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Topic ClosedShiga Kogen, Japan (Review)

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Direct Link To This Post Topic: Shiga Kogen, Japan (Review)
    Posted: Mar/09/2011 at 4:34pm
Where: Shiga Kogen, Japan's largest single ticket resort. You'll find it in the middle of the Japanese alps in Nagano.
Resort Map: You can't see a single trail on this map for good reason, but it'll give you a bit of a clearer idea than any of the piste maps.
When: February 24th and 25th 2011
Who: 4 years, but has somehow developed habits that put him in the realms of a primadonna (for example rarely rides on groomers and sees it as a sign of defeat, wont go into park anymore because my body loathes it, and refuses, stubbornly refuses to leave the lodge if theres less than 10cms of freshies (unless the resort is fun and new - which shiga was).
Cost: An INCREDIBLY reasonable 4800 yen per day, and a very fair 65000 yen season pass: http://www.shigakogen.gr.jp/english/snow/lift.html
Snow conditions: Mainly groomed pretty heavily, no fresh in about a week. When you did venture off the beaten track the snow was more often heavy and wet (which was general conditions around all of nagano while i was there).   
Resort Conditions: Tip top. In fact, for an area that comprises of some 19 different resorts, the work thats gone into linking those areas up is nothing short of an engineering miracle. When you think that akakura onsen can't even connect its own lifts up and is pico in comparison, shiga really does something quite phenomenal.
Season:Being quite high up, shigas season is longer than almost everywhere on Honshu. The season starts early December (though you're honestly chancing it) right through until May. Peak season is obviously January and February like the rest of japan, but solid conditions last well beyond the last tracks on most of the other resorts around it.
Resort Facilities: Lots of delicious food dotted all over the mountains. Not much in the way of shops, and certainly very little in the way of apres ski, but yeah, you wont be going hungry no matter where you are. They also have an information center in haisuke as well as a very awesome (and clear) shuttle bus system. Definitely not much to fault it on.
Accommodation: Shiga kogen does things the japanese way, so solo backpackers beware. This place is not for the light of wallet simply because very few dorm accommodation options exist. In fact I'm genuinely struggling to think of even one. I personally found nothing under 7000 yen per night in the resort area and this more often than not came with an attached 1000yen per night premium because i was on my own. Prices really sit between 10,000 and 20,000yen (about $120-$240) per person per night (though it usually comes with dinner and breakfast). At night, things become very threadbare, with few convenience stores around for some cheap eating and very few bars outside of the hotels themselves. Shiga isnt niseko or hakuba. There isnt really a nightlife. As i say, it does things the japanese way, and thats more often than not an early breakfast, a day on the slopes, then back to the hotel for dinner and an onsen before quietly nipping to your room with the family or friends for a few tins of chuhai/beer before retiring for the night. Save the partying for hakuba.

That all being said, if none of this sounds too bad, you would be strongly advised to find accommodation in and around the Ichinose/Takamagahara area (areas D and E on this map). Indeed, staying at takamagahara offers you teh early morning surprise of monkeys crawling over everyones cars and trying to steal your food :)

http://www.shigakogen.gr.jp/english/hotel/index.html

It's definitely the place with the most hook-ups as well as being by far the easiest area to hit the most mountain. If you're a snowboarder or are with snowboarders, generally avoid suzurikawa (areas B and C on the map), since they're very much out of the way. If you ski it might be an option though since its pretty quiet over that side of the resort.

Basing yourself:If none of that sounds like a picnic, there are alternatives if you plan on making it here for only a short trip. First, you can get a direct bus to shiga kogen from nagano station which takes about an hour and a bit and i think costs around 1200 yen each way. The bus leaves around 9am (sorry for the lack of definitive info here) from the backside of nagano station, meaning you can be there and on the slopes by about 10.30 and back in nagano by around 6 for a night on the town. A second alternative (and the one i personally went for), is to base yourself at yudanaka instead.

