Japow or Baldface?
 

Japow or Baldface?  

  RSS

ivo
 ivo
(@lernr)
Member Forum Superstar!
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 186
23/09/2019 10:02 am  

So this is all very hypothetical but I've been thinking about epic powder this winter and I can't do both so looking for opinions and intel on choosing one over the other.

Will be able to drive to Nelson from Seattle, but there aren't even many spots left, seems waitlist for most dates. Will use points to fly to Japan, and thinking it may actually be cheaper to go there for 1 week vs. 3 days at Baldface. Also, I read someone here used to go to Baldface but is now going to a different cat thing - what could this be, Big Red Cat?


Quote
pow_hnd
(@pow_hnd)
Wasangeles Forum Superstar!
Joined: 3 years ago
Posts: 459
23/09/2019 11:29 am  

Don't go to Big Red, that place sucks and the people who own it and run it are clowns. 

Baldface is rad, I am biased, I've been going legitimately for 19 years. It never gets old. 

I have also been to Chatter Creek and Retallack Lodge multiple times. Retallack has dope terrain, but is a much smaller tenure, so it gets tracked a lot sooner, it's like 10,000 acres, VS Baldface 42,000+ acres.

Chatter Creek is rad but is kinda all or nothing, huge tenure, but lots of AVY terrain, so you could spend a week riding really mellow stuff if conditions are high, or riding some of the steepest shit of your life, if conditions are low. Seriously, the cat roads there legit scare the fuck out of me sometimes, they are on some crazy ridges. 

The great thing about Baldface is that most of their terrain is just right, not too mellow, but not too gnarly to be shut down for any really extended period of time. If you're there for a 4 day trip, you are more than likely gonna ride some super fun stuff, and their trees are the best. 

Never done Japow, but there is something to be said for being able to do laps on a chair all day and do as you please, as long as it snows while you're there. That's the reason I've never gone, if I'm gonna spend the money I want pow.I'd be pissed to fly half way around the globe to show up to groomers in a drought week. I can ride groomers here at home for free. Even in the worst year, snow wise, you'll be riding untracked at Baldface.

 Plus with all-inclusive cat ops in BC you don't have to worry about logistics. You get there and every thing is there, riding, meals, your bed and a bar. 

Getting on the standby list at Stellar Heli and Eagle Pass Heli can be rad as well, they do single days, if your life is set up to where you can rally on short notice. You'd be amazed at the super rich people who last minute decide not to go on their trips and seats that open up. 


RK, c.fuzzy and ivo liked
ReplyQuote
matty
(@matty)
Member Forum Superstar!
Joined: 3 years ago
Posts: 1521
23/09/2019 12:47 pm  

I am in the opposite boat. I've never done the cat thing, but I've done multiple overseas snowboard trips. I have a group of friends that have been going on a cat trip every year since 2007. They went to Chatter Creek for the first few years, but then switched to Monashee Powder Snowcats. They keep trying to get me to go with them, but, at this point in my life, I prefer to go overseas. For about the same amount of money that they spent to ride at Monashee for four days last year (including travel to/from), I went to Italy for almost 3 and 1/2 weeks, rode Courmayeur for 10 days, and spent almost a week in Venice and about another week (total) in Milan. Sure, they got to ride more powder - but the powder I rode was accompanied by exploring Northern Italy.

I felt the same way about my trips for Japow. I am fortunate to have grown up doing a fair amount of overseas travel, and it's something that I learned that I really enjoy and have continued to pursue as an adult. My travel/vacation budget is such that I can only afford a several-thousand dollar trip once every year or two, and by combining my snowboarding with my international travel, I haven't had to choose between one or the other. If I get to the point financially where I can afford two or more such trips a year, that's when I'll add cat ski lodges (or heli!) to the mix. Until then, I'll be sticking with the trips to Europe and Japan - which cost about the same ($3K-ish) as a cat boarding trip.

This post was modified 2 months ago by matty

Elektropow, Bopuc, RK and 3 people liked
ReplyQuote
ivo
 ivo
(@lernr)
Member Forum Superstar!
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 186
23/09/2019 1:44 pm  

Thank you guys!

