Powder Paradise – Niseko 2016

#POW – The stuff that snow enthusiasts dreams are made of.

The kind that falls gently and silently onto the descending slopes, resting ever so softly on the earth below. It’s dry and lighter than air, which makes it the perfect base on which to take a deep breath, let go and drop into the fall line.

That blissful feeling of carving your own tracks. Floating, flying almost. It is like nothing on this earth and chasing the worlds the lightest and driest powder is what led me to Niseko, Japan’s largest ski resort. Where you’ll find 4 interconnected mountains, with lift access to some of the worlds best terrain and POW stashes, and where on average you’ll see over 15 metres of snow fall annually, so it’s the perfect winter playground for powderhounds.

Welcome to POW heaven!

Is there such a thing as too much powder?

If you had of asked me a month ago, I would have said ‘Hell No’, but having just experienced Niseko in all it’s glory, during a week that has been hailed ‘The week of the season’ (so far), I think that my legs can say with an astounding ‘YES’, that YES there can be too much powder.

I know, I know…. I hear your gasps don’t worry, but allow me to present just a couple of scenarios to back up my claim:

  • When you accidentally take the wrong line and find yourself having to un-clip from your snowboard and wade through, waist deep snow to break the trail….THAT can be too much powder.
  • When you stop or slow down (big mistake), you will sink and inevitably fall on your butt. Trying to get up on a snowboard, in the worlds lightest POW is like sinking in quicksand. The harder you fight, the more you sink…. THAT can be too much powder.
  • When it actually snows so much, that Ski Patrol have to do some seriously extensive avalanche control, essentially closing the resort or limiting your access to that precious pow…. THAT can be too much powder.
  • When the run you’re riding is just not quite vertical enough, as a snowboarder in deep pow you’ll find yourself pushing, hiking and walking, rather than flying, floating and feathering down the mountain….. THAT can be too much powder.

BUT…

Would I change any of those moments of (albeit, fairly spectacular) ‘Too much powder’ issues I faced? Hell no!

It was the BEST.

Whilst in Niseko, my trusty crew (3 very awesome skiers, Scott, James and Kent) and I, enlisted the services of Niseko Photography and Guiding to show us around the mountains and share with us their secret powder stashes.

We were rewarded BIG TIME!

Niseko photography and guiding have been guiding newcomers to the resorts for over a decade, and they’ll not only take you around the resort area and out the side country gates that give you access to some of the best terrain i’ve ever ridden, but they’ll take you back country as well (with all the right gear), so you’re almost guaranteed to get some of the good stuff.

Not only did we explore the mountains like locals, but Niseko Photography managed to capture some fantastic images of us all, to remind us in years to come of the euphoric feeling, that only riding untracked, sweet sweet pow, all day, every day can give.

Combining their outstanding photography with their guiding and local knowledge is a genius move, as it gives them the ultimate point of difference, in a ski town where there are numerous guiding companies vying for your business.

Check out some of my fave images from the two days we spent with one of their guides Caleb Dawson (@snowkreature), our guide on Niseko, Harazono and Rusutsu.

Did I mention there was #POW ?

There were plenty of crashes:

Including this sequence from Scott, that earned him a cheer and a round of applause from passers by: 

We ducked through the trees and found some airtime: 

We hiked to secret spots and then returned to base, for hot chocolate to warm our frozen fingers:

We bulldozed and slashed our way through knee to waist deep pow (Kent is 6’6′ so his knee deep, was almost my waist deep!)

And all in all there were smiles all round:

 

If you’re looking for powder heaven, look no further. Niseko is your nirvana. Yes, you may need to battle the zillion Australians that descend on the village every year, and timing a snow holiday isn’t always perfect, but if the consistency of the last few years are anything to go by, you should get lucky.

Thanks to Niseko Photography and guiding for looking after us, and showing us your backyard. We are truly indebted to you for  sharing your secret spots with us, and we wish you guys a successful season, with plenty of POW!

Thanks for checking out my post!

Kate xx

Kate coming through pow fog

PS – If you’re heading to Niseko I’d be happy to help plan the perfect winter getaway. Be it later this season, or for the 2016/2017 season. I work with the best local suppliers to ensure that your ski experience is the best that it can be.

Or, if you’re already booked and want to arrange a guided trip and/or photo session, head to Niseko Photography’s page and book them in for a day! http://nisekophotography.com/

PPS – A shout out also to Mark and his team at Pacific Prizm, who sorted me out with my new ‘Jones – Twin Sister’. A great ladies All Mountain board, that had me sorted for whatever the conditions might have been. Check them out: http://www.pacificprizm.com.au/

 

 

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