Hokkaido Snow Report

Saturday, January 21st - 10cm

Sunday, January 22nd - 0cm

Monday, January 23rd - 35cm

Tuesday, January 24th - 20cm

Wednesday, January 25th - 15cm

Thursday, January 26th - 10cm

Friday, January 27th - 20cm

Saturday, January 28th - 10cm

130cm (50 inches) of super-light powder in 8 days. But rewind a bit first.

On arriving in Hokkaido - the snowy northern island of Japan - we set up camp at a simple hotel in Otaru, a port town just north of Sapporo.  With out trusty Toyota Hiace Grand Cabin van, and Paul Krekow as our guide, life was easy. Wake up, decide which direction to head based on the snow report, set off in the van at 8am, pick up some lunch snacks at the roadside mart, ride the un-skied in-bounds trees till the out of bounds called, ski till we couldn't face walking up another hill, and then head to the local onsen (natural hot springs) every evening. Rise and repeat.

Ramen and beer.jpg

Hokkaido's snow is special because storms travel east across Siberia, pick up moisture over the Sea of Japan, and then just leave it all on the West coast of Hokkaido where the temperature never seems to get much above freezing. And within 45 minutes of Otaru, we had Kiroro Snow World, Sapporo Kokusai, and Sapporo Teine. While we saw plenty of skiers, almost no one went out of bounds so the snow was bottomless. Here are a few sample photos, but I have to admit that on the deepest day, none of us even took a camera out of the bag.