Ok so despite cold temperatures in Japan, the alpine snow didn’t quite start falling as early as we were hoping. With only 30cm on the ground at the start of last week, I pulled the plug on the plans for Tateyama.
To be fair, it’s looking a lot better as of this morning. Damian was a bit disappointed that I bailed, but he’s up there skiing now with new snow on the ground, so I’m sure he’s managing.
Anyway I decided to move the tickets to March and go on a corn & sakura spring skiing trip, in Hakuba valley itself. This was partly inspired by the trip Damian and the backcountry forum on ski.com.au did in 2012.
I’ve been reading the Mountainlife.jp magazines for inspiration and there is definitely a lot in there. It’s good stuff.
The “real” backcountry seems to be accessed from Tsugiake, which opens an extra lift up the top of the resort in spring. From there you can access the bowls on the other side of the Hiyodori ridge, around Norikura-dake, off the back towards Renge Onsen, and around the main divide towards Korenge-dake, Shirouma dake, and beyond.
Damian’s also got a heap of stuff on his blog Steep Deep Japan.
That’s not to discount the sidecountry off the Happo and Toomi ridges, which still access 1000m+ of vertical.
And, well, there’s still the chance it could snow in late march/april and I would have to ski powder. What a shame.