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Mobile Hokkaido Skiing

Discussion in 'Japan' started by Prime, Jun 12, 2020.

  1. Prime

    Prime Hard Yards

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    I have been reading about picking which ski resort to ski at either the night before or on the day you plan to ski based upon the expected conditions. How do you find out where it has just snowed the most, where conditions are best, where it is not windy, etc?
     
  2. Any

    Any One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    living in a van or something?
    Hokkaido is a big area. are you planning on driving 6 hours overnight every night to chase snow?

    most ski resorts are little 1-2 lift jobs that don't even have a website, let alone do daily snow reports and have webcams.
    of those that do, the morning reports are often soo late that you won't be able to make a daily decision based on them. tho such reports would be useful if you want to catch the day after a storm.
    some like niseko and rusutsu have community driven reports and webcams that you can use to get info just early enough to make a decision for first chair if you're within an hours drive away.

    specific forecasts aren't too accurate. although i find snow-forecast to be quite accurate for temperature and wind.
    use more general forecasts like windy to work out areas that are about to be hit.
     
    Hyst, telenomore and skifree like this.
  3. skichanger

    skichanger A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    Forget Hokkaido and follow @Sandy 's advice re Honshu. He is the guru of reading the weather maps to know where the snow is. There is usually a lot of info on this each season. Perhpas look through some of the threads from previous seasons to see what info is typical.

    Regardless of that you can pick an area with lots of resorts and pick which resort depending on wind direction. e.g. on Mt Myoko so long as the wind is coming from the north at all it will be snowing. And which of the resorts is best just depends on where between north east around to north west the wind is coming from. We have had days where it is puking at Joetsu on the coast. We are dreading getting back to Chalet Myoko because we are expecting to need to dig a metre of snow out of the car park before we can park. But the snow has stopped at Sekiyama, 3/4 of the way home and it is not snowing at Chalet Myoko. However the people who have been at Suginohara, further around Mt Myoko, have had fresh tracks every run. The same would apply to Hakuba area and I am sure there would be similar situations on Hokkaido.

    I am biased but my personal opinion is that Honshu would be better because there are places that get better snow than Hokkaido and it is warmer.
     
    Sandy likes this.
  4. Prime

    Prime Hard Yards

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    I would base myself in one location such as Furano or Otaru so I would be in striking distance of multiple resorts.
     
    Kash, Hyst, telenomore and 2 others like this.
  5. grantn

    grantn Addicted

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    If you base yourself in Otaru, consider outer (north/western) Sapporo as an option too. Strong northerly winds can shut the top lift down at Tiene, but if that's the case head to Kokusai, the lifts there seem to run even in high winds. We stayed in suburban Sapporo Tiene = 10 mins to Sapporo Tiene ski resort, 30 mins to Sapporo Kokusai, maybe 40 mins to Kiroro. If there is only a light westerly Kokusai and Kiroro get more snow than Tiene, because they are closer to the western coast of Hokkaido.
     
  6. skifree

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

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    I've come across folks who based themselves at Asahikawa. They went as far as Furano on day trips.
     
    M_G likes this.
  7. telenomore

    telenomore One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    The info you are after is not that easy to come by but there are ways to get close . Firstly I'd recommend getting your head around the Japan weather thread. Understand the local drivers. The bigger systems can cover most of the resorts so once you understand them you'll get an idea of both snow depth and wind. On top of that there are local variations, for example in central Hokkaido, Tomamu and Kamui can be very different in terms of both wind and snow depth on any given day. Look for traveling low pressure systems for good Tomamu snow fall, and systems with a southerly fetch as they develop. One tip, as a system comes through, Tomamu may be on wind hold early, so factor Tomamu for day 2 as the wind eases more westerly, then after that Kamui, as the system finishes as a northwesterly and Kamui does better out of the NW than Tomamu. Just one example. So, next, go to local sources. In Niseko I'd try Rhythm, drop in, introduce yourself and tap into what is happening. In Furano, visit us (Alpine Backcountry). We have guides going to lots if places each day, as well as local sources. Next, look at facebook pages for each location. Unfortunately these are mostly in Japanese but get into google translate and you'll get some good beta. The other thing to remember is that Hokkaido stays cold so no real stress to rush to the powder. If you get there in the coming winter, even better I'd say. IMO crowds will be very low this coming winter, assuming Australians can get in, as I'm going to guess both Europeans and North Americans may not get a guernsey to get to Japan before winter 2021/22.
     
    usedtacould, Kash, M_G and 4 others like this.