Monday, April 4, 2016

Snowboarding in Hokkaido (08.03.2016 - 20.03.2016)

With our trip long over it was time of to start the tale. A while ago the idea to go snowboarding in Japan got much more popular with the flight prices plummeting. So it came that Melanie, Patric and Patrick (aka Winston) ended up in Hokkaido for almost two weeks of snow and fun. 

Our days up north were split between Furano and Niseko. The two more famous ski areas I could find online ;) 

Furano had a lot of hotels with german names like Naturwald or Edel Wärme o_O. Quite weird hearing them pronounce it, hehe. There weren’t many other foreign tourists (or any tourists at all). It was snowing on the night we arrived and then again almost every day.
We mostly spent our days riding the fluffy powder between the birch trees! Sooooooo an amazing experience. This is THE (emphasised enough?) reason to go again! 
Patric and Patrick in the chair behind us ;)
Unlike back home it isn’t generally prohibited to enter the forests. Usually there were designated gates to cross over or they asked you to take off your skis/board not to leave tracks which any beginners then would follow :D
Speaking of beginners, the riding level is definitely lower than in Europe. And snowboarding is still “cool” :D Not many skiers, all Japanese cool kids are snowboarding ;)

Niseko on the other hand is way more popular with western tourists. Mostly Australians, Expats and others from Singapore or Hong Kong. This makes the main town of Hirafu a bit sad, when entering a bar and not a single local is inside… 
To avoid the crowds and especially the high lodging prices we stayed in the nearby town/hamlet of Moiwa. There is a little independent ski resort here which allows you to reach the bigger Niseko United resort and ski back in the evening. The Moiwa Lodge was great and we had some enjoyable days. Sadly it only started snowing again when we left. There was enough snow left (about 3 meters), don’t get me wrong. Just not the fluffy powder we had come to love in Furano ;) 
Here they have even more back country possibilities accessed by so called gates. Seeing the runs we have missed we definitely have to visit again!
Brown = Groomed slopes, G1 - G11 access to the back country.
We stayed were I'm pointing ;)

Of course we spent some days on the Honshu main island, more to that in a future post!