Hokkaido Road Trip | Getting Back

Like all good things, this road trip had to end. We skied a few laps at Niseko in the morning to stretch the legs, packed up the car, and began the drive back to the ferry.

One last lap in Hokkaido

On the road

Hai Dozo!

Sunset before the ferry


Sunrise near Akita

Open Water

More sunrise.

After about 30 hours and a bottle of whisky, we pulled into Hakuba. It was quite the trip.

Hokkaido Road Trip | Avalanche Barriers

Like the attractive girl at a bar in any typical ski town, avalanche barriers are something few of us have had the chance to ride.

Mark Virgin, letting it ride

Those of us that have had the privilege of riding them would like to do it again and again.

Steeper pillows mean less speed, but still lots of air. Lee keeps his cool above big fences.

Always in the back of my mind, the idea of getting to ski these infamous pillow lines didn't fully set in until I was already at the bottom of my first one.

Getting sendy.

Addictive personalities in the group meant we got to ski these metallic wonders a few times over the past few days.

Too much fun to be legal (highway patrol told us it wasn't).

They are intimidating because the airs are always blind.

Airing into the abyss as highway patrol watches from below.

Sometimes the lines are fun and one doesn't have to think, sometimes the barriers end next to the road and it is necessary to be very careful with each air.

Contemplating the next line.

It is very intimidating, but proportionately rewarding once you get the hang of skiing them.

The one that got away. Poor snow in this area means it will have to wait until next time.

Hokkaido Road Trip | Blower in Furano

The Hakuba crew got some properly light Hokkaido snow! After blowing the snow off the car in the morning to get our skis, we decided to stay in Furano to ski the zones we already knew.

Mark. Blower means no hero turns necessary.

Working the right zones didn't matter because nobody else was at the resort today, though skiing back to the hotel and onsen were a nice way to top off the day.

Onsen is the last thing on Katja's mind right now.

The blower skis much faster than what we were used to. We had a lot of fun lapping trees and skiing fast through chest deep snow.

Patrick in the thin of it

Snow doesn't stick to you here like it does in Hakuba. At the end of the day, you could barely tell we had been in deep snow.

Turns around trees

The deceiving depth indicator reading of the day is thigh vents frozen shut. Had this been Hakuba, it would have definitely been chest strap frozen shut today.

Lee blasting off a pillow