If you've just come from "Mountains" you'll
see some familiar faces here. Doug, Todd and
Steve, Canuks in their element. In this case at my favourite mountain
resort Minakami, three hours out of Yokohama.
Kitahara first took me here in the winter of 1991.
That year most people had never seen a snowboard.
Yoko - Fuk
Kites & Balloons
Sue / Japan
The following year the snowboard boom hit. One year
later, due to the plague of dangerous beginners on the slopes, 90% of
hills banned the sport.
Today, boarders often outnumber skiers, which means
less people moan at the likes of "Megumi-Why-Should-I-Turn?-It-Slows-Me-Down".
This pic. taken in the shadow of Mount Fuji.
Another mountain, another year, but still in Miankami.
The trails in the virgin snow bottom left were made
by the intrepid explorers in front of you, after we'd hiked a couple
of hundred feet up from the top of the lif, for some off piste boarding.
Meg demonstrated why it's a bad idea to fall down in
deep snow beautifully by not getting back up for 20 minutes.
A lot further afield this time. Yamagata Zao in Tohoku.
The gate is the entrance to a natural outdoor hot spa, which is "closed
How exactly do you "close" a piece of nature?
Needless to say, we had a couple of luxurient baths in the open. Luxurient
that is until it was time to get out.
See the same spot in summer in Tohoku.
Futher down Mt. Zao. The top of the mountain is famous
for its Snow Monsters - trees get totally covered in snow and ice and
look like dinosaurs, or at least like white Brimham Rocks.
The hand bag just isn't quite right in this setting,
The other end of the country. Shimane, just outside
of Hiroshima. A look at the surrounding mountains gives a good idea
of the snow quality, but Fukuokan beggars can't be choosers.
James Llewelyn lived in tiny Akagi Cho (pop. 6,000
anf falling rappidly) for 2 years. This was his first outing on a snowboard,
but years of surfing in Brisbane paid off and he avoided the usual first
day bruised knees and bum.
Below is the main drag of Akagi (Click here for the
same view in summer). The snow on top of the van (and in the driveway)
all fell over night.