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Question XC skiing on a budget in Japan?

Discussion in 'Japan' started by Mister Tee on XC Skis, Oct 28, 2018.

  1. Mister Tee on XC Skis

    Mister Tee on XC Skis A Local Ski Pass: Gold Ski Pass: Silver

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    Hi. Since I love XC skiing ,and I want to improve and I want to XC ski for more time than the Oz season permits I am thinking about XC skiing abroad.
    What kind of money I am looking at spending on a say 10 days of XC skiing in Japan in early Feb.?Where might be the best place in Northern Japan for XC skiing?
     
  2. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    You need English speaking guides?. It's okay if there are not many things to do after skiing?
     
  3. currawong

    currawong Old but not so Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Why the focus on canada and japan? Europe is the home of xc. You should be able to find places that are not necessaily resorts that have good local xc options. Scandinavia is xc mecca but there should be cheaper options in central and northern europe, eg Czech, Estonia, Poland - even flatter parts of Austria and Germany
     
    #3 currawong, Oct 28, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2018
  4. skifree

    skifree A disciple of the blessed avi giraffe Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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    Sapporo as s base and hire a car for day trip variation.
     
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  5. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    This. XC is much bigger in Europe than anywhere else. Not shortage of good affordable options.
     
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  6. Mister Tee on XC Skis

    Mister Tee on XC Skis A Local Ski Pass: Gold Ski Pass: Silver

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    I don't really like Ski Resorts.I like skiing in nature away from resorts if possible. Even too much grooming is not my kind of thing.I will look into EU type locations. I have heard a lot about how good the snow is in Japan and that is what has sparked my interest. I am not a party animal. After XC skiing all day then I am ready for a hot shower , food and sleep.
     
  7. Mister Tee on XC Skis

    Mister Tee on XC Skis A Local Ski Pass: Gold Ski Pass: Silver

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    I like Asia and being stuck in an EU country which eats bland food such as potatoes 24/7 such as Estonia could be a kind of punishment at meal times. I could get by on Japanese food with their wasabi , pickled ginger , fish, rice, noodles and hot pots etc.
     
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  8. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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  9. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Zao Bodaira Athlete Village has XC courses as well. It's for free. It's near Zao Onsen village, so you can stay at Zao Onsen village. They have English website too. http://www.zao-bodaira.com/en/
    [​IMG]

    Urabandai Highland is popular for XC skiers. But there are only a few groomed XC courses. This snow condition is too deep for you?. These pictures were taken in Urabandai Highland.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
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  10. Mister Tee on XC Skis

    Mister Tee on XC Skis A Local Ski Pass: Gold Ski Pass: Silver

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    I like skiing fresh tracks in ungroomed XC skiing.That looks marvellous!
     
  11. Mister Tee on XC Skis

    Mister Tee on XC Skis A Local Ski Pass: Gold Ski Pass: Silver

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    My cousin moved to Switzerland. What is the XC skiing like there?
     
  12. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Don't know what it is like but there are plenty of options there also:
    https://www.bergfex.com/schweiz/langlaufen/
     
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  13. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    In Urabandai Highland, there are large flat areas good for XC skiing at 800m - 1200m above sea level just like the pictures above. If you like skiing fresh tracks in ungroomed XC skiing, Urabandai Highland might be good. Hotels there are very reasonable.
     
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  14. Donzah

    Donzah Pool Room Ski Pass: Gold

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    If you take into account airfare and cost of living. Japan is very reasonable budget wise...I could live on conbini food
     
  15. Hyst

    Hyst Enjoyer Ski Pass: Gold

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    If it is natur it is Scandinavia you should look at, but be aware to know you navigation (by map and compass and how to self rescue in case of bad weather or injuries - or broken ski/other equipment)
    As you say not groomed I guess you use "fat" XC skis like nato skis ( https://www.en.asnes.com/produkt/combat-nato/ ).
    There are some (sorry had to switch to PC) who make trips out in the outback:
    https://www.ut.no/tur/?Område=4.1000&Type=2&Gradering=Enkel&Gradering=Middels&Gradering=Krevende&Gradering=Ekspert&Varighet=1&Varighet=2&Varighet=4&Sortering=Sist+oppdatert

    https://www.swedishtouristassociati...-engelska-privat-kungsleden-vinter-2017-1.pdf

    https://www.svenskaturistforeningen.se/omraden/kungsleden/

    https://english.dnt.no/guided-tours/

    https://english.dnt.no/waymarked-ski-routes/ some 6500 km marked trails in winter.

    and some more groomed places:
    https://adventuresweden.com/cross-country-skiing-sweden/

    But there are endless possibilities in Scandinavia - but drawback:
    Scandiland i not cheap. season is Marts/April depending how far north.

    Some on her do Cross Country in central Hokkaido - but I do not know anything about that!
     
