Yes, skiing again...
20.01.2013 - 21.01.2013 0 °C
Well we are off to a good start on this trip – we get out of the car at the airport and G’s backpack is nowhere to be found. So we check in whilst L does a 50 minute round trip back home. We have got a coffee frappe to cool her down on her return, before she heads off to a wedding.
Flight to Sydney uneventful. Qantas has provided ‘dinner’, a chicken pie in a bag, so G needs some sushi at Sydney to keep the hunger away. Plenty of time to spare, ordered gin to refill the cupboard. Flight to Tokyo comfortable enough, had to monitor the video use to make sure we got some sleep. G managed to get a dinner not only that he did not ask for, but wasn’t even on the menu! Got around 5 hours sleep, then into Narita, straight through customs and down to JR East to get a flexible 4 day pass, which fits our trip perfectly. Onto the N’Ex into Tokyo, over to the shinkansen to Nagano, then onto Myoko Kogen by local train. The trains are quick and easy; we left Narita at 7:45 and were in Myoko Kogen by noon. We were met by the team from Refle Hotel, Yoko and Mr Minimura. We had a tour of the recently reopened hotel then we were off to Myoko Snow Sports to be greeted back by Nozomi and the team. Well kitted out, we were on the slopes by 2. We have two and a half hours on Akakura Kanko before we head back to the Refle. The snow is good, still a fair bit of powder around over a good base. It is so good to be back on the planks in such great conditions. We get every moment we can, going through to the last chair of the day.
As always post ski, off to the onsen to clean up and have a good hot soak. G then downloads Skype and we have a chat with L. Up the road for dinner – our yakiniku restaurant from last year is closed, so into Anntonn’s basement izekaya on the corner, small, steamy but good food. The hit for the night is enoki fungi cooked with butter in a foil pack. After a long day, bed comes earlyish.
Draw back the curtains in the morning and it is a foreign sight for us in Myoko – blue skies! We are up late after the long day previous. We start the day in Akakura Onsen, as most of their lifts are uncovered. The snow is good, but there are only patches of powder available on the edges of the runs, we have found some good bits around Marayuma.
After lunch we have a challenge. Akakura Kanko and Onsen are next to each other with our lunch restaurant in the middle. We have to get to the lowest, widest point of one to the other, via the highest point on the resorts. It goes well to start with, until we hit the school run around the Ginrei lifts on Onsen – there are, without exaggeration, 300 school kids having lessons. We slowly manoeuvre around them to the bottom, where the kind instructors take pity and let the 2 of us push in front of 100 of them. We get to the high point at the top of Hotel #5 lift, then a straight run all the way to the bottom of the Kanko gondola – complete before 4pm. As the shadows lengthen, what snow has melted is now freezing over.
Into the onsen after a good stretch, then off to Kei izekaya next to Anntonn’s. The yakiniku is still closed. Good food again, had to get a couple of extra courses as these were smaller than last night’s. Loved the edamame beans, in their pods and salted – great. Bill was the same as last night, 3500 yen. Did another 1200 getting crepes on the way home. G got stuck on you tube so was late to bed, and looked it at breakfast.
Today we have Japanese breakfast, so we have miso, some omelette, a bit of meat, pickles, rice, green tea, and a pasta potato and fish mix. Good and filling, set us up for the day. Looking out the window, it seems to be raining. By the time we are out, it is snow instead, and it continues on and off through the day.
Today we are still on a mix of Onsen and Kanko, mainly Kanko as they have covered lifts, and it is very bitter at times. The snow is still good though, spending a lot of time up high in the steeper runs. We are getting right into the powder and the tree skiing – there is a rush there not provided by skiing on piste unless you are trying to break the sound barrier. We stop for lunch at the Maple restaurant. At the Japanese resorts we have found it makes no difference if you eat high up on the mountain, the food is all a similar price top and bottom. With lunch we get all you can drink at the coke machine, so we try all the different flavours. My favourite is Calpis, tastes like a lemonade spider and just as sweet. G likes a mix of green fanta and Hi C, which defies description.
Back on the snow we are looking for the patches of powder still around on the edges of the runs, ducking in and out of the trees, good fun. The all you can drink bar is interrupting the flow though, with several rest stops required. The weather is closing in, but windy only, not too bad and we keep going to the last run.
We do the normal routine of stretches, watching Sumo and an onsen before heading out for ramen for dinner. Good simple stuff but pretty filling – G cannot get to the end of his. We are heading home early to get to bed early, but get side tracked with Skype and youtube. Not good news on skype – L’s car has been rear ended and crunched up front and back – fortunately without her inside. Just driveable, but it needs serious attention.