, thank you. Re Appi, I have to say I liked it more when those tree run areas were discoverable but not open. Good on them for ‘opening’ it up if it helps the resort survive. Lots of stuff still in the prohibited areas beyond the resort boundary though. Is that because it’s a protected area or they don’t want the hassle of punters getting into trouble? I reckon that whole Appi / Morioka area is the next spot to take off after COVID settles down.
     
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  17. Nozawaman

    Nozawaman A Local

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    All I can say is glass houses .......
     
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  18. bluestick

    bluestick One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Just need to go there and explore, a car helps but is not a requirement. Still plenty of relatively hidden gems despite white room, powderhounds, powder recon etc. COVID should slow it down a bit though IMO. Northern Honshu, so good.
     
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  19. snowgum

    snowgum One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Looks like the Shink provides fairly good fast access to the region. The guide above talks about winter festivals and castles and so on... for when ones had enough skiing (surely not?)

    My understanding (which Is less apparent at Bigger Hakuba resorts), is that Japanese resorts tend to be smaller in size the average Nth American or European Resort, so in theory one ‘could’ get a bit bored after a Few days of yo-yo-ing, if there wasn’t a heap of Powder on offer - if there is POW I don’t really mind so much.

    So, I wonder if this the case with Tokoku? Does one need to move around for some variety - a bit like Hakuba buses? Or maybe better, hire a car?

    FWIW: Appi seems to crop up more on guides than the others.

    After experiencing a ‘mild’ Hakuba Winter - there’s some appeal in doing a more remote northern area with lower snowlines, good pow, new Vistas, different stuff, maybe less people at peak times? (Not asking for much! o_O:p)
     
  20. Dave.Ski

    Dave.Ski Hard Yards Ski Pass: Gold

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    Strangely enough this forum has heaps of Tohoku tips! I used trip reports by @Heinz as a template initially and have returned many times since. Morioka is a fantastic base, heaps of good food and some fine craft beer venues. Skiing at Amihari or Shimokura midweek is like having your own resort. Thanks @Ramenman for getting us to explore further!
     
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  21. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    What do you mean by "the region"?. Hachimantai (= Appi, Shimokura, etc)?. Northern Iwate(Hachimantai + Amihari + Iwate Kogen + Shizukuishi, etc)?, northern Tohoku (Aomori, Iwate and Akita Pref)? or Tohoku (6 prefectures in northern Honshu) in general:p?.
     
  22. skichanger

    skichanger A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    Half if mine have been replaced. The rest will be done...... yeah well we did have plans for this year.

    Mine at Madarao are very similar to those.
     
  23. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Actually, most "major" ski resorts in Tohoku are relatively easily accessible by Shinkansen. Sea of Japan side is basically more snowy due to "lake effect (Sea of Japan effect)", however, Sea of Japan side mountains in Tohoku are "too snowy" to keep ski resorts open during winter, so most ski resorts in Tohoku are located rather inland, which means they are relatively close to Shinkansen stations. Mt.Chokai, Mt.Gassan, etc are one of snowiest mountains of Japan (might be the world), but there isn't a ski resort on the moutains which is open during winter (one is open in spring - summer, though).

    This video was filmed on Mt.Chokai on March 26th, 2020. The mountain is about 2250m and the tree line there is very low = 1000m asl because of the very heavy snowfall, which makes the mountain very unique in that the mountain can provide you 1200m vertical of above tree line skiing once you hike up (between 2250m and 1000m). I'm personally into tree skiing, so I'm not very interested in above tree line skiing much, though.


    This was also filmed on Mt.Chokai in "May"(May means it's "early summer", rather than spring). They are skiing from 1600m asl, not the peak (2250m). In May, the roads are open up to higher altitude, so if you are somehow in Japan (business trip or something) in late April or May, visiting Mt.Chokai might be good. In winter (or spring), it's too tough because there isn't a lift there unfortunately.



