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  1. Just a quick review here - nothing of Ippy's length. Or so I hope. Background This season, I am trying to get to as many new places as possible, and this is definitely one I have not tried before. I tend to use the JR day return trips, 日帰り, deals as you can get some money off if you plan the trains well, which means more money to spend at the resort. Yuzawa Park Resort is about a 4kms bus ride from Echigo-Yuzawa train station, and there is a free shuttle bus that departs from the East exit, every half hour or so, or on the hour. But be warned, it's quite a small bus, so get there e
  2. The forecast for today was clear bright sunny skies... but it certainly didn't start that way. Not in Yuzawa anyway, with a real grey and thin cloud look to proceedings. But we were ready to go for our half day out and Yuzawa Kogen was the destination so off we went. Yuzawa Kogen is right in the centre of Yuzawa Town, accessed by the Yuzawa Kogen Ropeway. We (myself and muika-burazza-zu... say hi....) ...were on the first Ropeway up and got to ski some courdroy on the first run before it got chopped up. When we left a few hours later there was still a fair
  3. My first day on the snow. And a good one to pick as well. Stormy conditions yesterday make for very nice snow today and the sun was out shining with blue skies over Minamiouonuma this morning. Mt Granview not being open yet, Maiko Snow Resort here in Minamiuonuma was the choice. Not busy at all, the whole place open and lovely snow conditions. Great first day. When the lovely new snowjapan site goes up, I'll write a resort review for Maiko, and the other places I know, with some more words rather than just pictures.
  4. Enjoyed my last day for the '11/'12 season with some spectacular weather at Kagura. http://vimeo.com/40771931
  5. Let's Gala, was what we decided. Both of us on a holiday today and a kind of overcast kind of fine day, so put on the gear - less than usual, because it was warm - and get up there. My it was warm today. Going past the thermometer sign on Route 17 it said 14 degrees. On the way back it said 15. Snow was heavy and sherbet-y. Strange, but a very jerky ride even on groomed courses, almost as if the snow was sticky. Can't think how else to explain it. But on the way to and from the South Area, bits that need a bit of a cross-country push.... not fun. But skiing was ok, even th
  6. Some numbers from Niigata Prefecture, from 29th December until 14th January, in yesterdays newspaper. Sounds like a decent start, no doubt helped in a big way by there being much more snow and resorts able to open on time. Yuzawa 12 resorts in Yuzawa: 268130, up 16.8% on last year. Yuzawa Nakazato up 94.7% on last season. NASPA Ski Garden up 60.3% on last season. Interview with Yuzawa dudes: "more snow early on obviously is important, Tokyo people who were going to Tohoku are coming here" Minamiuonuma 10 resorts in Minamiuonuma: 114070, up 12.1% on last year. Centleisure Maiko
  7. This morning was a Gala morning, so I thought 'let's Gala'. And Gala I did. There's a bit of a silly back story and my morning was cut short: http://www.snowjapan...my-lift-ticket/ But while I was there it was great. The snow was really really good. I was quite shocked considering how spring it was on Sunday just up the road. That snowfall the other day really did some big favours. I got there early and so before the crowds... by the time I left it was getting really quite busy. Didn't feel like a weekday at all and I think that is because of the weekday shinkansen cheap packs and
  8. Considering this place is the second closest ski-jo to where I live (the closest being Muikamachi Ski Resort) and less than 10 minutes to the lifts, it's pretty amazing that I had never been until today. Today was the day though and we thought we would check it out - and actually were quite surprised at how big it was. Don't get me wrong, it's by no means big but certainly bigger than I thought. 4 quite slow pair lifts and two 'bases'. Yet another of the resorts along the recently named 'Paradise Alley'. It's basically a bit further north than Joetsu Kokusai, which can easily be
