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nippontiger

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Everything posted by nippontiger

  1. I was planning to hit Kagura again this sunday - looks like there's gonna be plenty of snow. However, latest forecast is now calling for severe gale force winds from Saturday night through Sunday which will very likely result in the top lifts being closed. Kagura isn't worth going to for me without the top quad open. Usually when the forecast was like this I'd go to Kandatsu - it was in a sheltered valley so didn't tend to be affected by strong winds - however, that place has now closed down. I wonder if anyone has recommendations for resorts in the Yuzawa area which don't get affected much by strong winds?
  2. At Kagura I'd say 35-40 you should be OK, but above 40 there's a good chance the top quad will close. Looking at the forecast now, I'd say Sunday looks OK (hope so, I plan to go) and Monday I wouldn't want to risk it. I've done the Kagura trip loads of times and a few times I've made other plans because of forecast high winds and I was almost always right to do so. Things could change, so I'd leave it as late as possible and if it is still predicting 50-60KPH winds at the top as it is now, I'd give it a miss. Kagura simply isn't worth the trip for me if the top quad isn't open.
  3. Kagura was surprisingly good today - knee deep powder in plenty of places but a bit tracked out by the time we got there after the usual Kan-etsu ordeal. Has anybody ever had a clear run down that expressway on a winter weekend? I know I haven't. JMA are calling for a cold March, but their long range also called for cold December, January and February and we got none of those so I won't hold my breath. Their long range forecasts seem to be wrong more than they are right! I think they UK Met office stopped issuing long range forecasts a couple of years back because they realised that the science simply isn't accurate enough.
  4. I wonder why they don't just have a few snowploughs/gritters driving up and down the expressways when it snows? I've yet to see such a thing in the Kanto region. The amount of cash they lose through closing the expressways for several days at at time every time a bit of snow falls would surely pay for dozens of the things plus the drivers.
  5. i've been checking the updates obsessively. it definitely snowed more yesterday and today vs the forecast on snowjapan. The forecasts come from snow-forecast.com For some reason (maybe because its not Japan-based?), they pretty much always forecast much lower accumulations than we actually get here. For example - they might call for 'heavy snow' 14 cm. They get the 'heavy snow' right but 14 cm is not a heavy snowfall in Japan - you can usually multiply that number by 5. Apart from the predicted accumulations, the forecasts themselves are usually fairly good - if they are predicting heavy snow or moderate snow for a resort, its probably gonna be a decent powder day.
  6. A freind of mine went on a skiing trip to Nagano on Friday by bus. 40 foreigners - they got stuck in the middle of Yamanashi. Spent the night on the bus and then found their ways to a fire station where they spent Saturday night. They are not allowed to go anywhere - they have no showers and the conbini has now sold out of food and booze and it looks like they have to spend another night there tonight!
  7. It has been an unusually poor season though - this has been one of the worst in the 10 years I've been here (although we're not done just yet....!). Last season was also fairly short - spring arrived end of February but there were still some great powder days the likes of which I haven't seen this season. Hokkaido is probably the safer bet for most though - that's to be expected - it is a lot further north and is substantially colder than the central parts of honshu.
  8. Wow! Thats a lot of snow! Unfortunately I won't be going out tomorrow - high winds and avalanche risk mean most of the good stuff at Kagura is inaccessible and my other idea of driving somewhere like Fukushima or Tochigi is a non-starter as all the expressways are closed!
  9. Definitely not a - Powder skiers usually prefer longer skis to give them more surface area and float. b. Fat skis will help. But plenty of people skied deep powder before fat skis were even invented! c. Not necessarily a crap skier, just crap at skiing powder! I know some very good skiers who were completely hopeless in powder - it takes a bit of getting used to!
  10. nippontiger

    Spring.... noooooo!

