2015-2016 Northern Hemi Snow Season

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Craig started the topic in Thursday, 3 Sep 2015 at 4:53pm

Thought I'd get this one rolling.

Although the Aus season has been average, I've had lots of days at the snow this year. Camping and also getting the off piste areas of the resorts sussed as well as doing some back country last Sunday.

First time out in the middle of nowhere and it was amazing. Blue bird, no wind and foot deep fresh powder that was just a touch firm so no real face shots but great for carving.

Here's me and my mates tracks from our second lap of this section...

And some of the secenery, stunning!

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wellymon Tuesday, 5 Jan 2016 at 4:34pm

Zen, hows this strong El-Nino treating your ways for snow?

Haven't heard anything especially from yourself!
Mustn't be off to a great start!

BC, A little field where I've been, had their best start to the season in 25 years? absolutely pumping and IMO lots more to come, the old pineapple express is in full bore.
Haha had a trip booked in but pulled out :-(

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zenagain Tuesday, 5 Jan 2016 at 5:42pm

Oh man, it has been the worst start of the season EVER! I haven't even bothered but I'm already waxed and ready to go (waxed my board too):)

Honshu ski resorts are a mixed bag but the at best they're at about 25% of where they were last year. My local should have a base anywhere around 80-100cm by now and it's at 10cm. To add insult to injury temps are well into the positives and what little snow they've been getting it's getting rained on. Niseko last season got about 500cm for the whole month of December, this December just past and they finished the month with 120cm total.

Even last week in my home town the temp got up to 17 deg one day and 14 deg for two days after that, hottest January day on record here and a number of other places too.

But, ever the optimist, temps dropping from tomorrow onwards, moderate snow forecast from Thursday and heavy snow from the weekend. Heading off with the wife for 3 days mid-week next week so fingers crossed it stays cold and Yuki-onna gets her shit together.

Up to Hokkaido Feb and still on for Whistler in March so bound to get some goodness sooner than later.

Mate, come join me one day.

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Craig Tuesday, 5 Jan 2016 at 5:49pm

Yuki-onna = Snow god?

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zenagain Tuesday, 5 Jan 2016 at 6:25pm
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zenagain Tuesday, 5 Jan 2016 at 11:35pm

Sorry Craig, that may have sounded a little rude- Yuki-onna as I understood, she led people to their death sometimes in a pleasurable way and she usually came as a vision or as a ghost and usually always in a blizzard. Sort of like the singing Sirens in Homers Odyssey but the winter version:)

Been a bit light on blizzards this year.

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Craig Wednesday, 6 Jan 2016 at 9:02am

No, not at all Zen, thanks! Was kinda close ;) 

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wellymon Wednesday, 6 Jan 2016 at 10:06am

Thanx for the update Zen.
I'm sure you will get your fill.
Whistler sounds good, a bit of a change for you, big mountain with lots of terrain, good luck;)

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wally Tuesday, 12 Jan 2016 at 7:55pm

I'm told that many Japanese skiing areas are struggling for snow at the moment, but good snow is on the way. However, my mate is having a good time in Myoko today. His photo:-

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zenagain Sunday, 10 Jan 2016 at 11:51pm

Sweet Wally. Been keeping a close eye on things and am heading up tomorrow for three days for my first runs of the season. Usually I start off about a week before Christmas. I'm kind of pissed in a way as I buy my lift tickets in advance in November for 2,900 yen (1,800 yen saving) but this week my local has dropped ticket prices down to 1,000yen to try an attract business.

My local resorts (Alts Bandai and Urabandai Nekoma) got about 20 cm today and it's still snowing now so fingers crossed.

I was talking to a couple of old crustys who have been skiing for over 50 years and they said this is the worst start to a season they can ever remember. The el nino seems to really be in effect here. Surfs been flat too for ages- had one waist high sesh about 3 weeks ago and been nothing more than a knee high wave since with not much on the cards in the near future either. January usually pumps with freezing north swells and all day offshores here. We have the offshores but not the swell.

I'll post an update later in the week.