Yudanaka is about 20km east of nagano and was in fact the base town (yamanouchi) for the nagano olympics. The place is pretty quiet and generally has the vibe of an onsen town (lots of free onsens dotted around for public use), but accommodation options are pretty cheap, and the bus to sun valley in shiga kogen is about thirty minutes (and another twenty odd minutes to yakebitaiyama from there), its 690yen (you pay up to sun valley and then if you have a day pass you can use the bus for free from that point) and leaves often enough that you can get first tracks or just pop along for an afternoon. The bus is honestly not a problem. In fact it's incredibly convenient for being well away from the resort.

Another advantage to yudanaka is that youre also based really close to many resorts in the kita shiga kogen area (ryuoo, x-jam, and takaifuji for example), and if you happen to have a car you can even make it to Nozawa in about twenty minutes. Finally, it is the launch pad for one of the most famous tourist attractions in japan: the monkey onsen. If you really want a day watching monkeys do nothing but muck about on a craggy cliff side, then yudanaka is the place to stay. Almost everyone at my hotel (shimaya) was there for the monkeys. Only me and two other guys were there for snowboarding :)

An obvious disadvantage though is its kinda no mans land. You neither get the great night life of staying at nagano (well, okayish nightlife), nor do you get the convenience and atmosphere of being at the resort. As I say, its pretty quiet and you won't really get the vibe of anything more than your standard onsen town, but its cheap and its got great access to other resorts if you get bored of shiga kogen so its a nice option if you're doing a short stay and want to hit up as much of the area as you can.

Ipps tries to introduce and explain Shiga Kogen:

When i first saw the map i had absolutely no idea what to expect, nor how it worked. I mean did i really need a car to ride the different resorts? Or could i just ski from one side to the other and then back again? So thats pretty much waht i set out to find. And here's what i learned:

Effectively, shiga kogen is three mountains. Mount Yakebitaiyama; Mount Terakoya; and Mount Yokoteyama (I appreciate that ~yama is kinda redundant here :p). Yakebi and terakoya are extremely well connected. You can ski this entire area (which is around 75% of shiga kogens piste i'd say), without ever having to take a shuttle bus. Yokote on the other hand is a good twenty five minute bus ride and seems to have no means of connecting up with the rest of the resort without either a) taking the bus or b) venturing into some serious wilderness.

Hasuike

Hasuike is pretty much the staging area for deciding where you want to go. From here you'll find three stops: one which goes to okushiga, one going to yokote, and finally a third which goes to Tokyo, Nagano and Yudanaka. If you aren't staying at shiga, this is likely the most convenient place to get your bus from at the end of the day.

In and around Haisuke you'll find 2 more things: 1. Some very dull looking areas to ride (sun valley, hasuike, and maruike all of which are pretty short and flat), and 2. The ropeway that gets you the hell out of that area and onto the proper terrain.

Hasuike to Yokote:

Kidoike is a tiny resort about a five to ten minute bus ride along a twisty turny path. Another ten or so minutes (along very flat terrain) and you'll come to suzurikawa where you ride the lifts up to yokoteyama. Another thing worth mentioning is that both kasadake and Maeyama are completely shut down. Basically this results in yokote being cut off from the rest of the resort except by bus - meaning that a trip out there shouldn't probably be top of your priority list (unless you ski). A second reason why this shouldn't be near your priority list is that both kumanoyu and all the steepish terrain of yokote are skier only.

You can maybe poach some of the runs at yokote, but you have no chance at all to get on a lift at kumanoyu with a snowboard. Unlike in yokote where you can access shibutoge at the top, you have no reason to be there with a snowboard, so you'll be nabbed by the lifties and get the japanese cross arms signal telling you to naff off. The only way back is by bus from what I saw.

Yakebi to hasuike:

In complete contrast, yakebi to hasuike and back is a doddle. Get the prince gondola up to the top of yakebi, come down as far skier right as you can, this brings you to the connecting lift to the ichinose diamond. Get on that and ski down towards ichinose family. At this point theres a magic carpet taking you across to ichinose. When you arrive, hop on one of the quads (lift 23 on the resort map), and this brings you out near the plateau 2/3rds of the way up. Here you can either head round a path to the lift bringing you up to terakoya, or instead just head across it towards takamagahara.

