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Japan 2016 / 17

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Sapporo this evening (from random Instagram search):



https://www.instagram.com/p/BOWr-gIjSwj/
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Nice!
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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?
Great photo.
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From friends on Facebook, seems like flights have been really badly delayed leaving and departing Chitose airport. People sleeping in the airport, all the restaurants running out of food etc etc... Big snowstorm!
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Merry Christmas to all!

@Mike Pow, thanks for the report. Getting excited. Will be in Hirafu in 10 days!

BTW, hope your visa got sorted by now.
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Merry Christmas, hope anyone in Japan enjoyed their KFC Xmas feast, looking forward to Mike's reports when he finally gets his issues sorted. Will be in Hirafu in 40 days, can't wait!
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
My pleasure.

Papers issued, but not hitting Hokkaido until 11 January - Japanese Embassy in London closed until 04 January Sad
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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!
Off to Niseko on 14th Jan.

Any one know how much snow they need before they open the gates? It's not looking promising as they have had less snow this December then even last season which was bad by all accounts.

Praying that a big storm rolls in soon!
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harri20000 wrote:
Praying that a big storm rolls in soon!


It's not a storm that's needed - in fact, a storm is what's not needed! Storms tend to drag up warm air from the south and can result in rain as happened a few days ago in Niseko, and high winds which scour the snow at altitude.

What is needed is simply a consistent cold wind from the NW (caused by high pressure over the Mongolia area) allowing the lake affect to dump lots of snow in the area. Hopefully this will develop soon along with less pesky low pressure systems forcing their way through and cutting off the flow.
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My mistake really what I meant was the right weather to start dumping on Niseko! Fingers toes crossed the next few weeks will develop the right conditions and my worry will be all for nothing!
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@harri20000, Fingers crossed! I'm obsessively worrying as well like I always do. I'm in Hokkaido on the 15th. The models look pretty good and cold though for Hokkaido from now onwards so I think we will be fine. I was really worried last year too and we had overall fantastic conditions the last two weeks of Jan.
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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.
@harri20000, out on the 7th Jan - the worry is just starting to kick in, even though I know it's stupid. Joining in the collective snow dance. They're probably just waiting till @Mike Pow gets there before they turn on the snow.
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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
Madeye-Smiley
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
element wrote:
@harri20000, out on the 7th Jan - the worry is just starting to kick in, even though I know it's stupid. Joining in the collective snow dance. They're probably just waiting till @Mike Pow gets there before they turn on the snow.


Ha ha.

Kiroro looking good this week

http://www.snow-forecast.com/resorts/KiroroSnowWorld/6day/mid
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
There is loads of snow here so dont worry, not enough to open the top gates as yet but this morning, its 06:39 now, there is around 6-7cm on the cars in the car park. More up top no doubt.
Conditions are hard packed underneath with some very nice powder on top if a little heavy but it is getting much colder and the snow keeps coming. Best snow in the Grand Hirafa area as only in bounds skiing availible but stiil extreamly enjoyable.

Off to breakfast. If you're doing a snow dance keep it up as it is working. Later guys!
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Poster: A snowHead
Just back from an excellent days skiing. Not sure from where the snowfall is recorded from but today seemed like a hell of a lot more than 10cmfell. Snowed all day yesterday and all day today with white out conditions on the top but luckily the wind has abated somewhat. More people out and about today but still not busy. I feel that will change by this weekend judging by how active reception was this evening.

Everybody's expectations are different and mine at the begining of the week were rather disappointed, the rain and mild temps making the snow heavy with a thick crust/crud layer, windblown drifts were rock hard and quite a hazard - tough going. Over the last couple of days the weather has changed, much colder throughout the day and it has snowed, alot. Strawberry Fields today was hard work as frozen old mogels lurked under the new snow making maintaining a good speed so as not to sink against being launched by an innocent bump towards a fairy tree quite a choice! One I got wrong a couple of times! By the end of the day Niseko delivered a brilliant experience that, all in all, lived up to what I was hoping for. Those coming out here later can make the own minds up about the infrastucture and the development of the resort but one thing that will always be there is the snow, lots and lots of powder snow. It is after all what you pay for.

