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Hey Its seems as if Patrol is a little on edge these days. Lets look back over the last month and see why, maybe.


Hakuba, some deaths and injuries over the last couple of weeks. If get this wrong please correct, this year already 3 or 4 deaths in Hakuba already for various reasons.


Gifu, Avlanche at a ski resort wipes out 2 people and 1 dies. The guy was a company CO too I think.

Dynaland, reports slides inbounds and closes the beta lift for 2 or more days. Takasu reports about every 10 minutes to please stay on the courses.


Around Norikura about a dozen cars are hit by small slides and knocked off the road.


Norikura, My wifes mothers best friend and 2 friends, are trapped for more than 3 days on the mountain. Runs out of food, but is lucky the weather breaks and gets off the mountain. Makes major the news.


Maybe more that only resorts know. If it is like Canada and the USA, there is more than likly a resort area info source. North Americas is called Ski area Managment magazine.


If you look at these things the patrol are maybe a little jumpy for these reasons. Just my 2 cents

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Around 20-30 people die in the mountains every year. While some of these are health related (cardiac arrests, fainting and falling off the trail, etc.), others are definitely preventable.


Just to add to Fattwins list of the bad news, an avalanche back in early November up in the Yarigatake area buried two people, only one of whom was saved by the people at one of the mountain huts up there. It didn't get much coverage, but I believe it was a 19-year-old from Osaka who didn't make it back. He was part of a tour led by the head of the Myoko Suginohara Ski School, would you believe. It doesn't sound like they had any avi equipment.

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I concurr wholeheartly.


The ease of access many resort lifts give to dangerous terrain, and the legitimacy this access appears to give to it's safety does put patrol under a certain moral obligation. Where 'officialdom' hasn't been in place to guide, i've seen some pretty suicidal behaviour.


Case in point, Komagatake, early November. Cable car most way up the mountain, guidebook says it's open...


Went up in the evening. Climbed down the next day, after calling off the ridge walk amidst -17 degrees, winds gusting 100, white out/blizzard conditions. Fingers going numb in gortex-lined fleece mitts, wearing full winter gear, with axes and crampons aiding descent (down a wide gully we were concerned would soon be ready to slide), what should we meet? groups of Japanese tourists in trainers, cotton pants and gloves from a conbini! (the snow was knee to waist deep even at the cable car station)


No-one there to tell them not to climb.


In my experience, patrol have never been too much, only two encounters in seven years, and neither one ended badly. Japan is probably one of the consistently worse avalanche areas on the planet, and the ski areas provide the easiest way to get in one.


The rules are in place to reflect Japanese culture, and the expectation that a rule maker will keep people safe. As the minority here, we just have to accept that.

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I Agree, and believe Patrol needs more training in certain areas.

I also think that its not a coincidence when patrol acts the way they seem to have acted.

I like Japan for the easy acess. I always make sure that me and person beside me, knows how to handle where we are (persons ablity,onditions soft hard.... trees? Is it controled in any way? and so on).

Dont endanger someone else.

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A couple of good points thrown up Miteyak. In general it seems that patrol training and practices are not up to scratch when compared to many other "developed" countries. But neither are ambulance, police, doctors, park rangers,....etc. It appears it's one of those fields that hang in limbo - not volunteer, not professional - but is at the mercy or blessing of individual resort management. Some resorts hire gorillas, some hire amiable thinkers. Some resorts - like Arai - demand a level of professionalism/qualification in all manners, as one would expect from an internationally minded resort.

Another point re. the current "nervousness" of patrol due to recent unfortunate happenings and dangerous conditions, is a fair comment. Over reaction maybe, but it is how things operate here. Big on the little and little on the big. You know, the wind picks up to a few km/hr on the highway or a shower of rain passes and the advised speed drops to 50 - 70kmh. Telling the officer or speed camera "guyz" that I really was driving safe at 100, just won't cut it.

