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Please help me choose my last leg of 2020 tour

Discussion in 'Japan' started by Canuckskier, Jul 20, 2019.

  1. Canuckskier

    Canuckskier Hard Yards

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    I have already firmed up the first two legs, Nozawa Jan 15-21, Myoko Jan 21-28, and am now looking to choose where to go for the last few days before heading back to Tokyo. I have read lots of posts from all of you which are very helpful but I m still stuck. I cant decide between Hakuba Cortina area, or Yuzawa ( Naeba-Kagura). We have a car so we can easily drive to either and we are looking to stay Jan 28-31. We both really prefer more traditional village style like Nozawa, and looking more for quieter if that is still possible ( although its mid week for this leg so should help). Both of us are advanced powder skiers and really enjoy more off piste and tree/powder skiing if we can be so lucky to have it. I was really leaning towards kagura because Yuzawa town seemed to fit the bill for us, but now thinking maybe Hakuba? specifically the Cortina area. But all of you seem to say its really busy on any given powder day and really boring if it doesn't snow. We would like to keep the driving to about 2- 3 hours when moving from Myoko so that rules out further north into Tohoku. We did Shiga last year and I wasn't thrilled about the vibe but could have been because of the major rain event that we encountered.. cheers all
     
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  2. Budgiesmuggler

    Budgiesmuggler A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    100% agree about Hakuba cortina. Super busy when it snows, dull when it doesn’t.

    Kagura not really yet on the tourist route. Quiet. Loads of pow, no competition. Plus also have the other yuzawa region reports around so you have choice.

    Have only passed through Yuzawa town but it looks really cute.
     
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  3. grantn

    grantn Addicted

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    If you are considering Yuzawa then I would consider staying in Gunma, and base yourself in Minikami. Easy access to Tenjin and Houdagi when Tenjin is shut. That will tick your boxes of off piste, powder, minimal crowds and traditional village. I loved Minakami. Easy drive from Myoko. Gets very similar amounts of snow to Yuzawa.
     
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  4. Crispy013

    Crispy013 One of Us

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    Scrap Cortina. If you’re going to do Hakuba, do it properly and dedicate a good week to sample what the valley has to offer.

    I’m guessing you’ll give Arai and Madarao/Tangram a go while at Myoko?

    My favs for a mid week powder dump - Charmant Hiuchi, Cupid Valley & Hakkaisan. Unfortunately not much around them, which is sort of why they are deserted and fun.

    Have a think also about Tenjindaira and nearby Houdaigi in the Minakami region. About 2.5hrs drive from Myoko via Yuzawa.
     
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  5. Lucky Pete

    Lucky Pete One of Us

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    Forget Cortina as a base. Nothing out there really at night and its a one trick pony. How about staying in Nagano? Many resorts just an hour away by car and ride as the conditions and snowfall dictate and fun nights not surrounded by gaijin. Often thought it would be a great base.
     
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  6. Canuckskier

    Canuckskier Hard Yards

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    Well once again you have all been extremely helpful. I will scrap Cortina and now look at Minikami or Nagano as you have suggested .Tenjin looks very nice , would we need a guide if we went there? We used guides some last year and it helped since it was our first time to Japan , and will use them some again this year in the Myoko area as that’s new to us.

    We did ski Madarao last year with Nagano outdoor sports and it was really nice so yes we will likely go back and for sure want to try Arai.
    Will also check out Cupid and Haikkasan ,never even heard of Houdagi I will do some looking into that. I think we have it sorted mostly and thanks again to you all. Any suggestions for rooms in Minikami and/ or guides if needed for Tenjin would be awesome.
     
  7. Sandy

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

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    Yes, Jan 28-31 that probably only 3 full days, when the Hakuba Valley has 5 major areas plus a few smaller ones.
    There's one good thing about Cortina on a powder day: Every man and his dog goes there, so when you go elsewhere at Hakuba, you can often still ride the powder into the afternoon!!!
     
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  8. Budgiesmuggler

    Budgiesmuggler A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    I would give Cupid a miss... it’s really only good because it’s quiet. Very mellow otherwise.
     
  9. Sandy

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

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    The problem with staying in Nagano City, is that you are within distance of places that you will already have been to: Nozawa, Myoko and previously Shiga Kogen. There are smaller places as well, but they will have to be "on" to use up a day if you don't know what's going on there.
    e.g.
    Ryuo. Need to make sure that there's powder and the ropeway is running.
    Kijimadaira. The top chair only runs on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

    If you had bad impressions of Shiga Kogen last year because of rain, just remember, it would have been worse at any other resorts around the region, because they are all a lot lower at the base. Bottom elevation at Shiga Kogen is about 1350m, top is 2307m. Where did you ride there?
     
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  10. Canuckskier

    Canuckskier Hard Yards

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    We were based at Okushiga kogen and rode mostly there and yakibitami (sp?). We actually quite liked the mountain off piste ( we had a guide) on day one but the rain moved in that night and we were then only skiing icy groomers next day . You are correct though it affected the entire region so it’s likely unfair of me and biased based on this day. Truly we didn’t like the isolation at night and the larger hotels with tons of guests etc so combined with the rain we just went away feeling not that happy.
     
  11. Sandy

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

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    If you don't like isolation, then better to be at Ichinose, than Okushiga.
     
  12. grantn

    grantn Addicted

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    Yes to make the most of tenjin you will need a guide. Tenjin Lodge is fantastic option for both accom and guiding. If Tenjin is shut with too much snow or wind they can take you guiding to other areas if that's your thing.
     
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