Sunday, January 24, 2010

Highs and lows...

After the really deep days at Kamui, we headed up towards Asahi-dake for which we’ve heard it was holding the best snow of Hokkaido. On the way up, there was about 20cm of snow on the road and snowing hard.

The following morning was some of the nicest weather since the beginning of the trip. Blue sky, no wind and a lot of snow from the previous night promised us a great day of skiing!!! Asahi-dake is an active volcano that doubles as the highest mountain of Hokkaido.
Well, the snow at the top wasn’t that great since it has been blowing but further down was laying some pockets of really nice snow. We had a great day of skiing, but looking back after, I think that the reputation of Asahi-dake is a little overmake. The steep portion of it is really not that long and it is follow by a fairly long flat section.
We then move up north towards Nayoro from where we skied Piyashiri that (also) claimed to has the nicest snow of Hokkaido. There wasn’t many people at the ski hill so off-piste was some nice snow to be found. The ski hill don’t have a big reputation, but the terrain and the reputation was quite nice!
From Piyashiri, we drove to Horokonai to a tiny little hill called Horotachi.
One thing that is great about Japan is that there is probably as many ski hills here as there are arenas in Canada!!! It is just everywhere. Every little town seems to have is little ski hill. It wasn’t as much a hill with great vertical, but all of the tree runs were going down with a nice steady pitch. Again, we spend most of our day just off the ropes, where we weren’t bother since there wasn’t even one ski patrol!
A little driving brought us back to Furano where it rained…. We skied few runs, but my legs I injured few days ago started to really hurts. A stupid muscle I pulled this fall playing flag-football as been pulled again… Seems like drinking beer was the only thing I was going to be able to do!!! After a few sushi at a sushi train restaurant, we headed to Bocco a small bar that was featuring a travestite singing Japanese punk. That was a quite interesting experience.
By the end of the evening, he pointed us towards a free natural onsen near Tokachi-dake.
So we drove the next morning to spend the last day of Amelie in an onsen. That was the hottest water I ever bath into. Getting in was painful but once in, it did feel quite good!
After a nice soak, we drove back towards the airport from which Amelie was going to fly off the next morning. After driving her to the airport, I drove to Jozankei where I finally had the chance to meet Neil Hartmann that pointed me out a lot of off-the-road backcountry riding spots. After spending 4 hours there, I rushed myself back to the airport to pickup my dad that is flying in for 3 weeks.
We are right now at Fukiage spa where I’ve spend the day taking onsens to heal my pulled muscle in my thigh. After now 4 days without skiing, it is getting better and hopefully in some days, I’ll be able to get back full time to skiing.

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