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Sunday 08 February 2009

Grand Hirafu, Niseko Resort Area

 

23cm in the past 24 hrs at MQ

 

 

New snow finally but once again blowing a gale. Upper lifts shut all day. Time to recharge the batteries.

 

Glen said that the nighter was epic.

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Monday 09 February 2009

Grand Hirafu, Niseko Resort Area

 

14cm in the past 24 hrs at MQ

 

 

The wind died down and and the sun came out and it was a glorious boot top powder day in Hanazono.

 

 

Don Reed, Reg Bryson & Andy Laidlaw with their turns on the nose of Waterfall behind

 

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Reg

 

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Don

 

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Andy

 

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I should be in niseko 18th mar 09... I know thats late in the season, but would we still be able to ski or will it be too late do you think? All I'm reading is how bad the season is over there so far.

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Tuesday 10 & Wednesday 11 February 2009

Grand Hirafu, Niseko Resort Area

 

0cm in the past 48 hrs at MQ

 

Decent days, grey, waiting for the snow to return.

 

Skied The Cuts and went out to Last Cut for the first time. And it was the deepest wink

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Niseko has fared pretty well this season. Still a 3-3.5m snowdepth on the upper mountain and around 1.5-2m on the lower. The next couple of weeks are looking good for snowfalls and there's normally plenty of snow in March, you should be fine. Who knows some of the best snowfalls of this season could be in March.

Should still be far better than anything you've ever experienced in Aus!

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Thursday 12 February 2009

Grand Hirafu, Niseko Resort Area

 

4cm in the past 24 hrs at MQ

 

When there's no new snow in Niseko, you know where to go wink

 

Sunshine, knee deep and light. I'll take it.

 

 

Andy

 

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Reg

 

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Craig

 

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And on the way back to Niseko we got this

 

 

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Friday 13 February 2009

Grand Hirafu, Niseko Resort Area

 

0cm in the past 24 hrs at MQ

 

 

On the Road Again

 

Left a greybird Hirafu at 8 headed for Tomamu.

 

But on the way Ian Stutchbury and I took a detour to the former coal mining powerhouse of Yubari, home to Mt Racey Ski Resort.

 

The bankrupt town may have seen better days, but the resort was jumping with large groups of schoolchildren and the army learning to ski.

 

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The hotel was a little behind the times with the latest movie releases, not that Sean Connery would mind

 

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Ian and I were the only non-Japanese in attendance and the only ones hitting the steeper treed areas of the hill.

 

The south facing slopes were baked and hard packed with a covering of chalky snow. The north facing slopes off Mt Reisui, of which there are many, were soft, untracked and exciting.

 

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Really enjoyed the day and the legitimate steeps and will definitely return to hit terrain like this in fresh snow.

 

 

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That sounds great.

The webcams now (8:45pm Mon 16 Feb) indicate the snowfall has eased, but the weather forecast says more snow is on the way and mostly cool conditions will prevail over the coming days/week.. Sounds good!

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Saturday 14 February 2009

Grand Hirafu, Niseko Resort Area

 

0cm in the past 24 hrs reported by the Niseko Avalanche Information web site.

 

 

Valentine's Day at Tomamu

 

Arrived after dark Friday night for 3 nights and 3 days skiing at Tomamu.

 

It was snowing heavily on our arrival, but the snow was blowing horizontal.

 

Had an excellent buffet dinner and Japanese buffet breakfast before suiting and booting and heading out to the slopes.

 

Took about 4 steps, turned around and shut it down. The snow had turned to rain and Tomamu was giving us no love.

 

Spent the day reading, watching movies, eating, drinking coffee and waiting. And hoping.

 

To no avail.

 

Early night and then up at 11:30 pm to watch France beat Scotland and Wales beat England in the 6N rugby.

 

 

 

Sunday 15 February 2009

Grand Hirafu, Niseko Resort Area

 

 

0cm in the past 24 hrs reported by the Niseko Avalanche Information web site.

 

 

Finally got out on snow.

 

5cm of new on top of 15cm of day old on top of a hard rain + sun crust hybrid. Not pretty.

 

The terrain at Tomamu is impressive. 30 to 35 degree pitches through old growth coniferous forests. We're talking big gaps between the bark. And no one in there.

 

We just didn't get the snow to enjoy it.

 

And to ride the trees you have to check in at the Free Zone to register and pick up a yellow bib.

 

 

Ruskin McLennan sporting yellow

 

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Andy Laidlaw sporting yellow

 

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Ian Stutchbury sporting yellow

 

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Tomamu architecture

 

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Monday 16 February 2009

Grand Hirafu, Niseko Resort Area

 

 

25cm in the past 24 hrs reported by the Niseko Avalanche Information web site.

 

Winter has returned, just not at Tomamu. We came to ski pow and there was none, so time to move on.

 

With no bar, great buffets, the feeling that the resort is in its death throes, great terrain but lifts accessing it permanently shut, Tomamu was a mixed bag. I would return but only if I knew there was at least 30cm of fresh on a soft base. Pretty much in the "most of Europe" category then wink

 

Thanks to the wonder that is the internet, and 30 minutes trawling through the snow forecast site we made the decision to head back from whence we came instead of heading north to Asahidake.

 

First stop, Mt Racey in Yubari. It was in the centre of the doughnut too. So a quick coffee and back on the road.

 

we'd called back to base all morning, but with the majority of the lifts in Niseko on wind hold we had no desire to rush back.

 

The decision was made to head to Sapporo Kokusai on the way to suck it and see.

 

We saw it and it did not suck.

 

 

Ruskin McLennan

 

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Andy Laidlaw

 

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Yours truly

 

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What a fantastic afternoon and what fantastic terrain accessed by just one gondola.

 

Drove around to Kiroro to check on the conditions there, and decided to stay the night smile

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Thanks all.

 

 

Tuesday 17 February 2009

Grand Hirafu, Niseko Resort Area

 

 

20cm in the past 24 hrs reported by the Niseko Avalanche Information web site.

 

 

Stayed at the Mountain Hotel at Kiroro. Fantastic. Great rooms and service. Breakfast & dinner all-you-can-eat buffets were excellent.

 

And we walked out of the reception onto the snow.

 

Thouroughly recommended.

 

Had at least 25cm overnight on top of Monday's dumpage. Deserted and deep all day.

 

The evidence m'lord.

 

 

Ruskin McLennan

 

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Andy Laidlaw

 

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Todays report:

 

After a week of near continuous snowfalls dropping close to 1.5m of snow today has dawned clear and cold with only light winds. The peak is finally going to open after many days of being closed and will offer incredible views and deep fresh lines. It will be epic!

 

That sounds GOOD. Anyway off to bed for me...

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Wednesday 18 February 2009

Grand Hirafu, Niseko Resort Area

 

15cm in the past 24 hrs reported by the Niseko Avalanche Information web site.

 

I stayed at the Mountain Hotel for another night and Andy drove over from Hirafu for a bluebird pow day.

 

 

Yours truly

 

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