The Japan Experience

Summary:
When I was a teenager I often thought about visiting Japan. Coming from a Graffiti/Arts background I was fascinated by their Kanjis, Anime and a lot of other things this country had to offer. I never actually thought about skiing there. To be honest, I didn’t even know they had snow until I saw a video filmed in Hokkaido a few years ago.

This trip was something special, something that has been a long time coming. The end of a creative process that marked the beginning of a new era. Three years ago I would have never thought that skiing would make me see stuff all around the globe and enable me to learn from all different kinds of people. It was just too far away and not yet fully rooted in my mindset. Or let’s just say… I didn’t dare to think about all the possibilities I had right in front of me.

Anyways our trip began with some minor problems because our flight didn’t actually leave the airport in Munich. The airplane had technical difficulties and wasn’t really in shape to take off. On another note, a heavy storm system had been hitting most parts of Germany and Austria that day, so a lot of airports were forced to close down. Domnestic flights couldn’t take off and so everything came to a hold.

Seeing the never ending line of people in front of the information booth made us a little uneasy to say the least and so we decided to leave the security area and find an informational booth in the main area of Terminal 2. Long story short, we barely made it onto the last flight out that would take us directly to Tokyo and was scheduled for departure at 8:30 pm. Although there was a heavy storm and a lot of snow on the piste, the plane was forced to stay on the ground for some more hours.

With our landing in Tokyo the excitement set in. I had finally made it, Japan, I was here, I had arrived. The very organized and exceptionally friendly wastelands of incredible deep pow and delicous Udon noodles.

After a short interlude in Tokyo we took another flight to Sapporo and headed directly to Moiwa which is in the South-West of Hokkaido. A perfect little resort, not too crowded, with tons of snow and a nice lodge at the bottom of the hill to get a refill on coffee every now and then. The only thing that took quite some time to get used to were the many Australian tourists that seemed to be everywhere.

After a few very good days of skiing we left Niseko and ventured forth into the heart of the island. In Furano we stayed in a really nice little house owned by a Japanese guy who was pretty obsessed with cats. All the skiing happened in and around Furano and we also had the opportunity to skin up some of the local vulcanos. Accompanied by the smell of rotten eggs, we had some of the best runs of our lives as we skied untracked terrain in some of the finest snow we’ve ever had set foot in.

A huge thank you goes out to all the people at Equip Germany and RAB Equipment UK (Steve, Andi, Hannah, Robert) for making this trip happen and supporting us all the way through this amazing winter.

Some important things to know when you’re going to Japan:
– It is definitely a cash country. You can pay with plastic every now and then but the Japanese prefer cash. ATM’s are to be found in almost every 7/11 store and other shops. We found almost none on street corners like we are used to in Europe.
– Accomodation mostly has to be paid for right at check in so bring enough cash.
– A rental car is a pretty solid call if you really wanna see stuff. Every Lodge in in and around the resorts has the option to get a shuttle but if you want to be independent (and ski some really good stuff) you should get a car.
– Food is absolutely amazing and not expensive (compared to Europe). You can get some kind of soup or noodles at almost every corner.
– Never buy coffee in a can out of a vending machine. Trust me. I’ve been there.
If you’re part of a film crew you should contact ski resorts up front. They often hand out multiple day passes to film and photography companies that can provide marketing content for them. You will have to sign a sheet of paper and agree to their terms of use of course. It’s a win/win thing.

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