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I though last weekend 1/2 Mar was going to be it for me this season, but I still keep checking the weather forecasts. It was forecast to snow most days from last Thursday till Tuesday. So I asked Mami nicely if I could go skiing on Wednesday. However she wasn't able to get time off, but she did say I could go on the weekend if I wanted.


Unfortunately the weekend was forecast to be snowing everyday. While this would have been nice skiing, I really wanted to go out on a day where I could see where I was going. I particularly wanted to see some of the beautiful views I'd only seen to date in Muikas photos. Last year at gala it was snowing all day, no views, and last weekend at Kagura visibility ranged from zero to nothing. Out at dinner on Saturday night I checked the weather again and saw that Sunday was now expected to be sunny in the morning and a little overcast in the afternoon. So a last minute decision and skiing Sunday it was.


MickRich had posted in a thread that he was thinking of either going up to Yuwaza on Sunday morning to ski Mt Granview in the afternoon, or skipping Mt G and going up on Monday morning. So I offered him a ride up Sunday morning, with the plan to be Mt G in the morning and somewhere big in the afternoon.


Fast forward to Sunday morning, I picked Mick up, and off we went. The devil highway wasn't too bad and eventually we made it to the famous Mt G. After finding a carpark we wandered around, seeing with our own eyes famous sights that previously had only been visible thanks to Muikas amazing photography. It was a real surreal moment to walk around a corner and see the bottom of the first lift, looking like something that should be in a 50's black and white movie.


The ticket lady wasn't asleep (que great disappointment on our behalf) and thanks to Micks impressive Nihon skills we soon had two tickets. Apparently there is no morning ticket at the moment, but at 2,000 yen a ticket we didn't complain. The lady even let us off the 1,000 yen carpark fee because we were only going to be there for the morning.




After getting ready we skied/boarded over to the lift, where the ticket lady morphed into a liftie and helped us on the lift. Going up was like looking though Muikas Mt Granview photo album. The views were breathtaking, the old run down buildings amazing.







We got to the base and kept going up. (Ski tracks has us starting off at the bottom at 9:52)






At the top we stopped and just admired the view, then the lapping of the top lift started, There was plenty of boot to knee deep powder on either sides of the runs.







After a couple of laps Mick noticed a three boarders heading out towards a the pylon in the photo below




After a brief discussion on the sensibility of following people into the unknown, Mick headed off in that direction. I stayed behind ready to spring into action and rescue him if necessary.


Eventually, just as I was heading down to the carpark to see if he was alright he was waving from the lift as he headed back up the mountain.


Mt Granview was living up to all the hype, the views were amazing, and what other resort is cool enogh to let little kids with plastic sleds on all the lifts. Really makes you think about how fast you are going down a slope when two little kids on a plastic sled go whizzing past.


However Mt G was just so awesome that we had to leave. Exposure to that much awesomeness was just too much for us, so we skiied/boarded back down to the car.


Ski Tracks says we were only there for 2 hours 12 minutes. I really thought it was longer, I was blown away by how fantasic the views were, the resort itself and the surronding area is so beautiful. But in that short time I did 9 runs and skiied 9.3kms




After I came up from the carpark the second time Mick was standing looking at the base area, wheels turning in his head, trying to work out how he could live and work there.




As the views were so great (have I mentioned that yet) I went a bit snap happy, more photos can be found here:





After packing up and leaving the awesomeness of the mighty Mt G behind we headed off to Kagura. This was my idea as I really wanted to see the place in a nice day. Last Sunday I didn't see much at all, and was looking forward to actually being able the runs I did.


On the way we had to stop at the telephone box. (Please,please tell me we got the right one)





Then it was on to Kagura, the carpark was almost full, not a good sign. However after getting our afternoon tickets and heading up the ropeway the resort looked pretty empty. It may have been the lateness of the hour, we started at 1:20, but there weren't many people around, and there still looked to be untouched powder around. At the top of the gondola there were a number of "stalls" ICl sports were having a demo of powder skis. I've seen some powder skis before, but it wasn't until I put one right beside my ski that I releised how fat they actually are.


Up we headed right to the top. The top lift wasn't open by the time I got there last week, so a first for me. From the top of the lift we traversed around the side of the slope looking for a good place to drop in. About now I relised I was way out of my comfort zone.









