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Advice needed Nagano or Niseko (February 2017)

Discussion in 'Japan' started by protik, Sep 18, 2016.

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Which resort would you pick for second week of February?

  1. Hakuba

    6 vote(s)
    42.9%
  2. Myoko

    1 vote(s)
    7.1%
  3. Nozawa Onsen

    4 vote(s)
    28.6%
  4. Shiga Kogen

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  5. Niseko

    5 vote(s)
    35.7%
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. protik

    protik Hard Yards

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    Hi guys,

    Nine of us are heading to Japan next year (February 5 - 15) and would like some advice on picking a resort to base ourselves at. Eight are snowboarders and mostly comfortable on blue runs (Perisher's Roller Coaster being a favorite). We would not mind renting cars if that opens up our options of exploring nearby resorts.

    We will be flying into Osaka and thinking of perhaps spending two days at Kyoto before hitting the slopes for a week - either in Nagano region or at Niseko. I had a fabulous week at Niseko this Jan however have no idea how the Nagano resorts (Hakuba, Myoko, Nozawa Onsen, Shiga Kogen) compare to Niseko.

    Which resort would you recommend in terms of decent snow in second week of February? Hakuba, one of the other three or Niseko? For Nagano region, if there any particular village / resort you recommend from which we can easily access the others easily?

    In terms of accommodation, we will also need a lodge that sleeps ten comfortably, any recommendation as which site to use to look for lodges would be much appreciated as well.

    Thanks so much!
     
  2. skichanger

    skichanger A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    Madarao Lol! But seriously if you want to get a car and do several resorts it is central to Nozawa Onsen, Myoko and Shiga Kogen.

    Finding somewhere to accommodate 10 people will probably be your biggest problem. What sort of accommodation do you want? That will affect your choices.
     
  3. Crispy013

    Crispy013 One of Us

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    I'd suggest staying on Honshu. Shiga should be okay at that time of the year given its elevation. If you base yourself somewhere central (say Myoko), then with a vehicle you have access to a heap of terrain and activities. I'd avoid the internal flight if it were me. So much easier moving around using the train network.
     
  4. Chillybin

    Chillybin Addicted

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    Snow quality Hokkaido wins on consistency. Honshu is very very different to Hokkaido ski fields. Not in a bad way though... Honshu has the alps and thus a true alpine weather system. As all "alpine" regions around the world do, they rely on storm cycles. I've got travelled and skiied both extensively over the past 5 years and know them well. Honshu storms are big. Not unreasonable to get 1-2m in a 24-48 hour period. Nozawa is an incredibly friendly laid back place. Having 9 people means you probably are not getting to remote resorts too easily. You cannot go past Hakuba. Awesome place and great culture compared to Niseko. Be aware though, Most resorts within Honshu do not permit off piste riding. Some resorts police this with "shock horror" actual police. That's quite rare though. Nozawa is a great place as I said above and has plenty to offer for the time you're there. Don't be put off with the "Niseko" gets more snow rubbish, as Nozawa and resorts within a stones throw get the same amount on average. The difference being it snows small amounts a lot in Hokkaido and big amounts not as often in Honshu. You can basically bullet train to you door at Nozawa with a small 20 minute bus ride or a 50 minute bus ride to Hakuba. Different stations though. Good luck with your choice
     
    Hyst likes this.
  5. Sandy

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

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    Sorry, but there are some inaccuracies here....
    Implying that Honshu has true alpine weather might imply that there is a lot of lifted alpine terrain, and that's not true. The Japan Alps are not particularly high, mostly below 3000m, with most resorts between 600-1800m.
    Honshu does not get a lot of true "alpine" storm cycles like other places in the world. Most places OS need a "storm", aka. a low pressure trough with cold fronts. Central Honshu only needs the wind from the right direction, on a reasonable breeze, kicking in the "lake effect". This pushes in a lot of cloud in from the Sea of Japan, dumping a lot of snow at intervals on the northern side of the mountains. In fact, regular "storms" usually produce rain initially.

    There are quite a few places these days, that allow off piste riding through designated gates, but some places DO police oob very strictly.

    The optimal time for most snow in central Honshu is the 3 weeks from mid Jan. But if the OP's group rides mainly blue runs, then this may not be an issue.
     
  6. Sandy

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

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    Deciding to rent a car, tends to determine where you go, if you're riding for a week. You're better off with a car if you go to Hakuba or Myoko, but don't need one at Nozawa, Shiga Kogen or Niseko.
     
  7. Crispy013

    Crispy013 One of Us

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    Sandy san has spoken ;)
     
  8. Sandy

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

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    Crispy knows a lot about oob in central Honshu, and which places are strictly enforced!!!! ;)
     
  9. skichanger

    skichanger A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    Got to agree with Sandy about the storms. I have experienced more days in 1 season in Aus where the lifts are closed due to storms than I have in 5 winters in Myoko.

