Question Mid week Japanese powder hypothetical

Crispy013

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I was thinking about what keeps us nutters coming back each season and undoubtedly we've all had one of 'those days' that stick in your mind. Deep powder, no crowds, whooping, yelling...you get the picture. It is generally the stories we tell others, make into our go-pro movies and I guess we all hope to emulate in some form on our next trip. For me it was Norikura in 2015 after about 60cm over night - 15 people max on the hill and about 30cm falling throughout the day. Mind blowing.

So it got me thinking - I guess we can do little with guaranteeing weather and snow fall on our generally restricted trips to Japan, but if you had the opportunity, what would be your ideal resort to be sitting in the car park of just before first lifts and what would the conditions be like?

Say, Rusutsu with 1m overnight and blue-bird....or Kagura with 30cm overnight and dumping hard.

Anddd go...
 

Annabuzzy

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I won't say ideal resort because the ones with the absolute best topography are almost always super busy.

But...

Some of my favourite runs were at the top of Goryu (that double chair) circa 2010 in a February mid week. We just did lap after lap with no more than 10 people lapping that chair. Private powder.

I also remember first lifts in Hakuba 47 in 2015 with a knee deep new snowfall. No queues (which changed plenty by 2017 - big early morning queues now).. Me and a retired Japanese guy on carve skis competing for first tracks. Too funny.

Also 2017 Thredbo Dump 1.0, Sunday arvo - best afternoon's skiing in Thredbo and possibly Oz ever.
 

Sandy

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As it is hypothetical....you can just subtract any crowds ;)
Dunno though.... ;)
I reckon that the crowd factor is probably one of the biggest determining factors in WHERE I ski on a particular day.
...I mean, the powder at Niseko can be awesome, if you don't have to fight a 1000+ other people!! ;)
 
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Tonester

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Ahhhh.....so many options. But if I reflect back to January 2014.....
......We were staying in Furano and had organised a day trip to Kamui. It was mid week, it had puked overnight. We drove into the car park at Kamui and there were only a handful of cars. We got there "late", about 9:30. The ticket counter lady said there were about 30 or so people on the hill. Aside from the obvious off-piste awesomeness, we were still skiing freshies, on-piste, well into the afternoon. What a day to remember. We just lucked in with the timing. I've skied Kamui other times and it was less than ordinary. So, great to have a woohoo day.

So, in answer to the OP's question....I would happily have a repeat performance at Kamui.
 

mannyk

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2014 first trip to Japan.. Goryu, Pension owner invited me to sunrise fist lifts, Sat special. Lined up for tickets in the dark, then waited up top for sun to rise, perfect conditions, blew my mind. Ive been back to Japan every year since.
,, more to come
 

Crispy013

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I guess snow and lack of crowds is almost as good as terrain and vertical.

For me, I'd bloody love to be at Hakkaisan on a cold blue-bird powder day - say a lazy 60cm. That tramway would make for some unbelievable runs...bloody tiring though, I reckon you would only need about 3-4 hours before being spent.
 

LMB

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Dunno though.... ;)
I reckon that the crowd factor is probably one of the biggest determining factors in WHERE I ski on a particular day.
...I mean, the powder at Niseko can be awesome, if you don't have to fight a 1000+ other people!! ;)
NYE if it's snowing, go home set alarm and get some zzzzs! Hardly anyone else is going to be on the hill before noon. Just the little kids and long suffering parents on the bunny hill.

In January the two laps before lifts open to the public on the early bird pass is worth every cent.

After that it's into the trees.


My best heavenly moment remains Chamonix years ago - deadset whiteout, almost the whole hill was shut, no way to stop the vertigo unless you ran your hand along the snowy wall at the side. We hiked up a little while everyone else dropped into zero vis and discovered a run between the trees where you could see! Knee deep blower pow, no one except us on it. Serious nirvana! We repeated it two more times before anyone clicked and we had company.

Went back the next day and it was just your average intermediate groomer, but by god it was fun the day prior.
 

