LucR, yes, it may not be great for yamadori, but I think I can make it work.
Rorror, Yes, those in orange are branches that I could leave until I can get some new ones growing. There are several trees, and a few of them actually have some lower branches like the one shown in orange.
I will go back there and clear the snow out. I apologize for the quality, it was dusk and I had a pretty bad camera. I will get some pictures tomorrow maybe.
Also, I don't really mind having a upright formal bonsai, so I am not worried about no curve in the trunk.
In the end, the first 30 or so cm determine whether the tree is interesting. If that is no good, the whole tree will remain a challenge.
Formal upright is NOT the same as a straight stick. It needs to have very good nebari and a homogenous taper from roots to the tip of the tree. In broaleaf species very dificult to achieve and in general, very hard to do well.
Look at the base of the tree and check the rootspread. Go from there.