    Im just praying that spring doesn't arrive at the end of February like it did last year......
  11. Looks like I'm having to abandon my plans to go out tomorrow - massive winds everywhere according to the forecast.
  12. We have no snow at all in Tsukuba - it finally started coming down heavily at around midnight but turned back to rain within an hour. Its looking like the storm coming on Wednesday might make a more southerly track meaning it might not hit as hard, but the precipitation is more likely to stay as snow. Yamanashi should get another top up.....!
  13. Its weird but here in Ibaraki we've had almost nothing. Checking the radar and all day there has been an Ibaraki-shaped dry spot over Ibaraki - as soon as the snow pushes to the Ibaraki border it stops, like there's an invisible anti-snow force field! Just a few flakes in Tsukuba thus far, but 40 miles away in Kumagaya almost a foot of snow already!
  14. Its amazing that they don't seem to have any contingency plans for winter weather conditions in the Kanto area. In the UK (most parts of which get winters no worse than the pacific coast of Japan), when temperatures are below zero there are gritters out on all of the main roads (and quite a few of the more minor roads). I haven't seen any gritters at all in Kanto - even the main roads here in Tsukuba are just left to the elements. Black ice all over the place. Weather like Saturday's would still cause massive problems in the UK but the authorities would at least try to do some prep work for it. It didn't seem like anything at all was done here - they just told people to stay at home. I guess they just don't budget for it.
  15. I'm not there but it sounds like there's been a good bit of snow the last few days in Yuzawa. More over the weekend too so it should be looking a bit healthier....
  16. I think the JMA jinxed it when their long-range forecasts predicted a cold December/January with more snow than usual....
  17. I got the Hestra heli gloves. A bit pricey at 10K but they are nice - big gauntlets to prevent powder going in there. They also have wrist cuff things so you can take the gloves off on lifts etc without worrying about losing them. I've no idea how durable they are because I've only just got them. They are lobster/3 finger style so I guess they should be pretty warm although I haven't tested them in blowing gale freezing cold weather yet.
  18. Looks like some colder weather coming in for this coming week - hopefully with some snowfall. Fingers crossed it stays cold for next weekend - I'm hoping to get out there again!
  19. Well, I just got wheels, and I'm hoping to do a couple of trips to the mountains. I was wondering about snow tires/chains/socks etc. First I planned to get snow chains for my rear (driving) wheels, but it was difficult to ge them in my tire size and there's not much clearance (the user manual actually says I can't use chains) so I ended up getting a pair of snow socks. Then I thought about the front wheels and in the end I picked up a pair of snow tires for cheap. Now I'm wondering.... should I just put the snow tires on the rear wheels and hope that manages for the most part and maybe put the snow socks on the front wheels if it gets hard to steer. Or, should I put the snow tires on the front wheels and definitely use the socks on the rear when it gets snowy. Or should I also get a pair of snow chains and hope they fit because neither snow tires nor socks will be any good in the mountains. I really don't know how well either snow socks or snow tires will perform in the mountains - I know they are OK on snow on flat roads but on hills and so on..... The tires on my car now are pretty hard compound summer tires and I'm pretty sure will perform badly on the snow.
  20. Definitely not just a Japan thing. From what I heard they work quite well but you must only drive them on snow-covered roads otherwise they wear out in no time at all. I'm gonna get another pair of snow tires and keep the socks in case I get stuck.
  21. Well, my car is RWD so I wouldn't put them on the front. I don't have lot of space for storing spare tires but I'll see about getting another couple. In the meantime I'll put the snow tires on the back and put the snow socks on front as soon as there's a covering of snow on the road. I guess its not ideal but I think that should give me roughly similar traction front and rear. Sounds like snow chains not worth the bother? I'm not sure I have enough clearance for them anyway. I do remember one time going to Nekoma in my friends car with chains on front and on one downhill section we suddenly found ourselves going backwards! Then a car coming the other way did the exact same thing!
  22. It looks like some people decided to celebrate Australia Day this year by scrawling graffiti all over a Bob Marley mural at the Master Braster bar in Hakuba. Not cool.
  23. nippontiger

    'Straya Day!

    I'm not sure they wrote any words - seems like they just got a bit "creative" with it. It doesn't look like it impressed the locals much anyway. The owner seems pretty chilled about it, but I think he'd really rather it didn't happen again.
  24. Its a bit depressing this year so far - I've been itching to get out the last two weekends but not much snow fall so I didn't bother. This coming weekend is also not looking too great. Also bad for many of us is that the snow when has hit has often come on weekdays when we can't get to the slopes. Here's hoping for a much improved February and March. At least it looks like there's a decent cold snap on its way for next week.

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