Monday, 21 February 2011

The snow in Japan, (blog from John)

For all those people who only know the words Tokyo or karate in regards to Japan, (including myself before we got here), there are four main islands that make up Japan. The northern most island is called Hokaido and has the best ski resorts in Japan.
The good thing about Niseko is that it is so close to heaps of other resorts and in less than one week we have seen three others. A lot of them look like volcanoes as in the photos of some of the mountains in the area above.
However, the ultimate thing about Niseko is undoubtedly the snow. It is perfect dry powder and is the best we have ever seen....That includes Austria, France, Italy, Canada, Norway and New Zealand.

We have been here 6 days and 4 of those were snowing day and night. The record for one season is 20 metres and it is not unusual to get 2 metre dumps within a four day period. What is even more mind blowing is the fact that Niseko village, (where all these house shots were taken), is only 300 metres above sea level.
Check the two photos below. This is not snow on top of a hill or a bank, but pure snow.
All over Niseko there are huge walls of snow as illustrated below. What is even more amazing is the fact that every week they bulldoze these huge piles away and truck it off and dump it somewhere away from the city...Next thing it's snowing again and the cycle begins again.
The best snow comes from the northern winds of Siberia, that travel across the Sea of Japan, picking up moisture that is dumped on the mountains in northern Hokaido.
We have never had so much spray coming over our heads and unfortunately it was snowing too heavy to take the camera out and get some great powder shots.
Today, the sun came out and we went to another resort about 30 minutes from Niseko.
We went with "Big John" who is the guy we are staying with and also knows all the great ski resorts in the area. His Japanese is also certainly better than ours as well. Check out his powder board especially designed for super deep powder!
We also were with surfing legend Mick from "Mick's Place" in Bingin, Bali and his Danish girlfriend Sascha.
Check out the snow everywhere in the background.

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