If you go with the former, a lift in the terakoya will bring you to the very top of the Olympic course which allows you to ride higashidateyama area, or if you go with the latter and keep heading past takamagahara, you'll see a sign for the olympic course (bringing you out a little way down it), follow that all the way down to giant and then pop on the lift there. About 1/5th of the way down the giant course theres a turn off to hasuike (well signposted on skiers left), take that and follow the path through to a little tunnel under the road. Once you come out you're now on haisuke. Just nip to the bottom of this and you'll see a road. There is a sign telling you to walk down about 50 meters to the bus stop. So do that and voila! you can now go back to nagano/yudanaka/tokyo. And if you want to go back, just hop on the ropeway near hasuike and that will bring you up towards the base of takamagahara. Really it couldn't be easier.

Go anywhere you like in this entire area because chances are there will be a lift bringing you back on the path to go where you need to go. The most important thing is that is a LOT of terrain you can access with not too much bother making this a genuinely huge resort rather than the lots of small resorts it bills itself as.

How the Review works:

For the sake of this review though I've decided to break it into five main zones:

Yokote - Yakebi - Ichnose/Mammoth - Olympic Course - and Sun Valley.

Yokote and yakebi are both pretty much self explanatory being that they are their own mountains. The sun valley area is where Yokoto and terakoya seem to intersect at the base, whilst the ichinose and Olympic areas are the front and side face of terakoya respectively. Both are big enough to warrant their own section i felt. Finally I also split off terakoya just because it felt a little different in vibe from both ichinose/mammoth and the olympic side so deserved a bit of a mention.

Thats the (enormous) preamble over with then, so how about that resort?
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar/09/2011 at 4:34pm
Review:
(pictures from the gopro so not exactly stunning).
YAKEBI:


(yakebi from terakoya)

Yakebitaiyama (yakebi, okushiga, ichinose diamond):

6/10 as a stand alone resort. It has great lines, some really fun little tree'd up ridge lines to get lost in, and would definitely kill a day or so without much bother. But even compared to goryu, it feels a bit short and uninspiring. Top to bottom in about 7-10 minutes without too much variation. Lots of big wide runs, a few steeps, and a couple of paths, but nowt all that amazing in itself unless you leave the groomers (where it then starts getting a bit more interesting).

It would definitely be MUCH better if theyd just open up the entire bloody mountain to us yobos, in fact if you could hit some of those tree runs in okushiga this place would be awesome! but what can you do? A bit of management and you could have a nice advanced valley/tree run between the two by the looks of it, not to mention a few clean faces lurking round the back which would definitely help add to some variation (a few less ropes might be nice too). The groomers are a bit bleh, but in a normal powder drop (i arrived at the end of the powder in er, february) im pretty sure theyd be nice and lively. 10/10 though as part of shiga kogen since it pretty much pays for the ticket on its own.


(fun lines)


(fun pow)

ETA: Diamond course is a means to an end unless you have very small kids since theres a little play park at the bottom of it. Other than that, just a pretty straight wide relatively shallow run taking you to terakoya.

TERAKOYA:


(im there!)

Ichinose Mammoth Area (Ichinose family, tannenomori, takamagahara):


from the top of takamagahara looking across (right of center) to the diamond area and to the top right, yakebi).

If this was just one mountain it'd be somewhere in the region of 3/10. Definitely not worth the trip on its own. The two bigger areas (takamagahara and ichinose) were both surprisingly weak comprising of a few (realistically) red runs going straight to the bottom. Aside the monkeys at the base of takamagahara theres nothing really worth bringing up about either of them in truth.

Surprisingly though, the one place i really liked was the tiny little spot between them at tannenomori. I mean its nothing special. Its relatively flat, pretty much green runs all the way, but its just those trees dotted all over it (as you might expect) that made it quite a gentle and peaceful vibe for a nice little cruise.

Its also nice crossing between the three resorts through the trees i guess. But overall the one redeeming fact about this area is that its absolutely central to EVERYTHING else. Its the little hook up area so only for that does it get a 7/10 if youre hitting the entire resort (for riding though id honestly go somewhere else if i was pushed for time).