  9. Very strange day today weather wise. Started off snowing, then around 8am it was bright blue skies, then it quickly clouded over again. Back to sun after 9am and as I hadn't been skiing since Hakuba last week I thought I would go out and have a half day. Lovely blue skies for an hour or so and then it got all grey and clouding over once again around lunchtime. Lots of different shades of blue, then grey. It was almost like it was different days looking in different directions. I was really pleasantly surprised at the snow - it was really decent out there today. Actually it was easi
  10. After muikabochi's report on Mt Granview.... http://www.snowjapan...at-time-forgot/ .... it shot to the top of places I needed to visit, above more famous places like Hakuba and Hakuba. As no doubt it did for most people on here. And today I did. Dreams were realised. Mt Granview was experienced. I lived the dream, riding Mt Granview. And actually, jokes - and only 2 slow single lifts - aside, we had a ton of fun! We are in Yuzawa for a few days and were going to go to Maiko today but it looked megabusy and nursing a bit of a hangover thought it would be fun to try it ou
  11. This morning started off really cloudy, then it snowed and by lunchtime we had the sun out and blue skies. Time to ski. So I went to close-by Joetsu Kokusai for the afternoon. I realised today that I am rarely at a skijo in an afternoon. Apart from quickly changing weather conditions again - quite quickly clouded over - late afternoon brings with it different colours. The snow was decent at the top Atema part, but like sand down at the base. But I had fun. I always want to like Joetsu Kokusai and I think I would more if the lifts were better. Sometimes you feel like you are there
  12. Saturday 11th February 2012 until Friday 17th February 2012 The prizes: 10 one-day lift ticket vouchers - each one can be exchanged for a one-day lift ticket at the Muikamachi Hakkai-san resort in Minamiuonuma, Niigata Prefecture this season. Vouchers valid for exchange and use at the resort on any day season. Who can enter? Any active, logged in members of SnowJapanForums can enter this Giveaway. You need to have made at least a few posts on the Forums, and join in - not just simply register. >> If you are logged in, click here to enter. >> If you need to register,
  13. So I have waited a week for another clear day and this morning started off sunny so it was time to check out Ishiuchi Maruyama, just to the north of Yuzawa - connected with Gala Yuzawa resort - and actually in Minamiuonuma. About 15 minutes drive from my home. Lovely weather early on though once again gradually it started to cloud over and was getting overcast in some directions. As I write this now it's very grey all round here in Minamiuonuma. I really enjoyed this morning - snow was really nice up top, a little heavier down below but still decent. A fair few people about but by n
  14. Earlier this morning it was snowing heavily and I wasn't thinking I would be skiing today, but it started to clear up mid-morning and by late morning the sun was out. I'm glad I made the move because by the time I got to Yuzawa Kogen, it was really turning blue, my favourite conditions. I haven't been to Yuzawa Kogen that much actually. It's a small place, but what it does have is some pretty fab views of Yuzawa town and on a clear day very good for some shots. I think the paying for the car park thing annoys me as well. There were 2 dudes in charge of the car park. I was there for
  15. Very strange weather today and it was forecast and looked like it would be snowing for the day but it was quite sunny around lunchtime so we decided to try out another 'first', and another little tiny place here in Minamiuonuma. This one is called 'Ishiuchi Hanaoka' and I believe it is owned by one of the main companies that owns close-by Ishiuchi Maruyama. It is located next to Ishiuchi Maruyama and between that resort and Mt Granview (here's my report from there). Like Mt Granview, it kind of feels like it belongs in a different era. While the one pair lift looks fairly modern
  16. Friday 3rd February 2012 until Thursday 9th February 2012 The prizes: 10 one-day lift ticket vouchers - each one can be exchanged for a one-day lift ticket at the GALA Yuzawa resort in Yuzawa Town, Niigata Prefecture this season. Who can enter? Any active, logged in members of SnowJapanForums can enter this Giveaway. (You need to have made at least a few posts on the Forums, and join in - not just simply register). >> If you are logged in, click here to enter. >> If you need to register, please do so here. The winners: 10 people will be chosen - each to receive
