Monday, March 22, 2010

Tomamu Catski and the end of the Japan tour

Sorry about the last report, I guest that sleeping in a bed as made me lazy!...

So, we left Otaru and drive towards Tomamu resort. We drove all the way to Shimukappu and park the car to get some sleep. During that night, it rained really hard and the wind was shaking the van...
The next morning brought us exactly what we thought all night... a frickin ice ring to ski on!
The wind was still up so all the top lifts were closed leaving only the lower lifts running... After gathering our motivation in the ski lodge for about 3 hours, we finally get ready to check out what the conditions were like.

After a single run, we packed our stuff and headed to the hotel (yeah, yeah an hotel!!!)

Outdoor Japan set me up to review the catski operation of Tomamu and the resort has been keen enough to get us a room at the Tower hotel!

The room was great and we were lucky to be able to watch, listen (and not really understand) some Japanese TV. Do you know that snowball fight is actually a sport (with tournament, teams and coaches) in some part of Japan!????
Don't have to say that we weren't much looking forward to ski the following day.....

Well overnight, it snowed!

With the snow come back our motivation to go skiing and check out the catski operation!
Since everything was happening in Japanese, we didn't understand much of what was happenning; at some point, we even thought that we were going heli-ski, but unfortunately the high winds grounded the chopper.....
But we finally took off and when it was time to ski, we weren't the tourist anymore!!!
About 20-25cm coupled with some high winds turned the conditions from stay-at-home-and-drink-beer to wow-I-never-though-it-could-be-that-great-today!!!

The terrain is not super steep, but really nice for intermediate and advance skier. Of course, the staff know their terrain and all the run we did were pretty nice.
We were able to lap 3 runs/1000m vertical before lunch.
At lunch, we were quite suprise to realize that is was to happen inside a teepee, with a chef cooking the food on the site!
The lunch was much better than what we usually have (which is quite often nothing!!!)!!!!!!!
After few coffees to stay awake after this huge 4 courses lunch we took off for 3 more runs and another 1000m vertical!
This was quite a great day! Considering, that at some point we thought about pretending that we were sick not to go, it was even better!!!!
From Tomamu, we made the drive back to Niseko where we had to drop the car. Niseko Village was so stoked about the article I wrote about Mizuno no Sawa, that they offered us some pass for the day!!! Clayton, from the Black Diamond Lodge came up with us and showed us the back bowls. There was about 10cm of fresh snow sitting on some packed powder. We then lapped the backbowl making gigantic, fast GS turns.

After going a bit everywhere on the mountain, we finally took off when the blizzard that was happening forced the closure of the top lifts.

Clayton offered us to drop the car directly at the airport! That was really a good thing for us since we still had some stuff to do before leaving!

Before dinner, we had some time to kill so we walked into the best tele store in Niseko call Toryu. That happen to be owned by one of Japan's top telemark skier Yutaka Takanashi. Yutaka saw the picture of Babiche's skis and all the staff in there were pretty excited to check out his homemade skis!! It is quite a bummer that we had to leave Niseko, because they really wanted us to go out and tour with them.... maybe next year?!!!

After feasting over some Okonomyaki, we drove to Jozankei to catch up with Neil Hartmann that, at the beginning of the winter, gave me some quite good backcountry spots!
We met him at his really cool cafe and had few beers talking about each other winter and future plans!Then was the final day in Japan. After some final shopping, packing all the gear and dropping the van (without a single scratch!!!)We ate as much as we could and dry as much as we could to bring some Japan with us!!!
The following was some regular airplane travel (wait, sit, passport-please, now boarding, sleep, watch TV, etc.....) After about 26 hours of travel (including some waiting time!) I was quite glad to be back in Quebec city.

This was a great way to celebrate a 5th season of snowchasing by going to Japan! I still have some plans for next winter so hopefully, I will be able to nail a plan to entertain you!!!!

Thanks for following me this winter and I hope you enjoyed it!!!



Rooster said...

Interesting to read your blog this season. Looked like a good one!

Jyves said...

Merci beaucoup pour le couch surfing que toi et tes visiteurs m'avez offert au cours de la saison. J'espere que ton post-powder-down-syndrome sera pas trop mauvais!

J'ai hate a l'an prochain pour lire tes futures recherches poudreuses.

cat skiing said...

wow, I'm not sure skiing gets much better than that. Looks like an awesome day. Almost makes me long for cold!

Anne said...

Thanks for sharing your adventure. Helps in making up your mind about skiing.

mackays said...

Thanks for sharing the information with us...The pictures shows that you have an awesome day...
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