    This was filmed on May 20th. In the video, you can see how close Mt.Chokai is to Sea of Japan in the video. Among advanced backcountry skiers, late spring - early summer skiing on Mt.Chokai while viewing the beautiful sunset above Sea of Japan is popular. I have never tried it, though.



    Filmed in May. People investing in Niseko should invest in Mt.Chokai;) (kidding)



    Oops, why am I writing about Mt.Chokai here now:confused:?. Sorry, I'm too motivated to make people from abroad get interested in skiing in Tohoku:p
     
    #3323 Ramenman, Oct 15, 2020 at 11:23 PM
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2020 at 9:23 AM
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  24. snowgum

    snowgum One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Very cool (inspiring) thanks on behalf of all lurkers. I’d love to tour (teles) there one Spring (summer) with the lads before we’re too old and slow. Anything with 1,000m vert up & down is a big day!

    These Particular mtns may not be where I’d take my family but resorts like Appi sound / look good and worth scoping once the scourge of Covid eases.
     
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  25. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Hiring a car is better, however, I know driving abroad can be stressful for some amount of people . If you don't want to drive and you want to make it less stressful to travel between ski resorts in Tohoku, you can choose ski resorts easily accessible by shuttle bus from Shinkansen stations. Most major ski resorts in Tohoku have shuttle buses to Shinkansen stations nearby.
     
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  26. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    I think I have (almost) never seen ski slopes in Tohoku crowded. Watch this video below. It was filmed on February 11th of this year (2020), which means it was a national holiday (National Foundation Day). A national holiday in mid Feb is supposed be one of the most crowded days, however, the ski resort was almost empty. You'll see three snowboarders in the video, but they are friends one another. A national holiday, on a main slope but only one group. Then normal weekday?. It can be like your private ski resort:p ( Edit : COVID-19 became big in Japan in March, and COVID-19 was not affecting at all in Feb).



    It's Tengendai Kogen. Due to the high altitude (920m - 1820m) + north facing, the snow condition is the best and ski season is the longest among ski resorts in southern Tohoku. If you know sidecountry - backcountry terrains there, it can be a very interesting mountain. The mountain ridge is 2035m and it's easy hike too. I've post this video here before but I'm showing it again here. It's one of our common backcountry routes. Hiking from 1820m to 2035m asl, then skiing down to 900m asl. So, a small vertical hike can give us 1,135m vertical drop. It was filmed on Dec 28th. Late Feb to mid March, the snow depth can be 4m or bigger there. Tree might look tight but there are some terrains too where trees are not too tight.


    Some other videos filmed in Tengendai (including 0 hike sidecountry treeruns)





    "Unofficial" treerun zones of Tengendai. It's a bit long video, but the video can help you find hidden treerun lines there.



    (And here is the opposite side of the mountain = Gran Deco side in early April)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2t6Bf-uXwWg
     
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  27. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    It seems even COVID-19 is not enough to stop Niseko. Yesterday, a Singaporean company announced they are investing 70 billion Yen in Niseko (more exactly in Hanazono), giving the project a tentative name Niseko Hanazono Hills. 70 billion Yen is crazy. You know, Nozawa Onsen is installing a new gondola now and it is said the cost is about 3 billion Yen (IIRC). Most ski resorts are struggling to renew a lift. If you can spend 70 billion Yen, you can make a few new ski resorts. And, "A scary fact" is, similar investments have been announced by several different companies from Asia such as China, Korea, etc in the past 2 months.
     
  28. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    A bit more about the news investment. They say they'll make (a) ski slope(s) too. What does it mean?. The site is a bit away from Hananozo's ski slopes (it's like a short run inside the development site for young kids who have never skied?) . The size of the land they are developing is 42ha = 420,000 Square meter. 42ha is quite large, larger than Arukuzaka Street. Edit : This is the development site of Arukuzaka Street. The new development project is like Arukuzaka Street + a ski slope?
    [​IMG]

    Arukuzaka street will consist of many shops, restaurants, bars, hotels, etc. https://www.arukuzakast.com/
    [​IMG]
     
