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Hokkaido Skiing

For a number of years I've dreamed of skiing in Japan. I've heard great stories about the powder, the lack of crowds, and the culture. I still have a lot of frequent flyer miles (see the EXP/FlightMemory article) so we finally booked our trip to Hokkaido, the North Island of Japan.  We were there a total of five nights and it was an amazing trip.  Let's go over my checklist of what I've heard and see if we experienced it:

  1. Powder: we skied four days, and three of them were full-on powder days.  The snow quality was great, super light and fluffy. Check
  2. Lack of crowds: For skiing three days in resorts (one of the days was a backcountry day with no ski lifts), we had to wait behind people maybe half a dozen times ... total.  There were times when we had to wait for the tram, but we never missed a tram because of people in front of us.  Check
  3. Culture: The Japanese are a very formal people. Lots of bowing, lots of respect shared. It was a very interesting experience, especially since so many people don't speak any English! We had lots of interesting encounters traveling around the island with our ski bags and practically zero fluency in Japanese.  Check
A great trip, I can't wait for the next ski adventure!
 
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Furano cultural event 
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Our resort for two of the four days of skiing 
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Lots of snow! 
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It was their 50th anniversary 
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Snow sculptures 
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Best ramen we've ever had 
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Backcountry skiing 
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Lunchtime in the backcountry
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Backcountry skiing 
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Another powder day! 
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Powder! 
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One of our best days of skiing ever
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In downtown Sapporo 
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8am: "Commuting" to the ski hill outside Sapporo  
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Sapporo Teine, with the city in the background 
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Sapporo Teine 
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Sapporo and the Ocean in the background