(from the top of diamond looking directly across to the ichinose family, behind the lift hut is tannenomori, and to the far right is takamagahara)

Terakoya:

I could have added this into either the previous section or the next one, but i felt it needed its own little part. It's tiny and almost doesn't warrant a mention were it not for the following: the powder on the side facing okushiga is STUNNINGLY good, in fact its the highest quality snow i found in the entire resort; the area is genuinely atmospheric and almost feels like a little plateau cut off from the rest of the mountain; and its surprisingly quiet and a lot of fun for an afternoon with very little defined boundaries between the piste and the offpiste. It definitely doesn't hold up on its own just because its three lifts all arriving in roughly the same spot (not much downhill so to speak) so there's really no point in scoring it (as if there's a point of scoring any of these places on their own mind you :?). But as a fun little calm and tranquil break with your head in the clouds this place was simply fantastic. Lots of powder, and some fun little tree lines gave it just that little something else. 9/10 then in the context of the whole resort.

Olympic Course Area (higashitateyama, nishidateyama, bunadaira and giant):


(the olympic bell)

Definitely a fantastic fun area of shiga kogen. Probably somewhere in the region 6/10 on its own (though combined with the rest of the mountain (terakoya and the ichinose side) maybe even an 8/10).

The ride here is pretty gnarly, with some great charging terrain. Hitting the course top to bottom, i defy anyone to do it without speed checking those paths that cut across it. You will be flying. The olympic course was without a doubt my favourite on piste run in the entire resort, and was arguably the only groomer i hit more than once (indeed i hit it several times, and tried again the next day in a whiteout (twice) because i enjoyed it so much. The line is meant for opening up and ripping, and well thats what i like to do so it suited me down to the ground. Hell, i even enjoyed the mogul minefields scattered about it.


(at the top of the olympic course i believe)

Nishidateyama would have also been on a par were it not for that gigantic mogul field at the very top. Its a pity because that steep would definitely kick start a fantastic little bombing run. As it is, you either track the mellower skiers right side, or accept that about 1/3rd of the run is going to be slow and a bit annoying by ducking in and out of the trees or running those moguls. That being said though, some great fast terrain and big open lines really let you throw caution to the wind and just charge that hill so you can't complain too much because of a few moguls. Definitely a nice complement to the longer olympic course.

Finally theres Giant. On the first day i thought "oh its just a red run big wide ice wall"... and really my opinion hasnt changed. But on the second day i noticed this little pow field just to the right side as you come up on the lift. Indeed, it was whiteout, the second day was sucking, and i was just about to call it a day when i noticed it. Two hours later i was riding the last lift before they shut it down. Good fun.
(We are really just talking a powder stash here rather than anything technically difficult, so dont misunderstand. But it was fun and capped a kind of okay day. I really mention it just because it added an extra little dimension to giant that makes it worth having a trek up there if riding a dull, wide, straight, relatively steepish standard red run ice wall isn't entirely your cup of tea).


(taken on giant course looking directly across to nishidateyama with higashitateyama and the olympic course to the right)

Overall i didn't really explore all that much in the trees in either of these areas but their piste managed to hold my attention, so its a definite must do part of the mountain and as such has to be 10/10 as part of the whole area.

Hasuike/sun valley area:

Sorry dudes, i didnt hit this (well aside the very very convenient information center/bus stop back to yudanaka). Even when faced with a choice of hitting this or going home, i was getting the bus home. I saw it coming past on the bus and it looked pretty much featureless, short and a gigantic waste of time. This was confirmed chatting to a dude at the info centre at the end of the first day. I might as well throw in kidoike into the mix as another place that i didnt bother getting off the bus to go see.

So that leaves one more area:

YOKOTE:


(snow monsters on shibutoge)

Yokoteyama (shibutoge, yokote, kumanoyu):

What the hell can i say about this area? I spent the morning up here on my second day and ill be honest, even though shibutoge was the wilds of shigakogen (a storm was raging up there) and even though the snow monsters were stunning, and even though the powder seemed to be everywhere, i couldnt see 5 feet in front of me, and it genuinely felt pretty damn small. If it was easier to access, maybe it might be worth the trek, but that bus ride out there is pretty hefty, and the return buses as i found out, arent exactly regular. So er, not entirely worth the effort just for a bit of pow. So how about the rest of the mountain?

kumanoyu: skip that, I couldnt ride it.