  29. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    I think Japanese ski resorts have been overspoiling their guests. I mean, if their guests ski or snowboard OOB (not designed slopes) and they get lost and rescued, I think it's the skiers's / snowboarders's faults and they should pay. However, a lot of Japanese ski resorts have been (or had been) thinking it's their faults, not their guests's faults. Till quite recently, search and rescue was for free in most ski resorts. In recent years, more ski resorts started saying "You can ski in the trees at your own risk", however, many of them are still over-protecting guests. Ski resort operating companies don't want to see people get injured / get lost / get rescued in and around their ski slopes, and before they officially open treerun zones, they cut some dangerous trees. You can ski in "unofficial treerun zones" at your own risk (higher risk than official treerun zones). We do ski in a lot of "unofficial" treerun zones in and around ski resorts. The exception is, some ski resorts are confiscating lift tickets if we are skiing OOB, and we are not skiing OOB if the ski resorts confiscate our lift tickets. I think having official treerun zones in trail maps can help them attract more guests. However, for the people like @bluestick -san, it might not make a difference because they ski OOB before the areas become "official".

    Speaking of the region around Appi (= Hachimantai region), almost all wild mountain slopes can be great & ideal "unofficial treerun zones" because the snow quality is great and trees are not too tight.
     
    #3329 Ramenman, Oct 16, 2020 at 4:25 PM
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2020 at 5:27 PM
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  30. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    A bit more about Appi and the region. Appi is not a part of National Park nor Quasi - National Park, which means, Appi can make ski slopes by installing lifts in the "Prohibited Areas". The Prohibited Areas of the trail map below are not protected areas. Actually, they are using the Prohibited Areas for their official backcountry tours. If you are experienced backcountry skiers / snowboarders, I think you can ski there by yourself.
    [​IMG]


    This is a video that Appi uploaded onto thier official Youtube channel. They say "it's a backcountry tour", but it's "almost" inside the ski resort. The video was filmed this year = by far the least snowiest season in decades. I feel northern Tohoku's snow quality is very consistent and reliable.



    Red = 西森山 (1328m) and 前森山 (1304m) are the mountains of Appi Kogen ski resort. Blue = 恵比須森 (1496m) and 大黒森 (1446m) are the mountains where there was a ski resort (it got closed 10 - 12 years ago). Green = 茶臼岳 (1578m) and when the ski resort was open, a lot of people were skiing around 茶臼岳(Green) too. All 恵比須森, 大黒森 and 茶臼岳 are taller than Appi's mountains (西森山 and 前森山). Actually, Appi organize CAT tours to the closed ski resort and 茶臼岳(Green = 1578m) too. To the Purple direction, there is Shimokura ski resort, Panorama ski resort and Mt.Iwate (2038m). I'd say any mountains between Mt.Iwate and Appi can be interesting "unofficial" treerun zones.


    This is the CAT tour in the closed ski resort + 茶臼岳(Green = 1578m). If you want to ski from the peak of 茶臼岳, you need a bit of hike after CAT, though.


    This is the trail map of the closed ski resort. The vertical drop was about 550m from 900m - 1451m asl. If you hike up to 茶臼岳(1578m), the vert is nearly 700m. The people & companies investing in Niseko should invest in the closed ski resort:p. If they make hotels there, almost all guests who want to ski / snowboard there will stay at the hotels:p
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Shimokura ski resort is very near the closed ski resort. Shimokura also newly started opening official treerun zones last year. Fun, Drop and Cruise are the new official treerun zones. Many people were actually skiing there before they became official treerun zones, though. Shimokura can be used as a backcountry base too.
    [​IMG]

    This video was filmed at Shimokura ski resort. They are skiing in the treerun zones (the video was filmed in 2014 = before the area became official treerun zones). The video was filmed in late March = early spring and mid winter can be better.


    This is a popular backcountry terrain very near Shimokura ski resort. It was filmed on April 30th, but plenty of snow. The top lift station of Shimokura is 1130m asl. There is a mountain peak of 1545m near Shimokura. Some people hike from the top lift station of Shimokura too. In the video, they are skiing around 1300m, not that high altititude, but plenty of snow on April 30th.


