Snowboard in Hokkaido

Last weekend I took the Monday off and went with 3 friends to Niseko in Hokkaido for 3 days of snowboard. Departure 8am on Saturday from Tokyo – Haneda, quick flight to Sapporo – Chitose, then 2h30 of the most excruciatingly slow bus ride I’ve ever experience. At 2pm we were geared up and on the slopes (or more exactly just next to the official slopes, between the trees).

The one and only pro to living in Saitama is that you’re closer to the mountains, specifically Kagura in 新潟県, the Japanese Alps. So we go snowboarding pretty often, a couple of friends of mine went more than 20 times this season. The conditions are pretty good, but it’s nothing compared to ニセコスキー場. It can be resumed pretty simply:

Over there, there is no snow… Only powder!

Yoitei-zan over the forests of Hirafu

We had such a blast, we didn’t even touch the groomed runs, there was so much light forest areas covered with untouched powder. Moreover, the scenery is majestic: you ski down a rather small lone mountain (1308m) in the middle of a plain across of which, 10km in front of you, a huge conical volcano rises (1898m) like mount Fuji’s little cousin.

I don’t have any good photos on the snow because I didn’t bring my camera while snowboarding, for fear of losing it like I did my sunglasses last time. I used a photo from another flickr user, double-h, so don’t congratulate me on my photography skill on this one.

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