Thursday, February 17, 2011


It's been a packed couple of weeks with a trip back home to see family and the year coming to a close at school which means assessment, reports and self evaluation. But when the opportunity arose to go snowboarding for three days, I grabbed it with both hands as I usually only get to do it once, maybe twice a season if I'm lucky.

This year we went up to Nagano/Yamanashi prefectures and we scored some of the best conditions of the season thus far!

On Friday we got the 5:30am bus to Tokyo, trained to Shinjuku, then took the Azusa express train to our final destination (almost 6hrs of travel and the same returning). We were greeted by Umi who lead us to his dad, Ken, waiting in the car park and then went straight to Fujimi Panarama Ski Field. Conditions were a bit tough with decent snowfall and pretty lumpy trails, but it felt good to be up in the mountains. The following two days we drove about an hour to Koumi Re-Ex Ski Resort and scored some of the best snow conditions I've had! One of the great things about snowboarding in Japan is that there are so many ski fields that lift prices are very reasonable (we paid ¥3,000/NZ$45?) and queues at the lifts are basically non-existent (at least where we were). How good is that???!!!

 The 'Welcome to Kobuchisawa' sign that greeted us when we stepped off the train.
 Ken's homemade MAKI STOVE! For all your home heating and cooking needs.
 Tasty chicken Maki Stove style with wasabi and grated daikon for zest!
 Rina loading up.
 Brewing trouble or trouble brewing...
 Dave and I with Ken and a 'friend' (later in the evening).
 Driving first thing after snow all night.
 Feather-light powder snow balanced delicately.
 Sunrise @ Koumi Resort.
 Our crew: (L-R) Dave, Shinya, Ken, Umi and Rina (absent: Sa-chan) and me.
 Random cosplay family suiting up in the car park area.
 Icicles frozen on the car exterior.
 Icicles on the laminating shed's gutter.
 Rural Japan mid-winter.
 Building a snowman.
 Dave and I sitting with our proud creation, just like kids again.
 The majestic Mt. Fuji from Ken's deck.
Shinya and Dave swapping stories on the train in the only space we could find.

This whole trip wouldn't have been possible if it weren't for the great hospitality of the whole Kitazawa family. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR EVERYTHING!

For more photos see

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