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Advice needed Resort choice Hokkaido 2017 - go west or central?

Discussion in 'Japan' started by pbfitz, Apr 17, 2016.

  1. pbfitz

    pbfitz Hard Yards

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    Hi all,

    we had a fantastic family ski trip to Nozawa onsen and Myoko Kogen a couple of years ago and are going to head to Hokkaido for a couple of weeks after xmas this coming season. We were initially going to split our time between Niseko and Rusustu but are now having second thoughts due to concerns about the crowds and costs, with Niseko especially (really need close to ski in - ski out accom which is not cheap in both places).

    The other option is to combine Furano and Tomamu which both sound quieter and cheaper - less snow but still plenty, good quality and probably better weather.

    Any thoughts or comments appreciated?

    Regards,

    Paul
     
  2. Vermillion

    Vermillion Pool Room Ski Pass: Gold

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    May be a silly question, by why do you 'need' ski in/ski out?
     
  3. Tonester

    Tonester Lift Line Nazi Ski Pass: Gold

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    If you have a car your options open up. We did a road trip through Hokkaido this past season and aside from discovering some gems we realised that you could ski, say in Furano, without worrying about last minute accomodation options or needing to be close to the lifts. We stayed in this great onsen hotel that was about only 10 minutes out of furano. Cheaper and way easy to book at the last minute.
     
  4. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Do it. Furano is a good base.
     
    #4 Heinz, Apr 17, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2016
  5. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Yeah odd - seems to be a common request. You can have "ski in ski out" or ''cheap" but rarely both.
    Furano has a few places that are only a few minutes walk away - Prince is probably the only real ski in/out, but otherwise it is a short free shuttle bus.
     
  6. pbfitz

    pbfitz Hard Yards

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    Perhaps true ski in / out is a bit beyond what we need but with a couple of kids (and a wife who is only very weakly committed to the whole thing) the slog back and from the slopes can really lessen the experience of the day. We wont have a car - will stay at 2 places to vary things up, 5-6 days at each.
     
  7. Slowman

    Slowman One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Furano should work for you especially if you expand the accomodation options to include the "short walk to the lift". Tomamu is a good option for lift serviced fresh snow but the village complex is limited to a few high rise towers and restaurants you walk to along slightly weird perspex covered footpaths. A family might tire of it fairly quickly.
     
  8. Budgiesmuggler

    Budgiesmuggler A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    I went to Furano and Tomamu this year. Not much ski in/out at Furano but nothing is more than 5 mins walk.

    Tomamu is a lot of fun and if your wife isn't that into skiing the resort could entertain her. Food generally expensive and not amazing.
     
  9. Jamesc

    Jamesc Addicted

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    prince and new prince are the only two true ski in/ski out accomodation in furano, but there are plenty of others that are 5min walk
     
  10. pbfitz

    pbfitz Hard Yards

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    does anyone think we are missing anything heading to Furano / Tomamu rather than Niseko / Rusutsu? Clearly Niseko is much more popular but is this just because it is the well trodden path or something much more special?
     
  11. smackies

    smackies A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    Niseko is easy.

    If you like safe and boring in a sea of Australians, then it's perfect.
     
  12. Legs Akimbo

    Legs Akimbo Grumblebum Ski Pass: Gold

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    "Family" may be the answer to that. Until you have to wrangle littlies it is hard to understand its significance.
     
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  13. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    No, you would only be missing the mass of western business, bars, expensive apartment accommodation and hordes of Australians and Asian tourists that make it all too easy for first timers.
     
  14. bengarden

    bengarden One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    I would hardly call the awesome terrain out of the gates at Niseko "easy" or "boring". I would take it anyday over the crappy stuff we call snow in Australia. Its a great location if you have someone who isn't as keen skier as you as well because you can distract them with restaurants and bars. That was my experience with my wife and daughter recently. If you want more room/less aussies its easy to head to Rusutsu or Kiroro nearby for a few day trips.
     
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  15. smackies

    smackies A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    Not talking about terrain.

    The place is easy and boring.

    :)
     
    Donza likes this.
  16. Donza

    Donza Pool Room

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    Its easy and boring....both the terrain and the resort..
    IMO.
     
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  17. Budgiesmuggler

    Budgiesmuggler A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    It really depends what you want.

    Niseko is a resort town with everything that goes with that. I found it very international when I went and I didn't necessarily see it being overrun with Aussies but certainly most people were not Japanese.

