This year, we’re partnering with our good friends at Icelantic Skis to bring you an exclusive video series that’ll leave your jaw on the floor. Return to Nature isn’t just about deep days on the hill; it’s about rediscovering the importance of immersing oneself new places, new people and new experiences.
Most mornings in Japan, we awoke to fresh snow and whiteout conditions. The constant, cyclical snow that builds over the Japanese Sea and falls in the mountains of Hokkaidio are famous for providing deep early season turns. That is undoubtably what we found.
However, on the rare day that we were able to see the sun breach the horizon, Mt. Yotei would emerge as a fixture of the landscape. It’s snow-packed spines and iconic, conical shape towered above us, even at the summit of the resort.
The Yotei-Daiko is a love song to this small corner of Hokkaido. Each movement represents the changing seasons, and how the immense volcano influences the cycle of life in the region. Represented by the taiko drum—one of Japan’s oldest musical traditions—the Daiko is meant to reflect the blessings provided by living in the shadow of Yotei. The deep, resonating beats of the taiko reverberate a prayer to the mountain’s majesty.
After spending many years in this area, and many days hiking and skiing on the Yotei itself, I am consistently reminded by the strength of nature experienced in central Japan. Near constant snow makes you yearn to see the sun. Frigid temperatures can be healed by skiing down to one of the many onsens hidden in the hills. Often, it is hard to see, especially while choking on snow on any given descent. The cold, the snow and the lack of visibility only add to the magical aura that this place exudes.