Mizuho Highland Ski Resort

I called in well to work yesterday, as when I woke up I was greeted by six inches of fresh powder and a friend willing to drive to the nearest ski resort.

We made a quick breakfast of chocolate chip pancakes and then hit the road.

The road conditions were hazardous, but nothing could smother the excitement we felt in forgoing a day in the office for an afternoon on the slopes.

My biggest deterrent in snowboarding thus far has been the high cost – rentals being 2000 yen and a half day lift ticket 4500 yen (just under $100 all together). As we boarded the first lift up the mountain, however, I forgot the cost of being there and stared awestruck at the powder-covered mountain. I’ve never seen so much snow resting on the tops of trees before.  My companion said they looked like frosty asparagus heads.

The rest of the day was spent in bliss – carving fresh un-tracked powder on sunny mountainsides.

The "Snoffleupasparagus"

We even found time for a cold brew at the top of the best run of the day – Big Morning (named because it faces the town of Oasa – which directly translates as “big morning”).

At the base of one of the chairlifts was a large snow sculpture of an oni (devil) for Setsubun – the Japanese holiday to celebrate the beginning of Spring. Traditionally, beans are thrown at a representation of the devil to ward off evil spirits for the coming year.

I wonder how many days such as these are missed while I spend 40 hours a week sitting in an office. But then again, I wouldn’t have been able to afford the lift ticket otherwise…

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