    The same mountain in January.
     
    #3330 Ramenman, Oct 16, 2020 at 7:47 PM
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2020 at 10:13 AM
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  31. fennekeg

    fennekeg One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    @Crispy013 also has some good Tohoku trip reports
     
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  32. snowgum

    snowgum One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Thanks RM - that last touring video shows some great terrain, not super steep (less avi risk?) good snow with very open trees - not like those Hakuba trees! :p

    Could go somewhere much worse with a few BC mates?
     
  33. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    It seems that the new helicopter flight route is with some optional tours. One of them is going to one of our favorite hidden Onsens (=hotsprings) on the mountain. There are groups of "秘湯 fans" in Japan. 秘 = secret / hidden, 湯 = hot water (in this case, hotspring). 秘湯 fans are often 裸族 too:p. 裸 = nude / naked, 族 = tribe, so 裸族(Razoku) is a Japanese slang that means the people who are willing to be nude in front of the other people. I'm not a 裸族, but I've seen both male and female 裸族 in the 秘湯 of the mountain:p. This is the video of 秘湯. It's nicely hot (not cold nor too hot). It's the same mountain. It might look different but we are skiing on the mountain in winter. I love how different Japanese mountains look in four seasons:)
     
  34. crackson

    crackson Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    We have rozoku in Australia too.

    The english word for rozoku is nudist or pervert.
     
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  35. crackson

    crackson Part of the Furniture Ski Pass: Gold

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    We call them nudist when they are present and pervert when they are far away.
     
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  36. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    There are a lot of nicely flat & safe terrains there and challenging terrains too. You are seeing Mt.Iwate(2038m) in the image below. As you can see, there is a flat land. It's roughly 1300m - 1500m asl. It's nicely flat and easy to hike, so it's popular for snowshoe tours too. If you ski down to the left hand side, you'll reach some onsen Ryokans and Shimokura / Panorama ski resort area. If you ski down to the right hand side, you'll ski down to Amihari Onsen / Iwate Kogen ski resort area. I usually use lifts of Amihari Onsen ski resort to get there because it's the easiest hike.
    [​IMG]

    Almost the same place, you are seeing Mt.Iwate + the flat area in the pic too, and it looks very beautiful in all four seasons:).
    [​IMG]

    This is the trail map of Amihari Onsen ski resort. The top lift station is at 1350m = almost the flat mountain ridge of 1300 - 1500m asl. If you use the lifts, with almost 0m vertical hike, you can enjoy great backcountry terrains. I really like there:)
    [​IMG]

    These are almost 0m vertical hike from the top lift station of Amihari Onsen ski resort.






    This is more hike from the lift station of Amihari Onsen ski resort toward Mt.Iwate(It was filmed in 2020 = the least snowiest season in decades for a lot of ski resorts in Japan)


    The first half = sidecountry terrains of Amihari (all are lower than Amihari's top lift station). The second half = backcountry from the top lift station (filmed in late Feb & March)



    The girl in the video is hiking on the flat ridge (we are hiking there in winter). It was filmed last month (late September), might be a bit too early for the best autumn color. She is hiking to 籐七温泉(Toshichi Onsen) from Mt.Iwate. The Onsen Ryokan is on the flat ridge at about 1400m asl (closed in winther, though).
     

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    #3336 Ramenman, Oct 17, 2020 at 3:43 AM
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  37. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Japanese ski areas don't have the scale of European or even North American ski areas. The biggest connected ski area is Shiga Kogen. Ski areas in Tohoku are generally smaller. Appi would be the biggest and most developed. Generally you would move around a bit for some variety. I first had a look at this region back in 2009 when it was largely unknown in Australia. It wasn't hard to do, but did need a good degree of research especially locating bus time tables as I did them entirely using public transport. But largely I just went and explored on my own. Many people since have done similar trips hiring a car which does give them a few more options, but it is still possible to get to many of these by bus. When I started going there back then there were virtually no foreigners at all in any of those areas, so if there was powder about you didn't have to look far to get it. Since then there have been an increasing number of tour groups roaming through the area, but it still isn't a huge number. Morioka is a very good base for several ski areas. My TRs are here.
     