So that leaves yokote itself. Well first things first, the bottom half of yokote utterly blows being INCREDIBLY flat and open. So with shibutoge, thats about 2/3rds covered, what about that last third? Well again, most of that is skier only (theres a green path they let snowboarders on but the red and black runs had those big green flags saying no snowboarders) and though i could have probably ridden it being that it was a quiet low visibility weekday, but in truth it didnt look any more appealing than any other piste runs, so why bother pissing people off for the sake of it? Let the skiers have their runs! Instead i played under the lifts and had a blast. The powder was nice, the lines were fresh, and the terrain was bouncy like every good lift run should be. It made that side of the mountain pretty fun if im honest and almost worth the bus ride.

Overall though, since the bus stops at suzurikawa, the lifts are slooooooooooooow getting you to the top, and since about 80% of the area worth riding is skier only, unless its a relatively clear day and i can catch a nice view from the top (and happen to have my own wheels) its pretty unlikely id be back there. From a pure snowboarding point of view this place really is bakabeyond and on its own anyway as its completely cut off from the rest of the resort. And as such its getting a 4/10 (and 2 of those points were for the lift run).
Saying that though, because they've shut down Maeyama it looks like a nice place for some fresh lines if you know where to cut across. I dont, so it kinda sucks seeing this empty face with only one little adventurous line riding through it, but yeah, at least theres one place for some fresh lines for the truly adventurous out there.


(trees up the top).


(the only fun run in yokote)

Conclusion:



Off the bat Shiga kogen kicks the living crap out of Happo1, suginohara, or nozawa. Its got LOADS and LOADS to do. You will NEVER be bored (well, if youre there for a week or two). There's lots of little places to explore and there is just so many ways that you can instantly change the vibe of your ride. So if youre comparing it to a single resort then honestly its oranges and apples here. Nothing comes close to being as interesting or as fun to just dot about and hit up new lines (ETA: with the obvious exception of niseko).

Any resort that can give you a bombing run like the olympic course alongside tree runs like you can ninja at yakebi, alongside little fun powder lands like you get at shibutoge and terakoya has to have a bucket load going for it. And recall that this is off one and a half days of exploring. There's likely STACKS more to discover, not to mention all the little family areas dotted about the three mountains. All in all the place is genuinely incredible, and because one side of it is really well linked up. it makes the ticket price phenomenally good value. Naturally if you ski, its even BETTER with having full access to yakebi and yokote. But i dont, so blow it out your ass two plankers!

So yeah, comparing shiga to nozawa or to happo or to suginohara it comes out on top by quite some way. Compared on the other hand to Myoko or Hakuba en masse and it starts to feel less incredible. And heres my issue.

I cant honestly decide if this is a fair comparison given that shiga has gone to some obvious lengths to unite the three mountains through its transport system and lift/run placements as well as offering a ticket that lets you ride the whole lot of it. It feels like im being unrealistic and unnecessarily harsh on it simply because when i think of myoko in the same sense i think of suginohara, akakan, ikenotaira, and akakura onsen (and maybe even seki). If I were judging it in that context, then frankly there is no reason on earth id rather ride shiga kogen than ride those areas (well, aside the longer season maybe).

But then i think about akakan and akakura onsen and realise that these places are idiots unto themselves. If two resorts sitting right next to each other and indeed with paths crossing in and out of one another cant even offer a ticket that lets you ride them both without having to buy some BS myoko big four pass or whatever it is, then how can i legitimately and fairly compare shiga kogen to this obvious farce?

Indeed, has hakuba even got a ticket yet where you can go to a different resort anytime, or are they still doing that 1 day pass BS (buy 5 days and ride them anywhere in all of hakuba for the same price as buying five individual tickets for five different resorts in hakuba)? Can you buy the myoko all mountain pass without having to go all the way to akakura to do it yet? Hows about the buses since they would have to take the strain of a lack of lift connections? Myoko to my knowledge has 1 bus to suginohara... per DAY! ONE BUS! This comparison is seeming more ludicrous by the second.

Shiga (and hell, we might as well also mention Niseko), really do show how it should be done, and its a complete joke that the rest of them are yet to even try and find a way of catching up.

