The one that got away

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This is from our last trip out to a mountain range in Hokkaido called Tokachi dake. Even in late April there were five meters of snow, though it was getting ready to melt. I’ve spent four days out there and barely touched the amazing terrain. There are gentle sloping snow bowls and then rock bands with chutes and then terrain which makes me queasy to look at.

The picture above I took on the second lap up one of other peaks. The main chute in the picture is something we where planning on skiing, but found it a little too unsettled and left it for another day. It comes off the back side of another peak forming a wide bowl which then narrows into a not too steep chute and amazingly dumps into a series of creek beds, little water falls and deep valleys that are fun to ski out on.

Clear sunny days are rare here. On most days the weather is dynamic with blustery winds that can load the slopes with dangerous layers of snow, cut visibility and yet these storms tend to leave the best powder I’ve ever skied. Thigh deep powder, which feels like skiing on or in a down comforter.

This trip was spring skiing at its best, so no powder just various types of old snow.

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We stay at a close by lodge that is a bunk style onsen (natural hot spring) with a communal kitchen and a bunch of old Yama (mountain) skiers. They are tough as nails, retired and happily swap whiskey or sake with strangers. There are equal numbers of men and women who come to ski and soak. They are really fun to hangout with and get ski trip tips from, they seem to know every nook and cranny of the slopes around here.

Come and we can give a tour.

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