Still tough to decide, as it sounds I'd love either, for the different reasons both of you describe 


ReplyQuote
yukiotokosama
(@yukiotokosama)
Member Forum Superstar!
Joined: 3 years ago
Posts: 535
24/09/2019 12:13 am  

?itemid=11478682

 

I've been to Baldface and currently live in Japan. That's a tough call. I'd probably pick Baldface.


ReplyQuote
tp1_kenobi
(@tp1kenobi)
Member Forum Superstar!
Joined: 3 years ago
Posts: 177
24/09/2019 5:05 pm  

I'm probably in the same boat w/ Matty.  I haven't done Baldface, but have done a slew of overseas trips that centered around snowboarding.  

I think the biggest thing is that you get exposure to the travel/culture when you do pick trips over the dedicated cat/heli trips.  While I would love to get a cat/heli trip in, I find it pretty hard to justify the cost for such a short, albeit epic trip.  I find that by renting a car and chasing the snowfall, it opened up lots of opportunities and experiences.


matty and Bopuc liked
ReplyQuote
pow_hnd
(@pow_hnd)
Wasangeles Forum Superstar!
Joined: 3 years ago
Posts: 459
24/09/2019 5:58 pm  

I’m lucky, my wife is a travel agent, so I get all my “travel for culture” all summer long... so if I didn’t have that perk, my view might be a bit different 


ReplyQuote
ivo
 ivo
(@lernr)
Member Forum Superstar!
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 186
25/09/2019 12:19 pm  

I also travel a fair bit for work and family. Decisions, decisions... Powderlust is strong in this one.

Low snow in Chile when I was there this summer, don't know how I'll feel if I make it to Japan and there's no powder, despite everything else there that would be super interesting.


ReplyQuote
kimchi
(@kimchi)
Member Forum Superstar!
Joined: 3 years ago
Posts: 436
25/09/2019 5:12 pm  

Can't speak to Baldface.

In Japan, I've ridden 3 different regions (Tenjindaira, Niseko, and Habuka) and strictly from a riding perspective... I have to say I'm not super impressed. My best days have been at resorts with lots of continuous vert, steep terrain, and good snow. Japanese pow is indeed next-level, but the vert is middling and the terrain (at least the easily accessible stuff) is generally mellow.

Japan definitely has some strong points. The snow quality is INSANE on a good day, it's incredible from a broader cultural perspective (particularly for food), and riding at low elevations is awesome if you want to hike, split, or otherwise exert yourself. But after a few trips in good-but-not-all-time conditions, I don't think I'd go back to Japan solo or with the wife strictly for snow. If I ride out there again, it'll be because a bunch of friends plan a trip, or I plan on being out there for a few weeks on leisure or business travel in the winter.

Personally I've had better overall experiences in the Austrian Alps, for whatever that's worth. The Alps are a place I'd go out of my way to get to just for snow.


ReplyQuote
tp1_kenobi
(@tp1kenobi)
Member Forum Superstar!
Joined: 3 years ago
Posts: 177
25/09/2019 6:02 pm  
Posted by: kimchi

Can't speak to Baldface.

In Japan, I've ridden 3 different regions (Tenjindaira, Niseko, and Habuka) and strictly from a riding perspective... I have to say I'm not super impressed. My best days have been at resorts with lots of continuous vert, steep terrain, and good snow. Japanese pow is indeed next-level, but the vert is middling and the terrain (at least the easily accessible stuff) is generally mellow.

Japan definitely has some strong points. The snow quality is INSANE on a good day, it's incredible from a broader cultural perspective (particularly for food), and riding at low elevations is awesome if you want to hike, split, or otherwise exert yourself. But after a few trips in good-but-not-all-time conditions, I don't think I'd go back to Japan solo or with the wife strictly for snow. If I ride out there again, it'll be because a bunch of friends plan a trip, or I plan on being out there for a few weeks on leisure or business travel in the winter.

Personally I've had better overall experiences in the Austrian Alps, for whatever that's worth. The Alps are a place I'd go out of my way to get to just for snow.

What'd you think about Tenjindaira?  I went on an off season and was pretty bummed about that.  I think when it's dumping, it could be next level.  I ended up staying with Tenjin Lodge for a few days, never made it to the summit though.  I also made the mistake of using public transportation to get around Honshu to a few other resorts like Nozawa and Myoko.  Wasted a day travelling by train to the other resorts.  The following year, we rented a car in Hokkaido and that was when it all changed for us.

