Posted by: hokkaidopowderguides | January 2, 2015

Tokachidake Touring

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It is always great to get in the alpine during the months of January and February in Hokkaido. The weather which we get at this time is condusive to deep powder, so a lot of snowy days. New year’s day this year it was a beautiful bluebird day and touring in Tokachidake in the Daisetsuzan National Park was great with good quality snow.

Posted by: hokkaidopowderguides | March 20, 2014

Central Hokkaido Powder Belt Trip

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One of our last trips of the season was in the Central Hokkaido area with an international crew from NZ, Holland, U.K and Scotland.

It was the perfect combination of a big dump at the start of the trip that continued for 3 solid days and then fine weather for the rest of the trip which enabled us to ski the alpine areas of Daisetsuzan National Park. The highlight was an ascent of the live volcano on a windless blue bird day with fantastic powder from top to bottom.

Most days were finished soaking in the outdoor thermal hot springs followed by delicious Japanese cuisine.

Posted by: hokkaidopowderguides | February 11, 2014

Avalanche Skills Training in Niseko

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A second AST has just been completed with Yoshiko instructing on the course and 8 students.

The first day was held at a resort to learn beacon search techniques, methods of probing and shovelling. In the afternoon, everyone heads off on a sidecountry trip and learns various snow stability tests.

After a hot spring an evening theory session commences which looks in more details at the formation and nature of avalanches and factors which affect the snow pack.

Everyone heads out on a short half day backcountry tour on day two which concentrates on navigating in avalanche terrain. In the afternoon everyone participates in an avalanche scenario before the course wrap up.

Posted by: hokkaidopowderguides | February 9, 2014

The Volcano

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There aren’t many days during the winter we get blue skies in Hokkaido. We were lucky to experience Hokkaido on a blue sky day yesterday and to see the volcanic fumeroles.

Asahidake last erupted in 1739.

Posted by: hokkaidopowderguides | February 8, 2014

Hakkoda Trip

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We just spent three days in Hakkoda which is located near the top of the main island of Japan. Fabled for some of the deepest powder in Japan.

Our three days there certainly didn’t disappoint, getting between 40-60cm of new snow every night and snowing through the day. Some of our turns we almost submerged ourselves, especially the telemark skiers who get in to the powder a little deeper.

One of the attractions is the rimed ‘todomatsu’ forest between 1,000 to 1,300 meters elevation. One of only a few places in Japan that experience this natural wonder, where super-cooled water droplets freeze on to the sides of trees. They are translated as ‘Snow Monsters’ and skinning between them can seem almost other-worldly.

The single ropeway there is also heavily rimed from multiple trips in blizzard conditions up the mountain. It just squeezes in to its perch at the top gondola station.

Lower down are the ‘buna’ forest where perfectly spaced trees makes for fantastic tree skiing.

Each day we finished in the local hot springs. The favorite was the ‘Sennin Buro’ or 1,000 person bath with its acrid smell of sulfur and aged wooden surrounds. People have been soaking in its rich mineral water for 200 years.

Stay tuned for more scheduled trips to Hakkoda next year.

Posted by: hokkaidopowderguides | February 2, 2014

Rishiri Island Trip

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We just spent 5 days skiing an island volcano out in the Sea of Japan. With us were largely a Canadian crew of Chris, Grant, Norm and Mary, Joshua and Emilie, Jeffrey and Nick as the two Aussies.

We set sail from the northern tip of Hokkaido and while we had some clearance on the journey, the mountain did not reveal herself unfortunately.

Mt Rishiri is an extinct volcano and number one on the list of the ‘Hyakumeizan’ or Japan’s Hundred most Famous Mountains.

Each day we used sleds for the approach and climbed and skied various sides of the mountain, finishing in hot thermal springs and enjoying the beautifully fresh seafood of the island in the evening.

It was a fantastic trip and one that we hope to be offering more regularly in the future.

Posted by: hokkaidopowderguides | January 25, 2014

The Powderhounds

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We have been hosting a Powderhounds trip this past week with Greg, Lyndell, Steve, Mark and Henri. We have skied some good snow and soaking in various hot springs at the end of the day. Commencing in the second largest city in Hokkaido gave us an opportunity to try different Japanese cuisine and check out the local bar scene.

Presently we are staying at the southern end of the Daisetsuzan National Park, which is the largest park in Japan. There is great backcountry skiing right outside the door.

Posted by: hokkaidopowderguides | January 20, 2014

3 Volcanoes Trip 2014

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We just finished one of our ‘3 Volcanoes’ trips with a Rick, Fernando, Corin, Mary, Rick and Slav from the States. They came from California which seems to be having a dry season so far.

The first part of the trip was in Niseko where is was constantly snowing. Some backcountry days became resort days as there was so much snow and fresh powder lines straight from the lifts.

The second half of the trip they were based in Central Hokkaido in a hot springs lodge in the heart of the Daisetsuzan National Park. While they were here the weather became more stable and we were able to ski all of the three volcanoes on the itinerary.

Posted by: hokkaidopowderguides | January 15, 2014

Big January

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We have had an amazing January so far. Snow has been falling all around Hokkaido in consistent amounts. The base at Asahidake already has nearly a 2.5 meter snowpack and in Niseko it is 2.3 meters. The snow depth at the peak in Niseko is already at 4 meters and the accumulative snow fall to date for this season is 741cm.

At the present rate, it looks like January could be a record month.

Posted by: hokkaidopowderguides | January 7, 2014

Shot of the Week

Deep

Deep

We have been having an amazing January. This shot was taken on the second run of the day when the clouds magically parted to reveal some blue skies which we haven’t seen a lot of recently.

The skier is Terry, who likes to ski his skinny skis to really get down and deep in the powder. In an age of ever increasing ski widths that enable more float, Terry gets more face shots than anyone I know.

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