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Training Log Archive: revy

In the 7 days ending Feb 3:

activity # timemileskm+m
  Backcountry skiing4 12:45:00 30.14(25:23) 48.5(15:46) 4575
  Skate ski1 1:20:00 9.94(8:03) 16.0(5:00) 450
  Downhill Skiing1 1:00:00
  Total6 15:05:00 40.08 64.5 5025

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Saturday Feb 3 #

11 AM

Backcountry skiing (100eight) 2:30:00 [2] 10.5 km (14:17 / km) +1025m 9:36 / km

Transfer day to Nozawa so a shorter afternoon tour across the valley from Nozawa. Amazing amounts of snow here considering we were pretty low elevation (500m above sea level to start) and also given how little snow we saw in Nagano on the drive. This area is known for old trees and it certainly was an impressive forest. I thought we were in a park with hundred year old trees planted every 20m... I was worried we would find poor snow conditions due to the lower elevation and warm temperatures but as long as we stayed on non-solar aspects that snow was quite nice. Blue skies to start but then some fog rolled in which was too bad as I was hoping to get some good skiing pictures. Lots of cars in the parking lot but a nice change from slack country skiing as everyone was Japanese (and given it was the weekend that brought more people out - a fair number of snowshoers too). Some interesting other parties observed out there... a snowshoer with skis on her back walking downhill (??) and another guy on snowshoes pushing a fat bike up the definitely non-suitable trail (???).

Friday Feb 2 #

10 AM

Skate ski 1:20:00 intensity: (1:00:00 @3) + (20:00 @4) 16.0 km (5:00 / km) +450m 4:23 / km

We brought our skate skis along on this trip to break up the activities a bit so today Courtney, Atsuko, Russ, Vikki and I went to Snow Harp which was the location of the XC events at the Nagano Olympics. It was a beautiful day and the trails were in great condition with a slight skiff of snow on nice grooming. Some of the sunny spots got a bit soft as the day progressed. Worth lugging the nordic gear all this way to ski alongside ride paddies... they only have about 10km of trails but the trails are fun competition style loops (rolling up and down with technical descents). We did A loop once and C loop 1.5 times. B loop is not groomed - according to the attendant they don't need more trails...? Not many people out - I also asked the attendant how busy it got on the weekend and he said 'busier with kids training and maybe 30 other people" so doesn't sound super busy. Trail fee was only 300 yen ($3.60).

Thursday Feb 1 #

8 AM

Backcountry skiing (100eight) 5:00:00 [3] 15.5 km (19:21 / km) +1750m 12:22 / km

Real backcountry skiing today - no cheating with a chairlift;) We had scoped out an area called Obinatayama just a few km from Hakuba. I was pleasantly surprised to find very few tracks (I was worried it might be like yesterday) so I was breaking trail all day (a good thing). We climbed in fog through some tree plantations and then into deciduous trees. Lots of potential ski terrain though the snow was a little wind pressed and heavy. As we discussed on the ridge whether to continue to the very top the fog lifted so we continued onwards and had some excellent views of the Japanese Alps. We skied a nice run NE off the summit along some ridges and into an open area. I thought we might have to deal with some deeper creek drainages (common in Japan which forces me to think a bit diffenently about potential challenges while skiing - glide cracks and holes are another one) but it was quite manageable. The snow seemed a bit tricky to ski but no tracks so can't complain. The girls called it a day while the guys went up for another run. We found some good snow and then a bit of a traverse to get back to the exit. The lower slopes were fun to ski despite the very settled snow. Finished with an onsen pretty much right at the trailhead - there are onsen everywhere here...

Wednesday Jan 31 #

10 AM

Backcountry skiing (100eight) 3:30:00 [2] 16.5 km (12:44 / km) +1200m 9:20 / km

Today the weather looked somewhat clear so the plan was to head out of bounds at the top of the Tsugaike Ropeway. It cost about $15 for a one way ticket to climb about 750m in a classic 70's gondola. Leaving the boundary it didn't seem that busy but once we reached the ridge we ran into hordes of ski tourers. It seemed like a mix of guided groups and various foreigners (lots of english). It was a little busy for my liking and felt like a bit of a free for all. The run I had wanted to ski already had some tracks and another group about to drop in so we headed further up the ridge and skied a line with some good pitches but also some flat bits. We skinned up at the communal lunch spot and I decided to head towards the ridge northwards where I thought we might find some untracked snow. It was a bit of a gamble that the snow conditions would be OK on SE facing slopes. No other traffic there which was great and we did find some good snow by playing the aspect game. It was ridiculously windy near the ridge so we did not make it quite up to the top. We exited the zone by heading towards Norikura Ridge. There is some good terrain dropping off this ridge heading east though there was a fair number of tracks (I think most people exit from Tsugaike this way and there are also some people that climb from Norikura).

After skiing out at Norikura Wakana and I headed back to the vehicles via some road walking and skiing through people's yards (which Wakana told me was OK). It was the sweatiest I got all day but it was quite fun.

Tuesday Jan 30 #

Downhill Skiing 1:00:00 [1]

After spending a day and a half in Tokyo we are now in the Hakuba valley staying at Wakana's place and ready for some Japow:) The term is a bit overused but still applicable... only 10 cm overnight so not a big dump by Japan standards but it snowed through the morning and likely another several cm through the day. We hit Hakuba Cortina which is wakana's home hill and the local hill that is most open to tree skiing and slackcountry. Wakana showed us the goods and took us on a few laps outside the boundary with a traverse back to the ski area. The out of bounds stuff was tracked but pretty deep in spots. Had a few good inbounds runs too though the old hard pack undrerneath was easily felt on most of the hill. Great having a local guide and a nice ski area with steeler terrain than I expected. Not very busy as we never waited in line other than for first chair.
1 PM

Backcountry skiing (100eight) 1:45:00 [2] 6.0 km (17:30 / km) +600m 11:40 / km

Headed out of bounds after lunch with Courtney, Atsuko and James. We found some untouched snow one drainage beyond what was reachable by the slack country skiers. Nicely spaced deciduous forest, nice snow and acceptable pitch. Felt much more in my element wandering through the forest and. Lots of skiable terrain back there and runs in the 200-250m range. Only saw a few other parties out there. Saw a funny looking fat japanese deer that looked like a big dog.

Sunday Jan 28 #

Note

Arrived in Japan with Mike, VJ, Atsuko, Wakana, James, Russ and Vikki. It felt like we walked 10km today visiting the Sky Tree, a couple shrines, Shibuya crossing and a few shopping areas (and many subway stations).

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