OK, so by now you have gathered that we are totally addicted to the wonderful powder of Japan and 2011 saw us back on the main island of Honshu at the collection of mountains known as Hakuba.
Whilst skiing and boarding on Goryu 47 and Happo One (pronounced On-ay, not 1) were great fun with loads of hidden powder just a couple of feet off the groomers. Even the beginners grabbed some powder off the side of the green runs and by the end of the day were seen through the trees between runs.
For the advanced skiers and riders, the highlight of the trip was the day at Cortina (another mountain in the Hakuba group) to do some side-country skiing and riding. What is side-country? Well it is like back-country but without all of the boring hiking! Perfect for the SST mob ... The runs through the mountain forests off the back of the summit were unbelievable, and the deep deep powder created some crazy spills.
Our fancy dress karaoke night was as much fun as ever, as were some of the more memorable snow moments such as someone (who went on to win the King trophy) riding straight into a rope and flipping right on to their back! Classic ...
This year a group of us also decided to try driving a little 4WD buggy on ice at night. This activity ended in multiple spin outs, one of the two buggies being disabled and then the triumph was when someone (no names) rolled the buggy ...... madness, but great fun!
For the 2011 trip we took another step forward, and rented out 100% of Wadano Lodge. The private lodge really played well to group interaction at the end of the day with great chats about the snow and the runs, some memorable card games (picture 4 solictiors all making up new rules as the game went on) not too mention the occasional post-dinner drinking game or two.
The final night saw Jimmy Hazelwood take home the coveted King of The Mountain trophy for his on snow and off snow antics. This was the first time ever that a snowboarder took the prize - well done Jimmy.
Hakuba also provided some wonderful meals with the Japanese fine dining we love. From Ramen to Udon to Sushi to warming curries with sausage and potatoes (yummm), we found it all. Wash this type of food down with a refreshing Asahi beer or a warm sake and your night is complete.