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Hokkaido - 11 days in December - what would you do?

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
HI guys,

I know there has been a lot of posts about Japan, but I keen for some advice on Hokkaido skiing. I've booked flights for Sapporo for a ski trip 17-28th December. I'm keen to hear from Japan veteran skiers who can advise me on where and how we should be spending our time. I've heard great things about Niseko so assume we should spend most of our time there. The rules:

11 days
2-3 resorts max
Hokkaido Island only
ideally no more than 3 hrs travel between resorts


What would you do???

many thanks

Joe
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Grand Hirafu.
Kiroro.

Can get very crowded.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Go do a search. Been a couple of threads with this exact query.

In a nutshell, go to where the snow is.

Some winters SW Hokkaido - Niseko, Rusutsu, Kiroro - can have a slow start but Central Hokkaido - Furano, Tomamu, Kamui - can be getting hammered.

And vice versa.

Renting a car can allow you to chase the snow and also sleep off mountain which will be cheaper.

Hopefully it will be a great start to the season like it was last December

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bc5niPdnMc1/?utm_source=ig_share_sheet&igshid=gn6ip1n0cis7
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Also, fascinated by people who book flights for a specific timeframe and then ask questions
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Mike Pow wrote:
Also, fascinated by people who book flights for a specific timeframe and then ask questions

For many, their time frame is dictated by their "day job", or family obligations. So yes, book flights first and ask where to go from that airport.

Many do the same in Europe. In fact, that's often the recommendation.
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You'll need to Register first of course.
abc wrote:
Mike Pow wrote:
Also, fascinated by people who book flights for a specific timeframe and then ask questions

For many, their time frame is dictated by their "day job", or family obligations. So yes, book flights first and ask where to go from that airport.

Many do the same in Europe. In fact, that's often the recommendation.


Flights are one of the biggest costs, so I always book flights early and figure out the rest later.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Whitegold wrote:
Grand Hirafu.
Kiroro.

Can get very crowded.


Thank you Smile
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Mike Pow wrote:
Go do a search. Been a couple of threads with this exact query.

In a nutshell, go to where the snow is.

Some winters SW Hokkaido - Niseko, Rusutsu, Kiroro - can have a slow start but Central Hokkaido - Furano, Tomamu, Kamui - can be getting hammered.

And vice versa.

Renting a car can allow you to chase the snow and also sleep off mountain which will be cheaper.

Hopefully it will be a great start to the season like it was last December

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bc5niPdnMc1/?utm_source=ig_share_sheet&igshid=gn6ip1n0cis7


Thanks Mike. Interesting comment about renting a car and sleeping off mountain, assume that makes accommodation cheaper and net cheaper overall? After flights, accommodation is the next biggest expense to looking to get a plan in place, especially as we will be there over Christmas.

That video is ridiculous, so much powder!
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You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
Christmas is not a Japanese holiday.

But Niseko will probably be mobbed by Aussies during Christmas though. (I've only been to Kiroro, Furano and Niseko in one trip. Niseko was by far the most crowded of the 3, by quite a large margin)
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Ski the Net with snowHeads
abc wrote:
Christmas is not a Japanese holiday.

But Niseko will probably be mobbed by Aussies during Christmas though. (I've only been to Kiroro, Furano and Niseko in one trip. Niseko was by far the most crowded of the 3, by quite a large margin)


Up to approx. 20 December it's SE Asian market - Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia.

20 December - 26 January primarily Australian family market closely followed by ex-pats living in Hong Kong and Singapore, and Chinese from Hong Kong and mainland China.

Euros and N Americans tend to head in second week of January.
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snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
joeyg wrote:
Mike Pow wrote:
Go do a search. Been a couple of threads with this exact query.

In a nutshell, go to where the snow is.

Some winters SW Hokkaido - Niseko, Rusutsu, Kiroro - can have a slow start but Central Hokkaido - Furano, Tomamu, Kamui - can be getting hammered.

And vice versa.

Renting a car can allow you to chase the snow and also sleep off mountain which will be cheaper.

Hopefully it will be a great start to the season like it was last December

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bc5niPdnMc1/?utm_source=ig_share_sheet&igshid=gn6ip1n0cis7


Thanks Mike. Interesting comment about renting a car and sleeping off mountain, assume that makes accommodation cheaper and net cheaper overall? After flights, accommodation is the next biggest expense to looking to get a plan in place, especially as we will be there over Christmas.

That video is ridiculous, so much powder!


Yes to accommodation cost and price.

