This morning a few mates and i decided to hike up Hirafu and see what we could find. What we found was pure un-adulerated pre-season autumnal POW POW POW.
As an old friend of mine said to me once, ‘fortune favors the brave’ so with those words in mind up we hiked. At the base of Niseko Hirafu there wasn’t a deep layer – maybe only 15 cm or so. Not that promising, but we figured if we
just stuck to the course we would be ok and hopefully score some turns.
* Please click on the images if you would like to view larger versions.
After a few hundred meters the snow deepened, the sun came out and it looked liked pre season pow dreams were about to come true! YESSSSSSSS
To give our dear studio343 readers some idea or how much or conversely how little snow is on the mountain take a look at this image and panorama taken from roughly the same spot and compare the snow levels !
The pano was shot on the last epic pow day of the 2008/09 season on the 25th of March.
The trees are still shedding their leaves the colors are spectactular looking across the village to Mt Yotei…
Back to the task at hand – hiking.
The weather turned quickly just as we made it to the top of the Alpen center 4 lift.
Whateva. None of us really cared though as the snow was good and it was GAME ON – first turns of the 2010/11 season!!! Nick and Paul dominated!
Not sure if the resort condone this sort of behavior as there are A LOT of barely hidden rocks / metal bars / pipes / ditches etc etc. Enter at your own risk… BAAAMM BAAAAMMMM BAMMMMMM FIRST TRACKS for real.
This morning has brought snow to Hirafu Village – not one of those mythical ‘first dumps’ that have been know to fall but enough to get excited about. I was up early on a mission to get some shots for Kutchannel and at 6AM there was a thin covering of snow around the village and The Barn.
I ventured up the hill and took a few shots and this pano…
The weather quickly turned and it started snowing heavily by the time I retreated back down the hill past The Barn.
A few years ago when my girlfriend at the time dumped me my Japanese teacher taught me a saying that has stuck with me through the years…
Onna gokoro to aki no sora – Young women and autumn sky.
Apparently this implies that young women change their minds easily just as the autumn sky changes quickly.
Anyways, I made the pano at home and then popped out for a few more shots and by then the sun was out and the weird sight of greens, browns blues and yellows mixed in with the ‘snowscapes’ kicked in. Sunny, snowing, cloudy, hailing, windy and calm – you could take your pick out there today – there was something for everyone…just get your timing right.
Looks like Niseko is about to be hit by the first snow at village level sometime in the next day or so. Winter is more than looming…the temperature has plummeted, it’s dark by 4pm, and the last of the Autumn leaves are being flicked off the trees by an icy old-man winter wind. Remember to get your vote in on Kutchannel to predict the first snowfall in Hirafu village.
Got to say though that the last week has been a treat – especially last weekend – T Shirt weather with beautiful autumn conditions. Shot this panorama at Hangetsuko on Saturday 23rd October.
The ever present serious photo guys were snapping away which reminded me of the weekend before when I got this shot on the top of a bridge just outside Kutchan.
100+ photography enthusiasts waiting for the Autumn Steam Train to make an appearance. There must have been at least 100 photographers and millions of yens worth of serious gear staking a position for the glory shot.
Did get the feeling that something strange has started to happening to me as I’m increasingly hanging out with other photography / train nerds on overpasses and random places for…fun “one of us, one of us, one of us!!!!” NOOOOOOOOO I still have at least 25 years before I retire.
Here are a few other random shots of Autumn scenes.
Ben smashing his way through the Hirafu – Higashiyama mountain bike trail.
Mt Yotei close up and personal on the 18th October.
More Hangetsuko loveliness in the foothills of Mt Yotei.
Last Sunday at Ishikari near Sapporo the festive DoRide
4 hour mountain bike enduro race was held and studio343 took part as a team member on the Groove Cycles team.
Proceedings took off with the obligatory speeches following by a spot of radio calisthenics much to the bemusement of our team.
(Click on the images to view them at a larger size)
The race kicked off at 10am and for the next 4 hours groove cycles flexed their collective might…
Our team of 5 took turns racing as quickly as we could around the muddy circuit then passing our riders sash to the next rider – one lap taking about 7 mins.
Another team from Niseko was representing Team Bionicon – RESPECT
The course was pretty flat but there were still some cool aspects
Unfortunately the weather turned nasty for the last hour of the race but Groove Cycles still ( cough cough ) dominated …. I think we mostly beat the kids teams, family teams and a few of the solo riders and rolled in at 29th.