A big thanks to Onx backcountry for making these post happen. Check out the Onx mapping app for your next backcountry adventure and click here to use the app to support your local avalanche forecasters
A Hokkaido family skiing holiday has been a dream of mine ever since my most challenging days when I was recovering from bilateral knee replacements two years ago. I remember lying in bed, eating as many Percocets in a twenty-four hour period that was medically allowed before something really bad would happen. With daily doses of painkillers and Felt Soul Media’s film “Unicorn Sashimi,” I was well on my way to realizing this dream ski trip to Hokkaido.
So the planning began. A few emails and phone calls to my 5Point filmmaker friends was all it took to get the ball rolling. Next step was finding three mileage seats Denver to Sapporo. Luck, karma, whatever you want to call it was on my side when I locked up three tickets all for the same flights — BOOM!
So here I am in Hokkaido with my husband, my son, my second son, Louie, and our guides Mako & Yuki — me and the dudes on the hunt for JAPOW!
Our first week we experienced it all: super high winds closing the higher lifts, side country powder laps, skiing the alpine in shin deep cream cheese and then waking up to RAIN. RAIN in Niseko, the Aspen of Hokkaido? Of course the ski flicks and social media warn of that. Needless to say, we bolted immediately and headed north to where it was dumping snow buckets.
Indeed we found way colder temps with super enjoyable powder. Skiing here in Hokkaido is a true experience. The vertical is definitely shorter than what we are accustomed to, but the snow quality is exceptional. Perhaps our expectations were a bit high from all of the films and social media hype. After nine days of patiently chasing JAPOW, we finally fully experienced blower face shots with every magical turn!
While the skiing is just a part of this whole adventure, it’s really been all about enjoying the Hokkaido cultural scene, amazing cuisine, après ski onsens (fresh water mineral baths), heated toilet seats, and most of all the most respectful Japanese people and being with this awesome group of laughter and psyche!
(Guest blogger, Julie Kennedy, former owner of Climbing Magazine, founder of the 5Point Film Festival and terrific skier — WildSnow Über Girl!)
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