After seeing numerous pictures and video clips of skiing in Japan in recent years I have been dreaming of such a trip.. When Dalton Harben mentioned wanting to go I instantly said I am in, lets do it.. He wanted to ski nothing but powder and has heard all the stories of Japan and their consistent snowfall. Powder is pretty much all his knee allows him to ski these days after almost loosing his leg in a ski accident from a few years ago… We did what we had to do and we made it happen… It was a dream come true for the both of us.
The trip was everything we had hoped it would be and more. I did get sick while there, but the snow was to good, I just dealt with it and snowboarded as much as possible during the day and rested up in the evening. I got by and didn’t let it ruin my trip. We spent the first leg in Hakuba where we stayed at Hakuba Powder Lodge. Not the best located place depending on where you wanted to ski, but a great, clean place to stay with many like minded powder hounds. Right off the bat we got two days of touring in with Damien from Steep Deep Japan. Couldn’t thank him enough for picking us up and taking us to a fun backcountry location to tour, which we did 2 days in a row. Our third day skiing and riding in Hakuba we headed to Hakuba Cortina Resort which just got a nice dumping of fresh snow. I think it snowed every night we were in Japan by the way.. The resort was a really fun place to let the legs rest, ride the lift, and ski powder all day.. Everyday seems to be a powder day in Japan, at least it was for us..
Before we knew it we were off to the Northern Island of Hokkaido, which was a short flight from Tokyo. We stayed in Niseko the entire time in Hokkaido at a little Japanese owned lodge called Lodge Kanon.. It was perfect! Walking distance to everywhere including the lift and the owner was really nice and fed us a lot of food every morning. Niseko had a little more of a ski town vibe to it and it just snowed and snowed and snowed. We had a lot of fun skiing in Niseko and found a lot of good snow, but a little crowded with tourists. Since we rented a car we decided to venture away to a mountain called Rusutsu. It was about a 35-40 min drive, but well worth it. Not much for crowds and tourists, mostly Japanese learning to ski in lessons. They stick to the groomers, so the rest of the mountain is open to the handful of people looking to ski powder and trees.. This place was a dream, not sure I’ve been to a resort where I could ski in-bounds powder from open to close and have fresh tracks all day. The trees are so nicely spaced and open, pretty much what we dream about here in Vermont.
It was really hard to leave Japan, as we were getting use to the routine of waking up every morning knowing we had another powder day ahead of us. Unfortunately we had to travel back home. Before doing so we spent a day in the city of Narita after flying back to Tokyo. We walked the streets, had some local eats, checked out some temples and really just took in some of the culture there, which was a great way to end our trip.. We both agree that we MUST go back, as it is a really special place..
Since I was sick I didn’t really have the motivation to tinker much with my camera, but I did manage to capture a clip here and there. Below is a short video in no particular order of the trip followed by a bunch of still photos we took as well.. ENJOY!
Train hopping in Tokyo was extra fun with ski gear..
Thank you to Damien for taking us out on his days off, including picking us up and dropping us off at HPL.
Decided to make the drive to Rusutsu Resort to avoid some crowds and heard rumor that the powder doesnt suck. The main lodge/hotel where we bought our tickets was a trip into story land. Not what we were expecting to be inside..