Saturday, February 11, 2017

More good powder skiing at Asahidake

Japan ski trip 2017 day 3. A bit overcast this morning but we could still see the summit. The snow was still good and it was not crowded. We have always got on a lift when waiting at the bottom. We met up with two Kiwis- Donald and Ian, who skied with us for a run out to skiers right.

Some lovely snow at the top then across a mild angled plan and along a ridge. I ducked up to the right with Donald following. We found some of the best snow. Deep, soft and untracked! At the bottom there was a flat plain with a skin track heading back slightly uphill.

We skied along it for quite a distance, hiking up some knolls before we eventually got back to the lift station. A great slackcountry run. Dave, Donald and I skied for the rest of the day and had many more  great runs.

We stopped for a beer with Donald at the Asahidake Manseikaku Hotel Bearmonte which was upscale compared to our lodgings at the Grand Hotel Daisetsu.

Donald said the Niseko is expensive and very crowded even though it is a poor snow year, so it will be interesting to check it out.  We might hike and ski there rather than ski the runs.

Another great meal then some planning about tomorrow, our last day in Asahidake,

I spoke to three Australians from Brisbane in the foyer (Tom and Darby) about the skiing here.

Dave and Donald

Dinner after the onsen

GPS log

Friday, February 10, 2017

Asahidake summit and descent via northern face

Japan ski trip 2017 day 2. A bluebird day greeted as we walked to the Gondola after a massive Japanese breakfast.  We did one off-piste run before heading off on a tour to the northern face of Asahidake.  Skinning up was straight forward until we got to ice sastrugi. We continued up on crampons and made good progress.

We got to the top of the descent route Dave had spotted where it got icy.  A guided group of 9 people dropped in from above as we were checking it out. Damn!

We continued to the summit for the superb views. It was cold up high, particularly in the wind but my extra layer of compression tights kept me warm enough without overpants.

My new OMD Mk5 II camera doesn't like the cold though, it conks out.

We skied back to the descent route we had spotted and entered it.  Very steep and icy at the top for a short section then we got fresh cold snow and a really good ski run and fresh tracks.

Near the bottom Dave stuffed up a turn and lost a ski - a binding had torn right off it. The ski took off for a considerable distance but stopped before it disappeared down a sinkhole.  I skied a nice gentle angle run in brilliant snow to get it.  It had launched off a small ramp and speared into the snow.

Dave contoured around on one ski. We met on the way back to the top station.  After a can of hot coffee and a quick late lunch I skied down and back to the hotel to get Dave's spare skis then walked back up to the lift station in time for the last lift at 3:40.

Dave skied down carrying his damaged skis on his pack.  We did a relaxed run in good snow to the skiers right mostly under the lift line, then along the road back to the hotel.

Thursday, February 09, 2017

Magical first day skiing at Asahidake

Japan ski trip 2017 day 1.  We got to Asahidake after noon and walked up to the lift station.  Lots of nice snow but the bus driver said it was not a good snow year here!  A fast ride up the gondola then we had a couple of really nice runs in calf deep fresh snow.

Dave then said lets go for the summit so we skied up past the dramatic venting fumeroles up the right hand ridge.  It was firm and icy and sometimes steep but there was a ski trail of sorts and snow shoe tracks.  I was wishing I had my ski crampons at times.

The visibility was average but Dave was determined to push on.  A man on a mission!

We summited about 15 minutes before sunset to get a fantastic view in the cold.  We then followed a nice ski trail down the ridge then dropped into the central gully for a magical descent down the Jigoku-dani  Valley.  We were the last ones down the hill.

We met some Italian ski tourers at the bottom and had a brief chat then skied down the road back to the hotel.  Ramen for dinner (not meals available as we had not booked them) and then a wonderful soak in the onsen.

This was one of my best ski days and summits ever!

GPS log
From my Garmin Epix, I don't think our uphill route is logged as I used the Ski/Board activity