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I know that some of you crazy cats are considering climbing glaciers and doing other gnarly stuff to get your late season snow fixes but for me, the season is over. I have moved away from Niigata to Tokyo. I have a new job and lots on my plate. So until Kagura opens back up in November or December, I will have to content myself by injuring myself on my skateboard.


I thought that this would be a good time, with the 2013/2014 season fresh in our minds to talk about out most memorable days, trips, experiences and what not from this season. When was it? Where was it? What made it stand out?


Snow wise, it was a bit of a strange season indeed. In Shibata, I was getting around on my bicycle most of the winter... something that in previous years was unthinkable between late December and March. Still, the mountains around got a decent amount of snow and I think in general there were a lot more people than previous years. Perhaps that was the influence of the olymypics and the exploits of local hero, Ayumu Hirano.


So I will start.


The best two days of the season for me were on the 18th/19th of February.As many of you probably remember that was just after the massive snow storm that paralyzed the Kanto area, left people stranded in their cars and generally wreaked havoc in a lot of areas not prepared to deal with that kind of winterish action .


I had seen the snow forecasts and booked myself onto a bus tour leaving Niigata City, going to Maiko for the Sunday, Feb 16th. While the southern areas were getting hammered, in kaetsu we were only getting a sprinkling. Then, while watching the snow chaos on the TV, feeling a mix of sympathy and selfish excitement, I got an email on Saturday afternoon telling me the tour was cancelled because of the snow. A nice apologetic lady from the company called me later that evening to make sure I had seen the email and explained that their buses were stranded in various places and they just couldn't run the tour. I got off the phone with her and did the most logical thing in the circumstances, rebooked for the next tour two days later.


On Monday, I got a carbon copy of the same email that the tour was cancelled, 大雪の影響で. I was a bit surprised because the snow had let up and where I was in Shibata, the weather was downright pleasant.


Then, a phone call came that evening and I was ready for the same message as last time. However, the apologetic lady was apologising and telling me that the cancellation was cancelled, and that buses from Niigata would be running but all of the buses from Tokyo etc. were cancelled. Bonus.


So, I got off the bus the next morning and made a dash for Okusoechi bowl. I got up there by about 9;30 or 10:00am. With a lot of roads still closed, trains delayed etc. there were only a few people and a few tracks when I got there, even at that time. The snow was thigh deep on the slopes and past waist deep in places in the trees. I was choking on the stuff. I guess I lapped it for about 2 or 3 hours before going to explore elsewhere. A great day with deep snow, miniscule crowd and the extra surprise of having my hopes dashed for a second time only to be resurrected.


The next day I had a great mellow ski closer to home at Budoh. There was about 10-20cm of fresh on top of the groomers, deep stuff everywhere else, blue skies, almost no wind and about 15 people on the whole hill including my party of three. I was sore and slow from the big day before but it was such a nice day to be on the mountain, only with people I like. I think I have written it before but I will say it again, Budoh has the BEST shokudo of all ski-jos in Japan. Free coffee on weekdays and all you can eat pickles with homemade tasting food everyday.


Well, other than when I fell of the cliff (detailed in another thread), which I would rather forget, I am pretty sure those are my most memorable days of the season.


Let's have some stories....

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My first season living in the snow zone and TBH picking one day out is impossible! I've experienced powder days before at Kagura, Naeba, Shiga Kogen to name a few but nothing can compare to the consistent powder days I've had at Teine this year!! 35 days on the snow, only 2 days outwith the K-pass zone and I would say 90-95% of the others were legit powder days.


From the first day of jungle chopping thru to bowl 1 we pretty much had some sort of good powder to play in. I have loved my first year up here.....I can't wait for next season

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I think a combination of both......Ive been out 3 times as much as usual, but Teine had a great consistent season as well. Also I think the fact I got to know the mountain so well means that I knew where to get the freshies when perhaps I would just have been to the side of the piste when down on Honshu

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For me this year Madarao for sure.

Was great snow great scenery for photos and a nice variation of terrain in a decent size package.

Just the right size forva full days exploring without being too big to not get around it all.

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March 8th and march 9th.


March 7th (fri) saw a massive storm with lots of high winds and lift closures at many resorts around Hokkaido. Rusutsu saw 30cms fall and Isola and East mountains closed.

Sat morning and we drove to Rusutsu in white out conditions over Nakayama Toge and we wished we had chosen Kokusai because the skies were clear and sun shining when we had left Sapporo. Little did we know what was waiting for us at Rusutsu resort.


It had put down another 60cm's over night and the gondola opening was delayed almost 40minutes due to too much snow. We were greeted with waist deep, super light, almost impossible to access the trees off the side of the slopes, pow.


Anywhere and everywhere was fresh tracks that day and we hardly saw anyone accessing it (due to how much hard work it actually was getting into the trees!).


The next day, I headed to Sapporo Kokusai by myself. I had a fantastic, blue bird day, playing under the gondolas and heading over the back. Taking full advantage of the 10~20cm's of snow that had fallen the previous night.


By far the most memorable weekend of the season, enjoying my new Fish.

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I dreamed that I was at Nozawa in the middle of that rare storm they had this season.


But unfortunately I wasn't able to have any stand out classics.


Next year. Please.

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4 choices for me because I’m greedy! :D

In chronological order, I’ll start with my first day of the season, a later-than-normal 19th Feb arrival in Furano which coincided with a powder day. The feeling of being back on a board for the first time in over 10 months combined with decent snowfall at a resort that I know well, really got the stoke-o-meter firing on all cylinders! 2nd up was my first ever, long-awaited trip to Myoko on 7th March. Another great powder day with no crowds and epic trees runs. Third but by no means least was the holy grail visit with onehunga to the Big G on 9th March – no further explanation required. & finally, my last outing of the season at Gala on 11th March, where I had more powder fun in the sunny Southern Area. :thumbsup:

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I agree with you U-Tan. On the 19 of Feb I had the top run at Norikura to myself. 1meter plus of fresh to about 11.00am. The best ever powder day I had. Then I had both side of Sumtomi ridge to myself for the rest of the day.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Had a bunch of `best' days

Niseko in the week of January 13-17 was spectacular.

January 23 on the older side of a certain resort NOBODY goes to ( :sjcool: ). I had untracked knee-deep powder all to myself off the gondola most of the morning. I think 2 other people took a couple of runs each.


February 11 an enormous plateau of shin-deep powder at the Parsenn in Davos, and nobody except self & a friend skiing it all day (lots of people tooling along the little 50-meter wide groomer that ran down the middle. We giggled as we hit untouched snow still at 3pm. And the goulash soup!

There were a lot of other good days, but those were the highlights.

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sorry if this is a bit boring for all you powder hounds,BUT.. my best day was the last day at Goryu in Jan this year. The lodge owner invited me for a sunrise ski on the front run under lights. Lined up in the dark for a lift ticket and made our way to the top of the run to watch the sunrise. Fantastic view but best of all, I had the best ski runs for the whole week. Found out I wasnt such a bad skiier after all..

I had found the snow quite heavy during the week on all runs not able to ski the run with out stopping a few times. What a difference getting the first runs in, I was able to get 5 runs in without stopping. before heading back for breakfast. Unfortunately it took me until the last day to realise what a difference it made to get first runs.

Now planning my trip for next season, just where to go??? Rather stay on the snow next time

Early morning Ski

Top Of Toomi Run Goryu

, happy wife happy life..

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tough to pick one. good memories in



rishiri island

summiting yotei solo



summiting 2 unnamed peaks

tentbound in 200kmh winds




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