I'm genuinely quite torn and cant tell how i should judge this place if I'm honest. On the one hand, its miles ahead of almost every resort out there simply in terms of scale, but then again its some pretty soft terrain that i probably wouldn't go out of my way to ride. Indeed, echoing the point above on day 1 i genuinely thought if i come back to live in nagano im buying my season pass for here. But by day 2 i realised id rather just have the myoko big 4 pass in all sincerity. Its horizontally epic, but vertically it definitely feels a bit small potatoes. Its better for sheer variety and having entire areas with their own unique feeling (whereas in most resorts these would just be single runs). But then again, the terrain objectively feels kinda short, mellow, and often a bit on the dull side...

Its a bit of a conundrum for me if im honest. :) I want to say its amazing, because it honestly is. But then again, it also isn't... being that the terrain feels a little less interesting than even the lines from the top of goryu to the base of 47 (and thats hardly hakuba's crown jewel right there! Thats just one good run in amongst a whole area filled with good runs).

If i was to judge shiga as 19 individual resorts and compare it to hakubas 6 or 7 and myokos 6, well its not holding up and so it shouldnt. The terrain around hakuba is some of the very best in Japan, and the powder as well as the vibes of each of the different resorts around myoko is phenomenal. But genuinely this feels completely off base. Shiga links everything beautifully and goes out of its way to make sure you can get where you need to go, so in effect its ONE RESORT (well, maybe two) and as such should be judged accordingly. And if thats the case, this place is HUGE and off the hook! Its worth a LOT of your time and you need to get your ass here pretty much!

Here endeth the review!
****************************************************************************

Addendum: Powder Stashes and fun lift runs i found in my day and half riding:

1. Yakebi: (advanced) under gondola 2 (prince hotel gondola). Aside a few places where youll have to climb, you can ride it pretty much all the way to the bottom. Lots of little powder stashes along the way.
2. Yakebi: (intermediate) next to the olympic course (skiers left) is a roped off area with a nice little powder ride bringing you under gondola 1. When you get under it though it gets pretty tracked and choppy.
3. yakebi: (expert) this ones hard to describe. Theres a green run at the top of the prince gondola, ride that a bit until you get to circle red 8 (itll make sense when you get here). Drop into the trees here and you have a really long ridge line that brings you out at red triangle 3. Dont stray too far down like i did :)
4. terakoya (beginner): This is the best quality powder in the whole area to my mind. Pop off the top lift, head skiers right into the trees and you have perma shaded light fluffy beautiful pow to play with. Its niseko quality and aside a few spots in yoketeyama, theres no better snow in the whole resort.
In fact, terakoya is really a small little pow area. The other sides are slow and sticky, but theres some fun runs around here, so make sure you make the effort to get up there. It also has an outstanding view from the top.
5. Ichinose to tannenomori: (beginner) basically just find a line that cuts through the trees, there you will come out on a nice open line of pow that looks like a lift run, but theres no lift. Then when youre done, start edging under the pair lift on the way to tannenomori.
Tannenomori is also a nice little area. Theres not much here, but its really chilled and groovy. I wouldnt hang about, but its just one of those pleasant places for a cute and peaceful ride.
6. Giant: (beginner): The powder stash happens half way down on skiers left under the lifts. Once you pass the middle (get off~!) part of the baby yellow lift (youll see it), head skiers left, duck the rope, and you have a massive pow stash. I spent all afternoon playing on it today and couldnt honestly stop. :) You can also do the run under the lift from the very top (intermediate), but its a bit trickier given that you have a couple of small drops and also have to avoid accidentally ending up on the wrong side of the road. Yes, theres a road.
7. Shibutoge area: (beginner) Lots of little tree runs. Also, from what i could see it was quite beautiful with zao like snow monsters. Alas the whiteout meant i didnt spend as much time here as i would have liked. I could baely see two or three feet in front of my face.
8. Yokote: (intermediate) all the best runs are skier only. But who needs them anyway. Pop out under the middle lift and youll have the only other place where the powder was seriously light and soft (in parts) to glide on it. If youre up for some mischief its definitely a fun (if albeit a little brief) line to play on.