Vid is straight off the lift at Kiroro Smile
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Been a a few times, to Rusutsu, Furano and a few others. Depends on what kind of experience you are looking for eg self catering, ski-in/out, budget; and i you can/want to ski trees, wicked couloirs, do backcountry and so on. For BC, ski mountaineering, I recommend the Tokachi mountains around Furano. Rusutsu has good trees. Niseko can get wildly crowded around the Xmas season though other areas like Annupuri and Niseko Village can be quieter than the fleshpots and ski queues around Grand Hirafu. Powder is very light in the Furano area, a tad heavier towards the west eg Otaru/Niseko/ Rusutsu
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
Mt Weiss Catskill/ boarding was great. If the snow is really good in the BC you can try niseko black for guided BC.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
@joeyg, I'll be out over Xmas and New year, with 5 days in Niseko and 7 in Otaru. Its my second trip and I haven't been to Otaru before, but our Otaru accomodation is half the price and twice the size of our Niseko accomodation. The car hire offsets the saving, but hopefully means we're more flexible for the snow. We're planning to ski at sapporo teine, kiroro, kokusai, or the otaru areas, depending on weather etc. According to Google, it's about 2 hour drive to Yubari or Kamui, so that might be an option too if its getting hammered. Not sure how realistic the drive times are though, especially if it's dumping.

First time we visited in 2017 we stayed in Niseko Hirafu and used the bus to Kiroro when the snow warranted, as per recommendations on here. Had a total blast. It was supposedly the worst season in years, but it didn't feel that way. Didn't make it to Rusutsu or Moiwa, but hoping to check them out this time too.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
element wrote:
@joeyg, I'll be out over Xmas and New year, with 5 days in Niseko and 7 in Otaru. Its my second trip and I haven't been to Otaru before, but our Otaru accomodation is half the price and twice the size of our Niseko accomodation. The car hire offsets the saving, but hopefully means we're more flexible for the snow. We're planning to ski at sapporo teine, kiroro, kokusai, or the otaru areas, depending on weather etc. According to Google, it's about 2 hour drive to Yubari or Kamui, so that might be an option too if its getting hammered. Not sure how realistic the drive times are though, especially if it's dumping.

First time we visited in 2017 we stayed in Niseko Hirafu and used the bus to Kiroro when the snow warranted, as per recommendations on here. Had a total blast. It was supposedly the worst season in years, but it didn't feel that way. Didn't make it to Rusutsu or Moiwa, but hoping to check them out this time too.


Great trip lined up

Definitely ski Niseko Moiwa and Rusutsu this time.

And don't discount Otaru Tenguyama and Asari. But best skied mid-week.

Mt Racey in Yubari is fantastic. So too Kamui.

Also from the Otaru side, Pippu is worth a stop.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
element wrote:
@joeyg, I'll be out over Xmas and New year, with 5 days in Niseko and 7 in Otaru. Its my second trip and I haven't been to Otaru before, but our Otaru accomodation is half the price and twice the size of our Niseko accomodation. The car hire offsets the saving, but hopefully means we're more flexible for the snow. We're planning to ski at sapporo teine, kiroro, kokusai, or the otaru areas, depending on weather etc. According to Google, it's about 2 hour drive to Yubari or Kamui, so that might be an option too if its getting hammered. Not sure how realistic the drive times are though, especially if it's dumping.

First time we visited in 2017 we stayed in Niseko Hirafu and used the bus to Kiroro when the snow warranted, as per recommendations on here. Had a total blast. It was supposedly the worst season in years, but it didn't feel that way. Didn't make it to Rusutsu or Moiwa, but hoping to check them out this time too.


this Feb spend 7 days is Niseko Moiwa and 6 days in Otaru. Niseko Moiwe is a great little place - and you do not need to rush to the top lift to enjoy it to the max! Visited Kiroro both from Niseko and from Otaru, but also did Kokusai and the local Otaru mountain.
Food - if important, there are some super nice places in Otaru - had sushi at Izesushi (book in advance!) which is a Michelin star sushi resto. Yabuhan soba place close to the train station was superb too. For a strange spectacle of locals wearing lederhosen Shocked head to a bavarian beer stube - just accross the canal.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
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Quote:

For a strange spectacle of locals wearing lederhosen head to a bavarian beer stube - just accross the canal.

Duly noted!

Quote:

Definitely ski Niseko Moiwa and Rusutsu this time.

I'll definitely check these out this time, if previous recommendations are anything to go by.
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