So I will be headed to japan this coming january with my family. It's looking like we will be going to niseko due to younger cousins and siblings. I was wondering what kind of skis people generally take over there. I'm 18, 6 foot, 160 pounds and own a pair of volkl kendo 177s, but i was looking at getting a pair of powder skis. I don't have any backcountry experience but would say I'm an athletic advanced to expert skier and will be looking to get off piste as much as possible but may be dragged around with the family for periods (not complaining it's still better than aus). When i was last at whistler i did ski the salomon 108s at 184cm and found them to be quite good although at times i did get the feeling of tip dive (the snow was a quite heavy). Any ideas would be appreciated
Skis for Japan
I'm not particularly tied to a brand, so I'm open to any ski. I had looked into the one however i was a bit worried about their performance in tracked out conditions which i understand happens a bit in niseko. could offer anything more specific about the skis or conditions over there?
My current Hokkaido skis are 121 wide Élan Boomerangs .
You could get by with your Kendos but why just get by. Get some fatties. Have a look at LevelNine sports. They are now stocking Armada and have a good deal on JJ's
Would be perfect Hokkaido skis for your size.
thanks for the input. with all that in mind i think I'll be looking at the shiro, patron, jj or opus. craigr would you mind sharing what the conditions are like there in general. I I'm still a touch skeptical of the endless dumps of powder picture that is painted in reviews, ie is that photo an average days skiing?
We have never been on a trip that didn't have fresh but expect crowds in January. IIRC, the worst trip we had involved no new snow for 4-5 days. Even saw snow bladers off piste. The night before we left it puked and we had to dig our way out the front door.
In general, expect to be skiing powder during your trip and as Marko says, it's soft even when it's tracked out. I haven't tried the Shiros but one of my most memorable days at Niseko was on a pair of Kuros (134underfoot) inbounds and out the gates.
Skis like the JJ's, Shiros, katanas, gotamas, hellbents, etc. are commonplace.
My Honshu skis are Ninthward THA's which I also purchased from L9. Killer price of $159 or thereabouts. About $220 aus delivered.
On a side note, skiing out the gates is outside the resort boundary and should be treated as such.
Niseko isn't steep but avalanches do occur and glide cracks claim a few souls every year. For every person with beacon/shovel/probe there would be several without.
Many epic Niseko pow images are taken outside the resort boundary but you can pay to get runs in before the lifts open. A backcountry powder tour can be worthwhile as well.
Edited by craigr - 7/11/14 at 8:16pm
In Japan in general, in a typical 70-80 day season, I'd ski maybe 5 days of piste total, and truly hard snow conditions maybe one to three days per season. All the rest was off piste and touring. One of these days the western press is going to figure out how amazing the spring touring is in the northern alps (Honshu). Like this:
In closing, all I can say is that I've never had a day in N.America that would be in my top 25 in Japan.
Edited by markojp - 7/11/14 at 9:28pm
Sounds to be every bit the heaven people make it out to be then! First of all with the final decision on where to go up in the air if you had to recommend one place to ski in japan for a group that ranges from a beginner 11 year old to a couple of experts where would that be?
Secondly After some research I'm look at the armada norwalk as i don't ski switch. Only trouble is deciding between the 189 and 179 lengths. 189 seems quite long while the 179 seems very short for a ski with so much tip rocker.
Keep in mind that majority of travel insurers won't cover you for out of bounds skiing; no patrolling outside the gates in Japan; mandatory police reporting for any out of bounds search and rescue; you are liable for rescue costs.
If the " experts" in the group want steeps then maybe consider somewhere in Nagano and hire a guide for BC. Steeps + January= avalanche.
Agree with most of what's been said, but I'd still bring your Kendos. On a family trip you'll be spending time in-bounds on groomed or packed out snow. Easy enough to rent some fat skis for going out the gates or fun when it dumps big. When I go up I usually bring an all-mountain (88-98) and my Praxis Protests.
Many do as Jim has suggested and rent for bigger days. I've done if myself but at about $60 a day, I decided to buy my own.
With our strong dollar there are some good deals online but Oz ebay can yield some great deals. Many head to Japan, buy some fatties and then sell them on return.
Very limited market for resale combined with other factors such as majority without skills/knowledge to remount and a fair amount of bad vibe from B&M shops regarding kit bought online. Adds up to some good deals.
Your Kendos will be fine for Noz. Strict off piste policy.
I also like to see what powderhounds.com has to say about a place
This clip is a beauty
Edited by craigr - 7/21/14 at 1:58pm
Kendos will be OK at Nozawa, but in January you'll see knee-deep dumps now and then, and be wishing you had real powder skis.
Not a lot of rental fat-ski options there last time I looked, but that has been a while. ski.com.au may have some more recent advice on that.