Even though many of us head to Japan for similar reasons, including great powder and a fascinating cultural experience, it’s the details that make the difference. A trip to Japan will leave you with more than a few special memories, and for many of our guides it becomes a passion. Our Furano based guide Brooke definitely fits into this category, and if you share a day in the mountains with her you’ll no doubt feel her passion and appreciation for the beautiful winter landscapes of Hokkaido rub off on you!
Brooke also has some great tips on pre season preparation for the ski season and you can check these out in her blog here. Read on for Brooke’s insight into Japan with her mini interview:
What has been one of your most memorable days in the mountains of Japan?
Being an Alaskan girl, I’m always drawn to the big peaks, the high alpine. I distinctly remember having a beautiful day with a couple other fellow guides when we got to the rise of a ridge and were first able to see all the volcanic range around us with their large striking faces and beautiful temptacious ski lines. Two solitary tracks far in the distance marked what looked to me like a dream heli ski line from Alaska. I pointed to the face with Zach whom I was guiding the Daisetsu tours with and said, we need to get there this season! He whole heartedly agreed. Fast forward 6 weeks and our day had arrived. At the end of a magnificent Daisetsu tour with 8 incredible clients who’d been superstars about the cold, the wind, the big adventures all in the name of seeking out the best powder, the skies went a rare crystalline bluebird and Zach and I didn’t even need to discuss a plan. We both knew exactly where we were headed: to our dream line we’d scoped so many weeks prior. We lead the team and proceeded to lap these glorious long powder filled faces, giggling wildly at getting to open up huge GS turns only to climb back up and do it again. As the sunset coloured the world that glorious Alpenglow rose, we glided back to the onsen to soak our bones and glow from the day’s remarkable beauty.
How would you describe Japanese powder snow, and how does it compare to other places you’ve skied across the world?
I have to say, it’s truly worth all the hype that it’s earned. It’s like if Alaska met Utah and had a love child. Imagine 3 meters of blower, perfectly dry snow that hangs like fairy magic in the trees, sparkling with glitter as you pounce through on pillow after pillow. It’s cold, it’s dry, it just keeps on coming on a nightly basis and it explodes around you like a glitter bomb on steroids.
The smile says it all!
Is there a part of Japanese culture that stands out for you?
The Japanese are truly a spiritual culture honouring and respectful of nature. I love that they believe each tree has a spirit, because this is exactly what I would feel skinning up slowly through these incredible forests of snow sculpted fairy tale and blissfully riding down between the trees. The volcanoes felt alive, the land felt alive, it all is wrapped in such a beautiful understanding of something more powerful than our humble existence. The peaceful nature of the Japanese with their onsens awaiting you at the end of every ski day was truly contagious.
Do you have any tips for people heading to Japan for the first time?
Embrace the culture, try to learn any language you can, jump in and try weird foods that you don’t even know what they are, open your mind, and bring fat skis and a big powder board!