Trip Report Somewhere in Hokkaido

Discussion in 'Japan' started by bluestick, Jan 27, 2019.

  1. bluestick

    bluestick One of Us
    Ski Pass: Gold

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2005
    Messages:
    493
    Likes Received:
    744
    After a couple of trips to Tohoku for the last few years it’s time for a return to the true north. Last coupla days around Otaru. yesterday (as a first day warm up) had a poke around Tengu great snow, cruisy untracked trees only a coupla westerners. Real Japanese feel. Today a tour near Otaru ok views and boot deep light stuff. A few Swedes up here and lots of locals probably about 20 +. Easy touring see photos above. Tomorrow somewhere else.
     
    Boodwah, kaegee, M_G and 18 others like this.
  2. Rabid K9

    Rabid K9 One of Us
    Ski Pass: Gold Ski Pass: Silver

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2008
    Messages:
    3,589
    Likes Received:
    2,976
    Yes. Something a little different.
     
    bluestick likes this.
  3. Tanuki

    Tanuki A Local
    Ski Pass: Gold

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2010
    Messages:
    7,060
    Likes Received:
    3,231
    Very berry noice.
     
    bluestick likes this.
  4. bluestick

    bluestick One of Us
    Ski Pass: Gold

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2005
    Messages:
    493
    Likes Received:
    744
    The snow today was good if a little heavier. Toured up to Ginreiso Hut and Haruka-Yama south of Zenibako train station between Otaru and Sapporo. Snowing quite nicely up high. 6 Californians staying at the cosy hut, 3 Swiss and another 2 Americans day tripping. Two Japanese snow shoeing. Couple crappy photos. Thanks for comments and likes.
     
    Boodwah, dawooduck, skifree and 6 others like this.
  5. bluestick

    bluestick One of Us
    Ski Pass: Gold

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2005
    Messages:
    493
    Likes Received:
    744
    Hordes of school kids and plenty of westerners at Kokusai today. Good snow if a tad heavy by Hokkaido standards. The whole mountain seemed pretty freshened up. The usual area signposted as ‘danger’ in the trees before it gets steepish attracted lots of groups. It does seem to be all biggish ‘guided’ groups of 7 to 10 in these areas. Still we found untracked easy access bits all day. Some quite interesting options in the ‘off limits’ areas between pistes. One group must have gone a lot skiers left to come out near the road entrance point. Escaping north now to quieter spots near Sunagawa.
     
    Boodwah, Ramenman, dawooduck and 5 others like this.
  6. shabu_shabu

    shabu_shabu Addicted

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2013
    Messages:
    313
    Likes Received:
    391
    Summer photo. Gives you a sense of the snow depth.
    [​IMG]
     
    Belly, Dumphfish, elSpike and 8 others like this.
  7. bluestick

    bluestick One of Us
    Ski Pass: Gold

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2005
    Messages:
    493
    Likes Received:
    744
    Will have to visit in summer looks very green. No new snow overnight so had a relaxing tour up the closed ski hill Kamisunagawa. Delightful hoar frosted stuff on this north facing area. 6 odd people poking around mainly locals I think. Looks popular given the amount of old but comfortably reset tracks around. A couple more iffy photos if your interested. Japan is just great, again.
     
    Boodwah, Ramenman, Dumphfish and 8 others like this.
  8. bluestick

    bluestick One of Us
    Ski Pass: Gold

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2005
    Messages:
    493
    Likes Received:
    744
    Decided to go tow based today at this low altitude resort after 5 cm of very dry overnight. It started out stunning bluebird then snowed light all day. Great thin powder on piste to start then some quite nice bits in the trees. For a small resort there is plenty of variety for a couple of ‘mature age’ telemarkers. Another couple of dodgy photos. Delightfully no foreigners here and great food at the hotel. Very snowy right now.
     
    Boodwah, elSpike, art and 5 others like this.
  9. blutek

    blutek One of Us

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2003
    Messages:
    2,138
    Likes Received:
    295
    We were at Tengu yesterday. Weather gave us a road trip today Kokusai, Asari, Teine. Soup curry, surf check, then back to Otaru.
     
    bluestick and Olgreg like this.
  10. bluestick

    bluestick One of Us
    Ski Pass: Gold

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2005
    Messages:
    493
    Likes Received:
    744
    How was Tengu?
     