  38. Crispy013

    Crispy013 One of Us

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    Yes this was my biggest surprise of the Tohoku area. Just nobody around. Like no one. Which I still find weird because it’s no harder to access than Hakuba, Myoko, Nozawa, etc. Just head north on the Shinkansen instead of West. Car very handy for the region too - play by the weather up there and you will score everyday.
     
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  39. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    It seems Okunakayama ski resort also newly opened an official treerun zone this year (January, 2020). It's a small ski resort in Iwate Pref, not too far from Appi (not very close either, though). The video below was filmed during New Year holidays, and it was before the treerun zone got opened, however, it's a good video to understand how good the snow condition was in the last week of December 2019 (the worst season in decades, so most Japanese ski resorts were not having good snow condition in the last week of December 2019).


    And this is the new treerun course.
     
  40. Crispy013

    Crispy013 One of Us

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    It’s east of Appi, so I’m guessing is better when a low travels up the east coast of Japan?
     
  41. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Might be, but I don't know much about Okunakayama ski resort, so I can't say "Yes" nor "No". On the Pacific Ocean side of Iwate Pref, there is a tall mountain 早池峰山 = Mt.Hayachine (1914m). The mountain is usually dry in winter as a Japanese mountain because it's very far from Sea of Japan, but I remember that it had very heavy snowfall when a low travelled up the east coast.

    This is 早池峰山 (Mt.Hayachine)
    https://www.google.com/maps/place/M...c9b3ed!8m2!3d39.5584096!4d141.4889859!5m1!1e4

    Mt.Hayachine in September
     
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  42. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    This is Shiga Kogen (Yokoteyama = 2307m) yesterday. It was snowing in a road at 1400m asl in Fukushima Pref too (turned to rain later on, though). Still mid autumn, but winter is not far ahead:) (it actually snowed on a lot of mountains in Honshu yesterday)
     
  43. fennekeg

    fennekeg One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    Nice! Don't hesitate to post more local snow pics this winter, it might be all the snow some of us will see :(
     
  44. Asama

    Asama Addicted

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    Mt. Asama this morning!


     
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  45. Hyst

    Hyst Enjoyer Ski Pass: Gold

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    That is a bit strange understanding of onsen.
     
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  46. Hyst

    Hyst Enjoyer Ski Pass: Gold

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    But onsen is nice!
     
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  47. skifree

    skifree A disciple of the blessed avi giraffe Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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    These are two very different terms with very different meanings in English.

    Some people might have the opinion that nudists are perverts but that is a personal opinion and not in the meaning of the words.
     
  48. skifree

    skifree A disciple of the blessed avi giraffe Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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    This is an interesting question. Historically Australia does not charge for rescues and the background to this comes from the rules and the ethics of the sea. It is considered to be a reciprocal arrangement. We rescue any sea farers in trouble and can expect the same treatment in foreign waters. This is a very old principle. And we take this principle to the land as well. So we do not charge for land rescues either. In modern times we have also added the view that to charge for rescues will preclude people seeking rescue leading to a worse outcome for all.

    It is very difficult to prove who is at fault in all situations that end up in a rescue.
     
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  49. Hyst

    Hyst Enjoyer Ski Pass: Gold

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    Interesting- did not know.
     
  50. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    In Japan, basically, all rescue related costs were for free till recently (search & rescue at ski resorts, calling ambulance / fire fighters, etc). Basically, almost all people in the rescue teams are civil servants. In most cases, they are for free (not all cases, though). If somebody gets lost in a ski resort mountain, local police is in charge of the case, however, "time" is important for search & rescue. Police officers are not staying at ski resorts. So, each ski resort has search & rescue team. They are not civil servants, then who will pay for them?. Till recently, many ski resorts didn't charge skiers / snowboarders even if they are rescued when they are skiing / snowboarding OOB. But now, many are charging (it depends on the case, though)