Monday, January 11, 2010

Wakarimashita Hokkaido's backcountry

We left Niseko to go towards Jozankei to try some backcountry I spotted last year. On our way, we stopped at Neil Hartmann’s coffee to try to get some information from him. Almost everyone that I’ve talk to about my winter plan direct me towards him. Unfortunately for us, his coffee was closed when we dropped by. With his crew, they've travel all around Hokkaido living in their car and filming movies call Car Danchi.
The backcountry near Sapporo Kokusai was nice and soft with about 20-30cm of fresh. It was so good that we decided to stay for one more day.
On our way from Jozankei to Kokusai, we saw a guy walking with his skis on his shoulder, we turned around and hit the skin track, he just hopped on.
The hike-in was fairly long and we finally arrived on the top of…. not much. Staring at the view, we just couldn’t figure why people were skinning that long to get to a terrain that wasn’t that interesting.
We took the skins off , but the snow wasn’t that great neither consistent. That was definitively a place that I will not go back.
We figured it would be a good time to have our first day of rest and visit a little bit of Sapporo. With its population of about 1.8 million, it is a fairly big city. We walked around the downtown, but I was quite disappointed about the city. It was grey, not looking too good… until nightime!
If you ever consider visiting Sapporo, make sure you’ll be able to spend some time after dusk since it is only then that the city shows itself!
After almost a full day spent visiting the city, I was done. Good for me, it started snowing pretty hard again!
I figured hitting Sapporo Teine might be a good idea since it is only about 10km from Sapporo. We drove back to the parking of Teine Highland (Sapporo Teine’s expert terrain) and camp there.
Unfortunately, only about 10-15cm fell overnight. I was still all fired up to hit what I was told to be one of the best terrain in Hokkaido. Teine deserves its reputation! It is definitively the best inbound terrain I’ve experience so far in Japan. After almost 3 hours skiing some nice opens bowl where some nice wind drifts has lay more than 20cm of nice powder, I felt that my bindings were a bit loose on my skis. I called the day off and headed straight back to Sapporo to have it fixed.
There is a really great shop close at the corner of North 13 and West 3 called Shugakuso where the guys helped me fix my skis. Most of the outdoor gear is pretty expensive in Japan, but if you ever need anything, you can for sure find it there.
We are now in Tomamu where we spend the last 2 days skiing the backcountry around this resort. Yesterday, we went skiing out Karikachi Pass where we were able to get some nice turns in.
Today, we went skiing out close to the kilometre 69, on the road 136, where we saw a road that was going towards the mountains. We parked the car and after a hike of about 2 hours, we were at the top from where we were able to enjoy a nice run through the trees.
We’ll be moving up north soon as some snow is on the forecast! So if anyone is interested in joining us around Tokachi-dake, Asahidake or Kurodake, feel free to drop me a line!
I'll keep on skiing everyday purely for your entertainment (and a bit for mine)!!!!


jimb said...

excellent choix de photos, excellent texte ett toujours the last line!

Jyves said...

C'est bien de te suivre ainsi. On se connait pas, mais c'est pas grave. En passant, petite erreur de vocabulaire, c'est apres le 'dusk' (et non dawn) que Sapporo s'anime.
Pour ce qui est de Neiil Hartmann, je le connais un peu. Va sur et ensuite la section contact. A ma connaissance il repond a la plupart des demandes d'info, et il te donnera sans doute son addresse personelle et/ou son numero de tel.