Moiwa tomorrow morning (gate 6!)before returning to Tokyo, just hope my legs are up to it!
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@ADESki, thanks for the updates! Kutchan JMA site is showing 20cm of accumulation during the day today so I'm guessing tomorrow morning's snowfall reports should sound pretty healthy.
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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?
@musehead, at the rate it was snowing today by the time you get here on the 15th you better have packed a snorkel!
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@ADESki, thanks for the updates - fingers crossed for an epic day in Moiwa - let us know how it goes!
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
@ADESki, nice update, glad you got some good time on the slopes and hope you have fun at Moiwa
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Interesting example of the lake effect overnight last night in Hokkaido, and how it can produce very localised snowfalls.

Radar and data copied from the JMA website.

Radar has shown heavy snow showers being blown inland all night in a fairly narrow band heading almost directly to Yubari (Mount Racey ski area). I added an arrow showing wind direction and a X where Yubari is. The radar looked very similar to this for the last 12 hours.



Accumulation data for Yubari town shows 34cm of accumulation between 7pm and 7am, despite it being largely dry all night across most of the rest of Hokkaido.



Undoubtedly Mount Racey ski area which is just above Yubari would be epic this morning!
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Just back from Moiwa and rushing to get packing done for bus so this will be short.

Plenty of snow but not really enough to high five about. Gate 6 did open around 10:30 which was too late for us and the route over to Anuppuri is really only one way so couldn't go in the end. According to an Ozzie chap on the chair he said conditions were good but needed about another metre before it becomes truly usable. He mentioned something about a ridge line that you had to follow otherwise things got tricky, mikepow might know what that really means. The snow in bounds through the trees from the 4man quad lift was good to start out with but got tracked very quickly, there was only about 2cm at best of new snow and small shrubs are still a trip hazard. Had a enjoyable morning as wasn't at all busy, just the local ski race school and, because the gate was to be opened, a few more seasonaires with very fat skis and that Grizzly Adams look that smells like Skibum!

Very windy there at the moment and needs more snow but the powder that was there was light and about as good as at any time - just not as deep.

For those coming out later I am now officially envious as you will be in for an epic time, the clouds are black with snow and coming from the NW which means snow, snow and more snow.

Bring allyour kit with you as, even without the poor exchange rate hiking up costs, this place is expensive.

Gotta rush, thanks for having an interest. Later chaps!
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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!
@ADESki, the Niseko avalanche report today says that the snowpack is 1m lower than average right now, so that ties in well with what was said to you earlier.

Quote:
The Moiwa gate 6 will open today, Annupuri and Hirafu gates will follow as soon as they’re ready, however the snowpack is 1m lower than average years. Beware of bamboo grass.


http://niseko.nadare.info/?eid=1069008
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@ADESki, How expensive, Switzerland kind of prices? Can you give a few examples please?
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Last week's big snowfall in Hokkaido caused riots among Chinese tourists as they got stranded at the airport...

http://shanghaiist.com/2016/12/26/hokkaido_airport_brawl.php
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Got a trip to japan planed for 1st-19th of feb. serirously counting down the days now. going to be based mainly in Niseko but we'll be renting a car so will be splitting the time between Rusutsu then a small road trip at the end to check out Furano and a few of the other resorts. I've found powder hounds to be a great source of info but if anyone else has any useful tips or websites I'm all ears. hope everyones having a great xmas/NYs
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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.
Whitegold wrote:
Last week's big snowfall in Hokkaido caused riots among Chinese tourists as they got stranded at the airport...

http://shanghaiist.com/2016/12/26/hokkaido_airport_brawl.php


Interesting comments Wink
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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
Shocked what people can write when being anonymous. Sad

Weather looks safe for 7/8. snowHead
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
What comments? I can't see any comments.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
@abc,

Click the link and scroll down very much, there you find the comments. wink
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Poster: A snowHead
Waiting on the snow in SW Hokkaido, but Central Hokkaido is world class at the moment

https://www.facebook.com/WhiteroomTours/videos/1534562756561131/
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
musehead wrote:
Interesting example of the lake effect overnight last night in Hokkaido, and how it can produce very localised snowfalls.

Radar and data copied from the JMA website.