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Craig Monday, 11 Jan 2016 at 10:27am

Best of luck Zen, looks like some fun dumps to come.

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zenagain Monday, 11 Jan 2016 at 10:53am

Thanks Craig, I'll send you a pic and a message from the hill.

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donweather Monday, 11 Jan 2016 at 12:49pm

I would have thought an El Niño would bring good snowfall to Japan? Why do you think it's the opposite Zen? (Other than the current observations obviously).

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Craig Monday, 11 Jan 2016 at 12:51pm

No Don, here's a quick global overview..

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zenagain Monday, 11 Jan 2016 at 1:11pm

Can't say Don, out the door right now so will have an update on conditions locally later. All I do know is that every day here we're bathed in sunlight and daytime temps are in the double digits, which for January is very very rare.

Interesting so see west coast Canada experiencing the same (going by the graph) as it's my understanding British Columbia is all-time this winter?

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Craig Monday, 11 Jan 2016 at 1:16pm

Yep Zen, Canada is supposed to be getting skunked as well. Ie storm track aimed more into central Cali, away from Canada and warmer up there.

Going against the grain it seems. Although a mate in Alaska had 10deg temps the other day, way warmer than normal.

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donweather Monday, 11 Jan 2016 at 1:44pm

Whistler has one of it's worst seasons on record last year (2014/2015) so I don't think all can be pointed at El Nino.

I thought El Nino allowed a lower (latitude) jetstream (compared with La Nina) which I would have thought helped snow production for Japan and Canada?

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Craig Monday, 11 Jan 2016 at 1:49pm

El Nino sees the Jet Stream pushed further south from about Hawaii eastwards, so storms hit central/southern Cali but are steered away from Canada.

Some good reading here.. http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2015/101515-noaa-strong-el-nino-sets-the-stage-for-2015-2016-winter-weather.html

This is the best though! ..http://www.srh.noaa.gov/jetstream/tropics/enso_impacts.htm

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donweather Monday, 11 Jan 2016 at 2:06pm

Great thanks Craig. So if El nino doesn't affect the jetstream from west of Hawaii, why then does Hawaii pump (surf) in El Nino years?

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Craig Monday, 11 Jan 2016 at 2:06pm

It pushes the storm track down closer to Hawaii, resulting in larger swells and probably more from the north as well.

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zenagain Saturday, 16 Jan 2016 at 12:08am

Skunked!

Three day icefest but good to shake the cobwebs out and open my account for this winter. Wasn't all in vain though, good food and quality time with the wife and great to soak at the end of the day in the onsen.

But, look at the forecast for this week, my local expecting around a metre of snow in three days. That's more like it but unfortunately I'll be back to work.

Mother nature can be a cruel mistress at times.

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talkingturkey Saturday, 16 Jan 2016 at 12:58am

Three day ice-fest, hey? I've heard the Japs are big on the meth.

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wellymon Saturday, 16 Jan 2016 at 3:36am

Craig wrote:

Yep Zen, Canada is supposed to be getting skunked as well. Ie storm track aimed more into central Cali, away from Canada and warmer up there.

Have to disagree on that call Craig, depends what part of Canada, as some areas have been the best for years..

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zenagain Saturday, 16 Jan 2016 at 8:55am

Welly, you ever been to Kicking Horse ski resort in BC? Got a Canadian mate heading there in two weeks. Pretty gnarly looking terrain on Youtube.

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Craig Saturday, 16 Jan 2016 at 2:45pm

Welly that's what I was saying, should be getting skunked, but they aren't!

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wellymon Saturday, 16 Jan 2016 at 7:30pm

Haven't been to KickingHorse Zen, I think it used to be called Whitetooth!
Great Mtn, awesome area in BC, the Purcells.
Gets real cold, known for champagne pow, if no snow for awhile it get bullet proof pretty quick.