    Today it has rained all day. No strong winds, just rain. In winter that is snow, metres of it in short periods of time, straight down with no storm.
     
  10. M_G

    M_G M_G_ = Make skiing great again Ski Pass: Gold

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    Where is the 'others' or 'none of these' option? ;)

    Accommodation is the clincher. You'll find that hard to find in Myoko, Shiga or Nozawa - in which case, Niseko or Hakuba.

    If you have a 10 day window you could do a split, or have a car to venture further.
     
  11. Vermillion

    Vermillion Pool Room Ski Pass: Gold

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    You have to weigh up the considerations between moving 10 people around Japan. You're talking 2 cars minimum, even if you tar q bin, because you'll need to move skis and boots and bags around on a daily basis. That can be a pain depending on where you're staying, or could be good if you want to go separate ways at any time. My advice for you guys would be if you are all confident you'll be riding together every day and arent fussed about staying in the one place, Niseko is going to make your logistics so much easier. If you reckon you'll have guys going to different places every day, arent concerned about hiring 2+ cars and arent worried about having 2+ drivers at all times, then Noz/Hakuba/Myoko are all viable options. Time is also a big one, to drive from Kyoto to Nagano (so Hakuba/Noz and Myoko basically) is going to take you a day. It's a long way, especially if the weather isnt great. Compare that to getting on a flight to New Chitose and then a bus to Niseko (you could always hire a car at some point in Niseko/Kutchan if you want), that's a much easier option.

    Weigh it all up, but for 10 people, you're doing well if you get unanimous decisions.
     
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  12. LMB

    LMB Old but definitely not Crusty! Ski Pass: Gold

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    LOL You're not wrong!!
    Consensus with 10 people! o_O

    You'll surely have one needing a late start, or a day off, most days.

    There is no denying that being in a village where you can meet up at separate times under those circumstances is of benefit to group harmony.

    I vividly remember taking a long weekend out of a 3 Wk Euro trip with just 3 couples - heading to a different ski town with PB just so we could be on our own schedule for a few days. Up early - no problem, hit it till the legs were jelly - sure, bed early with no Apres - YES!!!

    You've definitely got to be a team player to do the group trip in situations where you've all got to up and go at the same time.

    We had our biggest ski day (Zermatt/Cervinia) the day after I totally screwed my knee. It was strapped, I had a lot of painkillers on board - was very swollen. No complaints.
    Also had an epic powder day in Myoko with a pinched Sciatic nerve. Might've not hidden that discomfort quite as well as the knee.

    Travelling to different resorts could still work, but I'd be looking for accomodation within walking distance of a ski area (even if you move from accomodation to accomodation to see different places). That way the ones that need to finish early can, meeting up with the ones who want to ride to exhaustion later...
     
  13. Sandy

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

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    Yeah, that's why I said this:

     
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  14. Vermillion

    Vermillion Pool Room Ski Pass: Gold

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    Yeah but they will need 2 cars, probably 3 for comfort.
     
  15. smackies

    smackies A Local

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    Dictatorship required.
     
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  16. Sandy

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

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    Yeah, but I was referring to the use of any car(s). Do not need car(s) for a 7 day slide for Nozawa, Shiga Kogen or Niseko.
    Better to have car(s) at Hakuba or Myoko.
     
    LMB likes this.
  17. Froff Life

    Froff Life A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    Having a group of 10, like others have already said, would mean 2 or more vehicles. Screw that, base yourself in one place where you don't need a car. Nozawa or Hakuba would be the best options IMO, big villages, no air travel required, and there is a possibility of finding accom for 10 people. Accommodation will probably be your biggest headache
     
  18. Vermillion

    Vermillion Pool Room Ski Pass: Gold

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    Where in Hakuba?
     
  19. Nozawaman

    Nozawaman A Local

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    Not at that time , reckon it would be easy !
     
  20. M_G

    M_G M_G_ = Make skiing great again Ski Pass: Gold

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    But sounds like OP is wanting apartment/house/cottage for 10. If not, will make the whole exercise a lot easier. Well, as easy as it can be herding 10 people...
     
  21. Froff Life

    Froff Life A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    Yep thats what I was assuming too, whole place for the big group. OP?
     
  22. protik

    protik Hard Yards

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    Correct, we are hoping to get a house/cottage that fits 10 with the assumption that this arrangement would be a bit cheaper and more convenient overall.

    If we were to base at Hakuba / Nozawa are there shuttles that can connect to the other resorts nearby?
     
  23. LMB

    LMB Old but definitely not Crusty! Ski Pass: Gold

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    Hakuba - yes. There are buses to the different resorts in Hakuba. Day tripping from Hakuba to Nozawa or elsewhere wouldn't be a go I wouldn't have thought. At least not without cars and patience.
     