Beerman

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More a parent moment for me. Seeing my kids hesitate because of low light conditions at the base of Noz after 10-15cm of fresh overnight, to get to the top and find no one and a blue skies. (Although Nozawa mans place was still clouded in) First run, they are saying ''I can't see my skis or boots".
Fresh cream, can't beat it. That was a gold moment for me
 
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Vermillion

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I had a really good day at Takahata after 3 consecutive days of 20-30cms falls building up. Bluebird, probably 6 people on the hill along with us and no snowboarders allowed on the hill at all, pretty hard to top that.
 
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M_G

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I think pretty much anywhere really. For me I'd duck over to Ikenotaira for some tree runs. However due to a bad experience last time I'd really like to redeem myself at Asahidake on a blue bird day, calm at top, with 30cm of fresh.
 
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PMG

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I guess snow and lack of crowds is almost as good as terrain and vertical.

For me, I'd bloody love to be at Hakkaisan on a cold blue-bird powder day - say a lazy 60cm. That tramway would make for some unbelievable runs...bloody tiring though, I reckon you would only need about 3-4 hours before being spent.
You would only get 3-4 hours anyway. The snow is usually cooked there by lunchtime on a sunny day.

I'll second Heinz's post.
 

LMB

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Fresh snow anywhere away from the foreign hordes is a win.
Foreign and local hoardes.

Any freshies that are all yours are:
Heavenly
Superb
The shizzz

Or whatever descriptor you prefer.
 

Heinz

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Foreign and local hoardes.

Any freshies that are all yours are:
Heavenly
Superb
The shizzz

Or whatever descriptor you prefer.

The locals are picking up on it but foreign hordes still definitely the worst.
 
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ojisan

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Kamui after it had dumped 40/50 overnight, spending morning lapping the single double chair & about 11 am I decided to check out the trail that swings wide and winds its way back to the base of the same chair only to find that no-one else had been there...
First tracks again at 11 am was pretty special.

I would go back there for sure.
 

Tonester

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Kamui after it had dumped 40/50 overnight, spending morning lapping the single double chair & about 11 am I decided to check out the trail that swings wide and winds its way back to the base of the same chair only to find that no-one else had been there...
First tracks again at 11 am was pretty special.

I would go back there for sure.
I can relate. It's a great little hill
 

ojisan

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I can relate. It's a great little hill
the other magical thing I experienced on the same day was the time the trees got overloaded with snow & gravity takes over creating a snow curtain to board/ski through.
 
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HoopDogg

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I'm waiting for the right conditions to hit some deep fresh on a full moon . I am going to need it to snow all day then stop at night fall then I am going to hit it .

I had a shot from a full moon cloudless night off the cams at hakuba i had saved as the home screen on the old phone. The reflection from the snow made it look like day time except you could see the crescent moon and stars in the sky... unbelievable. Ever since then i'm with you on this one!
 
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Any

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all of my best days have been unexpected. when i thought it might be mediocre and by some freak wind or weather that night combined with luck with the places i choose to ski within x resort, turn into an epic adventure.
 

Vermillion

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I've also had days where the snow hasnt been the deepest, or steepest, or driest, but has been amazing nontheless. Looking at a google maps and seeing a single-lift or 2-lift hill, driving 2 hours to get there to find absolutely no one on the run and a foot of fresh that you track out for 2 hours, then have an onsen down the bottom for 1000Y total is hard to beat.
 

M_G

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I've also had days where the snow hasnt been the deepest, or steepest, or driest, but has been amazing nontheless. Looking at a google maps and seeing a single-lift or 2-lift hill, driving 2 hours to get there to find absolutely no one on the run and a foot of fresh that you track out for 2 hours, then have an onsen down the bottom for 1000Y total is hard to beat.

With you there Verm. I think this would, apart from maybe the 2 hour drive, be my default definition of a great day.
 