  11. bluestick

    bluestick One of Us
    Ski Pass: Gold

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2005
    Messages:
    493
    Likes Received:
    744
    Now in Rumoi where the weather is a bit wild. Today had another run on the tows at low altitude resort. Cold with
    5 - 10 cm of fluffy fresh. No foreigners and some great skiing. Popular with the slalom racers. Fresh tracks all day even on piste and on the t bar track!
     
    Boodwah, Ramenman, tot and 7 others like this.
  12. bluestick

    bluestick One of Us
    Ski Pass: Gold

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2005
    Messages:
    493
    Likes Received:
    744
    After 7 days straight having a bit of an easy day today. A short xc ski on the track at Rumoi, an onsen, a trip to the port and a nap. The blowy, snowy weather helped in the decision not to head to Mashike and/or tour up past the hut towards the big mountain near here. (Mount Shokanbetsu). Maybe tomorrow.
     
    Ramenman, Froff Life, skifree and 2 others like this.
  13. Rabid K9

    Rabid K9 One of Us
    Ski Pass: Gold Ski Pass: Silver

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2008
    Messages:
    3,589
    Likes Received:
    2,976
    Atmospheric coast that one. A little hostile, seem to be perpetual blizzard & salted fish guts.
     
    blutek and bluestick like this.
  14. blutek

    blutek One of Us

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2003
    Messages:
    2,138
    Likes Received:
    295
    Tengu was good with clear weather last Thurs, only a couple of groups plus schools. KIRORO on Sat was freezing the fingers, had to use undergloves. Road was ice due to weekenders and speeding trucks.
     
    bluestick likes this.
  15. bluestick

    bluestick One of Us
    Ski Pass: Gold

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2005
    Messages:
    493
    Likes Received:
    744
    Definitely an amazing coastline. Shokanbetsu is quite some hill see first photo. Mashike town had some historic buildings, a few cafes and what looked like surfing options. The ski resort looked very new and tidy. We were not tempted though as there was no real fresh we could see. We planned to tour up toward the big mountain but a gate and cleared road beyond put us off. Plan b meant we headed back towards kamui and did a tour up the old resort
    opposite kamui ski links. (photo 2). This is where the NAC cat skiing operates. No problems skinning up what is a pretty mellow (steepness wise) resort. I am not sure of the value of the cat skiing looks marginal for what you pay. The snow was ok coming down, a bit like whipped cream. ( photo 3) There were a couple of others poking around on skins and snow shoes. An ok day in the end.
     
    Boodwah, Ramenman and skifree like this.
  16. shabu_shabu

    shabu_shabu Addicted

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2013
    Messages:
    313
    Likes Received:
    391
  17. Rabid K9

    Rabid K9 One of Us
    Ski Pass: Gold Ski Pass: Silver

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2008
    Messages:
    3,589
    Likes Received:
    2,976
    Favourite big little volcano in Hokkaido, in your general area Bluestick.

    Shorter approach than Shokanbetsu, some great terrain.

     
    Boodwah, Ramenman, skifree and 2 others like this.
  18. bluestick

    bluestick One of Us
    Ski Pass: Gold

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2005
    Messages:
    493
    Likes Received:
    744
    There are just so many possibilities for good touring here. It looked like some great terrain beyond the top of where nac do their cat ski near kamui as per photo. The cat skiing looked average value IMO.
     

    Attached Files:

  19. bluestick

    bluestick One of Us
    Ski Pass: Gold

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2005
    Messages:
    493
    Likes Received:
    744
    Today had a late arrival at kamui round 11ish probably missed the best of it. 30 odd foreigners chasing fresh but the weather closed the top lifts around midday. Wet snow got colder in the arvo the quality was still fine though. (See photos). Slow trip back to town due to accident in awkward section of road. The foreign skier numbers must be a huge benefit to the economy from even 2 years ago.
     
  20. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2014
    Messages:
    2,354
    Likes Received:
    1,937
  21. Rabid K9

    Rabid K9 One of Us
    Ski Pass: Gold Ski Pass: Silver

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2008
    Messages:
    3,589
    Likes Received:
    2,976
    I agree. Remember looking at that place when first went to Kamui in 2008 & wasn't used to seeing closed ski areas. Looked fun, but certainly would be pretty tame for Kat skiing.