  24. Budgiesmuggler

    Budgiesmuggler A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    For 10 of you don't do the car. Particularly if you're all young and want to do a it of partying.

    It really sucks being the dude who wants to ski but who can't take the car because your hungover mates won't get moving (or being the dude who can't ski cos your mates took the car).

    Stay somewhere where no car needed. Late nights, early starts, own schedules, no problems.
     
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  25. M_G

    M_G M_G_ = Make skiing great again Ski Pass: Gold

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    Given this criteria take Nozawa out of the equation. It's Hakuba or Niseko where you'll find this type of accom.
    All the following have spots available around that time in Hakuba
     
  26. Vermillion

    Vermillion Pool Room Ski Pass: Gold

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    If that's your issue, get better mates. Being hungover in Japan is probably the biggest waste of a holiday ever, why would you willingly rule yourself out from skiing some of the best snow you'll ever ski, day after day?
     
  27. LMB

    LMB Old but definitely not Crusty! Ski Pass: Gold

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    Wowser!
    Listen to Ned Flanders go!

    Just because a mate is hungover does not make them a lesser quality mate. People who party hard often love hard and show loyalty and mateship hard too.
     
  28. Vermillion

    Vermillion Pool Room Ski Pass: Gold

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    That's fine, but any mate who is not willing to get up for opening lifts on a rock-solid day in Japan is no friend of mine.
     
  29. LMB

    LMB Old but definitely not Crusty! Ski Pass: Gold

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    Meh...
    There's much joy in having a mate who sleeps off a hangover on a powder day. YOU go out with other mates, have the 'day of the season' and then tease them about it that night.
    Win-Win.
     
  30. ojisan

    ojisan station master Ski Pass: Gold

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    deep powder can be a sure hangover cure
     
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  31. Chondro

    Chondro One of Us

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    I've been known to vomit on a lift before.
    No hangover stops me from a powder day
     
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  32. ojisan

    ojisan station master Ski Pass: Gold

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    I boarded Kagura on a hangover this year.. being one of the only places open around the area, we did only the afternoon as it took half a day to get things together... (plus we had to drive from Gumna) and I had the best run of the trip.
    Knee deep, untouched powder on a run under a lift that didn't open for the day next to the top station of the Mitsumata ropeway...
     
    #32 ojisan, Sep 20, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2016
  33. smackies

    smackies A Local

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    The irony.

    What time does the first onsen open?
     
  34. Vermillion

    Vermillion Pool Room Ski Pass: Gold

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    Same time the tree jumps out in front of you.
     
  35. Budgiesmuggler

    Budgiesmuggler A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    Thanks Ned Flanders, but that's just one example.

    Having a car amongst a group can be a PiTA. It will happen when someone wants to sleep in, or go home early When you want to keep skiing or any number of reasons.

    Don't get me wrong I love having a car in Japan but I'd think twice in a big group. I've had lots of experience of trips in Jindy or NZ where I'm wanting to ski but hampered by mates.
     
  36. Vermillion

    Vermillion Pool Room Ski Pass: Gold

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    If your mates are holding you back from skiing, you need better mates.
     
  37. smackies

    smackies A Local

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    Do as Verm does.

    No friends, no problems.
     
  38. ojisan

    ojisan station master Ski Pass: Gold

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    the first punch has been thrown
     
  39. Vermillion

    Vermillion Pool Room Ski Pass: Gold

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    Says the girl who road trips on her own around Japan.
     
  40. Zimboo

    Zimboo A Local

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    Send "Hakuba Powder Lodge" a email, they have two cottages now, plus their lodge. Cottages normally sleep 6 or 7 but they may be able to throw in a couple of futons to get the 9 of you in. Good people, good service.
     
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  41. expatgm

    expatgm Addicted

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    Nothing wrong with that. Five weeks of that for me starting Jan10.
     
  42. smitty484

    smitty484 Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    @smackies is a girl?
     
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  43. protik

    protik Hard Yards

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    Thank you, just the kind of accommodation I had in mind. Wonder if there are more such lodges around other resorts? Or these are pretty uncommon? Hopefully we will get to book something by next week lol.
     
  44. M_G

    M_G M_G_ = Make skiing great again Ski Pass: Gold

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    Did you check out Le Bocage Protik? Great location, good reviews and style you seem to be after.
     
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  45. Vermillion

    Vermillion Pool Room Ski Pass: Gold

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    Smackies is a person?
     
  46. Zimboo

    Zimboo A Local

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    I also recall seeing another place called Alpine Chalets Hakuba that has 3 bedroom chalets. May also be worth a email. Never stayed there myself.
     
  47. smackies

    smackies A Local

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    Smackies is a bad dream you can't wake up from.
     
  48. smitty484

    smitty484 Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Ain't that the truth!