Theres lots of different places as well you can practice your tree riding. The more advances stuff is around yakebi, but up the top of the other two mountains its pretty mellow and fun.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar/09/2011 at 5:33pm
arrrr shiga...good times

we stayed on the mountain ski in/ski out

76500yen pp (triple share) including breakfast and dinner for 7 nights and 5 days lift pass
spent a day going to snow monkeys

totally agree with the night life
LOL

there is none...we even tried to look else where to eat for dinner at night and there wasnt many options on the actual mountain

there is one post office around the mountain so you are able to withdraw cash if needed
of course we didnt find this out until our last day on the mountain Ouch




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Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar/09/2011 at 5:41pm
was supposed to go there next weekend but my friend changed it to somewhere else so i ended up cancelling it. :/
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar/09/2011 at 5:47pm
this place is huge. any terrain park
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar/09/2011 at 5:47pm
why is there skier only terrain
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar/09/2011 at 6:13pm
are those all mountains or 1 mountain with various terrain? and how much is 4800yen in comparision?either way l think it isn't alot cuz l think its close to 50$?
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar/09/2011 at 6:25pm
Stolen from their website

Consisting of 21 ski fields and about 70 lifts, gondolas, ropeways and tows, 
lift pass covers all 21 ski fields
yes there is park...it was reasonable size 

and unsure why there is skiers only lifts
I didn't venture out to the far sides as...well im not a skier

from afar it looked like moguls anyways LOL

4800 is around 58 USD atm



Don't approach a goat from the front, a horse from the back, or a fool from any side..
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar/09/2011 at 7:22pm
you can find the terrain park on yekabi (i actually forgot to mention it, not being a park rat :)). It was alright, theres a pretty sizeable area devoted to it with plenty of rails, a couple of decent size kickers, a quarter pipe and some boxes. I cant remember if there was a half pipe there, but im thinking no since it was pretty empty and i might have made a bit of time to ride it if there was).

Anyways, this is a BIG review, and im kinda fed up looking at it. Ill throw in some pics later on maybe today or tomorrow and maybe do some spell checking/editing :)
m00m
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar/09/2011 at 7:45pm
there was no half pipe when i went last time 

it took us awhile to actually get to the park though cause some lifts werent operating and we had a massive one the night before LOL

lol im reading all your edits 
so much writing =p

tree runs is what skiga is all about 
for me anyways
largely untouched for the most part too!Big smile
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar/09/2011 at 8:01pm
The trees would have been great but 1. so many ropes! and 2. The conditions were really wet and heavy, so if you dared pop off the groomers, youd better hope your line was steep enough to keep you powering to the end when you get those sudden grippy moments when the snow just wants you :) That being said though, in only a day and a bit of exploring, thats a pretty decent list on lines to play on :) And yakebi honestly looked FILLED with them. Theres also a fair few lines that come off okushiga that look great as well. You could happily spend a day or three just exploring the offpiste around there and not feel too fed up. :)
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar/09/2011 at 8:21pm
hmmm none of the tree runs had any ropes may have changed since last year possibly 
last couple of days i had @ shiga werent great for tree runs...hence why we went over to park instead.

its bad that daily conditions can make or break the trip but that's the nature of this sport

pretty much had none stop snow at tsugaike so thought it was the shiznitz but in reality, it isn't that great a mountain in comparison to other Jap resorts

awesome for beginners or practising ground tricks though LOL
Don't approach a goat from the front, a horse from the back, or a fool from any side..
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar/09/2011 at 8:50pm
i DETEST tsugaike :) HATE IT HATE IT HATE IT!! I think i only hate akakura onsen and yeti snow park with the same passion, and yeti is tempered hate because honestly, what the hell can you expect from that place :)

(yeti is the snowboard resort on the side of fuji - its bloody tiny and filled with thousands of people taking 15 minute runs up the lift to ride for two minute rides back down before landing in a ten minute queue and doing it all again).

