Jump to content

Recommended Posts

  • Replies 727
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Friday 24 April 2009

Grand Hirafu, Niseko Resort Area


0cm in the past 24hrs at MQ


Not strictly true. It got cold again and snowed but nothing settled.


Beautiful, crisp, sunny Spring morning and off to Kiroro to see if they can manage their snow better than the amateurs at Hirafu.


The answer, a resounding YES


Not a patch of brown to be seen on the groomed runs and most of the off-groomed was still skiable.


Great grooming on which to compare the three skis we demoed today:


Rossignol Radical Alpha Ti (124-70-112)

Head Supershape (121-66-108)

Atomic D2 Race SL (123-67-108)


All great skis, but the Atomics win hands down. Just confirmed what Ian and I felt the first time we demoed them at the start of the month.


Popped off the groomed and found 5cm of velvet powder on top of a creamy spring base. Fabulous.


Not all the lifts are running on week days but this was reflected in the JPY 2,300 ticket for 3 hrs of superb spring skiing.



Ian M skiing beside the waterfall that's appeared in the spring melt (not one of my better efforts)



Link to post
Share on other sites

Saturday 25 April and Sunday 26 April 2009

Grand Hirafu, Niseko Resort Area


0cm in this time period at MQ


But it's been snowing since 11am and it's sticking.


Wet in the village, but hopefully some legit pow up top.


Tomorrow will be 6 months since I first clicked in for the season.


It was a bluebird powder day way back in late October, fingers crossed for the same tomorrow smile

Link to post
Share on other sites

Not defending the poor grooming practices at Niseko but you can't really compare the cover in Hirafu and Kiroro and just blame the differences on grooming. Kiroro's base is quite a bit higher and has a more northerly aspect than the slopes in Hirafu. Agreed though Mike, the grooming here really is amateurish.

Link to post
Share on other sites

There are many factors, not least of which is the pitch of the run in to the lifts. Much steeper in Hirafu over Kiroro. This alone would ensure less wear and tear.


But, and it's a very big BUT, as soon as you expose a patch of grass / dirt / sasa to the sun it spreads like a cancer. And it is irreversible.


Hirafu chooses to move the remaining snow cover on the home run into the 'white ribbon of death' and expose the sides to the spring sunshine.


This is madness.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Monday 27 April 2009

Grand Hirafu, Niseko Resort Area


4cm in the past 24 hrs at MQ


Woke to clearish skies, a coating at MQ, and the promise of pow smile


Glen and I drove to the base of the Ace Quad to find that it was the only lift running in Hirafu.


The higher lifts were on hold and scheduled to run. Sometime. Maybe never :(


So we got back in the car and drove to Kiroro instead.


Fortune favours the brave.


A foot of fresh in the car park, nobody on the hill and JPY 2,800 for a 5-hour ticket.


All the lifts we needed were running and there was heaps of legit, knee deep, light pow to play in.



Just Glen and I out playing, so a jabonk fest as far as the pics go wink






















And then the sun started to come in and out. Tempting us.










We drove out of the car park under clear skies and through tracked, unmelted snow.


The stars are out, the air has cooled.


Hirafu or Kiroro tomorrow?


I'll sleep on it.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Tuesday 28 April 2009

Grand Hirafu, Niseko Resort Area


0cm in the past 24 hrs at MQ


The upper lifts didn't open at Hirafu on Monday, but even with the possibility of untracked snow up high I returned to Kiroro.


This time in the company of Ben, Jeff and Oli from NPC.


There was still plenty of snow in the car park on our arrival but it was pretty evident that the warmth of the previous afternoon had congealed the pow.


The first pitch off the gondola was dry and light with about 10cm of penetration.


But the lower we dropped the slower it became and the groomer back to the base of the gondola was a pole, skate and scooter suffer fest.


With limited opportunity to get freshies the boys decided to go airborne.









































On the road back home the Niseko Resort Area made an appearance. Iwaonupuri is the peak in the centre (to the right of Mt An'nupuri) and Niseko Weiss is far right.






Writing this report on Sunday afternoon in an apartment in Manhattan, New York and Tuesday turned out to be my last day of the season on Hokkaido.


A great way to call it quits smile

Link to post
Share on other sites

Great work Mike.

I, for one, have really appreciated you bringing us the Niseko POW tempters all season - been magical!


So whats the plan for you now? Gonna be back next season?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks. Really enjoyed it.


New York for the summer and hopefully S America in late August for some Chile powder wink (and Argentinian pow too)


Back to The Land of My father's in September before heading back to Hokkaido for the autumnal colour show and another winter nip deep smile

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • SnowJapan Admin

Yes Mike - consistently fantastic photos.


Thank you for uploading and sharing them with us all.

Many people have enjoyed (and will continue to enjoy) seeing them.

Your photos have certainly brought Niseko to the attention of a lot of people within the site too, in a very positive way.


Hope to hear about Chile too.

Have a great summer and keep in touch!




Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Create New...