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Lost In Translation-The Okushigakogen Gondora

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
Shigan Kogen local time








Lifts & Course data
Lift
Vertical
Drop
Length
Time

Course
Runnig
Distance
Inclination
Avg/Max
Level
47. Okushigakogen Gondora478m1,917m6'23"
The ski run 1900m6/8
48. Okusigakougen Pair lift 1106m824m8'34"
Expert 2630m23/30
49. Okushigakogen High-speed Pair 2335m1,555m6'28"
The ski run 3600m13/16
50. Okkushikgakogen High-speed Pair 3115m526m2'11"
The ski urn 4400m12/16
51. Okushigakogen Pair 462m376m3'08"
THe ski run 6700m8/9
53. Okushigakogen Pair 6102m667m6'10"
Dounhill Course2,200m19/28
54. Okushigakogen Pair 7118m517m4'47"
Detouring dounhill Course900m10/20





Kuma-otoshi Course400m20/30





Woody Course1,200m10/17




Shiga Kogen Tourism Association eng@shigakogen.gr.jp
Hasuike, Shiga Kogen, Yamanouchi, Shimotakai-gun, Nagano, JAPAN
Zip code 381-0401 TEL 0269-34-2404 Fax 0269-34-2344

Copyright(C) Shigakogen Tourist Association All right reserved.
post #2 of 13
And your question is...?
post #3 of 13
Thread Starter 
I did a lousy job in transferring the website.

My post was lost in translation.

Since you are in Japan, what resort in Japan has the best snow and expert terrain. I would love to go there to check it out but it looks like most of the resorts are pretty mellow.
post #4 of 13
Ok (and others): don't get caught by the hype. Japan isn't a place you GO to for skiing. If you're here, fine. There is some pretty good skiing; it's just not good enough to make a special trip. Otherwise, why would so many of us who live here pay a fortune and endure 10+ hours in airplanes to get to places like Whistler/Squaw/Alta/Vail/Banff/Chamonix/St Anton. Ask folks at Whistler -- the most convenient big-mountain skiing from Tokyo -- how many Japanese show up every season. I'm not trying to scare you off and keep it all to myself, and I'll be happy to show you around should you ever happen to be here during the season. But Japan is a ski destination only for the Aussies and the rest of East Asia.

OK, I'll add some more later. Gotta finish coffee and go to work right now.
post #5 of 13
I really like Shiga, and if it were steeper it would be way better than anything in North America. The place is huge, with over 60 lifts, and there are little villages all over the place. The Japanese are nice, and it's never the Disneyland experience you sometimes feel in the US.
IMO that gondola is the best ride in Shiga. It's not very steep, but it's about the steepest part of Shiga. There are some trees under it and you can catch fresh turns days after a storm. The Japanese spend more time lined up listening to instructors than they do actually skiing, and they never leave the groomed.

tom
post #6 of 13
Alright, first of all here's your primary resource (excepting myself of course on skiing in Japan:
http://www.snowjapan.com/e/index.php
lots of information & data, skier reviews, trip reports, etc. naturally, you should salt reviews well before digesting. feel free to message me if you feel the need for a totally unbiased opinion :.

The best bet for consistent powder is the north island of Hokkaido, especially Niseko, Rusutsu & Kiroro. There are other good powder areas but for non-Japanese speakers they'd be a little difficult to get to and enjoy (unless you've got friends nearby).

The three Niseko areas of Hirafu, Higashiyama & Annupuri interconnect at the top and there's a joint lift ticket. Most seasons the place is a good bet for 6 to 18 inches of fresh overnight three or four times a week from mid-December to end-February. There's also the occasional big dump . Powder quality is usually good , not Rockies good (the mountain tops out at 1,300 meters (4,200 feet), but as good as I've skied at Whistler or Squaw. It tends to be heavy when the cloud cover dips down onto the mountain, but lightens up very quickly once the cover rises.

Niseko doesn't have Whistler/Jackson/Snowbird steeps. I'd call it good powder cruising. There are some decent pitches, but nothing that makes me stop and take a deep breath : before pushing off (and I'm pretty much of a chickenheart). Come skiing with me and I'll show you some runs the tourists don't find.

There are a number of good hot springs hotels (yo Epic! need an icon for `damn that feels good'), and thanks to the Aussie invasion of the past few years a far wider choice of cuisine.

