Most of our chaotic crew has been to Japan before. Both as a single person and as a whole group. Experiences to share, stories to tell...
Now I'll take the fall, Jara... Last year was the second season I was lucky enough to be in Hokkaido with the Sherpas Ride crew. You fly in, the guys pick you up and you ride around Niseko for 9 days, or you can do a roadtrip (4days Furano - 4days Niseko or Rishiri Island).
Hopefully no one should be upset about the Japan article, because none of us will get there this year due to covid. So at least it will be a nice diversion and motivation before it turns sour for us.
But back to the point! JAPOW!
It's clear that everyone wants to go to the promised land for all of us to drown in snow. But that pile of snow will overwhelm you before you can even put on your snowboard boots.
The first time I was in Japan, it snowed in such a way that we had 35-45cm of snow every day. The first 5-6 days were a dream. The next few days, it wasn't so shitty on a snowboard.
As those hills don't have much of a slope, there was so much snow that you just had to go straight.
If you took a faceshot, it meant stopping in your tracks. And that was followed by another 10 days... You know how you complain about the lack of snow and no snow? I've been whining for it to stop snowing.
Last season was not so rich in snow, but paradoxically it was much better riding. Everything was faster, faceshots all the way down. Of course, there was still plenty of snow and powder every day, but just better conditions for a snowboarder.
And when you're not splitboarding, you're in a resort, you have to think a lot and drive differently. If you happen to be in a group with skiers - you don't bounce, you don't skate off the run-out. Spiders are always braking everywhere, always standing somewhere... I need to go fast and pump wherever I can, classic banked slalom, because once you stop you can turn off and walk.
The hills around Niseko are not as high as in Furan. For me the resort riding is not that good, but I always had a good ride in Rusutsu or Moiwe.
Except for last year, where I blew out my knee on the fifth day and thought I was going to have to go home. By some miracle, the hospital made arrangements, drew blood and did an MRI. I took seven days on the couch. After Dave brought me a brace from CR and some medication, I was back after 8 days.
A huge advantage is that I'm with the guys from Sherpas ride who are guiding in Japan all winter. So they always know which day to go where depending on the conditions.
In my opinion, it's best to just pedal, the hills are not that high, so if you are a bit fit, you can climb the hill for 5-6 runs - about 30-40minutes up. People are really scarce in the backcountry compared to the resorts, so there is no shortage of lines.
I don't think there's much point in describing how the snow is splashing in your face...
And the fact that the day doesn't end after the last line...
...there's a Japanese spa, where you lie in hot water and drink a well-deserved beer... And don't worry when the day starts to end... Or?
Nebo je pak velice, ale velice důležitý, že díky klukům víš kam na sushi a pořádný wagyu. Tohle posouvá ty zážitky na úplně jinej level. A ty pivka a whisky!?
When you're having a top day, a beer and a whiskey will do. Then you're buying Nikka in 4L plastic cans and you only have beer to quench your thirst. And don't judge whiskey in plastic! 4l for 550k has its merits.
Japan won't let you get bored, the exoticism, the different lifestyle... There's still things to do, still things to see.
It is incredible how in one place you can climb the Yotei volcano, which is also the highest mountain in the vicinity of Niseko, and descend into the crater.
Then there are a few places in the area where you can drive straight downhill to a natural hot onsen.
Or maybe in Iwanai you ride right by the Sea of Japan. It's hard to describe such things.
There is nothing to do but to save some money this year and when next season Japan opens... Go