The snow just kept on falling in Niseko!
More than 2m (6 feet) of snow as hitted the resort over the past week.
But even if it was puking, we made the hard (and a bit weird) decision to leave Niseko to explore new venues on Hokkaido.
One range of mountain located in the southeast of the island with peak nearly as high as the one in the Daisetsuzan National park (park that features most of the highest mountain on Hokkaido) as gotten my attention. From the topographical map and by the view I was able to get on Google Earth, it was looking promising.
So we took off to get a look at it! After about a day of driving, we were able to get our first view of the mountains.
Unfortunately, the closest we were from the mountain, the less skiable they looked. The high peaks seemed to present some decent lines, but the access would required a lot of hiking and bushwhacking. To top it off, there wasn't much snow on the ground next to the road… And by not much snow, I mean less than a foot. I guess I have to call it a big FAIL!
Nevertheless, this drive brought us back to Nissho Pass, where we scouted some really skiable terrain last year on a day off. We decided to give it a go! We drove up to the pass into some stormy weather. We dressed up and made our way up!
It was really cold!!!
One of the coldest I have been in a long time hiking up! It was really windy but we found some nice sheltered snow to make our way down! Happy birthday to me!!!
The storm just get worst at the end of the day and being in such an exposed spot, we figured it would not be so skier-friendly the following day.
After an evening spend eating Okonomiaki and Takoyaki and sipping warm sake, We went back to a sure spot: Tokachi-dake!
The snowbanks from the parking lot gave us the assurance that there was enough snow to get a good day. The weather even cleared out a bit leaving us the impression that we even get some sunshine!
We were sooooooo wrong! Soon after we started skinning up, the clouds move back and the wind picked up! Amelie did get very cold and even with two down jackets on and a stop half way down to warm her feet up, there was nothing else to do than to rush down back to the car!
So the forecast for the followings days are mostly snow, snow and snow. This is one of the best snow-strike I have seen on Hokkaido of my 3 travels here!
We might head back near Niseko to explore some new backcountry spots if it ever stop to snow!