Feel free to ask questions, y'all. I'll try to put together a note on Rusutsu and Kiroro in the next day or two if anyone's interested. Again, pretty good skiing in Japan IF you're already here, but I'd never recommend making a special trip.
post #7 of 13
Thread Starter 
jimintokyo,
Thanks for the post. The region that intrigues me the most is Hokkaido. From what I understand, and as you stated, this region has the best powder in Japan. As far as steeps, which resort in that area is the best for steeps.
I read a review that mentioned some of the smaller resorts in Hokkaido are some of the better resorts, but they are hard to navigate (getting to and skiing) if you don't speak the language, this is probably what you were referring to. What are the names of these resorts?

Also, how difficult is it to get to Hokkaido?

Thanks again for your response.
post #8 of 13
Tom, I suspect your skiing experience in Japan is...shall we say less than extensive. You're right about Okushiga being the best part of the Shiga Kogen complex, but wrong about most everything else (you most obviously have never skied Alta or Jackson Hole or Taos). Suggest you broaden your horizons a bit to Hokkaido, Hachimantai, Zao, Nozawa Onsen & Hakuba before putting the ring on Shiga's finger.
post #9 of 13
Okolepuka (and I don't believe you are one) let's take that one offline since it really wouldn't be of general use. I'll PM you my e-mail.
post #10 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by jimintokyo View Post
Tom, I suspect your skiing experience in Japan is...shall we say less than extensive. You're right about Okushiga being the best part of the Shiga Kogen complex, but wrong about most everything else (you most obviously have never skied Alta or Jackson Hole or Taos). Suggest you broaden your horizons a bit to Hokkaido, Hachimantai, Zao, Nozawa Onsen & Hakuba before putting the ring on Shiga's finger.
I've been to Jackson and I lived near Alta for a while, but you are right I haven't skied much in Japan. I lost my sponsor, so I don't think I'll be back there for a while. What did I get wrong about Shiga? Are the Japanese not friendly?
Do they ski off piste much? I've never seen a Japanese skier leave the groomers for the trees, not even to take a leak.

Tom
post #11 of 13
Tom, no offense but how can you even think about comparing Shiga to Jackson or Alta. While I've never skied on the east coast, I suspect the far closer comparison is Killington, or maybe even Hunter Mt.
Okushiga is nice; I ski there myself sometimes. But it's pretty small and the vertical is less than Alta (without all the great skiing) and about a third of Jackson Hole. And the rest of Shiga, those 60+ lifts you mentioned, is for the most part short, overcrowded and boring as hell.

Really, I'm not trying to insult you or your experience -- I realize it may have sounded like that and I apologize. It's just that I would hate to see someone make a trip to shiga, or anywhere in Japan, from Europe or N.America thinking they were going to find some great new skiing paradise. If you're already in Tokyo, Okushiga is very good (tho I think Nozawa is better). If you're in Sydney, Niseko is excellent. But if you're in New Orleans, or Naples, or Birmingham (either one) you do not want to fly all the way to Japan to ski.

Oh, and plenty of Japanese ski off-piste (but not the ones that show up in Shiga. If you do ever get back here, look me up and I'll put you with some good backcountry fans.
post #12 of 13
Jim
You brought up JH and Alta, not me, but you are mostly right about the rest of it. Shiga isn't even as steep as Stratton, but otherwise the whole Japanese thing was way more interesting to me than skiing in the US. And whether it's steep or not, I like that they stay out of the trees and leave them for me.

tom
post #13 of 13
Tom, to be fair...

``..if it were steeper it would be way better than anything in North America.''

which in effect makes the comparison with Jackson & Alta, along with places like Whistler/Taos/Squaw, and is why I had to assume you'd never hit them.
You could make Okushiga as steep as you like and it still wouldn't offer anything remotely close to those mountains in quality or quantity of snow or terrain -- well, maybe Whistler in snow quality.

Again, I'm not trying to trash your experience, I just think we owe it to the folks who read these posts to be accurate. I love skiing the Yamabiko trees at Nozawa (for example) but I'd never toss up a post saying they'd be better than anything in N.America if only they were a bit steeper. For one thing, I haven't been everywhere in NA, for another YMMV.
What I might write is that the trees are well-spaced, the pitch averages about 20 degrees with a few steeper bits, it's a run of around a kilometer, there's a hi-speed quad lift serving the terrain and I think it's one of the best non-expert tree runs in the Nagano region.
That gives readers some factual information and lets them make a comparison with places they know.

Damn, but I want to ski! Hope winter comes early this year.
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