Red has had 4m already Craig, which is amazing for this time of year, pumping;)

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nomad1 Saturday, 16 Jan 2016 at 8:06pm

Ive been to Kicking Horse a few times. Great Terrain indeed. Some pretty accessable hiking options along the ridge too. Although make sure you know when to turn back towards the resort :)
The resort isnt in the valley, its halfway up the mountain, so when i didnt traverse back to the resort in time and went past it I had a good 3 hrs hiking through snow!

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Distracted Saturday, 16 Jan 2016 at 8:31pm

Just back from Europe and the lower alps looked like Kosciusko in summer. There was some snow on the glaciers above 3000m, otherwise it was great weather for walking. While in England they reckoned December was warmer than July...who would live there.

They have also jumped on the El Niño band wagon and the theory was that the jet stream was diverted South? Which results in a poor snow season.

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Craig Wednesday, 17 Feb 2016 at 4:10pm

Zen looks like he's scoring!! Jealous!

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zenagain Wednesday, 17 Feb 2016 at 9:05pm

Crazy here, a metre in two days of the lightest powder you could imagine.

I'm trashed.

Tomorrow more of the same. Waste deep in the trees. Hard going but so fun.

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zenagain Wednesday, 17 Feb 2016 at 8:34pm

Did i just write 'waste' deep?

I am trashed.

Finally scoring in Hokkaido during what's been a pretty crappy season.

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AndyM Wednesday, 17 Feb 2016 at 8:58pm

Nice Freudian slip if you're that knackered.

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donweather Thursday, 18 Feb 2016 at 9:13am

zenagain wrote: Did i just write 'waste' deep?

I am trashed.

Finally scoring in Hokkaido during what's been a pretty crappy season.

Perhaps El Nino means good late season??

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Craig Thursday, 18 Feb 2016 at 12:56pm

Haha waste deep and wasted, good times!

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wellymon Wednesday, 2 Mar 2016 at 8:42pm

Hows the riding been Zen??

Got a great view from my best mate who I used to ride these lines with.

French Quebecan (PY) and crazy as they come, he lives in Pemberton now with a skidoo and drops the sickest shit, you and I could imagine. A week and half ago he went back to mine and his favourite stomping ground, where I meet him, with Go Pro. Was gonna meet up , but couldn't make it??? Gutted, love riding with this dude, he is so focused and amps you so hard....

First 2 lines, are when we used to smoked a fat one and then go, just to warm up.
3rd run is 900m vert tree run and he does this under 2 mins ??? Fucking fast.
The last 3 lines of the microwave, in touchie conditions, only dropped this a few times myself, 55 degrees, cliff band at the bottom. Hard to get the view but very steep and dodgie as..

Enjoy Zen;)
BC trees and steeps off a field where the steepest runs are never closed;)

&feature=youtu.be

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zenagain Wednesday, 2 Mar 2016 at 11:29pm

Awesome Welly, cheers. That takes an incredible amount of confidence to hold those lines, bit out of my league.

Been a lacklustre season here with the exception of two epic days in Niseko where we got some waist deep tree runs through an area called Miharashi (something like that) and the last day we got a nice bluebird day and finally kicked a goal by climbing Annupuri peak and doing the peak run down. Managed to get up there resonably early so still heaps of freshies to lay down a few turns. Bit of a blank canvas.

On Monday drove up to Yamagata to a local mountain called Tengendai kogen. I reckon there would have been about a dozen skiers across the whole hill and only 4 snowboarders from what I could see. No fresh but beautifully groomed and good to do laps at warp speed all day.

I'm off to Vancouver in two weeks and gonna do a day or two up at Whistler. Mate I'm visiting is a gun skier and his son is apparently a pretty good boarder so am in good hands.

But as for this thread, hasn't been too many reports because there hasn't been too much of note to write about. We'll put this one behind us and look forward to 2016/17 season. Shitty winter for surfing too, barely two decent swells the whole winter. Haven't been doing much surfing either.

Hope you're well and getting some waves. If you're ever over here get my details from Stu and I'll show you around.

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wellymon Thursday, 3 Mar 2016 at 7:37pm

Here is a cool clip from Gerry Lopez, great thoughtful words again, in relationship with surfing now days and snowboarding. I like;)

&feature=youtu.be

Cool stuff Zen, you will have a ball in Whistler, hope you score.

