By lining up everything, I figured it might be a good thing not to go skiing out West this winter……. But instead, spend a full winter in JAPAN !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I’m going to be with Amelie for 3 weeks, then my dad will again join me for 3 weeks followed by Etienne who is going to tag along for 2 weeks and Babiche with a knee totally heeled from his Alaskan misadventure for 5 weeks!!!
At first, I tought about buying a car and sell it back after my 3 months ski/roadtrip. But I soon realize it might be a little too complicated.
To register a car in Japan, you have to prove you have a parking spot off the road to park it and a permanent address. When a car is getting a bit old, it has to pass what is called a shaken. This is an inspection that can cost more than 100 000Yens (1100 $CAN) per year.
When I asked couple of car dealers how I could get a car, one pointed me out Smile rent-a-car ( try using Google toolbar to get a quite decent translation), a company that rent on the long term for fairly cheap rates comparing to others company. Scott Bower who puts me on this track even offered me to have his wife make a 2 hours trip to help me figured out the rental!!! Since I was landing during the Holidays, I would have to wait for him to come back from his vacations to help me. Even if his offer was quite tempting and that I didn’t want to wait, I started looking to rent a car directly in Hokkaido and start my trip where it ended last winter.
When we landed in Sapporo, we missed the free shuttle to the airport and had to rely on the regular city bus. After a short walk to the hotel, I totally collapse after this long day.
We then took the shuttle bus to Niseko where I was to get the car for the winter.
I have finally been able to get a car for three months from Black Diamond Lodge. Clayton, the owner, has really been helpful by giving me tons of informations, roadmaps and the Japan’s ski area bible. He even let me use his tools to build the bed for the van and even gave me a cooler!!! (no more frozen bananas).
We finally woked up after a typical Niseko blizzard.
We headed to the slopes of Niseko Village where we both got our first Japanese face shot of the season. The blizzard means: no one on the slopes, tons of untracked snow and no good light to take picture because it is snowing too hard!
Tomorrow promise to be another really good day, since the storm hasn't slowed down.
Happy New Year!!!