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Rec Racing in Japan?

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

I frequently travel overseas for work, and about once every year will stay out over a weekend for back-to-back trips.  One year I was able to arrange some fantastic skiing in Austria.  Looks like I might be able to arrange another boondoggle ski weekend, I mean save the company money weekend in South Korea or preferably Japan sometime around mid-March.  For sake of convenience, Nagano Prefecture is the most likely area I could ski.

 

Any possibility of picking some rec race time in Japan, something like a NASTAR GS?  Might be good fun & I'm sure the locals will get a kick out of seeing a semi-Sumo-size racer on their course.  I'm definitely not a SL guy, so something like a modified GS or even full GS would be great.  I should have a Saturday and a Sunday free.

 

I'd need advice regarding location and where to rent decent skis, as I probably don't want to haul mine around.  I'd bring my own boots and other gear, but I'm wondering how easy it will be to find skis with bindings to accommodate a 335mm BSL.  

 

For some background- Last season was my first for beer league and NASTAR.  A very humbling start, but now I have improved and am more or less middle of the pack.  I'm ranked nationally at the top of my NASTAR Silver division, assuming my next few races don't completely kick me into the rock bottom of the Gold division.  I've run 3 full length, steep pitch GS races- not well, but I wasn't last & finished all runs.  My regular beer league course is ~30 seconds and NASTAR ~25 seconds. 

 

Any advice welcome, even if general skiing advice for Japan given a racing interest.

 

Thanks!!!

post #2 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ventura View Post
 

I frequently travel overseas for work, and about once every year will stay out over a weekend for back-to-back trips.  One year I was able to arrange some fantastic skiing in Austria.  Looks like I might be able to arrange another boondoggle ski weekend, I mean save the company money weekend in South Korea or preferably Japan sometime around mid-March.  For sake of convenience, Nagano Prefecture is the most likely area I could ski.

 

Any possibility of picking some rec race time in Japan, something like a NASTAR GS?  Might be good fun & I'm sure the locals will get a kick out of seeing a semi-Sumo-size racer on their course.  I'm definitely not a SL guy, so something like a modified GS or even full GS would be great.  I should have a Saturday and a Sunday free.

 

I'd need advice regarding location and where to rent decent skis, as I probably don't want to haul mine around.  I'd bring my own boots and other gear, but I'm wondering how easy it will be to find skis with bindings to accommodate a 335mm BSL.  

 

For some background- Last season was my first for beer league and NASTAR.  A very humbling start, but now I have improved and am more or less middle of the pack.  I'm ranked nationally at the top of my NASTAR Silver division, assuming my next few races don't completely kick me into the rock bottom of the Gold division.  I've run 3 full length, steep pitch GS races- not well, but I wasn't last & finished all runs.  My regular beer league course is ~30 seconds and NASTAR ~25 seconds. 

 

Any advice welcome, even if general skiing advice for Japan given a racing interest.

 

Thanks!!!

 

Nobody cares about alpine racing in Asia, unfortunately for you. No such thing as NASTAR - there are some manufacturer-sponsored amateur races, but from my understanding, they are not "races", but are more "technical points" contests without gates.

 

I think to be able to enter a race with gates, you need to be licensed by the corresponding SIAs of each country and be a paying member of such SIA - a very cheap way of protecting their interests while restricting potential challengers/competition.

post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by iheartnyc View Post

Nobody cares about alpine racing in Asia, unfortunately for you. No such thing as NASTAR - there are some manufacturer-sponsored amateur races, but from my understanding, they are not "races", but are more "technical points" contests without gates.

I think to be able to enter a race with gates, you need to be licensed by the corresponding SIAs of each country and be a paying member of such SIA - a very cheap way of protecting their interests while restricting potential challengers/competition.

Thanks- I was only wondering... Looks like free skiing is in order assuming the trip comes together.
post #4 of 10

Japan does have racing events and most are registered through SAJ.

 

They all follow FIS regs for the most part. There is nothing like NASTAR but there are a few local racing events that are limited. Depending on where you go, look into the schedule for the mountains. If you know some locals that are keen on racing, they might know scheduling for race days. I'm way up north in Tohoku area so I don't know anything about Nagano, sadly.

