Niseko Expansion

ChrisC

Active member
Looks like 2021/22 Niseko's expansion sets them up to link to and revitalize Mt. Weiss in the near future.

Niseko Expansion.JPG


Story
 

ChrisC

Active member
I just took another look at your 2020 TR, during a "low-snow season."

Yeah...low snow. However, we were lucky to experience a more 'typical' Japan week where it snowed a bit every day - with a few bigger dumps.

Niseko is very similar to Mt. Bachelor - but with much better snow quality and quantity, a lot less wind, and only single chairs going to the top.
 

ChrisC

Active member

I do not agree with quite a few things in this report:

1. In principle, the immense financial and time investment is only worthwhile if there is minium half a meter of fresh snow every day and you can then go into the terrain. Nevertheless, tree skiing and off-road driving was a lot of fun. With more snowfall it would have looked different.

You need to set some reasonable expectations. Yes, it snows a lot in Japan, but most comes in gentle waves off the ocean. Like our Great Lakes snow machine. So we often wound up with 4-6" most days. When you get a storm in the Sea of Japan, then you can get up into the 12-20" zone. We luckily had two days like this. Also, seeking out wind-loaded slopes is key....primarily the Hanazano NE sector.

2. Again and again a fantastic view: Mt. Yotei. We had originally planned to climb the summit, but then gave it up due to a lack of equipment and fitness.

You do not want to hike Mt. Yotei in mid-winter. Super intense climb. Our guide just says it gets wind-blasted to ice and not really worth it to spring. What were they thinking?

3. Another highlight on day 2 was the ascent to Annupuri Peak. The walk takes about 15 minutes. From up there you have a great view. Unfortunately, everything has already been extended here as well.

You can almost always find some lines - fresh or semi-tracked - off the summit. Here are just the South/Southwest Bowls.

Niseko_LI.jpg



4. We then considered booking a rental car, but decided against it for cost reasons and took a bus from Sapporo Airport directly to Annupuri. In retrospect, it would have been good to have a rental car, so we could have gone to the neighboring ski areas in Moiwa and Rusutsu. A bus connection to these two areas is not really good.

You really do need a car in Niseko. The 4 zones of Niseko are only linked at the highest levels - single chairs - so windy days certain sectors will have more lifts open than others. Also, Annupuri base barely has any development. You likely want to be able to go over to Hirafu village or Kutchan - lots good cheap sushi/ramen/etc places.



Overall, a nice report though.
 
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Tony Crocker

Administrator
Staff member
When you get a storm in the Sea of Japan, then you can get up into the 12-20" zone.
There is such a thing as too much snow in Niseko. On the last two days in 2011 it snowed 40 inches. The sidecountry gates were closed and I got bogged down and stuck frequently. If you are getting 4-6 inches a day as we did in 2016, it may get tracked but not packed unless it doesn't snow at all for a couple of days. The ideal new snow scenario IMHO is 10-12 inches. We had three of those in 2016. It skis really deep but is not enough to close the gates.
 
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EMSC

Active member
Japow is on my list, but haven't quite figured out how to get the goods. With Race training all winter break for my son, plus by the time he is out on his own I'll be in my late 50's. I need to get there sooner while I have the energy and skills for the top notches of this type of skiing.
 

Tony Crocker

Administrator
Staff member
I was 58 on my first Niseko trip in 2011. La Grave is the place you need to visit "while I have the energy and skills for the top notches of this type of skiing."

It's no surprise I was not that attracted to racing either myself or for Adam. I'd hate to be chained to a place like Eldora or an eastern molehill for multiple seasons. Adam's skills were certainly enhanced by racing in college, though the SoCal league was just a club program. Overall, the Iron Blosam New Jersey contingent who were race trained as kids consider Adam a slightly stronger skier with his more diverse ski background.
 
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ChrisC

Active member
I'll be in my late 50's. I need to get there sooner while I have the energy and skills for the top notches of this type of skiing.

Japan is not about the steepest or most challenging skiing. Very little of the terrain is more difficult than a low expert gradient. The tight (New England - like) birch glades can be the greatest challenge. The experience is more about the continuous powder cycles from Christmas to March 1st and the culture of Japan.

The people who might be SOL are those who never skied East Coast hardwoods.

If you can huck yourself into Corbett's.....you will be able to ski Japan for a long time.
 
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