Today was the last powder day we are going to get for a while, and it came on the back of a string of big powder days. What a great run we have had, and today was an epic way to finish this storm cycle.
I thought I was now used to sleeping through the sound of snow sliding off the roof in the night, but I knew we were expecting a decent dump when the house shook at about 4am. We woke to a solid 50cm of fresh snow down at Togari Onsen, and snow still falling. This snow was definitely heavier than the last few days, and temperatures were only just below freezing.
A short drive over the mountain range to Myoko and up to Seki Onsen. If you are not familiar with Seki Onsen, check out this video from Red Bull. It started serving skiers in 1917 and claims to be the oldest ski resort in Japan. The resort is owned by a husband and wife, who you will meet several times throughout the day. She is working the ticket booth in the morning and the restaurant at lunch, and he greets everyone getting on the first chairlift in the morning with a huge smile.
In true Seki fashion, despite the 50cm of fresh snow, the queue for the first chair was only about 30 people, a few less than the crowds at Vail on a powder day. The challenge with today was not the powder being tracked out by people, but the snow turning heavy with the sun and rising temperatures. By late morning the snow texture had changed significantly.
The major attraction of Seki Onsen is that despite the small size of the resort, there are zero restrictions on where you can ride. There is free reign to explore this playground as you wish. People call Seki a time capsule, a glimpse into the past. I see it as the opposite, a resort where the vast majority of riders are gaijin and the restrictions are minimal, this sounds like the Japanese ski resort of the future.
Now onto the bad news. The next 5 days will see very warm temperatures across all of Japan, including Hokkaido and Niseko. We can expect a few decent rain events also. We will hopefully get a return to snow by Monday, but any forecast that far out is sure to change. A good week for the Professional Jerry to get some work done!