 

Also, SL is not popular in Japan. So you lucked out on that. Nearly 2/3 of all events in Tohoku are GS only.

post #5 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Snuckerpooks View Post

Japan does have racing events and most are registered through SAJ.

They all follow FIS regs for the most part. There is nothing like NASTAR but there are a few local racing events that are limited. Depending on where you go, look into the schedule for the mountains. If you know some locals that are keen on racing, they might know scheduling for race days. I'm way up north in Tohoku area so I don't know anything about Nagano, sadly.

Also, SL is not popular in Japan. So you lucked out on that. Nearly 2/3 of all events in Tohoku are GS only.

I remember going through some gates in the afternoon that nobody was using and some coach following me down to yell at me. I mean the snow was already rugged and it was getting late so I figured 1 run cant do any harm.

I asked around and they told me "SA" members only, and once in a while they have "non SA members only" for those races but when I dug further it was a stupid technical event with no gates - fake imaginary slalom with the gates in your head smile.gif I did see a flyer for "open gate practice" but it was for practice only, and did hear that some local clubs run inter-club races but thats for members only or something.

Made me wonder why the Asian countries create so many hoops to jump through to get into racing - if anything all comers should be welcomed and encouraged given the lack of competition at the top. Maybe the "exclusivity" angle these guys take is the reason why the fail to show up at the World Cup and Olympics...
post #6 of 10
iheart, there is racing in Japan. I wasn't involved in it at all other than observing, but I've gotten rides to the hill with friends who were. I ran gates about three runs... on one of the local HS clubs SL gates on my teley skis at the coach's request because his kids didn't think it was possible. Anyhow, there are FIS races (I've seen these both at Happo One and Niseko) and more local non-FIS stuff sponsored by local hills and I think through S.A.J., but to the best of my knowledge, there is no Nastar equivalent. This is from observations over 12 seasons there.
post #7 of 10
Do you have to be an SAJ member to race in those local events? Also I thought the local events happened just a few times a year at most because the local hills arent keen on the dangers involved with setting up gates for the general public to race down. FIS is obviously out of reach for the general population...
post #8 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by iheartnyc View Post

Do you have to be an SAJ member to race in those local events? Also I thought the local events happened just a few times a year at most because the local hills arent keen on the dangers involved with setting up gates for the general public to race down. FIS is obviously out of reach for the general population...
... as it is here. The local races where a few times a season, but it think there was a series around 3-4 local hills, so you probably could have raced every other week. I have no idea if S.A.J. membership was necessary, but I'd assume so. Wouldn't be a big deal to join if you were there. I joined and got my telemark teaching certification through the T.A.J... Sort of wacky, but met some great people and had a blast! I didn't race either teley or alpine there because I'd done way too much of it in my younger days and just wasn't interested. I might think about it now if I were there... Naaaw. Probably not. Too much powder. smile.gif
post #9 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by markojp View Post


... as it is here. The local races where a few times a season, but it think there was a series around 3-4 local hills, so you probably could have raced every other week. I have no idea if S.A.J. membership was necessary, but I'd assume so. Wouldn't be a big deal to join if you were there. I joined and got my telemark teaching certification through the T.A.J... Sort of wacky, but met some great people and had a blast! I didn't race either teley or alpine there because I'd done way too much of it in my younger days and just wasn't interested. I might think about it now if I were there... Naaaw. Probably not. Too much powder. smile.gif

 

Interesting. My recollection was that to race at all (the non-FIA events), you had to have a "license" or "certification" from SAJ (which you get after you take a skills test), whereas for NASTAR you simply can register and anyone can do it without having to worry about passing a test. The local club competitions from my recollection were very informal, but if you didn't actually live in Japan or belong to that club, you wouldn't really have a way "in" to compete there. This was all a while back ago so my memory may be wrong. Used to go to Japan maybe 3-4 times a year but obviously somebody who actually lives there would know better than me...

post #10 of 10
Sounds about right to me.
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