December 2016 to February 2017 (Tokyo and Hakuba, Japan) —
In December 2016, we left NZ to return to Hakuba for another season, although someone seemed to have shrunk our ski pants.
The Ten O’Clock Ski Club was soon back in session [minus Smitty, who’s been expelled for lack of participation].
Clare reminded us that she could still turn it on when the snow got deep.
As we entered 2017, there was little new snow so we had to head higher and higher to get at it.
By early January, we had done more skinning than skiing, but we knew that Winter Was Coming.
Winter then arrived:
January 10th started an incredible run of deep and cold snow that left us hoping for an off day “unless it snows at least 25cm overnight.”
Which it continued to do.
All was going well, until Clare decided to break her wrist. On a groomer. Traverse.
She was back on the slopes after her enabler (ahem, Victoria) put her through a series of tests to see if she could board and skin with a broken arm. There may have been some cheating on these tests or at least some lenient grading.
Kiwi Mark (and Jules for 2 days!) came to town and we did everything we could to break him, but he held up well. Mostly.
After two weeks, the storms finally backed off and we got up high with our favorite Swedes. It was a Type 2 fun day.
While we were enjoying the more mellow lines, a certain Bavarian and TLL were charging.
By early February, we were reminded the perils of trying to keep up with a bunch of 20 year olds as we were huffing and puffing trying to keep up with a Greyhound.
There was so much snow, even the magical kamoshika was able to keep his skis pointed in the same direction.
for one turn
Mark’s final day turned bluebird, and we got him up Happo north [where we were joined by the entire valley]
Bent but not broken, we put Mark on a bus back to Narita hoping to see him again next year.
TLL’s birthday brought a Mexican feast hosted by V, which the Americans inhaled as a dose of home [and to which the Swedes and the Swiss became addicted]
Rounds of tequila that night meant we were not at our best for the next day’s tour, but new snow meant that duty called.
Another weather window took us up one of our favorite peaks looking for the Sea of Japan. Tank and Harald set a blistering pace, but we were rewarded with untracked turns on a perfect day.
As our season drew to a close, with weary legs we were left chasing the greyhound one last time.
We never did catch her, or our breath.