Ever since that photo of the hideously large queues for the chairlift at Vail was posted a few weeks ago I have gained even more pleasure than usual of the comically small queues in Japanese ski resorts. Today was a perfect example of this. I casually left the house at 8:20 this morning and wandered through the fresh snow up to the ski resort here at Togari Onsen. I was greeted by the sight of only two people standing in line waiting for the lift to start, which happened to open just as I finished tightening my boots and strapping on my snowboard.

The plan had been to drive up to Madarao if we woke up to over 20cm. We were right on the limit with what looked like about 20cm of fresh snow in the driveway, but the decision was made to stay local at Togari today and enjoy the complete lack of powder pressure. After several hours of riding what seemed to be closer to 30-40cm on the upper mountain, judging by the duration of the face shots, I checked the reports for the neighboring mountains. In this upside-down year of a Japanese ski season, it appears that Togari won the overnight snow lottery with reports from Myoko, Madarao and Nozawa onsen all around the 5-10cm mark.

The weather alternated between sun and heavy snow throughout the morning, and as I write this at midday it has been snowing steadily for several hours. Temperatures are expected to remain cold for the next two days, with light winds and clear sky’s tomorrow. Get out and enjoy it as Friday will see a return to positive temperatures.