Japan. A Winter Journey Part 3

11. 12. 2018

After lunch, we pack our bags and head out on a ski tour around the backside of the volcano. We’ve gotten used to the fact that it is snowing most of the day, every day, so the sight of big puffs of snow from our skis stamping uphill is not a surprise to us. Obviously the sun and some blue sky would make for a great photo, but Hokkaido’s real draw is the vast amount of the world’s finest powder and that snow obviously has to come from somewhere.

After lunch, we pack our bags and head out on a ski tour around the backside of the volcano. We’ve gotten used to the fact that it is snowing most of the day, every day, so the sight of big puffs of snow from our skis stamping uphill is not a surprise to us. Obviously the sun and some blue sky would make for a great photo, but Hokkaido’s real draw is the vast amount of the world’s finest powder and that snow obviously has to come from somewhere.

The ascent up Mt. Niseko leads on through a light birch grove. The icy branches of the trees show signs of which direction that last precipitation came from. We feel as though we are in a magical forest and as we travel further up the trail a snow hare crosses our path. At this point the visibility is diminishing so we decide to stop and plan to ascend a second time instead. It was a good decision due to the contrast of the forest against the snow. Carving between the trees and bamboo shoots in so much deep snow was an amazing time.

As we head back up for our second ascent the last lesson of our journey is learned: Expect the unexpected. The snow gradually comes to a stop and as we move through the forest the clouds start to lift. Above the tree line the sun is shining and the skies clear, we can hardly believe our luck. Amazed we take in the warmth of the sun’s rays and the view to Mt. Yotei, affectionately called “Fuji” by the locals.

“Japow” and sunshine, we simply could not ask for more. Celebrating that night or should we go skiing in the floodlight after a quick stop at a food truck are the questions we ask ourselves. From 7:00 pm the lifts will open again and the feeling of floating through virgin powder is too good to pass up.

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