I quite liked that little tree run Miharashi (something like that) , left under the Gondola?? Not very long but a nice run.

If i do get back those ways Zen, don't worry champ I will be hunting you down for a couple of days, without a doubt;)

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simba Thursday, 3 Mar 2016 at 7:42pm

nice clip Welly

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zenagain Thursday, 3 Mar 2016 at 10:12pm

Cool Welly, nice terrain. I love that big mountain ungroomed stuff.

Something to be said about smashing a great turn in untracked powder. It is the closest feeling you get to the same stoke you get from surfing. It's hard to explain- only a snowboarder knows the feeling, ha ha!

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donweather Friday, 4 Mar 2016 at 10:21am

Pure ecstasy in that clip above. Thanks Welly!! Just made my Friday.

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tonybarber Friday, 4 Mar 2016 at 10:38am

Dip my hat to you blokes who can do anything like Lopez and that level. Great stuff. I could just never get that much time.
Cool video.

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Craig Friday, 4 Mar 2016 at 10:59am

Epic vid Welly, God, love blowing tail on big open bowls and windlips like that!

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wellymon Saturday, 5 Mar 2016 at 8:09pm

Craig wrote:

Epic vid Welly, God, love blowing tail on big open bowls and windlips like that!

Second that Craig and Don;)
Cheers

My good friend from Burton, "JG" sent me that link about Gerry.
I always love hearing what Gerry says, he definitely has some soul with meaningful words, Legend.

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wellymon Saturday, 5 Mar 2016 at 8:23pm

Here is JG (50 years old and rips like a mother fucka) working on a new board for Burton.

I'm not gonna say the new board 'name', at the moment but, a 149 with ?????mm taper.

Big G, reckons it's the best board he has ever designed for Burton in 30 plus years.! 10plus bro;)

And it rides unreal..

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zenagain Saturday, 5 Mar 2016 at 8:27pm

Did you know only 6% of snowboarders are over 45?

Just like surfing, I'm hoping I'm doing both well into my 70's.

Love your work Welly.

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wellymon Saturday, 5 Mar 2016 at 9:06pm

Likewise Zen;)

Note it's not my work at all , I just ride the things..

Note given from JG.

He is the master of all board designers to date IMO...

No-one knows this, funny eh..

I will send a photo of G ripping the half pipe at fifty:)

Sleep well, dump hard for you Zen Man;)

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Rabbits68 Friday, 22 Apr 2016 at 11:47pm

How's this next level madness :)

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zenagain Saturday, 23 Apr 2016 at 8:18am

Wow Rabs, glad I caught that. That looked crazy and in a crazy fun way.

Thankyou.

BTW Neglected to write but scored a beautiful couple of bluebird days at Whistler/Blackcomb to round off what was a pretty ho-hum season here in Japan. Amazing terrain there and just HUGE. Was spring break there and a little busy but no real waits in the lift lines. Pricey though, CAD$135 for a day ticket. Worth it though.

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wellymon Friday, 13 May 2016 at 10:41am

Nice one Rabs.
Another great realm, looks easy on the knees as well;)

Some good snow gonna hit South Island, from a good looking system.

http://www.yr.no/place/New_Zealand/Otago/Cascade_Saddle/long.html

Interesting to see what happens this season in Enzed.

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zenagain Friday, 13 May 2016 at 11:35am

Hopefully Welly you'll buried up to your nuts in sweet sweet talcum:)

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wellymon Friday, 13 May 2016 at 3:07pm

zenagainBTW Neglected to write but scored a beautiful couple of bluebird days at Whistler/Blackcomb to round off what was a pretty ho-hum season here in Japan. Amazing terrain there and just HUGE. Was spring break there and a little busy but no real waits in the lift lines. Pricey though, CAD$135 for a day ticket. Worth it though.[/quote wrote:

Different trees in BC eh Zen, compared to Japan!

Sounds like you had a good time.

Whistler/BC big eh?