    If you want some technical stuff, head up route 273, north east from Asahikawa. Sort of a remote feeling, beautiful boreal forests, outstanding snow, plenty of wildlife etc. Don't have a photo of that particular area, but here is another coastal range nearer to Russia, about half the height but similar terrain & vegetation patterns.

    Some of those fish breakfasts though....

    Missing the northern winter this year, February seems a daunting task.

     
  22. bluestick

    bluestick One of Us
    Ski Pass: Gold

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2005
    Messages:
    493
    Likes Received:
    744
    A day of trial and error. Got to Pippu for first lifts only to be told a 10 am start due to wind and top lifts not opening later if at all. Inspired by a local women we did not want to hang around inside so skinned up the slope for one run then decided to go xc track. Snow good off piste at pippu but a little heavy and wind packed up higher. Based on Strava heatmap and a bit of other info headed to an apparent xc set up at Takasu golf course. Groomer was operating but informed it was closed. Next stop Shunkodai Park which just had a big trench track and small tube ride hill. Finally back to old favourite Tomisawa and slow jaunt around the 10 k loop. Photos at pippu and tomisawa . Beaut snow on the tracks.
     
    Froff Life, Telemark Phat and skifree like this.
  23. bluestick

    bluestick One of Us
    Ski Pass: Gold

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2005
    Messages:
    493
    Likes Received:
    744
    Love that video of Rishiri Ramenman thanks. Another day at the office today, back to Kamui, over the back and around the blue chair. Kamui has not had a total reset but the skiing was dry and very pleasant in places. Fresh enough to enjoy. Not many people, frothers or foreigners around at all today. Our first run over the back , having not been there before , meant we had the sidestepping blues getting back. Got the skins out for the second run’s return to bottom of lift. Much more relaxing. Hardly anyone out there. A big dump would be nice though. $30 Kmart Backpack works well !
     
  24. LMB

    LMB Old but definitely not Crusty!
    Ski Pass: Gold

    Joined:
    May 6, 2010
    Messages:
    23,894
    Likes Received:
    11,758
    Love it! Practically minus the brand label :emoji_eggplant: factor.
    How beautiful.
    Those coated branches are just stunning.
     
    bluestick likes this.
  25. Heather F.

    Heather F. First Runs

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2018
    Messages:
    1
    Likes Received:
    1
    Seriously, all of this in the past week ?? Have been in Hakuba for 6 days and had rain, sunshine, and watched snow melt ! Looks like Hokkaido is still safe from global warming.
     
    bluestick likes this.
  26. bluestick

    bluestick One of Us
    Ski Pass: Gold

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2005
    Messages:
    493
    Likes Received:
    744
    Hokkaido really is amazing we have had good snow everyday for the last 12 days. If you tour you can always find fresh. Today was interesting heading further north from Asahikawa took road 72 heading for Hirokanai ski jo. Got distracted by the ski tracks at the 450m pass. A few locals and a group of scandanavians touring from here. Plenty of options both side of the pass and ridge snow was just magic silky powder everywhere. We did a couple runs on the cruisy side. Be very easy touring if you had two vehicles. So many options. It’s quite humbling that we can still do this.
     
  27. bluestick

    bluestick One of Us
    Ski Pass: Gold

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2005
    Messages:
    493
    Likes Received:
    744
    As said elsewhere it’s cold up here in northern Hokkaido. (-16 deg) The snow is very dry and fluffy. We had a day at a resort north of Asahikawa that has a reputation for strict no off piste, trees etc. it must be keeping the foreign powder hunters away only saw 4 brits in the restaurant at the end of the day and virtually no one chasing fresh. Lots of great skiing still with some discretion. Actually the fresh on piste was good and plentiful all day. Very uncrowded and still great after last visit 3 years ago. Certainly a contrast to where we were a month ago at 46 degrees.(first photo)
     
    Boodwah, skifree, Froff Life and 5 others like this.
  28. Rabid K9

    Rabid K9 One of Us
    Ski Pass: Gold Ski Pass: Silver

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2008
    Messages:
    3,589
    Likes Received:
    2,976
    Have been chased by a very short & very angry patroller there, after not being discrete enough. Trees were pretty tight.
     
    bluestick likes this.
  29. bluestick

    bluestick One of Us
    Ski Pass: Gold

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2005
    Messages:
    493
    Likes Received:
    744
    Last time we were there got a lecture from the ski patrol at the top lift. Very stern. This time saw no ski patrol but public announcement in English saying don’t go in trees or duck ropes. The roping off is ridiculous now though with a few gaps and right on piste edge. Still with discretion there is some good stuff. I am not sure what the reason is though, seems almost obsessive. Going to have another go at Japanese Mt P nearby tomorrow hopefully.
     
