Snorkel in Japow

In January 2019 I made my fourth trip to Myoko, Japan with my younger brother, Michael. He wanted to return and experience it on skis.

At Madarao waiting for Charlie to get permission for the sit ski to ride chairlifts PHOTO: Michael

I was looking forward to skiing with Charlie, having previously skied with him in Myoko and Falls Creek. We had five days together, a rest day and then three more days with Sam. I was a bit apprehensive to ski with Sam having not skied with him before but it was enlightening to know Sam, that he’d been taught by Charlie and each instructor teaches something new. We worked well as a team.

Enjoying the view and catching up with Charlie on the chairlift PHOTO: Charlie
Getting to know Sam & watching others on the slopes PHOTO: Michael

There are many resorts to explore in the varied conditions. I’d skied the convenience of Akukura Kanko being right near our hotel, Suginohara with its long and wide runs, and Ilinotara with its beautiful trees. It was a first to ski the fancy new Arai, and the large Tangrem and Madarao.

Tethering Tamgrem & Madarao PHOTO: Charlie

There was so much powder. It was too deep to ski with outriggers so we instead enjoyed going in and out of the powder. We ended up getting stuck six (6) times just on the first day. Five (5) times before lunch. We’d go into the powder, it would be above my head, loose speed and come to a stop. Charlie and Michael would have to make tracks to enable us to ski out.

We needed a snorkel. No joke.

Charlie messaged his fiancée and Myoko Snowsports colleague, Nikki, to order a snorkel. She thought we were joking. We weren’t joking. A hot pink snorkel was ordered from Amazon Japan with next day delivery.

The second day was still very powdery. The snorkel hadn’t yet arrived but we couldn’t resist the powder. We went in deep without enough speed and was stuck on our first run. I was buried and started to push the soft powdery snow away. It took quite a while to get out. We learnt to lean back to prevent the front from sinking and stopping us. We also gathered more speed and used tracks.

Stuck in powder PHOTO: Charlie

We headed to Arai with our snorkel, Dave and his camera. It was needed as we went in and out of powder. We also needed proof that we weren’t joking and actually had a snorkel.

Into the powder at Arai PHOTO: David Churchill
Out of the powder at Arai PHOTO: David Churchill

The snow continued to fall most days and nights. We enjoyed working on my independence with loose bucketing and tethering on groomed runs on bluebird days too.

Enjoying the view at Madarao before tethering PHOTO: Charlie

At the end of each day I was covered in snow with every gap filled. I would get quite cold from being wet. It was all worth it to look like a snowman. It was so much fun!

Looking like a snowman (or Santa). It’s a natural reaction to put arms out when there’s a camera! PHOTO: David Churchill

Published on the DWA website, 4 February 2019

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