a lazy sunday at sapporo teine

prior to our recent otaru stay, we ventured back to sapporo for two nights and one of the motivating factors to come back to the city was so i could make a daytrip to teine.  i’ve heard that it has good terrain and is easily accessible from the city by bus.

we stayed in the university district just north of the jr station so a 2 minute subway ride to the jr station and 20 minute ride to the teine station got me to the bus stop just in time for the quick trip up the mountain.  the ride was no longer than 20 minutes and once we set foot outside, the view of the mountain was amazing.  two steep fall lines with the sun behind the mountain’s back and shining upon the lodge.

teine’s ridgeline overlooking the highland lodge

8cm overnight and -4 degrees in the forecast for today with sun… this could be alright!  a bonus that i didnt know about beforehand was that sapporo teine is affiliated with rusutsu resort and since we spent a few days up there, each rusutsu day brought along a 50% discount on a 4900 yen full day ticket.  i spent the first hour poking around the mountain trying to find my spots.  by this point it was nearly 11am so i wasn’t expecting too much fresh snow to be had but with the warm sun beaming down, it didn’t bother me too much.  the first run of the day was through a mellow gladed area that also brought along with it some amazing views of the city and surrounding hilltops.

the valley view from the top of the highland zone
the sea of japan on the left, giver of all goods that are white and soft

so i venture to the shaded side as the sun was starting to heat the snow up quite a bit in that area.  this is the steepest area of the mountain and all i can make out is that there are a whole field of moguls to navigate down.  i stand by myself and ponder if it’s a good idea to end my day early and as i’m strapping on my binding i notice a small japanese rider shuffle past me with a moss snowsurf board almost as big as him.  he gets deep into a couple stretches and with two poofs of white smoke, he’s long gone.  i follow his line into a group of trees and the rest is history.  fresh, untouched powder about half a foot deep with some vertical drop.  this is what furano and kamui should’ve been.  after two runs in that section i decide to explore the otherside of the chair.  upon first drop into that area, i’m greeted with a large gulley of foot deep snow that has no more than five tracks through it.  this is rusutsu all over again just on a much smaller scale.

fresh lines all day

i spend the next three hours lapping this section, picking a different line each time and after 15-20 (laps were barely 10 minutes), my legs are jello and i’m smiling from ear to ear.  it’s 3pm and i’m still lapping a powder run all by myself. i haven’t seen a soul come through this area since i followed that first japanese rider. the lifties probably think i’m crazy by the way i’m laughing to myself.

my alone zone

sapporo teine’s ski area is split between two mountains so since i have 30 minutes to kill until my bus arrives, i cross over to catch a glimpse of the olympic torch.

looks like it’s been a while since they’ve opened the doors

and can you guess what i saw?

anywhere and everywhere…
a late afternoon view of sapporo from the olympia zone

i rode this mountain for cheaper than it cost me to travel to and from furano and had gobs more fun with a 1/3rd of the snowfall.  i was fairly unmotivated to make the trek up today after such a mediocre report but for a day where i wasn’t getting up early to beat the crowds and find stashes, these days are the best.  oh and i forgot to mention that there were zero crowds for a sun filled weekend.  i’ve seen worse conditions at cypress this season result in a 1 hour wait to simply get into the parking lot only to have to deal with 20 minute waits in the lift line.

i can only imagine teine on a powder day, which was actually going to be coming the day after this ride. i had the option of coming back here but i was already fully committed to kiroro as their short term forecast was looking unbelievable (more to come in a following post). would i come back to teine? most definitely. there are a few other areas to get into that would be fun on a powder day and it would be a really good mountain to start/end the trip off if you were coming to hokkaido and had a few days to spend in sapporo. being so accessible to the jr station also means that you can come back to the city to round out the night with a good meal. we closed out our night out at picante, a soup curry kitchen right next to our airbnb. so far we’ve had soup curry at three different areas and each one has had their own unique flavouring

mushroom soup curry
picante’s tempura egg. yum yum

running list:
1-rusutsu
2-niseko
3-teine
4-kamui
5-furano

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