Niseko, Japan, Jan. 15-16, 2016

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Niseko, Japan, Jan. 15-16, 2016

Postby Tony Crocker » Mon Jan 18, 2016 8:18 am

Friday, Jan. 15
This was the best weather day in Niseko, not to mention another 10 inches new snow. There were more people on the mountain, mainly due to the former as opposed to the latter. Most days have new snow, but supposedly nearby 6,000 foot Mt. Yotei was last visible from the ski area on December 24.

We were all on the early bus, arriving just before 8:30 opening to considerable lines for both tickets and the gondola. We bought 3 day tickets and thus avoided another ticket line Sunday.

With the nice weather the upper gates were open immediately, and I opted for the G2 while Jenny took Liz and Mary through the G1. We all arrived back at the gondola at the same time. I wanted a rerun of G2 as I had spotted a deeper line on the first run, but Liz and Mary didn’t want to hike up there yet. Here’s what I thought was the best fall line down the first G2 bowl of the Annupuri sidecountry.

At this point we all separated for most of the day. Liz intended to meet me at Annupuri but wound up at the Niseko Hilton base instead. Liz’ view of Mt. Yotei and the Hilton:

When no one else showed at Annupuri gondola, I went up for a 3rd run out G2, this time traversing across the first bowl and into the second, which Jenny had touted from Wednesday’s skiing with Chris. Here’s the view of the upper second bowl.

Unfortunately it’s a 30+ minute hike to the summit to ski that, time I was not willing to take with so much powder directly accessible.

The trees to my left were nearly untracked, so I went that way, bearing left to stay out of the exit gully as long as possible. I eventually crossed the gully and then skied a long section of low angle untracked in tight trees similar to Utah’s cottonwoods.

Jenny and Liz had crossed the mountain and were headed to Boyosu for lunch. On the way in that direction I decided to check out the G11 gate above Niseko Village. This had been an extremely restricted area on my last visit 4 years ago, but is now treated the same as the other gates. Mt.Yotei view from top of G11:

G11 has the steepest terrain of the sidecountry gates and the steepest parts had been much more skied out than G1 and G2, but some of the mellower ridgelines still had some decent powder. View down to the Hilton from one of those.

Back up top I headed for Hirafu.

Boyosu was quite busy and I got my lunch about 1:30 just as Jenny and Mary were done.

After lunch it clouded over but I still went up top to go out the Hanazono G4 gate. I traversed quite a ways out to less tracked snow and skied it to the tree line here.

The road in the center of the picture is the one you must hike out to one of the Hanazono trails. The trees in foreground were fairly dense, and as terrain steepened I had to follow a more open line down that was more skied out.

I was farther down the road than on Wednesday so the hike out was 18 minutes. By the time I rode 4 chairs back to the top it was snowing again. I made it back to Annupuri, skirting the edge of G7 fior some last powder before catching the 3:45 bus back to the hotel. Jenny and Mary had taken the 3:10 bus while Liz ended at Hirafu and got the 3:20 bus from there.

I skied 22,300 vertical, 9K of powder.

Saturday, Jan. 16
We were all beat from the previous big day, so we decided to take the car to Annupuri to allow more flexibility when to leave. The car windshield needed considerable deicing, so we didn’t get on the mountain until 9:20.

The upper lifts were running but it was foggy so the highest gates were not appealing. We stayed on Annupuri and skied the G1 and G7 gates. There was another 7 inches of very light snow. Liz and I are at the G7 gate.

Liz and Mary in G7 trees:

G1 trees:




Liz and I had the excellent lunch buffet at the Northern Annupuri resort and skied one G1 run after lunch. I had one crash there:

We skied 12,500 vertical, 6K of powder. The easier day was a good idea because the best was yet to come.
Ski Records
Season length: 21 months, Nov. 29, 2010 - July 2, 2012
Days in one year: 80 from Nov. 29, 2010 - Nov. 17, 2011
Season vertical: 1,610K in 2016-17
Season powder: 291K in 2011-12
User avatar
Tony Crocker
Posts: 9975
Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2004 10:37 am
Location: Avatar: Charlotte Bay, Antarctica 2011
Location: Glendale, California

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