  16. teckel

    teckel Pool Room Ski Pass: Gold

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    Russia could be an option too. I get lots of older Russians bringing in their grand kids for ski hire as they want to show the grandies what they did in their childhood.
     
  17. skichanger

    skichanger A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    There are lots of options in Japan.It really depends on what you want to do. If you stayed somewhere with a few golf courses around you would be able to wander around some of them.

    As to budget, depending on what you wanted, per day, from Au$$100 for accommodation and food to Au$200 including a lift ticket, food and better accommodation would cover it.
     
  18. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    In Japan, if it's not groomed nor designed for XC skiing, it's often called "Nature Ski" or "Aruku Ski" and both Nature Ski and Aruku Ski are popular in Japan. Aruku means walk in Japanese. For example, a lot of people enjoy "Aruku ski" on Zao Echo Line. Zao Echo Line is a road to the peak of the mountain in Zao Onsen area. The road is closed during winter, so there isn't a car on the road in winter. Under a Japanese law, all roads are less than 12% = 6.84 degrees. Maximum 6.84 degrees is not too steep for XC skiing, and it might be good if you want to improve XC skiing uphill techniques:whistle:.

    This is Zao Echo Line in autumn.
    [​IMG]

    The road goes up to the peak of the mountain, where there are famous & popular Juhyo = Snow / Ice monster.
    [​IMG]

    This is Zao Echo Line in late spring or early summer after the road re-opens. It's popular among Asian tourists.
    [​IMG]
     
    #18 Ramenman, Oct 29, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2018
  19. Hyst

    Hyst Enjoyer Ski Pass: Gold

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  20. teckel

    teckel Pool Room Ski Pass: Gold

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    They run a Vasaloppet (World Loppet) event in Sapporo each year. ie: same series as our Hoppet. 50 km. No idea if the course is groomed all winter, but could be worth investigating. http://www.shsf.jp/ski/course-guide/
    [​IMG]
     
  21. telenomore

    telenomore One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    The op is looking for a similar experience to OZ xc skiing, in this case read touring on XC skis off track, which is great in OZ. I don't think @Mister Tee on XC Skis is looking for groomed trails, although I could be wrong? The problem in Japan, particularly Hokkaido, is the snow is too deep and terrain mostly steep, so wide skis with alpine touring bindings and skins are the go, very different to XC ski touring. @Ramenman has thrown up some possible options on Honshu but you'd have no luck if deep snow was on the cards when you were there and I see your looking at February. Even so, if Hokkaido, for XC ski touring, your very best option would be late spring in central Hokkaido at Asahi Dake or Tokachi IMO. Firm snow pack and great touring terrain, rolling alpine plateau at ADO and moderate rolling hinterland at Tokachi. For budget, staying at Hakuginso hut in the Tokachi's is best, self catering similar to alpine huts but all services and great hot spring bath. Very good xc ski touring in spring over the nearby terrain.
     
  22. Mister Tee on XC Skis

    Mister Tee on XC Skis A Local Ski Pass: Gold Ski Pass: Silver

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    I am revisiting this thread. It is a font of useful information for future ski travel. :)
     
  23. EquatorBunny

    EquatorBunny Addicted

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    Hey Mr T.
    Just saw this post. We did an XC holiday (pre-baby) in Austria for a couple of weeks. We based ourselves in a not too popular area but enough to get basic and a nice meal of horse schnitzel at the pub. Daily grooming of the XC trails and shuttle busses available for downhill. So we downhill ski during the day and XC after dinner. Trails were lit until 8 or 10pm? I can't remember now. Let me know if you want to know more.

    I tried to research into Japan XC but the language barrier stopped me. Not much valuable info in English for Japan. Good luck!
     
  24. skichanger

    skichanger A Local Ski Pass: Gold

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    We have a lot more westerners around the Myoko area now. From memory a few may be into xc. Will keep an ear oat and let you know if I hear anything.

    At Ikenotaira they have something in the golf couse.

    I reckon March would be the go. We ger snow shoe enthusiasts at that time.

    Might also be worth contacting some of the tourist associations. They will know more than ne about what has historically been acailable.
     
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  25. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Nikko is very popular destination for foreign tourists for 2 reasons = Japanese traditional culture and the beautiful nature. It's a "dry" region if compared to Japanese ski resort regions but the altitude is very high and the snow condition is nicely stable for XC-skiing. There is a hotel in the highland of 1400m asl there. It's accessible by bus even in winter too. It's very rare. I mean, almost all roads to 1400m above sea level are closed in Japan in winter because it's too snowy. The less snowy but colder is ideal for XC-skiing, I guess. The hotel is inside Nikko National Park and the hotel has a 10km length XC-skiing course.

