Costs/Value of Skiing in Japan

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Re: Sapporo Kokusai, Jan. 19, 2016

Postby coldsmoke » Thu Jan 28, 2016 3:57 pm

$1800 / 4 people = $450 a person. Not a lot of $ considering what was spent on the whole trip. If the hotel was threatening to remove the sheets, the argument must have got pretty ugly.

Tony Crocker wrote:Coldsmoke is welcome to tell us if, after paying $2600 for the room, would have forked over another $1800 without complaint.


I would have booked for 4 people back in the fall.
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Re: Sapporo Kokusai, Jan. 19, 2016

Postby Marc_C » Thu Jan 28, 2016 6:08 pm

Tony Crocker wrote:I was responsible here for not only our costs but those for two other people. Coldsmoke is welcome to tell us if, after paying $2600 for the room, would have forked over another $1800 without complaint.

What you did was attempted theft of services. You tried to not pay for half of your party.
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Re: Sapporo Kokusai, Jan. 19, 2016

Postby lizardqueen » Fri Jan 29, 2016 12:12 am

making a note now to never to use Marc_C or coldsmoke as travel agents
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Re: Sapporo Kokusai, Jan. 19, 2016

Postby Tony Crocker » Fri Jan 29, 2016 12:38 am

Returning to the original question,
jamesdeluxe wrote:How has the strong dollar affected purchasing power in Japan?

Not to mention
EMSC wrote:Basically "you have $10K to go ski Japan.........?"

Here are the costs of the trip per person:
We cashed in 70K FF miles per person for this, as James often does for his Euro trips.

Share of car rental, gas, an airport train at the end: $350
Lodging: $1,060
Lifts: $735
Black Diamond tours: $1,175
Total $3,320

If you pay for air that could be another $1,200. But if you chose not to hire guides for 4 days as we did you could take off $500pp.

So say $4,000+ for 12 days of skiing. Compare to this year's Diamond Dogs Euro trip to Solden in Austria, $2,050 for lodging, transport and 6 days of potential skiing including airfare and 7 dinners but not lift tickets.

Japan is overall not an out-of-line ski destination pricewise. I'll bet lots of easterners take a ski week in the American West for $2,000+ per person.

admin wrote:I got the same quality of skiing that you've been getting in Japan without 21 hours of travel in each direction and tens of thousands of dollars in expenses.

Cost exaggeration noted. But the comment illustrates my point. We got 40% impressive quality powder on this trip with dead average January Niseko snowfall, which is about what admin gets cherry-picking his ski time living 22 minutes from the gold standard of North American powder. For those less fortunately domiciled, advance booked trips to North American destination resorts will score maybe 10-15% powder over the long run and negligible powder in 1/4 to over 1/2 of weeks depending upon specific resort (I have a ton of data to back this up). So if powder is a priority to you and you can't make last minute calls to chase it, I say Japan is a fairly cost effective destination.
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Re: Sapporo Kokusai, Jan. 19, 2016

Postby Tony Crocker » Fri Jan 29, 2016 1:17 am

EMSC wrote:unlike the way so many of us westerners are trained growing up.... A LOT more things in life are negotiable than you think.

In the Internet Age with dynamic pricing, everything is negotiable. If you don't exercise due diligence these days and just show up somewhere you can sometimes get taken to the cleaners. Like day skiing at a Vail Resort for example. :lol:

In this instance I got out my printout at the hotel and fully expected just to see an invoice/receipt with no mention at all of number of people. After all, who books a 2-bedroom suite with 4 beds plus a living room pullout for just 2 people? So yes, I was surprised to see 2 people listed on that printout. And also, who charges $100 per person per night for an extra person on a hotel reservation? My gut reaction at the time (late check-in after a marathon drive with no dinner and almost running out of gas) was that the hotel was looking for an excuse to take back the steep midweek discount quoted on hotels.com.

coldsmoke wrote:I would have booked for 4 people back in the fall.

