Getting skunked - Waiting for snow in Hakuba Japan -

So here we are. Stop 1 of the 10 month shred adventure and cabin fever has already made an uninvited appearance. I wasn’t due to meet the ole cabin fever until potentially March, during a month in Alaska, waiting to put the magic carpets in the sky (helis). But here we are, entertaining the old friend.

 

 

Early December is always a gamble in Japan. They don’t normally get their massive storms until mid December but normally this time of year you can ski the groomers top to bottom. The past two years I have been here, have been tits-deep with the JaPOW. It should have snowed by now dammit! Luckily I’ve met a great crew of guys here at The Hakuba Powder Lodge. We’re enjoying the odd walk, wood chop axe session, foot onsens and cooking communal delights at dinner. I’ve made crepes two nights in a row, another Japanese girl has made apple cake in the rice cooker (skills!), the Swiss legend Patrick Fux from Powdermania has brought a few kilos of gruyere cheese. But now we are out of wood to chop, we’ve finished the 3 litre bottle of Suntory whisky and I’m getting bored of cooking. We keep looking at Patrick’s photos of that tit deep JaPOW.

 

Powder snow japan

Opening day last year.
Photo Patrick Fux

 

Cortina powder snow, Japan

My new cabin-fever friend Oscar Frick, shot by Patrick Fux at Cortina last year.

 

 

The thing is in Japan, when it snows it really snows… like a meter or more. You need much that to cover up all the little shrubs. You need a solid base to start skiing those famous trees, the reason why most of us come to Japan. The forecast says 40cm tomorrow but that’s not going to cut it. Then we have some rain due on Saturday with the weather coming from the south (we need it to come from the north-west across Siberia)… Damn you El Nino, you are really fucking with us.

 

Hakuba Japan

We went up a few days ago… the goods are good… but then it rained.

 

Suntory whisky

But the goods aren’t here… so we try the other goods.

 

Chopping wood

I honed my axe skills in Alaska last winter… chopping wood is really fun!

 

Meanwhile in Tahoe, Whistler, Baker, Revelstoke, Utah, Colorado…. The list goes on. Whistler in the last 7 days has got 123cm of maritime goodness. Mount Baker is on a 117 inch base already. Alaska about to get the biggest storm ever recorded with waves up to 40 feet and lashings of snow (hopefully falling on the Chugach to give us a solid base!). And of course the invitations keep coming from all corners of the globe, “Come to X,Y,Z Alexa, it’s sooooo deep, get over here!“. That’s the beauty of the ski community and my amazing shred friends, there is always a bed somewhere with someone that wants to share the stoke. Just send some of that stoke to Japan.. or should I leave? Will it come?

 

 

So we wait….  we look on Sky scanner. We check snow-forecast. We look back on skyscanner. We send some emails. It looks like Hokkaido, the northern, colder and snowier island of Japan is getting more snow (due to the lower temps). Maybe we will go up there. Furano looks like it’s getting snow. But anything can change, you can’t trust a long range forecast.

 

 

Getting skunked. It sucks to suck.

 

Sushi Japan

At least the food is amazing!

 

Hakuba

Hakuba is a beautiful farming town. This should all be covered in snow by now.

 

Foot onsen Hakuba

The foot onsen. Note the T shirts.

 

Sakka II Hakuba Japan

Sakka II – tits deep

 

Mountain men snowboard and ski

The mustache game is strong

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