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Tuesday was a holiday, weather forecast looked reasonable for Gassan, so we made the early morning road trip, planning to get afternoon tickets (11:30-16:30).

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The drive up was relatively uncrowded for a holiday, and we got to the parking lot around 10:30. 500 yen parking fee, which goes towards conservation efforts, and in return for which one gets a Gassan sticker, which went straight onto the kid's snowboard.

 

The map near the parking lot shows the layout. One pair lift on the right, with some T-bars (really rope-tows with detachable T handles) to the left, on Ubagatake. That day, only the T-lift closest to the chair lift was operating, though at least one other seems to have been installed.

 

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From the little pension mura at the base, it is a 500 meter walk up to the Ski Center/restaurant/lift base station. A caterpillar car is there to take skis and boards up, and only skis and boards -- no people, no backpacks or other equipment. Still, nice not to have to carry up the skis.

 

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We got to the base building a bit early, just after 11:00, so had an early lunch while waiting for the afternoon tickets to go on sale.

 

Then it was off:

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It was bright, sunny and warm, probably upper teens? But the cool snow made for nice natural air conditioning, so very comfortable. No sweating, no jacket needed, until the last couple runs of the day when it started cooling off.

 

At the top of the lift is a rest house, with vending machines and toilets in it. To skier's right of the lift is the main valley course, with treed areas to the left, and the flanks of Ubagatake on the right. The snow in the center of the valley was a bit on the soft side for my tastes, though the kid enjoyed it quite a bit. To the sides the snow was a bit harder, and steeper slopes could be found.

 

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The T-lift cost extra money in addition to the afternoon ticket, and I did not try it. But one could cut across from the top of the chair to access much of the face of the Ubagatake area, where some mogul courses and open faces were available. To get to there, one has to cross a cornice/snow cliff from the underside. Some ropes are set up around the cliff edge, but more as a warning than as any kind of restriction. Proceed at own risk, nobody will stop you.

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Ropes set up to indicate, Do Not Enter! -- Unless You Feel Like It:

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Note the spallation snow-boulders dotting the landscape.

Some people were jumping off the smaller parts of the cliff.

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The chair lift gets shortened mid-season, as the snow melts. I think that means that the wheel arms get lowered to the lower flange in this picture:

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I watched one family hit one of the mogul courses, both parents and a little kid (6-7 years old?). All experts. Put me completely to shame. (Not that that takes much.)

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There is a spot under the lift where one can cross over to a tree'd section on the other side.

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Didn't try it myself, but it comes out below the base building, so have to hike up a bit to get back to the lift if one goes there.

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All in all, a very pleasant day. Couldn't have asked for better weather, or more complete snow coverage. The vibe of the place is very relaxed, with people playing all over the place. A mecca for lovers of the snow. No attitude, no show-offs, just people enjoying themselves on the mountainside.

 

Will definitely go back some time.

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Excellent MO.

Great to read that and get a clear idea of the place.

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:clap:

 

Fab to get an idea of what the place is really like.

I didn't have that until now.

Thanks.

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Looks like fun, thanks for the report.

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Omoshiroi! Cheers.

 

So people seem to get off the lift and lots of them walking up further?

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Thanks, folks. A bit of a photo-bomb, and Rock-Hand's photos were probably nicer with clearer blue skies, but I tried to make up for it in sheer volume.

 

So people seem to get off the lift and lots of them walking up further?

 

Some people walked over and up to the base of the T-lift, not much of a hike really. But most didn't bother, I'd say, and just cruised down and around from the top of the chair lift.

 

Doesn't look like too many people there either.

 

There were no lift lines, but the place seemed pretty peppy, really. Restaurant was full at lunch time, for example. It is sufficiently spread out, though, that people can really get away from each other pretty easily. The more one looked, the more one spotted people here and there in the distance or in the trees.

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For those of us living in Japan, you can see a visit to Gassan on NHK now (7.30 - 8.45pm)!!

 

Well it's a program with 4 guys, 2 visiting Okinawa and 2 visiting Gassan. Enjoy :-)

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For those of us living in Japan, you can see a visit to Gassan on NHK now (7.30 - 8.45pm)!!

 

Well it's a program with 4 guys, 2 visiting Okinawa and 2 visiting Gassan. Enjoy :-)

 

So how was it, Mick? I tuned just in time to see them wave good-bye to Gassan on the bus.

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So how was it, Mick? I tuned just in time to see them wave good-bye to Gassan on the bus.

 

It was ok! :thumbsup: & having just seen the photos taken by you and Rock-hand, it was perfect timing! :clap:

 

The program is actually about travelling to places by bus, but as that's what I usually end up doing it was quite useful! Whether by choice or chance, they went there on the opening day and skied/rode down, so I'm guessing there's some rental facilities there unless the trip was completely staged!

 

In any event, I'm developing a Granview-like desire to visit there but knowing how long it takes me to plan things, it might have to be a 2015 venture!! ;)

 

Btw Metabo, what does a Gassan sticker look like? Could you post a pic of the one on your son's board? Cheers! :thumbsup:

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Btw Metabo, what does a Gassan sticker look like? Could you post a pic of the one on your son's board? Cheers! :thumbsup:

 

The sticker looks like this (stolen from someone else's web site):

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That's what you get for paying the parking fee/donation towards conservation efforts.

 

There are also some other designs for sale in the base building, but they are all silly rip-offs of other commercial logos, so didn't seem worth shelling out for.

For example, there is one design that is a rip-off of the Nissan logo (which itself looks like a rip-off of the London tube logo), with "gassan" in place of "nissan."

That sort of thing.

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