    This is the hotel in Nikko at 1400m asl which has 10km length XC course. https://www.nikkoastraea.com/en/

    Ritz Carlton opened in Nikko (relatively near the hotel above) this summer. They have videos on Youtube and this is one of them. If you see the video, you can roughly understand what Nikko is like(the video consists of 4 seasons, including winter)
     
    #26 Ramenman, Jul 25, 2020
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2020
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  26. Mister Tee on XC Skis

    Mister Tee on XC Skis A Local Ski Pass: Gold Ski Pass: Silver

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    Thanks for your reply. I think being an Asia o phile (which I am ), the food, cultures found in Japan and other Asiatic countries etc. have more appeal in addition to the XC ski options.
    Austria, Switzerland, Sweden would all have great XC skiing but meal time would be torture for an Indian Veg. diet type wallah.
    I could get by on fish, rice, noodles, wasabi, miso soup , pickled ginger etc. in Japan.

    South Korea hosted the winter Olympics .... what about XC skiing there?
     
  27. Mister Tee on XC Skis

    Mister Tee on XC Skis A Local Ski Pass: Gold Ski Pass: Silver

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    I don't mind some groomed trails for classic and possibly future skate XC skiing ( If I learn to skate... it is in the in tray ) . Some days breaking fresh tracks on BC XC skis can be a PITA.
     
  28. Lucky Pete

    Lucky Pete One of Us

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    There are some limited XC options in Hakuba at both Iwatake and Snow Harp. I know a guy that comes each year for Snow Harp. We generally get a lot of snow so other options are probably pretty limited using XC skis.
     
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  29. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    This is Urabandai Highland. The large flat land you see in the video is roughly 850m above sea level. As you can see, almost anywhere can be a XC skiing field. There are frozen lakes and if it's mid winter, you can enjoy XC skiing on the lakes in that a lot of snowmobiles are running on the frozen lakes.



    This flat land is at about 1100m asl in Urabandai highland (you can get there by use of a lift of a tiny ski resort there).
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    This is XC skiing course of Grandeco ski resort (1,000m asl) in Urabandai Highland. In the highland, Grandeco ski resort and Urabandai ski resort have XC skiing courses. If you want groomed runs, you can use them. The courses are not long, though. If ungroomed trails are okay, Urabandai highland itself can be XC skiing field.


    Another option is, Bandai Azuma Lake Line (one of highland roads there which are closed during winter). The length is 12km. Compared to other closed highland roads, Bandai Azuma Lake Line is flat. So, if you dislike long uphills, Bandai Azuma Lake Line is good. The image below is Bandai Azuma Lake Line in green season.
    [​IMG]

    This is the road re-opened in late April after long winter. The snow might be a bit too deep for XC-skiing, though.
    [​IMG]
     
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  30. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    In Japan, green season hiking on mountains is very popular. So, there are numerous green season hiking trails which are nicely flat for XC-skiing. The problem is, they are not groomed. This is one of them in Zao region. The hiking trail is 9km = one way, and the round trip = 18km. If the snow condition in the video below is okay for you, I think there are many places where you can enjoy XC skiing in Japan. The hiking trail is between a ski resort and another ski resort. In both sides, there are Onsens, restaurants, etc.
     
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  31. Mister Tee on XC Skis

    Mister Tee on XC Skis A Local Ski Pass: Gold Ski Pass: Silver

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    This looks really good :) but I would take the BC XC skis for the ungroomed terrain.18kms is a perfect distance for a day tour with a day pack. :). I am an intermediate XC skier. I can ski down some of the black runs at some XC ski locations in Victoria , while skiing under control. That is important .So the locations that are all flat would be a bit boring really. Skiing from The Mt. Stirling Summit back down to the car park is something I did last season and had no major dramas. That would be a 500 M. elevation descent over 5 kms or so.
     
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  32. Mister Tee on XC Skis

    Mister Tee on XC Skis A Local Ski Pass: Gold Ski Pass: Silver

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  33. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Here is some other Zao region's XC skiing videos. The first one is roughly about 1500 - 1720m above sea level filmed in mid March. You can get there by use of lifts of a ski resort. The view is great (if it's sunny) and the area is very famous for Juhyo (snow monsters).


    This is at 1000m above sea level = the bottom of the ski resort(the same mountain). It's a national training center course, so it's often groomed (but not always). The length is 3 or 4km if I remember correctly. There are charming lodges, restaurants, onsens, etc around the XC course.





    This is on the same mountain (Zao). A road is running up to a mountain ridge (1720m asl). The road is closed in winter and some people use the road for XC-skiing in winter.
     
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  34. Mister Tee on XC Skis

    Mister Tee on XC Skis A Local Ski Pass: Gold Ski Pass: Silver

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    https://www.sapporo-sport.jp/ski/course-guide/
    Pardon my ignorance but is Sapporo anywhere near Hakuba?. I like the idea of XC skiing two Winter Olympics XC ski courses while doing a funny sounds like a Norwegian XC ski race commentator voice etc. "Frida karlsson fra Sverige kommer først , Mr.Tee fra Australia tett bak og Charlotte Kalla fra Sverige tett bak som de tar den svingen og slippe ned bakken i en tuck posisjon , nakke og nakke ...."
     
