Take Only Photos, Leave Only Tracks
We've left quite a few fresh tracks in the powder ski touring in Niseko over the past couple of days and also taken more photos of the amazing scenery than we have space to publish...
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- 26th January 2018
- Elaine Deed
So we headed up that bad boy, Mount Yotei, the volcano on Wednesday. The wind had howled with quite a bit of snow the day before but the morning dawned with an unfamiliar yellow orb in the sky that managed to hang around until midday. The sun, evidently, is so rare during the ski season in Niseko that the guides have to take Vitamin D tablets.
We were the only van in the parking area and saw no one, Our ski touring group - Gav, Samir, Luke and me - hiked up nearly 1000m to the top of the tree line of Mount Yotei where the -15C temperature made transitioning a finger-freezing process, Our guide was Cvetko Podlogar, who has lived in Japan for over 26 years and is one of few UIAGM guides in Japan and the only non-Japanese national to have been accredited to the Japanese Mountain Guide Association.
Coming down meant avoiding tree holes but enjoying thigh deep Japow.
The other group had a guide to go through the gates and find powder in Niseko. But the Wonderland link was closed and the top 'Pizza' boxes lift didn't open because of the winds but they did the classic Watermelon and Banana. Apparently the upper access gates have only been open once in the last six days.
Yesterday, Thursday, was a road trip to a smaller resort with all the group, eight of us, back together. There was nice cold powder but it was getting quite tracked out.
Gav, as usual, turned into powder sniffer dog and ventured to the ridge at the top to look over. Soooo as the group were heading for a late lunch we went off the back as Gav and I were packing skins and, sadly, the others were told to leave them in the van by the guide who obviously couldn't be bothered with touring and only wanted to do sidecountry..
But...it was probably the best pitch and powder EVER. It was also the most beautiful glade of snow laden trees I have ever had the privilege to ski down. You can always tell how light the powder is when it's still hanging in the air from previous turns - and it was hanging for at least three turns. Just a pity we didn't ski(ve) off earlier.