I thought I did. I may have a faulty memory, but again it seems strange to book a suite that large for only two. So given the late arrival and responsibility for others than just Liz and me, I just wanted to get us into our room expeditiously. I did not make a scene at the front desk but suggested they investigate the booking with expedia/hotels.com.

coldsmoke wrote:$450 a person. Not a lot of $ considering what was spent on the whole trip.

This strikes me as an ivory tower comment. I've traveled with many people including several on FTO. Most of them would fight like dogs over a last minute charge of that magnitude.

At any rate Japan has a mix of high and low costs. Taxis are another one of the high ones. We didn't have the car the last night and it would have cost nearly $40RT to go to the Okonomi Yaki restaurant just 3km down the road.

The bottom line IMHO is that Hokkaido is one of those destinations where having a car is worthwhile.
1) Navigation is not that daunting when you have a smartphone with Google Maps.
2) Our local contacts Chris and Jenny's brother Mike seem to view Hirafu where most tourists stay as overpriced and not that great restaurant quality. The car allows you to eat at better/more authentic places outside the immediate resort areas. Lodging costs can be similarly cut down. We were in Hokkaido coincident with another tour http://www.epicski.com/t/144579/japow-h ... -tour-2016 and the leader Matt makes comments about attractive lodging prices outside the resort and at some local Aussie-run places.
3) You can eat in to save some $ and find some quite interesting Japanese food to do that. But the big market is in Kutchan and you need a car to go there.
4) Niseko is the best ski mountain by far but the culture is perhaps more Aussie than Japanese. If you're in Hokkaido for awhile, you may want to get out to some of the smaller places and you need a car to do that.

The alternative is to hire guides like Black Diamond or Adventure Project (EpicForum reference above). This will drive up the cost but is particularly essential if you want to do some backcountry as well as resort skiing.

As far as responding to MarcC insults on FTO, I recommend heeding the advice of George Bernard Shaw:
I learned long ago, never to wrestle with a pig. You get dirty, and besides, the pig likes it.
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Re: Sapporo Kokusai, Jan. 19, 2016

Postby coldsmoke » Fri Jan 29, 2016 10:27 am

Tony Crocker wrote:
coldsmoke wrote:I would have booked for 4 people back in the fall.

I thought I did. I may have a faulty memory, but again it seems strange to book a suite that large for only two.


I must have misread then, I thought you were fully aware it was a 2 person reservation.

coldsmoke wrote:$450 a person. Not a lot of $ considering what was spent on the whole trip.

Tony Crocker wrote:This strikes me as an ivory tower comment. I've traveled with many people including several on FTO. Most of them would fight like dogs over a last minute charge of that magnitude.


No ivory tower here, $450 is a lot of $ to me. I'm just in awe of how much you spend each winter and have always wondered why you don't buy a small condo in SLC, it seems it would be much more cost effective. But I guess the Wasatch isn't big enough for you and Admin to coexist :-) .
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Re: Sapporo Kokusai, Jan. 19, 2016

Postby Tony Crocker » Fri Jan 29, 2016 10:47 am

coldsmoke wrote:I'm just in awe of how much you spend each winter and have always wondered why you don't buy a small condo in SLC, it seems it would be much more cost effective.

As you probably know, I do have that timeshare week at Iron Blosam in March. I am in general quite skeptical of vacation real estate as being cost effective. There are significant ongoing carrying costs that apply even when you're not using it. And we've all learned recently that vacation real estate prices can move in both directions.

If you want vacation real estate to make sense, I think you need to be using it for the vast majority of your vacation time. Liz and I like variety (note Kokusai being my 200th ski area), and thus seeing new places is a key component of our travels. This is a mindset issue, not a budget issue as Patrick for example feels exactly the same way.

If our financial circumstances worsened, the appropriate response from a ski perspective would be to sell our house and move to SLC full time, much as that would :shock: admin.
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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
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Re: Sapporo Kokusai, Jan. 19, 2016

Postby Admin » Fri Jan 29, 2016 10:50 am

Shock indeed.
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Re: Sapporo Kokusai, Jan. 19, 2016

Postby lizardqueen » Sun Feb 07, 2016 6:57 pm

FYI Was Angeles is not off the table
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