Holy-moly. After the first day of rain and lack of snow coverage we could only talk about the possibilities if there was snow. Day two was pretty mellow a quick drive to Takayama. Well the drive was actually about 4 hours. It did pass through one of Japans most famous apple growing regions, which is really amazing because of how they train the tree’s branches, in a small orchard of 60 to 70, the tree’s look almost identical. The drive was long and kind of beat, but we saw wild monkeys, went through tunnels that were miles long, stopped at a skateboard/ snowboard shop named Pile Driver, and saw Takayama a very, very old city.
Day three we hit the slopes again! It might have been four chairs but I will say five, in any case it took a while to get to the top. We kicked off our boards and started hiking up hill. Boiler. Totally nasty, dirty, hard and rocky! Matt tried to explain that we only rode powder and didn’t need to hike any further. Things were looking grim, and then it turned down right ugly. They lead us to the High Cascade Snowboard Camp Japan PARK! It was cool, lots of rippers, girls that fully ripped too. But we came to ride Japanese POWDER! Onsen time! Beer too please!
Day four. I poked my head out of my sleeping cave, Zak was looking out the window and it was that quiet that only snow makes. I had to ask. Zak is it snowing? Sure is! Wow a surprise snowstorm. We kicked around the house waiting for the snow to stack up, about noon we made our way up to the hill. It was kind of foggy with maybe 4 inches. We jumped a little sign, did a pull jam just fooled around hoping the snow wouldn’t stop. At the onsen that evening it was really coming down.
Day five we rode almost a foot of light powder through Japan’s awesome trees. It is worth going there to just ride them. That night we ate at this insane Korean BBQ place, each table had it’s own grill. Some of the highlights were the raw beef, cow tongue and PORK THROAT. It was like bacon with chicken joints! BURL!
We left Endo’s house the next morning. It puked all night. The drive to the new ski area was two hours. Kind of painful when you know it is very good at the place we rode the day before. Once at the new area we felt a lot better, it looked like at least 2.5 feet. We hooked up with Goro and Shin two Japanese rippers and locals at this mountain. A huge time saver as far as finding good zones to ride. At the top we were led straight in to this killer gully that was filled with hits the whole way down. The snow was a little too light for our liking so we ended up at a lower lift that serviced some of the best lift access terrain I have ever seen. One run had a steep pillows off the top then super nice fall line over two to three steep/cliffy roll-overs and finally into another perfect gully. We were freakin, it was empty too! All afternoon we rode the chair in puking conditions. Then we discovered that there was another set-up almost identical to the first although this one had gnarlier lines! We rode till the very last chair, and then on our way to the cars Forrest spotted a perfect roof drop. It was a perfect ender to an already packed day.
Our hotel for the next few days was way up this valley at the bottom of an eighty plus year old ski area, with onsen and a forty-year-old single seat chair. There is so much natural hot water in this valley they run it through pipes so it runs all over the driveways and parking lots. The next morning Forrest split up to the face that was right in front of our hotel. The chairs didn’t start loading till just after nine but the line was growing for today was a banked slalom. A very low key event, the Japanese are very into style so it was more about how you rode the banks. Very cool none the less. This area also had a gully that was sweet. We rode it till about three o’clock then headed back to the place we rode the day before. Those three runs at they other area were making us feel like we were living in a different reality. The next day was more of the same great snow great gullies and at the end of the day we hit the roof jump. After that we said good-bye to some of our Japanese friends, loaded in the cars and headed back to Tokyo. Save up some cash and go check out Japan the people our as friendly as they get, there are over there are over 400 ski areas, and the food and onsen’s are A+….. Check the Oneballjay blog for more pictures and story.
Snow Bowl contest flyer
Raw meet at Korean place
Massage Chairs after onsen
TV snow report
Yuki fixing the feast at Endo and Yuki’s place
Yuki and Endo
Highway to powder
Forrest-son getting ready to rip it
Biggest barrel of Forrest life
It’s puking !!
Little buddy needs a belly home
Temple, Split to powder zone before lifts opens
Forrest-son, rodeo 9, to crooked grind, 180 out
Wish you were here
Ground hot water springs to good use !
Local Ripper Goro, pinballing it.
Endo, with more style than words can describe
Zak-muted temple pop
Forrest met with the Colonel