Typical Niseko

You either have to stay the whole season or be really lucky to get an awesome powder day in Niseko.  When I got there on Friday, the snow was falling heavily, but the high winds that are typically associated with the storms that bring in the snow closed the resorts for the day.  The winds were nowhere near as bad as the time I was there several years ago and got blocked on my last riding day, so at least the snow was accumulating instead of blowing away to cover the surrounding farming plain.

On Saturday, the winds had abated enough that the lower lifts at Annupuri were running, but they were still stinging strong.  Visibility varied from mostly 30M to a couple of rare clear and sunny periods, but the constant winds from the Nihon-kai were steadily moving the snow from the rider’s right down into the gated valley to the left.  The windpack and windscour did leave some interesting step-downs near the treeline that were fun to ride, and in one of the brief sunny periods, I managed to find a natural booter in the sidecountry trees in the area bound by the last switchback at the bottom of the easy course.  It’s nice to land on a long, soft downslope instead of krunk and krud!  Sorry – no pictures!  I only ended up riding for half the day because the weather was deteriorating, and the snow conditions were good but not quite “epic”, but with a 2500-yen discount lift pass voucher from the pension I overnighted at, it was not too bad.  Okay, sure the bus ride was like 4400-yen RT and there was lodging and food and day-use of an onsen on the shut-down day, but it was still better than going all that way and not getting to ride. 

Maybe someday I will completely luck out and all the conditions will be right.

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