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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. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Due to Japanese laws, public roads can not be very steep. So, it won't be too steep for you. But, I'm not a XC skier, so, I'm not sure if it's fun or not for XC-skiing. Anyway, this is the road in autumn. In the very first part of the video, you'll see a lake, it's the frozen lake.


    The same road in April (clearing snow to re-open the road in mid - late April).



    This is a similar road (more beautiful, popular and longer) in the same region (there are 4 similar roads in and around Urabandai Highland which are closed in winter). We've used the road for backcountry tour, but in late spring (or early winter), not sure what it is like in mid winter (snow might be too deep)


    The same road in the second week of April, soon after it re-opened.




    Here is the digital brochure of Urabandai in English : https://www.urabandai-inf.com/en/?page_id=278
     
    Mister Tee on XC Skis likes this.
  2. Mister Tee on XC Skis

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

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  3. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Speaking of Urabandai Highland, this area is also popular among BC telemark skiers. We see some BC XC skiers as well.


    Start = Goal, one way = 8km, round trip = 16km (you must choose round trip in that you need to park a car in the S = G point). The lowest altitude = 820m, the highest altitude = 1250m - 1300m. The video above was filmed in early March.


    The route is one of common routes. There are some different routes. It's popular among BC telemark skiers, not sure if it's good for BC XC skiing.





    The same area in summer. The lake (or pond) is also frozen in mid winter.
     
    Mister Tee on XC Skis and Hyst like this.
  4. chriscross

    chriscross One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Hey, that Urabandai ski area looks fantastic. Where is it, exactly? How to get there? For Mr T, USA ski.com does not contain everything you need to know. Some of it is useful but much of it is not. Ramenman has on the spot info. Others know about different Japan options. I suggest more research before any decision. But a Japan ski trip is a good plan. Consider: Honshu or Hokkaido? Serious powder skiers go to Hokkaido. It sounds great, but mostly for downhill skiers. Super quality snow and boundless touring options. But I know of very good local skiers who have not coped with Japanese deep powder. Honshu resorts are more easily accessible via rail or bus from Narita airport (Tokyo). But you are more likely to end up in a big ski resort. Groomed trails are more likely to be found in such areas. So, it's a compromise. Hakuba is a huge, magnificent valley with at least 10 separate ski areas. Lots of international skiers go there. But not many go for xc. There is no bus to Snow Harp, you have to take a taxi ( more expensive). Local buses go to Iwatake for xc and Tsugaike has very accessible beginners areas where one can practise skills. Others like extensive Shiga Kogen (good place to see snow monkeys) and Myoko or Nozawa are worth a visit as well. Lots more options, but for a first trip, maybe keep it simple.
     
  5. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    There are some ways to get there. The most common way is, take Tohoku Shinkansen from Tokyo to Koriyama (80mins), than hire a car at Koriyama and drive to Urabandai (less than an hour). So less than 3 hours from Tokyo. A local train line is running to the base of Mt.Bandai near Lake Inawashiro too and you can hire a car there too (less drive, but you'll miss some spots along the roads between Koriyam and Lake Inawashiro). If you stay at some major hotels in Urabandai Highland, they even have shuttle bus service between Tokyo and you don't need a train nor a car. However, you need to hire a car anyway if you want to make the most of the area.


    The large flat highland itself is 850m asl and it's surrounded by many 1700m - 2000m class mountains. If you are willing to hike, there are many great options for BC-skiing. We see many local telemark skiers (and "some" BC XC skiers too). I love the highland. It's beautiful all year around. In the 2 videos (in my previous post), you see a flat area. It's 1000 - 1100m asl and it looks like these pictures in early summer. The region has many green season hiking routes, which helps us to use in winter for BC skiing.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The lake / pond is also frozen in winter. The region has so many highland lakes, which are frozen in winter.
    [​IMG]


    Here are some videos to understand landscapes of the region.





    This is a short video for Urabandai Highland to attract more skiers / snowboarders from abroad.
     
    #55 Ramenman, Jul 27, 2020
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2020
  6. Mister Tee on XC Skis

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

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    Early March would be the ideal time for me to travel in 2022. By that time I will hopefully have had the Australian 2021 ski season to learn to Telemark ski.
    I will get the PIMSLEUR'S teach yourself Japanese CD kit . During the long drives to ski in the Australian winter of 2021 I will learn some of the language while in my car in order to improve my travel experience.
     
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  7. Ramenman

    Ramenman One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    By the way, you don't like hiring guides?. Foods, hotels, lift tickets etc are cheap in Japan (and you might not need lift tickets if you are coming for XC skiing). So, even if you hire guides, your travel won't be that expensive, I guess. If you come with 2 or 3 mates, some guiding companies might make a plan just for your group and you can tell the guide what kind of terrains you are looking for in advance.
     
    Goski likes this.
  8. Mister Tee on XC Skis

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

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    I will do some research about XC and BC XC skiing in Japan before considering hiring a guide. I often travel solo in other countries and independently .I have plenty of time to plan a ski trip to Nippon. It would seem to be likely that we people here in Melbourne will not be allowed to go anywhere at all for 18 months at the minimum.
     
    Ramenman likes this.
  9. Sandy

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

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    When to go to Japan:
    https://www.ski.com.au/xf/threads/japan-general-tips-for-when-and-where-to-go-for-snow.69888/