Mick was nice and assuring, saying we would go down slowly in stages. For him it was stages of great boarding, for me it was different stages of falling. Now I know you shouldn't blame your equipment for your failings, but I think it was 50% me, with my lack of ability and 50% my skis. I know that some people can and do ski powder on skinny skis, and that people were skiing powder long before powder skis were invented. However I can't ski powder on my skis, my skis are K2 Apache Stingers, rated for Beginners to Advanced and are 175 cms with a width of 119/72/103mm. While they are meant to be all Mountain I don't think they were the right skis for Kagura powder that had had the sun on it most of the day. A sun crust on top of almost waist deep powder.


Well it all added up to me doing more falling down the hill than skiing. Eventually I made it back to the piste, thankful for Micks help. After heading up again we found the top lift closed so headed into Tashiro for a couple of runs. A miscommunication between Mick and I left him heading for one lift and me for another.


After a couple of runs there, and a few photos







I headed back to the Kagura area and down the Kagura main slope. This is where a great day turned to custard. The main slope was getting all mogeled, bumps everywhere, so to avoid them I went into some trees just to the side. Well it wasn't the best idea I've had recently, I passed to close to a small bush, my skis boot deep beneath the snow and my left ski got tangled in part of the bush. I went head first into the snow, but my ski didn't come off. I felt my left calf muscle stretch, then a poping sound and lots of pain. Eventually I was able to get myself up, wasn't easy, I was lying face forward, downhill, over a bush with my left ski dug into the snow. It was a very slow and painful ski down to the top of the gondola.


The whole thing is mostly my own fault. My skiis don't release when I fall, I assume they are set wrong, and I've never done anything about it. I should have, but then hindsight is much easier than foresight.


At the top of the gondola I hobbled into the K2 demo place. I was hoping, given that I have K2 skis, that someone there might know how to adjust the skis. No such luck, the young guys there didn't quite understand. I think they were probably boarders not skiiers so didn't grasp what I needed adjusting.


Mick turned up out of the blue, he'd done a couple of runs after misplacing me and had checked out the accommodation in Wada-goya where he was planning on staying Tuesday night. So we made our way slowly down the mountain. Well slowly for me, quick busts and waits for Mick.


Eventually I hobbled onto the ropeway and down we went. After loading up the car we headed off to the onsen by Gala where Mick was going to stay. After a nice onsen, soaking my leg helped, it was off home.


The less said about the trip home the better, between my sore leg, my sore chest from a spill last weekend, and the devil highway I didn't have a very pleasent 6 hours.


The stats for Kagura aren't that great. We were there for 3 hours, left at 4:20, an hour before I'd planned, did 6 runs for a ski distance of 14.1 km, with a top speed of 40.3 km/h (which was probably one of my tumbles down the top slope)


Update on the leg. I went to the Doctor today, he examined it, and ultra sounded it, and reckions I have sprained my calf muscle. On a scale of 1 to 3, 1 being least, I'm a 1. I can still only hobble around, so no more skiing for me this season.

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Great report for a great day, the ending excepted, though can't think of a better place to have spent your last day (or 2 hours, 12 minutes of it) than at the big G!!

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Look at all those houses to the left of the ski area, and seemingly only accessible from there:




I think the area where the houses are is where Mick did his backcountry run. He might be able to shed some light on whether they are occupied or boarded up for the winter.


Or maybe one of the awesome SJ guys could let us know, they do have the privilege of being able to look at Mt Granview from their windows.

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Well done guys! Looks like a fine day. :thumbsup:


I'm afraid I think lots of those buildings dotted around are unoccupied..... though I have not actually been up to that area myself. Mick will have the latest on that. Perhaps with all the redevelopment going on at Mt Granview, there may have been some changes. That run off to the left might even have been part of Mt Granview one day I think, so they are probably just in that transition redevelopment phase.


It's brill living near Mt Granview though. Not too close to the bustling car parks and base plaza. It somehow feels right that the closest skijo to SnowJapan HQ is Mt Granview.

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I did not realise there used to be that left side run. Well done Mick finding it!


And the one on the right as well and top. Wish I could slide down them without the naked hike.

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This looks lovely:







Yeah this is a great area, keep traversing around that ridge and you get a nice open pow run into the forest just out of sight on the left that leads back to the top of the gondola......just be careful to come out in time!

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Leg is OK now. First couple of days I could only hobble around. Now I can actually walk. However it's still very swollen, I have a bandage and some anti inflammatory sticky pads on it. Both have helped.


Must admit when I did it I thought I might be in big trouble. It was a big relief when the doctor said it was only a minor injury. The pain made it seem like I might have done some real damage.

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