    Rabid K9 likes this.
  30. bluestick

    bluestick One of Us
    Ski Pass: Gold

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2005
    Messages:
    493
    Likes Received:
    744
    10 km on the delightful xc tracks here in Nayoro, a nap, an onsen then to the international snow sculpture show. Another lazy cold day in paradise.
     
    skifree, Melskius and elSpike like this.
  31. Rabid K9

    Rabid K9 One of Us
    Ski Pass: Gold Ski Pass: Silver

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2008
    Messages:
    3,589
    Likes Received:
    2,976
    Certainly is, possibly the most of anywhere I've been in Japan. Very safe terrain, relatively. The rock outcrops in second photo are very distinctive.

    What's going in that last photo from Nayoro, 'tug of war' on ice or something?
     
  32. bluestick

    bluestick One of Us
    Ski Pass: Gold

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2005
    Messages:
    493
    Likes Received:
    744
    Yep it’s a slippery form of tug of war. Teams of 5 or 6 have to run to, I think 3 laid out ropes pick em up and drag the other team across a line. Looked fun sort of like a Les Mans start. Daily update toured opposite resort towards Mt Piyrishiri. Ended up following the completely groomed road past what I think is skidoo club hut up to a point where a ridge leads back down. As usual the snow was absolutely prime. Lots of people at the resort , saw no one touring and just couple of other ski tracks.
     
    Ramenman likes this.
  33. Mike Pow

    Mike Pow One of Us

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2014
    Messages:
    681
    Likes Received:
    822
    Great TR
    Was in the vicinity last week.
    Loved Kamoidake. Skied in twice.
    Glorious bluebird powder day at Piyashiri. Skied the trees all day. No dramas. Shame it's so roped. Great terrain.
    Cracking day at Katsurazawa Kokusetsu. Small but perfectly formed.
     
    bluestick and Olgreg like this.
  34. bluestick

    bluestick One of Us
    Ski Pass: Gold

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2005
    Messages:
    493
    Likes Received:
    744
    This may be getting a little predictable. Dropped in on a small resort on the way from Nayoro to Tokachidake. Surprisingly (or maybe not) it was very quiet for a holiday Monday. Again found soft fresh for four hours ( with a couple short breaks) using an 11 ride ticket for $15. Trees not encouraged but doable and good. There is a run of 38 degree. As you say mike pow I reckon this is another “small but perfectly formed” place. Not bad side country touring options either. And just for interest photos are 10 am start first lift queue (no frothers here) , the lonely piste, and an “only in Japan” moment in Nayoro.
     
    Kletterer, Belly, tot and 6 others like this.
  35. Mike Pow

    Mike Pow One of Us

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2014
    Messages:
    681
    Likes Received:
    822
    That looks right up my street.

    Name please?
     
    Telemark Phat likes this.
  36. Rabid K9

    Rabid K9 One of Us
    Ski Pass: Gold Ski Pass: Silver

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2008
    Messages:
    3,589
    Likes Received:
    2,976
    "People are Shit" - obviously!!
     
  37. Rabid K9

    Rabid K9 One of Us
    Ski Pass: Gold Ski Pass: Silver

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2008
    Messages:
    3,589
    Likes Received:
    2,976
    That second last shot sums up the SBPF hills of upper central Hokkaido.

    Funny how the non-stop snowfall & unbelievable quality starts getting a little 'ho hum' here we go again.
     
    bluestick likes this.
  38. Pat42

    Pat42 One of Us

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2008
    Messages:
    1,213
    Likes Received:
    587
    its desensitising that's for sure
     
    bluestick likes this.
  39. bluestick

    bluestick One of Us
    Ski Pass: Gold

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2005
    Messages:
    493
    Likes Received:
    744
    Desensitising in a nice way, probably more habit forming. Partner prefers 2 + weeks I like as many weeks as possible compromise is 3 with a bit more this time. Continuing the daily update theme today was spent around the very comfortable onsen Hakuginso in the Tokachidake area. Staying here for few nights. Lots of people touring around ( snow shoes, splits, AT, not too many telemarkers, army, fire etc) saw probably 20 people just up from the onsen. A lot of Japanese a couple of aussies and a coupla guided groups. A NHK crew with a Slovenian dude whose been in Japan for 28 years were doing a video of powder skiing in Japan for their English broadcast. Great light deepish snow. Thanks for comments/likes.