Radar has shown heavy snow showers being blown inland all night in a fairly narrow band heading almost directly to Yubari (Mount Racey ski area). I added an arrow showing wind direction and a X where Yubari is. The radar looked very similar to this for the last 12 hours.



Accumulation data for Yubari town shows 34cm of accumulation between 7pm and 7am, despite it being largely dry all night across most of the rest of Hokkaido.



Undoubtedly Mount Racey ski area which is just above Yubari would be epic this morning!


It's quite a regular pattern when wind is from the west. There's a gap in the coastal hills on the west coast at Ishikari, between the Sapporo hills and the Pinneshiri/Shokanbetsu range. The snow seems to funnel through there right over Iwamizawa and on to Yubari. I lived in Iwamizawa and we used to get ridiculous snowfall, the town is known for it. (http://beta.bbc.com/weather/feeds/16599168) There were some really magical days when we could just pop down the road to Yubari and get crazy deep days when the Sapporo hills had got very little snow.

The snow could be a real pain for day to day life stuff, having to dig the car out several times a day, struggling to get in to work on time or getting to the shops, but it was so worth it for the powder!

@musehead keep your eyes open, hopefully you'll get Mount Racey on a good day!
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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?
@MagSeven, Sounds like an interesting place to live! I'll definitely keep an eye on Mount Racey while we are there, I figure it's a fairly do-able day trip from Sapporo or a good stop off in between Central Hokkaido and Sapporo.

It's looking potentially very good in Honshu and Hokkaido 10th-15th Jan at the moment. N / NW winds and very cold. Long way out still but the last 6+ runs or so have shown the same pattern developing.

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I am half way through what is optimistically called a two week skiing holiday in Verbier at the moment.
Although every piste is 100% covered and open the conditions leave a lot to be desired.

On the 14th I fly to Japan for two weeks in Niseko/kiroro/Rusutsu/Furano/Tomamu/Tiene Highland and Sapporo Kokusai (whew!).

This thread has my undivided attention!!
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
@rungsp, Are you doing it independently or on an organised tour?

We'll probably be going to many of the same resorts but i'm leaving it quite last minute to decide, depending on conditions. Have booked refundable accommodation for the first few nights in Furano, but will cancel it if the snow/forecast looks better elsewhere a few days before we leave. Hoping to do Central as well as SW Hokkaido, though. Including a few nights in Sapporo.
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Independent.

Booked places to stay in Niseko for a week, with day trips to Kiroro and Rusutsu.
We then have a car for a few days, booked a hotel near Furano for there and Tomamu.
Drive to Sapporo, give car back. Booked a hotel which is last on the pick-ups for the daily bus trips to Tiene Highlands and Sapporo Kokusai.

Japan is surprisingly inexpensive:
A good quality hotel is about 50 pounds per person per night including breakfast, car hire is a bit pricey but there are four of us to share the cost.
The bus services from Niseko to Rusutsu and kiroro work really well for day trips, and I am confident that will be the case from Sapporo.

If any other snowHeads are there at the same time...make yourselves known, perhaps exchange numbers via PMs and we could get together for some ski/beer time ?

One thing to be aware of is that at high season (i.e. when we are there) you do need to book ahead for the better restaurants (in my experience better does not mean more expensive though...just more popular).
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
@rungsp, I'm in Hirafu from the 4th Feb so will miss you unfortunately but I was wondering have you booked your day trips to Rusutsu/Kiroro already? Also I have 10 days boarding available so was thinking of getting an 8 out of 10 days pass for Niseko and on the other 2 days visit Kiroro / Rusutsu, it looks to me the most cost effective especially as I want to try Night boarding. Any tips gladly received.

Also I'm on my own in Niseo so wondering where's good for lone diners/takeaways etc.. Would like to make friends but not always possible. Then I'm going to Tokyo/Kyoto for a week with an actual friend!
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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!
@Minion1980, there are daily, or almost daily, buses to Kiroro and Rusutsu, buy tickets from the Welcome Center I think.
No need to pre book to any significant degree.

Solo dining etc? Sorry I don't know...but get yourself to the Fridge Door Bar, a very friendly place...you are very likely to make friends there.
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@rungsp, thanks
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The counter at A-bu-Cha, Rin and Niseko Pizza.

Mick's wine bar.
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