The first time I thought about coming to Japan to ski was about six years ago. Pep Fujas, JP Auclair and some of their crew had been over and had great snow. They told me that the culture was interesting and the snow was guaranteed to be good. Being a vegetarian, I was worried about the food. The culture? Sounds interesting, but it can't be that different. And who guarantees great snow? I always think about my friends who ask, "What's the best week to visit Resort X for great snow next year?" WTF are you talking about?
Somehow, every year an opportunity to ski in Japan comes up. And each year it has fallen through for me for various reasons. And every year, the crew who does make it raves about how good the snow is.
So this year, when I got the call from Nimbus Independent I was not going to miss out. And let's just say that I am not missing out. After an unexpectedly long layover in Tokyo, I made it to Niseko on the the island of Hokkaido. Two hours after I arrived, I was grinning ear to ear as I made bottomless powder turns under the lights at Hirafu Ski Area.
The next day, we took snowmobiles into a new backcountry zone and I had one of the deepest runs of my life (although it was short, and I spent way too much time chest deep, struggling my way back to the sleds).
Pep Fujas getting his powder turn on at Rusutsu Resort. P: Nate Abbott
And then, we moved over to Rusutsu resort. This place is insane: 72 holes of golf and a huge convention center and theme park for summer. And endless snow—incredible terrain and zero crowds for the winter. Seriously. The Nimbus crew has been struggling to stay awake past 8:30 p.m. each night because there is so much snow to be skied. Sure, it would be better if we didn't have to slow down for slow ass filmers and slower—more emotionally fragile—photographers, but we are still choking down more cold smoke ice crystals than is healthy. Luckily we have amazing fish and Hokkaido style barbeque every night. And healing onsen baths take the sting out of tired muscles too.
More to come, photos and words, but for now I need to rest up for another ridiculous day of ridiculous snow at Rusutsu on the island of Hokkaido.
Hokkaido sound up your alleuy? Check out Black Diamond Tours and Rusutsu Resort: