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Hokkaido Road Trip

In mid-February we led a trip for a handful of north-americans and for a group of euro’s as well.  Since they had similar skiing abilities, a similar itinerary, and they all got along, we ran most of the week side by offering the flexibility of having three guides to manage the whole group.  A win-win for everyone.

We started the week around Niseko/Rusutsu, giving the crews their free-days to explore and get their feet under them.  For the first Niseko Backbowls day, we scored a fresh 20 cms, and a whole-lotta sun, which had a significant impact ont he snow for the following day.  The crew, wasn’t satisfied with finishing the day out at Goshki Onsen, so we made the hike back to Niseko for a final run into the Moiwa backcountry.

We hit the road the following morning for a trip to Kokusai, which turned out to be a really fun day.  The snow was bountiful and the crew was keen to keep moving, so we ended up lapping the goods through the slack-country.  With a night out in Sapporo for the ice-fest, and a trip to Teine the following day, we hit Sapporo as good as you could, not to mention the fresh 40 or 50 cms at Teine and the fact that we were on the 5th chair in the morning.

We hit the road that night, blasting up to Kurodake through the snow, sleet, and slush, but it was certainly worth it.  Kuro was looking really good, with the peak holding the best snow on the mountain.  We had perfect blue bird and still conditions to charge the peak and made a rare summit on one of Hokkaido’s highest peaks before dropping in on one of the best top to bottom runs on the island.

Due to high winds, we split the next day heading to Kamuii for a quiet day down below the alpine.  We still scored some fresh snow, but the warming temps had done its damage to the snowpack.  We finished the trip out at Furano, for a fun day beating around the mountain, checking every spot we could think of for the freshies.

Reflecting on this trip, it is hard to remember each turn, but the overall stoke from everyone definitely stands out in my mind.  There were days on both sides of the trip where the conditions weren’t epic, but the optimism and drive to continue looking further for pow paid off even right to the very last day in Furano.  I had never met such keen bush-wackers, no north facing gully or ridge was left unridden in our quest for pow.

As with all ski trips, you can’t plan the weather, so having good friends surrounding you regardless of the situation is essential to prevailing.  I was impressed by this pathological optimism and ability to see the big picture.

Thanks for a great trip, enjoy the photos.

Shiribetsu Crew

We had the pleasure of working with the Frankfurt Ski Club this year that brought out about 30 of their members to experience one of the more exotic ski destinations in the world.  Since many members rode weekly in the Alps, they were ready for any of the terrain we chucked at them, especially Shiribetsu, a 2 ½ hour climb from neighboring Rusutsu ski resort.  As there are many features on the peak, there is also avalanche risk, so to mitigate the risk we chose a line connecting a couple of chutes through a forest offering protection.

 

The crew made it to the peak in good time, had an awesome run down and begged for more.  Guides – Andrew, JS and Colin agreed and led the way back up to the Saddle to ride about 300 meters of untouched wind-deposited snow down a really playful face.  When we got back to the vehicle’s Team Frankfurt still hadn’t gotten their fill, so Andrew suggested a final drop off the backside of Rusutsu with a road shuttle to keep the walking to a minimum.

It was hard to come to an agreement, but nearly everyone agreed that the concluding run, though short, was the run of the day.  All were greeted with beers in hand and went home stoked.

Thanks for a great trip!

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Power Trip Video

 

This video was shot and captured in early January on the first Power Trip of 2011 and edited by Walden Grindle.  Enjoy

Daron Rahlves & TGR – JAPOW POW

Last week TGR showed up to work with us for about ten days.  Although the extended dry period without snow caused some issues, some of the boys stuck it out through the end and scored some classic Japow in some fresh zones.  They certainly put in their hours searching for the snow while they were here – but as their new film will be called 1 for the road, it seems fitting to spend a lot of time in a greasy van in Japan.

Check out some of their stories on the TGR Blog:

Dan Gibeau – TGR’s young gun putting in the hard yards

Daron staring down one of the most famous lines in Hokkaido

Clay on top of one of the zones

TGR & Clay scoping the pillow factory
Daron Rahlves + BD Sleds

Antti Autti knows what’s up in Japan.

Back for another tour of Japan – this time for a month, Antti Autti has been taking the place by storm.  After years of experience with the Toyota Big Air, this cat knows what you need to score the goods in Japan – at least one month.  Check out some of the videos from his blog anttisworld.com:

MTV Japan Jam

Hard Bootin Barrels

Kind of gnar aye….?  What do you think?

The best name for this new sport wins a free beer at the bar – to participate, please post up on Facebook.

 

This is the start of the daily bar junk (BJ) by BDL.  Keep an eye here to win yourself some BJs!

Peow Peow Peow

 

Check out this video by some of our guests a couple weeks ago.  Ya – we know what you’re thinking – fortunately we get to shred it daily.

 

 

Win a FREE trip to NISEKO…for FREE!

Just follow the easy instructions below:

  • Go to the Green Leaf Niseko Village Facebook App and create a killer Niseko styled winter postcard. See here – www.facebook.com/NisekoWinterHoliday
  • Submit your postcard and they will choose one winner based on the number of “Likes”, originality and creativity of the postcard
  • Make sure you do it before the 28th of Feb, 2011
  • Sit back and wait for the good news to arrive that you have won!

What you and a friend get if you win:

  • 4 days, 3 nights accommodation in Green Leaf Niseko Village
  • 3 day ski pass
  • Round trip from Malaysia to Hokkaido
  • Coach transfers to Niseko
  • Powder-filled grins from ear to ear!

Power Trip Deuce Deuce

 

 

The second Power Trip of the year was blessed with about a meter and a half of freshies leading up to departure and blue skies for the following week.  Toby and I agreed that we had never seen better weather from nearly all the stops on the trip, making it memorable for the whole crew, which included Theresa and Nick from Scotland, Conny and Gunner from Scandanavia, Nina and Simone from Austria, Mikel from Holland, John and Brent from the USA, Kiwi Josh and Rich the token Ozzy.

 

The first day was a classic Niseko backbowls day, though the crew established themselves as seriously hardcore as we were unable to both take a lunch break and shred 3 peak laps.  Toby and Yuya took off for a snack run as the crew set off on a slow ascent of the peake at 1:45.  Colin picked up the chocolate, and made it to the top in double time for the Goshki drop and beer/onsen finish.   Everyone was starved for the Okonomiyaki dinner and by this point were bonding like old friends.

Rusutsu the following day delivered some of the deepest snow around as well as the start of the blue skies and high pressure system.  The road run capped the ski day and by 4:30, the crew was gassed and beered up for the road to Tokachidake.

 

Waking up in Daisetuzan National Park is an experience for any true ski bum as you are within minutes of touring to some epic terrain.  Not a puff of wind spoiled the morning and Colin was greeted with a waist deep trail cutting mission, but it was certainly worth the trip.

The traditional Japanese cuisine may have not been a huge favorite for the crew, but the onsen was approved as well as the access to Asahidake the following day.  Once again blue skies and mild temperatures were the go and Toby was even able to take a crew on an exploration mission to unlock some of Asahidake’s best terrain.

The trip to Sapporo was quick as the roads were clean and before you knew it, the crew was getting local in one of Suskino’s best ramen alleys listening to dirty rap and hip hop.

 

By this point, most of the crew tucked in early and made the right choice, since Kokusai was going off the next day.  Nearly 50 cms of fresh snow plus a heap of sunshine.

Teine closed up the trip and by this point everyone was ready for a break.  6 full days of skiing and road tripping is enough to zap anyone.  We still got some great turns and Toby rounded out the trip with a 1500 meter run from Teine highlands down to the city of Sapporo where the crew was handed a familiar beverage.  That night went off at Hinodehampo and everyone replenished their fluids with liquid courage.

A great trip and awesome crew!  Hope to see some of you guys back here next year!

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