Tanuki

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A Tuesday morning, late Jan.Happo. 45cm fallen over night and now a bluebird morning. Head up from Wadano and ski the upper mountain and Skyline. Starts puking midday so head in for a Draught Beeru and Soa Noodles, snow falls hard all arvo down to village level, ride fresh tracks top to bottom all afternoon
 

Tonester

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I've also had days where the snow hasnt been the deepest, or steepest, or driest, but has been amazing nontheless. Looking at a google maps and seeing a single-lift or 2-lift hill, driving 2 hours to get there to find absolutely no one on the run and a foot of fresh that you track out for 2 hours, then have an onsen down the bottom for 1000Y total is hard to beat.
Yep, for sure.
This reminds me of Mashike. Someone on these forums, I can't recall who, mentioned Mashike. A small hill, with two pair lifts. It was a mission to get there but, oh my, what a great few hours we had. It was a Sunday, so it was "busy". But we were the only ones skiing on the further, second lift. It was somewhat of a detour to get there (Otaru to Asahikawa) but the coast road we took was spectacular. Not what were were expecting, but wow, it was a great day!
 

Heinz

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Yep, for sure.
This reminds me of Mashike. Someone on these forums, I can't recall who, mentioned Mashike. A small hill, with two pair lifts. It was a mission to get there but, oh my, what a great few hours we had. It was a Sunday, so it was "busy". But we were the only ones skiing on the further, second lift. It was somewhat of a detour to get there (Otaru to Asahikawa) but the coast road we took was spectacular. Not what were were expecting, but wow, it was a great day!

I think that may have been @Rabid K9
 

Tonester

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I think that may have been @Rabid K9
We decided to go on the strength of the post. Whoever it was (@Rabid K9 , not sure) basically said:
  • Coast road to Mashike is outstanding. It was!
  • Groomer driver is VERY meticulous and proud of their work. Will happily re-groom hill if asked. Cannot comment on this but we did see groomer hard at work most of the morning, and the results were pretty good.
  • Mashike town is renown for it's sake
It was a huge detour, but worth it IMHO
 

Vermillion

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Having said all of that about the small-time ski-jos, one of my most memorable mornings in Japan was early 2000s bottomless Strawberry Fields before people knew what strawberry fields was. When you were one of maybe half a dozen hitting Hanazono for the morning it was beyond epic. You really couldnt replicate that now and for those reasons you kinda lose the awesomeness of that area (like the treed areas of 47, Cortina etc) but back when you could have it to yourself there was absolutely no reason to go anywhere else.
 
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LMB

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Yep, for sure.
This reminds me of Mashike. Someone on these forums, I can't recall who, mentioned Mashike. A small hill, with two pair lifts. It was a mission to get there but, oh my, what a great few hours we had. It was a Sunday, so it was "busy". But we were the only ones skiing on the further, second lift. It was somewhat of a detour to get there (Otaru to Asahikawa) but the coast road we took was spectacular. Not what were were expecting, but wow, it was a great day!
Ooohhhh...thank you.
Noted.
We've got to head to Asahikawa at some stage this season. So I'll make an effort to include Masike on the way.
 

Tonester

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Ooohhhh...thank you.
Noted.
We've got to head to Asahikawa at some stage this season. So I'll make an effort to include Masike on the way.
The coast road is amazing because:
  1. The view is major awesomeness. Snow down to the beaches, of course.
    IMG_1741.JPG
  2. The road hugs the coastline for quite some bit
    IMG_1765.JPG
  3. Loads of tunnels to get you through the mountain, instead of around it. Why, oh why, can't they do that here.
 

PMG

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The coast road is amazing because:
  1. The view is major awesomeness. Snow down to the beaches, of course.
    IMG_1741.JPG
  2. The road hugs the coastline for quite some bit
    IMG_1765.JPG
  3. Loads of tunnels to get you through the mountain, instead of around it. Why, oh why, can't they do that here.
The only thing Japan loves as much as a good tunnel is a good bridge.
P1010574.JPG
 
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