Having spent most of the last two months guiding in central Hokkaido, I got the chance to head south in search of new ski terrain to share with clients next season. With many of the well known ski areas becoming more popular every season and returning clients wanting to experience something different, exploring new areas has become an important element of my job.
Armed with a pile of maps, satellite imagery, photographs and a snowmobile, Chuck, the owner of Hokkaido Powder Guides, and I spent a week on the southwest coast skiing above the Sea of Japan, soaking in the healing waters of traditional Japanese onsens and refueling on amazing local seafood.
We were dealt some of the first blue sky days of the season and never encountered anyone else in the mountains. Many of the areas we went into weren’t what we were hoping for but a number of them were incredible. The feeling you get while staring between your ski tips and seeing the ocean and untracked powder below is a mind blowing sensation that you can’t find in many places.
I’m excited to share some of these places with others next year, but for now my season in Hokkaido has come to a close. Although skiing continues on the island, due to low elevation, Spring comes on quickly at the end of February.
Since skiers travel here in search of the reliable deep powder skiing found in Japanuary and early February, the guiding work here ends rather abruptly. It’s always tough to leave this place and the many friends that I’ve made here, but I’m looking forward to some time at home in Steamboat before continuing the rest of my season. Stay tuned for more.