  35. Mister Tee on XC Skis

    Mister Tee on XC Skis A Local Ski Pass: Gold Ski Pass: Silver

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    Oh this looks really good indeed!! Just the sort of thing that I would enjoy !!!. Icchi baan skiing!!( broken Japglish ) Nihhon rhymes with ski on!
     
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  36. Mister Tee on XC Skis

    Mister Tee on XC Skis A Local Ski Pass: Gold Ski Pass: Silver

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    Okay, so Sapporo and Hakuba are both located on the island of Hokkaido which gets shiploads of snow every winter , unlike Falls Creek this year .
     
  37. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    fixed
     
  38. Heinz

    Heinz Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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  39. Sandy

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

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    Yes, they're close together (1100km)
    They are the same island IF you consider a tunnel that links two islands. ;)
     
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  40. Sandy

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

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    Only the island of Hokkaido gets lots of snow every winter. (according to some people) ;)

    Places within 50km of Hakuba don't get much snow. (according to some people) ;)
    This is about 25km SW of Hakuba:
    [​IMG]

    This road is not open in winter however.

    But open in summer:
    [​IMG]
     
  41. Mister Tee on XC Skis

    Mister Tee on XC Skis A Local Ski Pass: Gold Ski Pass: Silver

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    I can see the snow shortage on that road near Hakuba. I wonder if anyone has the nerve to attempt to ski jump the gap in the snow cutting , over the road ?. It could be Darwin awards type stuff.
     
  42. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    This is the frozen lake in Urabandai Highland(the one I mentioned above)



    Urabandai highland is very large highland and this is one of the areas = around Lake Hibara (the highland has many lakes and Lake Hibara is the biggest one). クロスカントリーコース = Cross Country Course (and it's 3km). You see 西吾妻スカイバレー in the image below. It's a road closed in winter and it says the length = 9km, elevation (vertical rise / drop) = 500m (it's 900m asl to 1400m asl). If you like uphills, you can try;)(well, I have never tried the road in winter, so I can't recommend).
    [​IMG]
     
    #43 Ramenman, Jul 26, 2020
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2020
  43. Mister Tee on XC Skis

    Mister Tee on XC Skis A Local Ski Pass: Gold Ski Pass: Silver

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    Skiing up hills on Pattern bases or skinning up a 500 M. elevation gain is quite normal for me. Think of Mt. Stirling for example.
     
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  44. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Which video of them do you like? The first one?. If so, this is the data. Length = 9km, and elevation is from 1105m - 1720m, so the vertical rise is 615m, and the gradient is 3.9° (= 6.8%). If you use lifts, you can shorten the length. CATs (big snowmobiles) are running between 1105m and 1720m to carry backcountry skiers / snowboarders to the ridge (1720m) as you can see in the video, so the snow is nicely packed (If you choose the CAT / snowmobile path).



    The same mountain. We see many telemark skiers there. XC skiers?. There are, but not as many. I'm not sure if it is enjoyable for XC skiers.


    The same mountain.
     
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  45. Mister Tee on XC Skis

    Mister Tee on XC Skis A Local Ski Pass: Gold Ski Pass: Silver

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    XCSki Touring 蔵王刈田岳

    This video looks the most appealing but all of them are attractive to me as a XC and BC XC skier. Let me out of lock down and , I hope, if all goes well , early in 2022 I will be there!!!
     
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  46. chriscross

    chriscross One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Nice tele turns on skinny skis in the 2nd last vid.
     
  47. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Good to hear, but I think you should ask @telenomore -san some advice before you finally decide. I mean, I just showed you two mountain areas of only two prefectures. Japan consist of 47 prefectures and about 10 prefectures have snowy ski resort mountains (300+ ski resorts in total). I want more people from abroad to enjoy Japanese mountains, which will help us in the long run I believe, so the mountains you choose don't have to be in my ski regions (the two mountain regions are my main area. I ski in some other regions too, though).
     
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  48. Mister Tee on XC Skis

    Mister Tee on XC Skis A Local Ski Pass: Gold Ski Pass: Silver

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    https://www.japan.travel/national-parks/parks/bandai-asahi/see-and-do/urabandai-visitor-center/
     
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  49. Mister Tee on XC Skis

    Mister Tee on XC Skis A Local Ski Pass: Gold Ski Pass: Silver

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    OK , Thanks Ramenman san( bows). I will do some more thorough research and ask some forum members too.I do not want to be rushing from one Island to another. So being based in one place and visiting nearby areas for different ski terrain could be wiser.
     
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