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Topic ClosedKamui Ski Links (hokkaido) Review

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ippollite View Drop Down
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Direct Link To This Post Topic: Kamui Ski Links (hokkaido) Review
    Posted: Feb/07/2011 at 3:54pm
Preamble

Where:Kamui Ski links. Just on the outskirts of asahikawa smack bang in the middle of Hokkaido.
Resort Map:http://asahikawa-tourism.com/images/img_winter/kamui/kamui_013.jpg
When:1st February 2011
Who:Ive now been riding about 4 years. I have little to zero park skills, but can slash a bit in the trees (with some speed checking still, i cant quite let fully rip... though its getting close). I tell you this so you know what im likely to be hitting out there.
Cost:CHEAP. 3000 yen for a day pass.
About the Snow:Its been a tough year so far in central hokkaido. The snow just doesnt seem to be making its way here. The previous day saw about 10cms drop, and was one of the first real drops in the area in about two weeks. This, in case you dont realise is PEAK snow season in hokkaido in a season that started already quite late. The conditions at the resort was calf-knee deep freshies though, so that was nice.
Resort Conditions: All the groomers beautifully groomed, all the rest of it open to hit whatever you like.
Resort Facilities: Not that much. A cafe up the top and a ramen place at the bottom. Aside a little ski-jo shop selling typical combini fare and a ski school, theres not that much else around.
Other Info: Kamui is owned by the town of Asahikawa. No accommodation exists at the site. If you want to hit this place you need to bus in from somewhere (assuming you dont have a car). The obvious 2 places are asahikawa itself and of course furano (which runs trips there on sunday monday and tuesday for 5800 yen (bus and liftpass)). It might seem like a pain, but if you stay in asahikawa it means you have lots more options for accommodation and nightlife.
Heres a page telling you a bit about the place and also how to access it: http://asahikawa-tourism.com/asahikawa/asahikawa_winter/kamui_ski_links/kamui_ski_links.html

Review: After a forty minute bus ride from furano we arrived to a perfect bluebird day of smooth white untracked snow. It looked a bit flat and small, but no worries! I grabbed the gondola and headed straight up. Being the child that i am, the first thing i did was found the line under the gondola and played on that. It was honestly a riot. Knee to waist deep, lots of bumps and drops, and an awesome little pow field that reminded me of strawberry fields (though completely untracked). Immediately i realised the day was going to be a lot of fun.

After a couple of runs up and down the length of the mountain, my attentions went elsewhere and i ended up on the sidebowl. Serviced by the double chair 5 lift, the place was honestly fantastic. The tracks were still there from the previous week or so, but no matter, there was still always fresh lines to hit. The skiers right side from the top of the lift took you into a really fun powder tree run, whilst the left side took you to the bowl itself and a thoroughly enjoyable straight run to the lift. You could drop into the bowl from hundreds of different places, so it honestly didnt matter, you were going to get a fresh line somewhere.

After about 4 or 5 runs, i headed back to the main mountain and tried out the two big wide runs on skiers left. Yeah, they werent that special. Just nice little runs from top to bottom with a few places to duck into the trees. A bit flat in places though, so watch for the unclipping if you go too far in :( Still, they changed teh tempo a little and gave you something else to do other than scoot trees and slash powder, so it was a welcome, if brief, diversion.

But the main selling point was the pow, so it was time to hit the A, B, and C runs. I'd seen them riding the gondola and they looked pretty fun, so the rest of the afternoon was spent trying to find them. Still, its not as easy as it looks :) They are pretty indistinct from standard tree runs, and because theres some nice spacing in the trees, it was pretty fun just sitting in that general area and riding. I should say you might need to watch out for the evergreens in this area. They do get dense and pretty tightly packed, and although i dont think its deep enough to be seriously concerned, theres always the chance of tree wells. So if youre about, do try and stick near the silver birches. Indeed, it was a boot pack out from this which led to me having a few heavy tumbles one after another that bust my hand and ended my day (around 3pm).

Anyway, some pictures from the morning:

Arriving at kamui looking up at this small little hill (its actually way bigger than it looks):


The view down:


Two shots of the side bowl:




And a couple of tree and pow shots:







Concluding remarks: Its small, it has about two or three days of life in it, but when youre starving for pow and this place has snow on it, you need to go here. One of the guys i was with on the bus and rocking a prior splitboard had this to say: "that was one of the best days ive had in my life!" Pretty much a ringing endorsement if you ask me. It was also a great way to end my japanese season in truth. Even though furano as a whole was a massive let down, the day of total fun i had riding this place ALMOST made up for the general sense of BLEH id been feeling since leaving niseko.

If youre staying here for a while it will get old fast so i advise you base yourself somewhere different and have a day or two at kamui to recharge. Still, that being said, its top notch stuff in the short term. In fact its 10/10 if its a day or two. So long as there is snow on the slopes, this place is awesome fun; its like a little adventure snowpark for powder hounds. Its not got the most incredible terrain, nor has it the deepest powder, and its not serious backcountry. But you can go anywhere you like on the resort and no one is stopping you, so who cares? The place is about FUN and it delivers it in spades. Overall, Kamui is a great little resort that will remind you why you snowboard or ski in the first place. It really brightened up my last week and even with the busted hand it still remains one of my favorite rides of the season :)   

Such a pretty place too :)

m00m
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb/07/2011 at 4:17pm
oooh, that looks good right now. 

Kamui looks very similar to my local mountain (china peak), except our summit is just over 2,652 meters (87k ft).  We're also kinda small and flat but can get tons of powder per storm.  Unfortunately, I missed all the massive early season dumps and mother nature has only given us 10" in the past month.

Things may be looking up here next week...hopefully I 'll be riding what's in your pictures by then.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb/07/2011 at 4:27pm
damn that looks sick.
i will try to go there next season (MAAAYBE this season if i can hook up a business trip to hokkaido in march).
going to niseko in two weeks, stoked.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb/07/2011 at 4:31pm
yeah, the nicest thing was this isnt an EPIC dump. The groomers were pretty icy, and there were still lots of tracks in the sidebowl from the past couple of days. There was maybe 5-10cms extra that day, and maybe 20 or so for the week leading up to it. And yet the lines just kept coming. My charlie was stoked! On a proper pow day this place would be off the wall :)
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb/07/2011 at 4:32pm
Originally posted by ippollite

Cost:CHEAP. 3000 yen for a day pass

3000 looks hella expensive to me for daypass!! lol
anyways looks booti-full!!
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb/07/2011 at 8:15pm
I know someone is going to ask... 

3000 Japanese yen = 36.45300 U.S. dollars


sick write-up, that place looks unreal! You are definitely lucky. 


Crushing the whistler bike park! Check it out! http://www.pinkbike.com/video/215809/
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb/07/2011 at 8:27pm
I still can't believe they get snow that can reach four stories tall in japan
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb/07/2011 at 8:31pm
man that pow looks amazing! pretty jeal cat
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb/07/2011 at 8:33pm
seki onsen currently sits on 540cms of snow. Seki onsen is in myoko :)
Didnt i tell you all! Its about 140cms deeper than hirafu at the moment :p

Niigata/nagano represent! :)

http://www.snowjapan.com/e/resorts/resortdetail.php?resid=286
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb/07/2011 at 8:42pm
I wish i had the cash and the vacation time to head out there, it looks so amazing
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