Hopefully skill levels in many respects will improve with resorts and their staff esp. patrols, because when I view some of the new wave of sliders on the slopes, I'd be anxious too. ;\)

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Dont endanger someone else
But isn't one point here that many people "doing things they shouldn't" don't actually KNOW how to avoid endangering someone else. ?.
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When I was at Cortina last year, I saw patrol cutting across the top of an off-piste slope trying to set off an avvie. It looked ripe for it, but nothing much came down. That's all I've ever seen though.

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You dont usally see it, cause its done before you can see it. If you see them doing it, your usally somewhere you should'nt be. Cortina is so steep, that during snow storms they arent checking,,, they are tring to set off sluffs. Cut it every hour or so, and the thinking is Avie risk comes down, usally does. Arai from what ive seen does the same thing. Both have gas bombs around their areas. "Gas bomb" my name, is a big air charge, blown into the snow by a fixed tube enplacement.

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Hey guys, Lets get one thing right, I read about Barok and his situation at Hakuba 47... Thats bullshit about what happened there. I dont know the guy but the patrol have no right whatsoever to touch him.

Sad thing about it is thst whether we like it or not the legal system in Japan is not geared up in our defence. I have worked in Japanese ski schools and patrols for the last 8 years. I have to say some patrollers I have worked with have been some of the biggest cocksuckers you will ever meet especially the heads, they get this mind set that being strict means being safe, the total of it all means that are afraid if we go into the trees that they dont actually have the skills in the event of a avalanche to come rescue you.

Next time you go to a ski area in Japan, look at how many patrollers have transceivers on them, also look at how many are prepared for a situation for more than one person to have an accident. Almost none of them. Alot of patrollers I have worked for dont like the sight of blood for ****sake!

The fact of the matter is Japanese dont have the ablility to foresee any danger therefore dont have any safety plans in motion to compensate for an event happening. Once it has happened they think about how to fix it and no sooner.

On the flip side of that alot of geijin haved common sense when it comes to heading for the trees, I dont feel the problem is us going into the trees, its who sees and tries to follow ie: the avarage little Tokyo japanese boy on fun skiis with no ****in idea about what hes doing let alone where hes going, gets himself in the shit and dies in the trees.

The all of a sudden its tabbo to go outback.

The sum of it all guys, they will never break the spirit of riding so maybe japan has to wake upto the fact that people will always blast off piste and that they will never stop it, so they better work out a way of how to allow it to happen relatively safely.

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if what you say is true...then I am very frightened...it just shouldn't work that way...


I remember this one mtn. I skied at a few times in Mass. where the patrol were easily the worst skiers at the mtn...we would have a big collegiate race there every year, and every racer was scared sh!tless about crashing for fear of ski patrol not being able to handle injuries...they were a poor sight indeed...


patrol should be the top riders on the mtn with all the proper skills...at least that is my opinion...



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Hey guys, nice to meet you all, I work at Suginohara ski school right now and have been for the last couple of years, prior to that I worked at Kurohime ski school and patrol, also gokurakuzaka in Toyama and Takamagahara at shiga only part time at shiga though.

I agree when you say about having high expectations of patrollers, they should be the strongest riders on the hill, but sometimes it boils down to an economic issue, pay peanuts and you get monkeys which sometimes I feel is the case here.

A friend of mine is a avalache freak who runs courses on awareness here in jp and he was offered a good job on patrol at Arai, the head of patrol at Arai offered him 800 yen an hour! Thats about 50 yen an hour more than a 7 eleven girl!

You can imagine his response..


As far as Barok goes and his story at Hak.47 the reason why I found this site is that a friend of mine works on patrol at Goryu and sent me this web page to ask me how I felt about his story.

I wrote back and told her patrol need to relise that they arent police.

But anyway another story, I share some horror stories with you guys sometime.

till then ride hard (whatever youre on)

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There is some nice stuff above and in the trees a suginohara. Patrol doesnt need to be the best on the mountain, thats asking too much, but there should be a good mix. There should be people with med skills quick evac skills avie skills etc. On mountain patrol should be high level and strong on there boards.

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Nice to meet you too Ads.


I heard from a friend a couple of years back that patrol at Sugi were insane - all over the place, and real bullies. My mate was scooting through the trees at the side of a mogul run to avoid the moguls at the end of the day, and patrol forced him to go down the mogul run where he promptly buggered up his knee.


