Japan 2003-2004 Images Added

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Ok, so its been nearly 3 months since we got back, but I’ve finally started putting up the best of the pics/movies from the last Japan trip. Check em out!

LPL Japan Trip 2003/04

The infamous Kutchan skiing potato

Owen in Whistler

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You know that feeling of anticipation the week before a big snow trip – checking the forecasts every day for weeks beforehand, and watching as a big front builds up just in time for your arrival.

The problem with Canada is just how bloody far away it is. 2 hours beforehand at Sydney Airport, 14 hours to LA, 5 hours wait in LA, 3 hours to Vancouver, and only 15 minutes to get to the next bus to Whistler or you’ll have to wait another 3 hours. So you bolt past everyone getting off the plane, are the first through customs and find the oversize baggage area straight away. The first truck trundles up full of golf bags – Canadians on their way back from Mexico. The next one has a few skis and boards, and you see your board bag tucked way at the back. “Hey mate, do us a favour and get that bag out first please”. No problem. Straight out the door onto the bus and a 2 ½ hour ride up to Whistler.

Cool – pissing with rain down low. The front’s come in and will be puking up higher. See a bit of old snow on the ground an hour into the trip – still raining though. Half an hour out of whistler – still pissing down. Mmm… Arrive in the village, and yep – pissing down even more. Get off the bus and hook up with Caty who I’m staying with, know I’ll get saturated if I don’t put my jacket on, and reach into the bag to find…. Fuck, someone’s knicked my jacket! Maybe it’s moved higher in the bag during the flight? Open up the whole bag to find… What the fuck? Size 6 ladies boots and a 148 board?

Oh dear…

After a 30 hour trip, sitting on hold to the lost baggage line for 3 hours ain’t that easy, but it had to be done. “No sir, no record of your bag here. Try back later tomorrow”. Call a number on the bag and leave a message… “sorry… um… your bag is exactly the same as mine and um…. I’ve got it. Sure hope you’re coming up to whistler and not going to big white or something”. As much as I can do for now.

Wake up to a call! Yep, they’re in Whistler and can meet me in half an hour, but my bag’s still at the airport. Damn. At least it’s still raining so I’m not missing much on the mountain. More calls to lost baggage. And yes, they can get the bag back to me in 2 days. At least I’m not getting straight back on the bus to Vancouver.

Then we find out how high it’s rained during the night – up to 2100m. Not great for a mountain that tops out at 2200m!

Oh dear…

The short of it is that once I got my board back the mountain never really recovered. I actually chucked on a pair of skis the first day while I was waiting for my board to turn up. We had a few nice clear days, but there was no point getting up the mountain before lunch – boilerplate in the morning and slush in the arvo. Was like Australia in mid September. 5 years ago I was in Whistler during the same week and had a foot of fresh almost every day. The Canadians are all saying it’s just been getting worse every year. They’ve got the 2010 winter Olympics and are worried they’ll only be able to use the top half of the mountains. A big worry when you see how much the place has grown in recent years – some seriously expensive real estate has sprung up.

We had thoughts of doing a heli trip while there, but the snow wasn’t worth the cash. I was also going to do a backcountry course, but that was cancelled because of the conditions too. During the whole week I did about three turns off piste (literally) before just giving in to the fact you needed to stay on the groomers. Such a shame given it is such a killer mountain. You could probably squeeze a maximum of 5 or 6 top to bottom runs in one day and cover about 50Kms of groomers in the process. And all those backbowls crusted up in the distance, not even worth bothering with.

I had planned to extend the trip to 2 weeks if the snow was going to turn on, but it never did. Just rain, 2-5cms of fresh way up the top occasionally and a few sunny days. In the end I decided a few days back in oz surfing down the south coast would be the best antidote – and a worthwhile decision it was too.

Of course I just checked the snow report and they’ve had 30cms in the past 2 days with more to come.

Luck of the draw. At least I got to drink loads of beer.

;-)

Owen.

Owen looking quite thrilled by the complete lack of powder…

Mitchell, Mizuho, & 120cm of new snow…

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Hard-Yakka Yuki

We had a bit of a big night on the sake on sat night and came home to huge flakes falling. Woke up the next afternoon and checked the reports and didn’t really believe what it was saying…so gave Mizuho a call and they said they had got a metre and to pack the chains. The guys in Kochi had called as well so we got the posse ready.

We drove up to Kochi…had about 2 hours sleep and left for Mizuho about 2am. It’s supposed to be a 4 1/2 hr drive..but at 140km/h at 3 in the morning..we got there pretty quick. We saw the first snow about 30k’s from the resort and by 20k’s they were telling people to put on chains…we didn’t of course and ploughed on. We arrived at a very different Mizuho to the last time…the carpark was nearly empty and covered in yuki. Lifts weren’t opening till 8am on a school day…so we had a beer and danced around looking at the arriving bunnies.

As usual tho..we got off the gondola to a nicely groomed run…but with not a soul in sight. The trees are a bit hard to get into…but it was freshies all round. We bombed the groomed runs all morning hooting and hollering. We could see one untouched run under one of the lifts which wasn’t opened..so went and hit the boarder cross park for a while…When we got back..that run was open…ungroomed and thick with pow, getting a bit lumpy and tracked up but still enticing. So we went straight for it…it was hard yakka..stuck in the pow a few times but got some nice face hits..some of which were while i was on my feet!! 3 runs of this and the fatigue really started to kick in. The rest of the afternoon was an exercise in endurance really…but if it could be hit or jumped off..we attacked it.

Finished up about 4.30…dosed up on coffees and genki drinks…got back to Kochi about 8.30 and back to Nakamura around 11pm…absolutely wasted.

That’s my last day of the season..2 weeks time i’ll be on a tropical Thai beach…life sux!!

The Shikoku Massive like to do a bit of vogueing before they hit the pow

Povs biggest air

A metre of fluffi yuki under the chair

Apparently the locals like to stay home on a powder day

A bank that needs tracking badly

Frosty winter scene

I expect ski-patrol would demand you commit seppuku if you tracked this nice pow under the low-flying lifts

“Engrish” T-shirt

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I feel a bit ill today – must be a case of…

This is the graphic on a t-shirt I bought it Chitose Airport (Hokkaido). I’d assume they were trying to say “Snowboard addiction” – the concept is lost in the translation, making it yet another classic example of “engrish”.

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