The Japan Journal – Niseko Dreaming

Last January.

Stories of waist deep bottomless pow between the trees. Every second person that had spoken to us that had been to Niseko were telling us that snorkels were nearly necessary. You can’t help but get your hopes up. On arrival, Niseko had just received their 24 consecutive day of snow. We arrived late and woke to the first day of no snow. Winning. This had come after the previous year travelling half way around the world to experience a full week of sunshine in Aspen, after no snow for 15 days, followed by 3 weeks in Whistler with 2 days of fresh snow. It seemed that we had been hit with the shit stick again. The only chance of using the snorkel was looking like diving the great barrier reef, but even that isn’t as good as it used to be.

I just couldn’t help but get frustrated as the first three days got warm and icy. But this was Japan. Give it three days of nothing and the Siberian cold front button isn’t far away and wallah. Snow. This blew me away. Overnight we got 30cm and it just keeps snowing during the day. On some days we were getting fresh tracks till 11, going in for lunch to let the snow catch up to us and fill our tracks back in, then do it all again for the rest of the day. Not bad uh?

 

The view you want to see out of your window.

The view you want to see out of your window.

Over those first few days of no snow, it really does teach you that mother nature always has the last say. Especially when it comes to riding pow. So when the snow-making factory that builds up off the coast of Japan comes to life, it really does make you appreciate the sort of environment that you got yourself into.

So if your booking your first trip over there go for a bit and you won’t be disappointed. Some things to have a good time in Niseko.. Respect the Japanese, they will be some of the happiest and nicest people you will meet. Respect the environment (Avalanches do happen). Embrace the culture. Go to a fridge door bar. Go to Bar Barumba in Hirafu and ask for a Bruce Lee…just don’t plan on getting first tracks the next day. Eat Japanese food.. Don Dons is a rad little place that is well priced and serves up some great food. And finally go with some mates so you can not just brag about the face shots and lines you rode that day, they can do it with you.

 

There will be more to come from Japan. For now sayonara.

 

Song of the trip. Mesita – Somewhere Else. Like bacon and eggs… It partnered up perfectly with floating through pow and weaving through trees.