But when I went there last year, I was in the trees all day, ducking ropes everywhere, and didn't see any patrol at all.


So, what are they like at Sugi now? Know their stuff? More friendly towards people who like a bit of the other? Overworked and underpaid?


I'd like to go to Sugi more often, but my mates all complain saying that they close the top lifts when there's just a puff of wind. Are they still doing that?

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HI guys, yeah I agree about the evac skills and av skills, maybe they dont need to be the strongest.

The funny thing about evac procedures in japan as far as chairlifts are concerned, its not the patrols responsibility in the event of a breakdown they hand that over to the ojiichans cooking nabe in the drive/return stations!

I got rescued once from a chairlift breakdown at kurohime, an old boy with a ladder got to me and my homestay mother close to 45 minutes after the chairlift had stopped! Bad conidtions could have been a much more severe situation.

As for Sugi Ocean11 your mates are right, those boys are on the power trip from hell.

Theres an old boy who lives his life his sled cruising up and down the hill doing sweat****all causing more of a hindrance than actually helping.

You come to Sugi youll laugh when you see him, hes the old boy with the 70's rayban aviator looking sunnies,wears a helmet like the bad dude off terminator 2 and wears his radio microphone on his shoulder like the swat teams do!

See him and youll **** yourself!

Hes the head bullie.

As for that top lift it does close at the slight wiff of wind.

The usually windspeed limit is around 30 knots side on to a line gusting over. That will shut your average coverless chair.

The one at Sugi is a hood lift as you know but can withstand around 25 knots accross the line.

Those boys shut the lift at 10 knots constant regardless of wind direction, but I dont think it is a patrol decision, more a liftie.

Bit of overkill I think but there maybe some logic to it.

But hey the snow there today was kick ass to say the least, would be worth making a trip down sometime soon.



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I was there last year and hiked up to the rim, great sping sking. Sunk in about 5 to 10 cms on every turn. Saw cliff drops and skied great trees at the top. Great 2 mile cruise to the bottom of the Gondola at the end of the day. Never saw a Patroler all day.

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  • SnowJapan Admin

If anyone on here knows "Ads" or his email address, can you please let us know (at editor@snowjapan.com) or ask him to contact us. We'd really like to contact him if possible, and the email address in his profile doesn't seem to be working right now.


Many thanks, SnowJapan.Com

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Welcome Ads,


So you are saying that there is a Goryu patroller that is on this forum? Did they know about what happened and then see it on the forum or did they come across it for the first time on the forum?


I would love to hear the patroller side of it from a uninvolved patroller at the same mountain, even if it is through email. Good friends to make I reckon.

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Hi enderzero, nice to meet you.


The Patroller at Goryu is a close friend of mine and I think because her english is good she is told to monitor the snow forums.

She told me what happened on H47 with Barok or their version, difficult issue that one,

I believe that in the situation the patrol would of overreacted and done what he said they had done.






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If that is true, that someone or more than one person is monitoring this site, then that is just biaist and racist. I know more Japanese people that go places that resorts say they shouldnt.


The day that patrollers here actully know what they are doing is the day I respect them. I will not set up someone who is spying on gaijin.


Who are you 47 girl come out of hiding.


PS I sugjest emailing through the buddy system when you want to talk about stuff. Dont tell people where you go.

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hey Ads, was Kaz(umi?) in the patrol office with us when the deal went down ?


I remember a girl, that we spoke to who was very nice, and helpful.


But I agree with Fattwins that if there are patrollers who monitor this Forum, they should make themselves known, else it looks like a blatant case of racism, bigotry, call it whatever, it's garbage.


and yeah, we want answers, how long has this been going on ? how long have we been monitored ?


of course this forum is for public use and anybody can read it, but something smells rotten. If there are patrollers who read this forum, why don't you open up a dialogue, why won't you talk to people who have many questions for you.


the off-course riding issue is one of the top-five issues on this forum, and it would be nice if we heard a point-of-view from a real person.


i think that discussion is healthy, so please post, but sneaking around, "monitoring" the forum if you will is just uncool.

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