Japow and back country missions are pretty sick.  I enjoy the self exertion, so having easy access at car parks makes this part super interesting.  I've done a day "split trip" off the back bowl of Niseko into an onsen which was really cool and had some lift assisted access into Kiroro.

Regarding the Austrian Alps, when there is a proper dump, I don't think there is any place in the world that tops it.


ReplyQuote
kimchi
(@kimchi)
Member Forum Superstar!
Joined: 3 years ago
Posts: 436
25/09/2019 9:28 pm  
Posted by: tp1_kenobi
Posted by: kimchi

Can't speak to Baldface.

In Japan, I've ridden 3 different regions (Tenjindaira, Niseko, and Habuka) and strictly from a riding perspective... I have to say I'm not super impressed. My best days have been at resorts with lots of continuous vert, steep terrain, and good snow. Japanese pow is indeed next-level, but the vert is middling and the terrain (at least the easily accessible stuff) is generally mellow.

Japan definitely has some strong points. The snow quality is INSANE on a good day, it's incredible from a broader cultural perspective (particularly for food), and riding at low elevations is awesome if you want to hike, split, or otherwise exert yourself. But after a few trips in good-but-not-all-time conditions, I don't think I'd go back to Japan solo or with the wife strictly for snow. If I ride out there again, it'll be because a bunch of friends plan a trip, or I plan on being out there for a few weeks on leisure or business travel in the winter.

Personally I've had better overall experiences in the Austrian Alps, for whatever that's worth. The Alps are a place I'd go out of my way to get to just for snow.

What'd you think about Tenjindaira?  I went on an off season and was pretty bummed about that.  I think when it's dumping, it could be next level.  I ended up staying with Tenjin Lodge for a few days, never made it to the summit though.  I also made the mistake of using public transportation to get around Honshu to a few other resorts like Nozawa and Myoko.  Wasted a day travelling by train to the other resorts.  The following year, we rented a car in Hokkaido and that was when it all changed for us.

Japow and back country missions are pretty sick.  I enjoy the self exertion, so having easy access at car parks makes this part super interesting.  I've done a day "split trip" off the back bowl of Niseko into an onsen which was really cool and had some lift assisted access into Kiroro.

Regarding the Austrian Alps, when there is a proper dump, I don't think there is any place in the world that tops it.

Also stayed at Tenjin Lodge. I got late season snow. Little heavier so not proper Japow, but I enjoyed it. On a primo day, I think it'd be pretty incredible. I think I'd enjoy it more now than I did then, since I'm much, much more comfy handling myself in the backcountry than I was 3 years ago.

Hakkoda is also a spot I've thought about in the future.

I think I may enjoy Japan more if I venture a bit further afield on my split. The spots T. Rice and Landvik were riding in the Japanese Alps in Fourth Phase looked insane. Some of the non-lift serviced stuff in Hakuba you can see form the resorts look pretty nice.

And yes, with the right conditions, the Austrian Alps are next level insane. Some of my best days ever are just exploring around St. Anton. I want to explore Europe, but I keep heading back there since it's easy to access, decently cheap (by North American standards), and just so, so rad.


ReplyQuote
Triple8Sol
(@triple8sol)
Member Forum Superstar!
Joined: 3 years ago
Posts: 342
30/09/2019 5:17 pm  

Definitely a tough call, and one that I debated just last season. Ended up going to Hokkaido for nearly 2 weeks. It was a gamble but it paid off when we had fresh pow for 8 of the 9 riding days. Total expenses were on par with the cost of just 4 days at Baldface. That's factoring in everything from airfare to beer, not to mention the awesome food, culture, and getting to hangout in Tokyo a couple days.


matty and ivo liked
ReplyQuote
ivo
 ivo
(@lernr)
Member Forum Superstar!
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 186
30/09/2019 5:45 pm  

That's the thing - i think I'd want 2 weeks in Japan but can't take as much time from work with everything else this year... 


ReplyQuote
ivo
 ivo
(@lernr)
Member Forum Superstar!
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 186
14/10/2019 12:07 am  

As I was preparing for a hard work week in London, I just signed up on the waitlist for Baldface Dec 13 - 15. Keeping my fingers crossed everything aligns 👍 


ReplyQuote
Share: