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Question Suggestions for 3 weeks of back/slackcountry touring in Hokkaido

Discussion in 'Japan' started by powhunter7, Jan 6, 2018.

?

Where should I go?

  1. Furano

    33.3%
  2. Niseko

    16.7%
  3. Asahidake

    66.7%
  4. Rusutsu

    16.7%
  5. Kurodake

    33.3%
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. powhunter7

    powhunter7 Hard Yards

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    Hi all,

    I've already got a 3 week Japan holiday organised with my family, and work are now giving (/forcing) me a further 3 weeks of leave. On the original trip we're visiting Nozawa, Rusutsu and Furano. Planning to ski nearly entirely inbounds with one/two days of touring from Furano or maybe a day trip to Asahidake.

    For the extra 3 weeks I'd like to stay in one resort and focus on touring. Some guidance on my current thinking:
    - I'll be on my own, so will need to meet people to tour with. I'll stay in a hostel and I'm a sociable guy so it should be fine, but I think this rules out some of the more remote locations like Asahidake
    - I'm kind of lazy, and will only want to do proper backcountry every second day. Sidecountry and good inbounds tree skiing is important.
    - I won't have a car, so day trips are less preferred
    - Hokkaido only
    - Nightlife not particularly important, but I like eating out and don't want to be stuck in a sterile hotel. Prefer traditional lodgings over glam/ugly resorts

    About me:
    Seasons in Revelstoke and Fernie in BC Canada
    Ski alright, love powder and jumping off small things (3-5m)

    Current options
    Niseko - Easy to meet people. Busy inbounds, so will force me to not be lazy and get out there. Popular and well regarded backcountry

    Furano - Good slackcountry. Big enough to meet people. Close to Asahidake for day trips.

    Rusutsu - Seems a bit quiet to meet people.

    Asahidake and Kurodake - Would be awesome but think it might be a bit quiet and hard to meet people.


    Thanks for your advice!!
     
  2. Slowman

    Slowman One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Why not try a one week guided road trip with a Niseko based company like Rising Sun Guides followed by two weeks in Hirafu.
     
  3. Lucky Pete

    Lucky Pete One of Us

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    Heres some questions you will most likely be asked by anyone worth riding with off resort which is back country. If you arent being asked these questions I wouldnt ride with someone that didnt ask me these and I would ask anyone these before going.

    How much local knowledge do you have? Terrain etc?
    Do you have a complete touring set up, touring bindings, skins etc?
    What AST training have you completed?
    What companion rescue training have you completed?
    What 1st aid training have you done?
    What is in your back pack? It better be more than a shovel and a probe
    How much back country touring have you done?
    Do you have back country specific insurance?



    Starting to sound like a guided tour is the go?
     
    essjaywhy likes this.
  4. pedub

    pedub One of Us

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    From the description of what you want to do, definitely Furano.

    Otherwise Niseko, but it wouldn't be my choice

    Pros for Furano
    - good chance of meeting fellow skiers
    - its fairly big and some of the steepest runs in Hokkaido
    - 3x nearby good resorts day trips (unsure exact what transport options there are but I know buses go to Kamui)
    Kamui, Tomamu, Sahoro
    - you wanna ski lift accessed pow, plenty of it in Furano, BC gates, same at Kamui
    - quite a few local guides, if you can't find reliable touring partners day trips with them would (should) be your best option (and possibly another way to meet others)

    Niseko probably has all of the above qualities except more $$$$ and more :skier::skier::skier::skier::skier::skier::skier::skier::skier::skier::skier::skier: and a bit less steep
     
    essjaywhy and blowfin like this.
  5. powhunter7

    powhunter7 Hard Yards

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    Looked at Rising Sun guides slowman, it's bloody expensive - $3250 for ten days for their cheapest per day trip. Includes accommodation, but I probably don't want to spend that kind of coin.

    Your review of Furano sounds good pedub. I like that Furano is a bit steeper. I think it's becoming my number one.

    In terms of experience and equipment:

    1. Minimal local knowledge. Have only skied in Japan in 2010, and only inbounds. I'm aware of my lack of knowledge, and will be taking it easy.
    2. Complete set up, big powder skis, I know how to use it and have broken trail in deep snow.
    3. CAA AST 1. Read my housemates CAA Level 1 book, haven't done the course though.
    4. Only that within AST. Further beacon practice the season after, but nothing formal
    5. Doctor focussing on emergency medicine - have done a bit.
    6. Too much. Warm layers, light, no shelter (do people carry shelter in Japan backcountry?), first aid kit. Too much food.
    7. Maybe thirty days total? Three days this Australian season. I'm a beginner in the backcountry.

    It's not a wealth of experience, but I think it's enough to not be a liability.
     
  6. Telemark Phat

    Telemark Phat Pass the butter Ski Pass: Gold

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    Go do some formal learning. See if you can find some certified training in Japan and then base yourself out of that resort. Having someone with you to put the reading into context is important, especially with terrain evaluation and decision making.

    Asahidake has a youth hostel. Pretty easy place to meet other BC types.

    I don't know about others but if I met you I wouldn't be taking you anywhere other than places I'd be happy skiing solo. For me in Japan that = meadow skipping.
     
    Tanuki likes this.
  7. bluestick

    bluestick One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    mmmmm...you'll probably be ok based on averages (amazing what peeps get away with)...my strong advice ......get a guide /speak to telenomore.
     
    powhunter7 and Telemark Phat like this.
  8. Rob Thomson

    Rob Thomson Hard Yards

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    powhunter7 and Rabid K9 like this.
  9. powhunter7

    powhunter7 Hard Yards

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    Thanks for all the advice guys!

    I agree that I've got a lot to learn, and I am interested in doing CAA level 1 or equivalent in the future - but you do not need a professional level avalanche qualification to go backcountry skiing. Full stop. See this thread for more discussion on that topic.

    In the meantime, any more tips on places to go? I'd rather that be the focus of further discussion, rather than whether or not I have the knowledge/ability to go.

    So far

    Furano still number 1
    Asahidake has moved up the list, given it's well regarded youth hostel which will provide a good opportunity to meet buddies

    Looking into guided trips but I think I'd rather go cat skiing at the prices they're charging.
     
  10. bluestick

    bluestick One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    just go ..asahidake (yh) , furano (backpackers) , tokachidake (dorm near fukiage?) download maps on phone , hard copy map, compass, epirp, the usual bc/ avi / bc survival stuff .....be cautious be patient be flexible be open ...have fun. apologies if this is too sage sounding
     
    powhunter7 likes this.
  11. pedub

    pedub One of Us

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    On Asahidake, honestly you will need a guide or at least someone who knows the area.
    Otherwise you wont have a fun time navigating it and probably get stuck.
    However, It is possible to just skirt the cat track down Asahidake and get a few pow turns quite safely
    The snow is ridiculously light there. Lightest I've experienced in Hokkadio. Even on a bluebird day when it looked heavy I was carving through like hot knife in butter
    Don't know about Tokachi or Kurodake

    Skiing out the gates in Furano is serious too

    Kamui BC also is prone to glide cracks and if your not familiar with the area you might get stuck in one.
    Heaps of inbounds fun at Kamui though :) It's a must-visit in this area

    You might be interested in NAC powder cat then.... Intermediate runs at best but fun. In Otoe/Fukagawa
    This is about as steep as it gets. It was up to 80-100cm deep this day, too much snow really for that hill
    We just skied the "steep" runs over and over, everything else was too slow.
    They will pick you up from Furano.
    [​IMG]
     
    #11 pedub, Jan 11, 2018
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2018
    powhunter7 likes this.
  12. sourmash

    sourmash One of Us

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  13. essjaywhy

    essjaywhy One of Us

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    you sound allright, we'll be touring in central H soon, pm your details if you like ,
     
    Myazma likes this.
  14. essjaywhy

    essjaywhy One of Us

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    Asahidake 30 or 40 cm today ?

    Cheers for the ski ~