     
    Kletterer, Pat42, Slowman and 3 others like this.
  40. Rabid K9

    Rabid K9 One of Us
    Ski Pass: Gold Ski Pass: Silver

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2008
    Messages:
    3,589
    Likes Received:
    2,976
    Jeez' I love Tokachidake. Would have called one of my kids or dogs Tokachi if rolled of the western club tongue a little easier.
     
    bluestick likes this.
  41. Telemark Phat

    Telemark Phat Pass the butter
    Ski Pass: Gold

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2008
    Messages:
    17,017
    Likes Received:
    10,636
    Nayoropiyashiri Ski Area?
     
  42. bluestick

    bluestick One of Us
    Ski Pass: Gold

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2005
    Messages:
    493
    Likes Received:
    744
    The one on the opposite side of the valley to pyrisjiri it’s called Hinata I think.
     
    Mike Pow likes this.
  43. shabu_shabu

    shabu_shabu Addicted

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2013
    Messages:
    313
    Likes Received:
    391
    Mike Pow and Telemark Phat like this.
  44. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2014
    Messages:
    2,354
    Likes Received:
    1,937
    It's in 朱鞠内(Shumarinai) - 幌加内(Horokanai) region and JMA have weather stations both in Shumarinai and Horokanai. Shumarinai and Horokanai are the snowiest weather stations in Hokkaido that JMA have. It's colder and snowier than Kutchan (JMA have weather stations at about 170 - 180m above sea level both in Kutchan and Horokanai and Horokanai is 3.2 degrees colder in January). The elevation of the ski resort mountain is only 400m + but can be a good mountain for skiing. I like Hokkaido because of it. Even 0m above sea level is very cold and has plenty of snow in Hokkaido. There are some 700m+ mountains such as Inuushibetsu Yama(730m), Bozu Yama, etc in the reigon(Horokanai) and it seems those mountains are popular among backcountry skiers.

    https://www.google.com/maps/place/B...d40706!8m2!3d44.0639683!4d142.1763039!5m1!1e4
     
  45. bluestick

    bluestick One of Us
    Ski Pass: Gold

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2005
    Messages:
    493
    Likes Received:
    744
    Tokachidake is popular. We went up the giant ridge today bumped into several groups, one of 8 ish guided Americans, a coupla Fins, a couple of guided Americans. Car park sort of full. At least it means there a good skin track. You’d think people from such places would not need to travel so far for snow, but such is the reputation of Japan snow I guess. The snow was the usual dry superb stuff. Interestingly wildlife wise, we aroused a couple of brown pidgeon sized birds out of the trees. We saw a small ferret like animal today and the other day a white rabbit but no Grace Slick. This really is very magic part of the world.
     
  46. Rabid K9

    Rabid K9 One of Us
    Ski Pass: Gold Ski Pass: Silver

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2008
    Messages:
    3,589
    Likes Received:
    2,976
    Get out of the bag you naughty cat.....
     
    bluestick and Ramenman like this.
  47. Rabid K9

    Rabid K9 One of Us
    Ski Pass: Gold Ski Pass: Silver

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2008
    Messages:
    3,589
    Likes Received:
    2,976
    Hard pressed to find snow as good as that place, even in most of the rest of Japan.
     
    bluestick and LMB like this.
  48. LMB

    LMB Old but definitely not Crusty!
    Ski Pass: Gold

    Joined:
    May 6, 2010
    Messages:
    23,894
    Likes Received:
    11,758
    It’s certainly somewhere I’ll go back to.
    Not this trip sadly (travels buddies not up to that yet).
     
    bluestick likes this.
  49. Rabid K9

    Rabid K9 One of Us
    Ski Pass: Gold Ski Pass: Silver

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2008
    Messages:
    3,589
    Likes Received:
    2,976
    Ramenman likes this.
  50. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2014
    Messages:
    2,354
    Likes Received:
    1,937
    Mike Pow, bluestick and telenomore like this.