Japan 2019

Going to Japan was like a dream. Japan is a country steeped in tradition, innovation and order. I asked our guide about his favorite things while living in Japan. He is from Oregon and this was his second winter living in the Niseko area. Snow, Onsen, food he stated unequivocally. We didn’t get the Japow everyone raves about during our trip. But I have to agree with him regarding Onsen and food. Japan is a great ski trip if you don’t get snow. We toured, ate good food and sat in warm luxurious onsens after bathing more thoroughly than any other time in my life besides the Turkish bath I endured in my 20’s. Our pension (b&b) hosts were hard working, fastidious and slow to warm up. The breakfast was predictable every day and strange. A vegetable probably coated in mayonnaise, a fruit, scrambled egg omelet, a thick slice of white bread, and a meat. Twice it was a hot dog, including the first morning, which made me happy and I forgot the jet lag. Randomly, my mother’s husband’s great nephew was in Niseko from Thailand at the same time. We met up with him and his girlfriend for dinner and a day on the snow. It was an unexpected highlight of the trip. Our fore-mentioned guide and his wife became delightful new friends and we enjoyed the time spent with them touring the side country of a few resorts and the backcountry of Mt. Yotei. One of the best parts of the trip for me was how strong and capable I felt. I had trained pretty hard to be able to enjoy the splitboarding and go as far as we wanted or needed to. I have struggled with that in the past and have also felt unsure of my abilities. But in Japan, I felt strong, capable and confident. And that is worth a trip half way around the world!

Sapporo is a wonderful small city with shopping and ramen and hello kitty road barriers to delight all our senses. It’s also incredibly snowy for a city. We hope to plan another trip to Japan to experience the epic snow. If anyone reading this and has been to Japan or wants to go, reach out, I’d love to swap stories and help out any way I can.




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Mt. Yotei at Sunrise

Mt. Yotei at Sunrise

Alissa Nourse