PS> Ive edited my conclusion a bit :) Its a little more favourable because ive decided it needs to be judged on the basis of being one resort and thats that! :)

Oh and feel free to add your own views on the areas, i recognise im kinda defying a bit of a common sense view of this place based possibly exclusively on the fact the snow was pretty much gone from the piste, and off piste it was mainly heavy and wet when i hit it. :)
m00m
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar/10/2011 at 12:16am
great review
man that is cheap 4800 yen ... tahts like the cover charge at the club PURE in osaka ...
gonna try to hit up this place :D
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar/10/2011 at 1:00am
Duuuuude, what an awesome looking review! You deliver again! LOL

I'm gonna bookmark this and read it slowly. Such a long read lol. Definitely good info for my trip to Japan which I forecast to be in 2-3 years from now (Canada next year!!)
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar/10/2011 at 1:58am
Might want to mention there are almost always events happening at shiga which closes off courses or narrows them. When I went to Giant, ~80% of it was closed off so people had to bomb down a pretty narrow path. 2 other courses on the same weekend were closed/reduced.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar/10/2011 at 2:45am
I had absolutely nothing being locked out when i went. It was all good to ride. I wouldnt even have known if you hadnt mentioned it :)

Incidentally how did you like it?
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar/21/2011 at 6:23am
I was there on Feb 23 to see the snow monkeys... never made it to the hill though.  I would have liked to get at least 1 day up on shiga but I went to Myoko instead.  It probably wouldn't have mattered anyway since there was no snow that week in the Nagano area.
 
I was in Myoko Feb 20-22 and it was spring skiing weather (icy in the morning and slushy in the afternoon).  I was out in a hoodie and it was still warm... 
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar/21/2011 at 6:27am
Wow. That place looks fun. Japan's powder always looks really different to me because of the types of trees and low elevation stuff. Would love to get over there one day.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar/21/2011 at 6:40am
yeah it looks fun, but l dont think l would want to go anymore due to the nuclear radiation problem. considering its up north
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar/21/2011 at 3:39pm
Wow. That place looks fun. Japan's powder always looks really different to me because of the types of trees and low elevation stuff. Would love to get over there one day.


The place is fun. The elevation is pretty high too :) I mean we arent talking nepal here, but for japan its high - i think its base around 1350m going up to 2300... according to here:

http://www.skimax.com.au/japan/ski-shigakogen.htm (though truth be told im suspicious of that figure given theres a clear mark on the 2000m point and id be hard pressed to agree there were another 300m of mountain above that. Actually based on my suspicion i just this second went to snowjapan and they have it at a much more modest 2054m which seems about right. The base is 1650, which makes it seem like nothing :) As i said though in the review, horizontally its epic, vertically... not so convinced :)
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar/21/2011 at 3:56pm
you wanna sell your forces?Smile
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar/21/2011 at 6:41pm
why on earth would i want to do that? That would be like cutting off a limb. When those things fall apart ill be buyiung another pair since theyre so a part of my riding now :) Tell you what though, ill trade them for a brand new 2012 bataleon riot :)
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar/22/2011 at 4:38am
Wow. That place looks fun. Japan's powder always looks really different to me because of the types of trees and low elevation stuff. Would love to get over there one day.
 

i agree.  i'm used to the rockies where you get really long semi steep runs (not just long because they are going around the mountain).  When I went to japan I felt the runs were a bit short but the powder makes up for it though.  

Just as an example, whistler has a vertical drop of 5000ft and Aspen Snowmass is over 4000ft (1500m and 1200m respectively).  There are runs where you can take an hour or more to go down. 
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar/24/2011 at 12:40pm
Originally posted by ippollite

why on earth would i want to do that? That would be like cutting off a limb. When those things fall apart ill be buyiung another pair since theyre so a part of my riding now :) Tell you what though, ill trade them for a brand new 2012 bataleon riot :)
would you trade for contact sl's? mine have force toestraps on them
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar/25/2011 at 4:09am
hells no. :) Lets see, things i would trade my union forces for:

Union force SL+ $300
Bataleon Riot 2011 or 2012.
You pay for my charlie slasher to get split AND the splitboard skins AND the voile kit.

basically no :) I love my forces, i cant even imagine switching bindings. I love them and they love me. We suit each other fine.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: Apr/06/2011 at 2:12am
Ipp:  another great review and you make me wanna go back so bad...........
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: Apr/15/2011 at 7:35am
omg these reviews are awsome.. i'm glad i found them.. I will be reading each one in detail..

great job!
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: Apr/15/2011 at 8:18am
I need to go there....
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: Apr/15/2011 at 8:34am
OMG OMG OMG!
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