    Furano is a Japanese town that has a ski resort. The main base is quiet, has a few restaurants and bars in walking distance. It's a 5 min drive into the main town which is where we are, the food is excellent and geared towards locals. Not many international tourists.

    The skiing in Furano is good when it's on. There are apparently back bowls similar to niseko but not as easy to find. Inbounds off piste is easy to spot from the lifts. Typically gets a bit less snow than niseko but quality is much higher.

    Tomamu is a purpose built resort gearing (when I went) mainly to Chinese. They don't ski. You have to fight them for first lifts as they go up to sightsee. Tomamu has one big bowl at the front with almost endless lines down. Snow quality is not as high due to aspect. A couple of bowls either side of the resort are easily accessible. Resort is super quiet when on weekends. There is nothing else around so it's eat at the hotels or starve.

    They have a snow village which is actually a lot of fun.
     
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  18. pbfitz

    pbfitz Hard Yards

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    Thanks Budgiesmuggler and others - is there much difference in the amount of on piste skiing across the resorts - we are looking at Furano and Tomamu as many of the others seem smaller but are these much smaller than Niseko?
     
  19. azzski

    azzski Should know better Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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    I also did the Furano/Tomamu trip this year, ski-in ski-out. In Furano there's a bus into town from the Prince hotels that is inexpensive, and a cab back doesn't cost that much more across 4 people. The food within the hotel though is very expensive for what it is, but the buffet breakfast that comes with any deal you might buy makes the whole process very simple for a family. The snow quality at Furano was so insanely good when we were there early Jan, we could have stayed another 7 nights and not been bored with the hill. You should have zero concerns about snow levels or quality.

    Tomamu is an interesting experience, it's a large hotel resort complex (including an ice village and onsen/wave pool) with a ski resort on the side of it. There's no town to speak of close by, and whilst the food isn't a bargain, there's lots of choices within the resort and it isn't terribly expensive. There's plenty of groomers but if you don't strike a snowfall or two, you may find yourself bored with the piste skiing. Lots of people around but as mentioned above, most of them are not skiing, so the hills are not crowded, and there's a fair bit of off-piste stuff that can take a couple of days to get tracked out after a fall.

    Both hills are smaller than Niseko, but unless you're all very strong skiers/boarders I doubt you'll be too bored. There's also the option of a day trip to Asahiyama Zoo, which can be done by coach and/or train if hiring a car isn't your thing.
     
  20. shabu_shabu

    shabu_shabu One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    I've seen Niseko (United) accused of many things: the Bali of Japanese skiing, bogan central, overcrowded, not Japanese enough, not enough vertical, lifts too old, etc but never boring terrain. Go figure.
     
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  21. blutek

    blutek One of Us

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    Don't forget Kiroro.
    We have bused it between Tomamu & Kiroro (changing at CTS).

    For Niseko, Annapuri accommodation could be cheaper.
     
  22. LMB

    LMB Old but definitely not Crusty! Ski Pass: Gold

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    Surprised me too LOL
    But I suppose, each to their own. If we all thought the same it'd be a boring old world.
     
  23. Budgiesmuggler

    Budgiesmuggler A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    Neither Tomamu or furano are massive resorts when compared to niseko but have enough on piste to fill a trip.
     
  24. VirginiaHart

    VirginiaHart First Runs

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    Huh well how was it? I was planning to go to Japan before the pandemic started and now I had to wait. I have a trip panned for February though. I have been to Japan before for yoga retreats (even thought they are very open-minded when it comes to spirituality) and I was suppose to go there again for a few months but with the pandemic I had to change my plans like I said before. I have been going a little bit stir-crazy with this self-isolation so when the lock-down got lifted a little bit I started looking for a yoga retreat not far from home. I set my eyes on Costa Rica since it was the closest and also had a little bit or resemblance to the nature of Japan. I picked a resort not far from the mountains thanks to a cool review from a friend who was there before. If you guys are interested in his opinion and other different retreats you can visit site with those reviews. I found it useful. I am really hoping that the trip will go well though.
     
  25. Belly

    Belly A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    If you click on Paul's profile you'll see he was last on here 4+ years ago. If you really want Paul's review you could send him a Private Message and then he should get an email notification.
     
    azzski likes this.
  26. VirginiaHart

    VirginiaHart First Runs

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    Oh sorry about that. I will do that for sure. Thanks for the advice