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So it was the first long weekend in January and I decided to get a group together and head to Takaifuji X-Jam, not because I aspired to be a park rat but because I hoped it would be a bit quieter on the long weekend. After spending two long weekends in Hakuba last season I didn't want to go back this year as the 30 minute queues for a lift pass tend to be a bit of a turn off for me. My plan did work to some degree as with the peak of the crowds the longest I had to wait was maybe 5 minutes. Most of the time there was either no queue or I had to wait for 5 chairs at the most. The resorts in Mt. Kosha are not that big by themselves but when combined with the all mountain lift pass it makes for quite a large area to explore.


I spent the first morning exploring X-Jam, it had some nice steeper runs with some powder on the edges left from the previous day. After a few runs here we had had enough and headed over to Yomase Onsen, this part of the mountain was not as busy at first and we enjoyed freshly groomed runs and some powder stashes on the sides. In the afternoon we headed to the other side of X-Jam for more exploration into the Yamabiko area. This area was not big but it was pretty much deserted and the runs were steep enough to get a nice amount of speed up. We rode all two lifts in the Yamabiko area including a pair lift which had a serious amount of wobble going on with the one the poles. Luckily the lift didn't break and we were able to return back X-Jam for a final few runs in a hidden powder field before the lifts closed.


On the second day we decided to pay the extra 500 yen and get a lift ticket that included Kijimadaira and headed over the sketchy lift in the Yamabiko area to see what Kijimadaira had to offer. This place definitely was a lot bigger but also a lot busier. The first few runs in the morning were nice and fast on the groomers but as the main lift line started to grow we decided to head up to the highest point on the mountain. Getting up the highest run on Mt. Kosha involved taking the slowest pair lift on all of Mt. Kosha. This was a lovely clear day and the slow lift ride was worth it with rewarding views. The way down was not so lovely. With some grass and rock exposure to cross before heading down a very steep and carved course. This would be amazing with some fresh snow but unfortunately it was not so enjoyable for me on this day. Needless to say I didn't head back up to the top again. After lunch I spent the rest of the day at X-Jam helping my friends with some snowboarding tips.


The third day had its ups and downs that's for sure. The day started out with plenty of excitement as we woke up to about 10-15cm of fresh snow at the village. We went straight for the big ungroomed run next to the chair lift from the base. We were only beaten to first tracks by two patrol guys. We lapped this course a couple of times and I had some of the best snowboarding conditions and lines so far this season. The enjoyment was short lived as everyone else had the same idea and this course soon became pretty tracked out. In search of more epic conditions we decided to head over to Yomase Onsen based on the conditions we experienced on the first day. This turned out to be not such a good idea. The snow on the lower slopes was heavy and slow, there also seemed to be a lot more people there than on the first day. We headed to the top of the course and found out why the courses were so crowded. 3 of the 6 courses at Yomase were closed because of clubs practicing on their poles. If I had come just to Yomase Onsen I would have been extremely disappointed that half the courses were closed to general use.


After some disappointing runs we headed back to X-Jam to grab some lunch at by far the best place to eat on the mountain. It was a little cafe next to the ticket office and main restaurant at X-Jam. The food was cheaper and much more delicious than any of the previous meals. It was also the first meal I felt was really nourishing meal for a day on the slopes. After lunch we headed back the ungroomed run where we started the day. On the first run I managed to hit some hidden powder stashes and decided to try again. Unfortunately this was a bad idea as on this run I hit an unexposed rock that put a small but deep gouge in my base and also aggravated an old back injury that prematurely ended my day, trip and lift me in a lot of pain and unsure of if my season will continue.


Before this trip I had visited Skijma and Madarao. While they are both fantastic places I haven't got around to writing a trip report for them. However the video here also contains footage from both of those trips as well.




On the slow lift at Kijimadaira




Same lift but facing forwards




Coming down :(








If you go to XJAM i recommend this restaurant

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Also my back has improved a bit but it still isn't 100%. I went to Myoko last weekend thanks to SJ and while I managed to get through the weekend without too much pain I definitely couldn't ride as hard as I usually do. Looks like my estimated 30 days on the snow this year will be more like 10.

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