  17. Bright sunshine from early morning today and so I felt compelled to get out there again. And I am very glad I did. Destination Iwappara in Yuzawa, about 25 minutes drive from my home. I really enjoyed Iwappara this morning. The snow was better than yesterday at next door Maiko, which was a bit odd, but there you go. And I really enjoyed whizzing down that top run. I think I did the "just one more lift" thing about 5 times! It is a bit sad to see so many lifts not moving - and not moving for the season. Iwappara have not used their Gondola for handful of seasons now and ther
  18. We went to nearby Maiko this afternoon. Not one of those fab days of blue skies, not much colour really but nice the sun came out from time to time and it was generally bright and not too cold at all. I was actually really disappointed with the snow today. On Friday up at Yuzawa Kogen it was delish, but today it wasn't really good at all.... down on that low course back down to the gondola it was a bit ice-rink-y. Best snow up at the top of the quad over in the bowl. But, there are far worse ways to spend a Sunday afternoon, and the cheese fondue for lunch was nice. Not t
  19. So here is my latest video from from our trip to Kagura on 15th January. For some of it I used an effect which gives a cartoon like effect so I called the vid "Kagura + アニメ" Kagura + アニメ
  20. It was supposed to be snowing again this morning, but we woke up to some clearing skies and by 10 o'clock it was bright and sunny. Time to get out! Went to one of my locals - Centleisure Maiko Snow Resort in Minamiuonuma - 10-15 minutes drive for me and just to the north of Yuzawa. After all the heavy snow, snow conditions were just great. And as is often the case, tons of places to find untouched snow. Let's Maiko, I reckon. It was sunny and clear skies when I got there, but clouds quickly moved in and just 30 minutes later it was really clouding over quickly. Very grey skies later
  21. So I went to Kagura last Monday (public holiday) and took along my new GoPro camera - unfortunately, most of the footage I took was quite useless - I chest mounted the camera most of the time but once I started skiing, it ended up pointing downwards and I just got loads of footage of my skis! Anyway, with the usable footage I did take, I put together this rather laid back video - no crazy steeps, no deep powder, no big jumps or fancy tricks, in fact, nothing gnarly at all, just an easy day skiing in the sunshine! Kagura [in Slo-Mo] And for those who prefer pics - here's a few snaps I too
  22. Hey guys and gals Came back from Ishiuchi Maruyama in Niigata today. We had a fine few days playing in lots of snow and it wasn't busy. Clearer weather this morning. Here's a few shots of my friends trying to cope with the snow Not particularly exiting I'm afraid, but anyway here they are
  23. So much for the snow storm this weekend! Well, so far anyway. This morning the clouds soon dispersed and left us with some beautiful blue skies in Minamiuonuma and Yuzawa. I was expecting a day resting as the snow piled up outside, but it was a quick change of plans and out to Kandatsu Kogen in Yuzawa. We went past Ishiuchi Maruyama on the way, and there was hardly anyone there. Much the same story at some other resorts around town. Kandatsu wasn't busy either really. Certainly not as busy as you would expect a resort to be on a Saturday + Christmas Eve. Got to feel that the fore
  24. Friday 30th December 2011 until Thursday 5th January 2012 The prizes: 30 one-day lift ticket vouchers - each one can be exchanged for a one-day lift ticket at any one of the open resorts in Myoko: - Akakura Onsen; - Akakura Kanko Resort; - Ikenotaira; - Myoko Suginohara; - Myoko Ski Park; - Madarao Kogen; - Tangram Ski Circus The vouchers are valid for this season Who can enter? Any active, logged in members of SnowJapanForums can enter this Giveaway. (You need to have made at least a few posts on the Forums, and join in - not just simply register). >> If you are
  25. We got up early for the first lifts at Joetsu Kokusai today. The sun was out. Blue skies. Lovely snow. Nice. By the time we left at 11:30am it was grey and cloudy. A few hours later it was raining/sleeting and eventually snowing. Only took my small camera so a few snaps from the morning. Spot the SJ World Headquarters: Spot my house! Looking north Towards Yuzawa Maiko in the background Kandatsu Kogen to the right In technicolor!
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