I had been in Hakuba for several weeks, skiing and pretending I never had to go home.
As January came to an end, I found myself restless and ready for a change of scenery. A few hours to the northeast, the small Japanese town of Myoko promised loads of snow and featured terrain. I quickly loaded up my seventy-pound ski bag, complete with two pairs of skis, boots, poles and skins, and headed for the bus station. Somewhere during my bus-train-bus-train commute, I befriended Ed, Sandy and Chris, three friends who run Alaska Powder Descents, a heli operation based in Juneau. In addition to helping me haul my ridiculous amount of luggage around, these kind folks fed me a four-course meal of Ritz crackers, brie, candy and Zima.
Getting to Myoko would have been a much different experience without them.
When I arrived in Myoko, I met up with some friends from Seattle I had skied with earlier in the trip. We ate at a small, traditional restaurant called KoYoMa, where the owner’s three-year-old daughter jumped around the table and encouraged us to drink our Sake faster. It was hammering snow outside, and as we walked back to the lodge the overhead snow-banks grew taller around us.
The following day we shared a cab to Madarao, a small ski resort south of Myoko with long, consistent tree runs and a single-person chair. We did a lap on the backside of the resort first thing in the morning, and the snow was unbelievably deep! Over the next few days, we explored Akakura Kanko, a resort that is directly across the street from our accommodations at the Morino Myoku. From the lift, untouched pillow lines, spines and flutes were in plain sight, waiting to be skied. Both Kanko and Suginohara, another nearby resort, have awesome touring options from the resort. One afternoon, we were lucky enough to get a weather window and summit Mt. Myoko just before sunset.
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