What's New at Hakkoda?    

Updated 5/12/08! Ms. Panda takes the slopes!
Recently, one of my clients was a Panda...

Updated 5/1/08! Spring snow's last gasp!
With just a few weeks to go, we have been having a just an amazing time. You will be seeing some great shots (soon I hope) from Mervin & Elia who came from Singapore. Not only did we have excellent weather on the mountain, we got a day tour in at the Hirosaki cherry blossom festival as well. John & Doris from the U.K. just left after 3 days and 3 different mountains in absolute perfect weather.
And here's a little video made by Yun and Jun!

Updated 4/24/08! Mt. Takada Odake Tour and Mt. Iwaki pics
The plan for this Saturday is to climb the steep pitch of Mt. Takada Odake from Yachi Onsen and come back the same way down the long open bowl (a must do once a year). This is not a hike for the faint hearted. Last year it took us 2 hrs 45 min. to get to the top for a view of the world plus Lake Towada! Call me and let me know if you are interested.
For those of you who missed out on the Mt. Iwaki tour: You REALLY missed it! But as consolation you can see the pictures here.
Of the 45 pics, the 1st 17 pictures are of the day before in Hakkoda when the gondola was shut down because of high wind. We hiked up to the top anyway and went down the Mokkosawa course. You will notice that the bridge I built earlier in the season at the bottom had no snow. But was sturdy enough to tippy-toe across in spite of the high rushing water of the spring melt. What a rush!

Updated 3/17/08! MT.IWAKI SPRING TOUR
Every year we save the best for (almost) last and do a tour to Mt. Iwaki (1626m), the highest mountain in Aomori. It is only a 45 min easy walk to the summit after driving to the 8th station and riding the short lift. The 10km. run from the summit to the Yayoi shrine down the open bowl is always the best run of the year. Often followed up in the afternoon by going to the Cherry Blossom Festival in Hirosaki. It is a beautiful sight to see the ancient Japanese castle surrounded by 2,500 pink blossom laden cherry trees.
Right now I am looking at either Sat or Sun April 19th or 20th. Let me know your schedule. I might be able to go the next weekend as well. Of course if you have a weekday off and want to go, hey, I'm game. We need as many cars as we can get because we have to park some in the back before we drive around to the top. After the run we go back and pick up the cars at the 8th station. Good weather is a prerequisite, if we can't see it we don't do it. In that case,we go back to Hakkoda and do the Hokibatai course.
Don't miss it!

Hirosaki castle with Mt. Iwaki in the background

Updated 2/18/08! Snow base at the bottom of the Ropeway almost hits 4 meters!
Yep, we got nailed! There was so much snow Sat/Sun that none of the tour guides could go very far! Too much of a good thing? I can never complain when it snows. It just means we will be on the mountain until somewhere in May and maybe the beginning of June if it keeps up. (There is more snow in the forecast)!
On another note, the Z-man, who used to come on the tour when he lived in Misawa (now in Ohio,USA), sent me a URL of a movie a local Misawa couple made of Hakkoda.
While it does not have shots of our deep powder and has a few shots of other places at the end, it was well put together and gives an insight to our part of the world and Hakkoda: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KevwwYPT1xM
I think you will enjoy it. Apparently they are trying to win a video contest and are asking people to vote for them at: http://www.wheresyours.com/VideoContest.aspx
Which reminds me, you are welcome to continue to make my site the TOP SITE in Japan by voting and giving it a "10" rating. Just scroll down the page and click on the TOP SITE icon above the country counter. Click to vote, find my banner and click to give me the 10 rating. Rules state you are able to vote once a week and they start the voting at zero on the 1st of every month. Thanks so much!

Updated 2/13/08! How much snow did we get last night?

As you can see in this picture: A LOT! Over 50cm in the last 24hrs. and no end in sight for the next week. You can also see the Hakkoda Sansou in the background.
You should also check out the pictures from Matt and the Kiwis of Hakkoda and their other traveled areas during their stay in Japan. Their site is called "Japan Mayhem".
While not all of the pictures are of Hakkoda, most are. Besides all the powder, you can find pics of The Bandit, The Hakkoda Sansou and the great food, our tour of Aomori city and the Nebuta Museum with the colorful floats, etc.

Updated 1/26/08! Happy New Year!
I have not had a chance to do a lot of updates. I have been on the mountain almost all the time. People have been coming in from all parts of the world and it has been great. Almost everyday we have had light, sweet, cold, fresh powder = lots of faceshots!. One day we even had 40cm overnight!
We actually had one bluebird day mixed in where we were able to do 3 mountains in one day. I also had a beginner's tour as well, that had a lot of fun learning how to float on the white stuff! Fun for all.
If you have not noticed we popped the 3 meter mark for base and that is at the bottom of the mountain! So far a great year for snow this season.
And last, you will be happy to hear that The Bandit at the Hakkoda Sansou Lodge just installed Fiber Optic and Wi-Fi, so you can bring your laptop if you will be staying there. See you soon!

Updated 12/25/07! What are the snow conditions?
Lately this is the question that people have emailed me about the most.
My answer is: Why don't you see for yourself by checking out Matt & Mariko's pictures that they took on their 3 day tour with me!
Just click on View Photos to get started.
Marc (in from China) and Tosh & Yosh a.k.a De-bu-cho were up from Tokyo as well. We had all kinds of conditions from blue bird days to white outs and lots of powder!
FYI: Hakkoda Ropeway has gone back to the Samurai era by making people buy separate 5x tickets. This year you are not able to share them. Be advised.

Yours truly enjoying a little bowl of powder for breakfast! Did you notice the new jacket?...a better color for you to see me in the white outs!

Updated 12/5/07! Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow! And it is!
John and Ed came up from down under for the tour. It turns out they took a chance on the snow conditions on the pretext of a super cheap deal on airfare and made the right choice. The meter of snow last week gave us a 50cm base for all the snow we are getting now. And we are really getting it!
Dec. 1st we had a few cm. to play with so we were in and out of the trees with ease. Dec. 2nd we had 10cm. The 3rd we had 20 cm and the 4th we had another 20 cm overnight and 10cm. during the day as it just did not stop. It was so much we had to break trail in the morning and in the flats we had no choice but to stay in the tracks we made at the bottom or get bogged down, there was that much snow. Today it puked all day long! And there is snow in the forecast for the rest of the week! As of today we are already back up to a base of 1 meter!!!
At first we were able to do a lot off the back on the north and east slopes but after awhile there was so much snow we were content to go down around the forest course as it was not officially open and we had the place all to ourselves.
This is one of the best starts to a season at Hakkoda that I have seen in a long while. Come on up/over and make some fresh tracks with me! See you soon!

John making fresh tracks through the powder. By the time we got down and got back up we could barely see the tracks we had just made!

Updated 11/25/07! Snow; a whole meter of it!
If you have not heard, Hakkoda had a one meter dump of snow this past week. The Direct course has officially opened, but as of yesterday, the conditions for BC are still minimal.The good news is that this is going to make a great base and snow is in the forecast so it is looking like the season is off to a great start. We decided to fore go the warming snow and did a fantastic snowshoe tour. Although a bit windy at the top of the mountain, the trees gave us the protection we needed. Rene and Mike also spotted a "ten", a white furry animal resembling a ferret. My calendar is starting to get full in many places so be sure to check with me before you come to make sure I can fit all in your party. See you soon.

Mike coming back down from our tour. The conditions were just perfect for snowshoeing up the mountains!


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