It was one of those trips where you think, ‘well that was an awesome day, how are we going to top that tomorrow?’ And so the story goes…
We started with drinks at the Sky bar, then a few sticks of yakitori later, we were well acquainted. We had ‘I-Chi’ Kate, ‘Nee’ Pip, ‘San’ Stu, ‘Yon’ Louise, ‘Go’ Cathy, ‘Roku’ Shayne, ‘Nana’ Colleen, ‘Ha-chi’ Maria.
We were based in Asahikawa for 3 days and had the choice of Kamui and Asahidake to play with. After a day of getting familiar with Kamui we returned for some fresher lines the next day. With San’s request we had our daily warm up run on the piste and was not disappointed with a ‘Go-like soft top firm bottom’ run making our own lines from the top to the base of the mountain. After that we pretty much just hid in the back of the mountain and finished the day with a few hot laps of the gondola run. Check out my new Oneskee in blue and red.
(Click on image to enlarge)
The next day came Asahidake. Fate had it that it was not a clear day and we missed the fumarole. We resorted to some slow motion skiing in the deep pow amongst the trees instead. Being cautious ‘Ha-chi’ was asking for us to check whether there were cliffs, rocks and microwaves in the way prior to her dropping in. Whilst we were able to remove cliffs, rocks and microwaves, we were unable to reduce the volume of pow she was skiing on/in. And she didn’t let us forget that there was, indeed, ‘Too Much Pow’. It was an epic day for many reasons for different people, and I am glad to say the gyoza and butterscotch schnaps were epic for ‘Go’. The infamous ‘One last run’, however, rebooted ‘Go’s mojo and ignited something amazing with ‘Nana’s powder ski career.
We arrived in Furano through a snow storm. The drive was a bit sketchy with visibility no more than 50m through the fat snow flakes. I could just make out the tire marks on the road and the faint tail light of the car in front. All this meant was that it was going to be an epic day in the morning. We were quite lucky to have Morvan and Andy from Alpine Backcountry Guides as our tail guides earlier in the week, so we grabbed them again on their day off in Furano and the group separated to rip up different parts of the resort. We had more of the soft top and firm bottom condition all day, and even the sun peeked through for a short while for our photo shoot. With ‘Ichi’, ‘Nee’ and ‘Yon’ pioneering the way with some balanced turns and ‘Roku’ bringing up the rear we skied the Link, smashed the Lava Dam Wall run, visited ‘The Diamond’ before reuniting the group for an end of the day run. We checked in with ‘Ha-chi’ and the latest observation was still ‘There’s too much pow’.
We had to abandon plans for Tomamu this trip due to high winds, but to our delight we had 2 more days in Furano. With the previous day’s skiing with Morvan the team appeared to have freshened up and charged, so on this penultimate day we explored Furano together, torn up the Premium Zone, launched off side kickers and conquered the Lava Dam Wall run as a team. The team displayed some beautiful controlled skiing and nice little tight turns, although ‘Roku’ was still somewhat camera shy, and did most of his best skiing off camera. Some of us even checked back in the Ropeway run, whilst those of us with tired legs enjoyed the second coming of the powder day in the afternoon on piste before calling it a day as more fat snow flakes fell.
So I have promised everyone the ‘Majik Garden’ all week. And the time had finally arrived. Conditions could not be anymore perfect, but before entering the Majik Garden, one must be completely prepared and primed for action. So some of us had to find a tree and carry out our outdoor ritual. Now that we were all ’emptied’ we approached the drop zone stealthy. We met up with Morvan and some of the team and entered. We found a massive glide crack no less then half a meter deep propagating around the entire top of the entry zone, so we had to enter from the side almost 1/3 of the way down. Needless to say the Majik Garden was magical, waist high slow motion pow skiing at it’s best. We owned first lines, and we hiked out for lunch.
Post prandial lethargy was setting in, but the final afternoon awaited. We set off for one more big blast around Furano. We went straight to the top and slowly descended bidding fair well to an incredibubble week of skiing, laughter, great food and rather poor billiard playing skills. I am as I write missing my Team Felix. Thanks so much guys for an unforgettable week!