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Metabo Oyaji

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  1. Metabo Oyaji

    skiing late march

    Hokkaido ski areas are pretty low altitude though, aren’t they? So despite being north, they don’t usually have very late seasons, do they? Kagura Is usually open until late May, so I have to imagine they will still be going in late March, even in a disastrous year like this one. As for rentals, looks like from their web site that they have skis/boards/boots/poles and outerwear (jackets, snowpants), but NOT gloves/goggles/hats. So try to bring at least that much. Ski/board + wear sets seem to be 6,500 yen/day for adults, or 9,750 yen for two days. Cheaper for kids, depending on age. Don’t immediately see lift ticket + rental sets, but have only glanced at it quickly. For more details, see their web site. English version here: https://www.princehotels.com/en/ski/kagura/index.html#rentals
  2. Metabo Oyaji

    Early season in Japan

    Was snowing pretty decently at Tenjin this morning, which was a surprise as it wasn’t really in the forecast. Big wet stick-to-your goggles flakes, which combined with mist for terrible visibility. But at least felt like they are finally getting underway. They’re going to need a lot more to get their base filled out, though. Lots of bush and thin spots.
  3. Metabo Oyaji

    skiing late march

    You’ll definitely be able to ski. Plan on spring skiing conditions by then. Look at any place that’s typically open until April or May. Lots of options, most obvious being the higher-altitude places like Kagura or Shiga Kogen.
  4. Thinking about it, at the bottom I think 2-3 lifties may be needed, depending on the lift and how busy it is. One to check tickets (since most places don’t use electronic chip tickets), one to control the merging of the singles line into the main line (if it is a busy quad, say), and one in charge of hitting the stop button, who ideally shouldn’t be distracted by other tasks. Of course some lifts can and do get by with fewer at the bottom. I don’t know, I assume ski areas do try to get by with as few employees as possible, since they are generally struggling to stay afloat as it is. But I have to admit to not paying that close attention, so I may be wrong.
  5. Where are you seeing this? I can’t think of any ski areas in Japan off-hand that regularly have more than one liftie at the top. At the bottom to regulate traffic, sometimes, but not at top that I can think of. (Maybe the top of the fast quad at GALA, perhaps? But that seems needed, since they get a lot of first-timers there who don’t know how to disembark.)
  6. Metabo Oyaji

    Close connections between ski-jo

    Yes, I thought that was interesting, though not enough to tempt me to actually go try it this spring. That is the one part of Alts that I would want to be able to access from Nekoma, and it would be nice to be able to get there without having to go through the whole front end of Alts. It would be much more interesting with a lift connection!
  7. Metabo Oyaji

    Gassan - worth a shufty?

    I think I’m done for this snow season. I think.
  8. Metabo Oyaji

    Gassan - worth a shufty?

    Was up there today, and they actually seem to have pretty reasonable coverage for this time of year. Can still ski top to bottom — looks like they will make it to the scheduled change of lift to summer mode this week no problem. I have been there in the past when they did not make it this far and had to do the lift change-over early. Also noticed they have added a 令和の鐘 to the Gassan sign at the top of the lift. One can gong the bell with a hammer for ski safety.
  9. Metabo Oyaji

    Consumption tax increase (and Niseko lift ticket prices)

    Those prices are nuts. Though that’s the all-mountain ticket, right? Looks like the individual area tickets are lower, if still high by typical standards. I wonder how many people actually spring for the all-mountain ticket? (Never been there — is it actually useful?)
  10. Did they also move the big halfpipe? On the new course map, it seems to have shifted east?
  11. Their web site sells the gondola as an easy way for non-skiing visitors to reach the new yuki asobi area, for what it’s worth. The story mina2 heard sounds like a more likely primary motivation, though. Interesting, mina2! Doesn’t the new Gondola/chair actually replace two previous lifts? If I remember correctly, didn’t one go up to the base of the Tirol gelaende, and then another one up from there?
  12. Metabo Oyaji

    Advice about Kagura (for beginners)

    As a kid I remember standing at the top of a steep mogul course, wondering how I was going to get down without breaking my neck, and amazed at the adults who seemed to bounce so effortlessly down it. I sort of thought that being able to handle and even enjoy moguls was the mark of a grown up skier. A few years ago, I realized I wasn’t going to get any more grown up, so it was time to try to see what the attraction was. After beating my head against the wall for a while, I managed to make it down a few bumps unscathed, and discovered that the feeling of actually managing to hit the spacing and rhythm just right was an unbeatable thrill, like dancing on the snow. From then I was hooked. Of course I still suck at it, but just can’t quit. Kagura in the spring is a good place to try to get into it if you’re interested in trying, due to the large variety of moguls available, from easy to hard. Gassan, too, for that matter.
  13. Metabo Oyaji

    Advice about Kagura (for beginners)

    Moguls. Which I honestly suck pretty badly at, but I’m addicted to the challenge. I actually find deep fluffy powder can get a bit old after a couple of hours (though maybe that is partly because I don’t have specialty fat skis to get the most out of it), but a nice set of bumps (not TOO tight) can keep me amused all day long. Also, with fresh powder, it is always a bit of a desperate race to grab that next untouched line before someone else does. Moguls I find to be a more relaxed, collaborative endeavor — the more people who partake, the more bumps there are for everyone to enjoy, and the more opportunities there are to learn by watching others. But heck, in the end, I’ll ski anything!
  14. Metabo Oyaji

    Advice about Kagura (for beginners)

    Definitely been a strange season. Spring skiing came early, and stayed late. I happen to like spring skiing, so no complaints from me!
  15. Metabo Oyaji

    Advice about Kagura (for beginners)

    Let me add that if by beginner, you mean they have never put on skis or board before, you should wait until next season. If they can at least do the snowplow or the boarder equivalent thereof, then the above places might be options.


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