Owen, Oliver and I are on a school trip at the Mount Norikura Ski Resort. The trip is being led by NorthStar Alpine Lodge, an English-speaking adventure company. It is one of the perks of international school teaching to be able to chaperone trips to exciting places. It is a lot of after-hours work, but so enjoyable to spend time with the students.
It was a glorious day of heavy snow! It felt so refreshing and different to be out in the snow the entire day. It snowed from about 10:00 until the end of the day. For awhile, visibility was cut down significantly and riding on the chair lifts in driving snow was a bit cold. However, it did let up in the late afternoon and with so much powder (“pow” in Swiss ski slang – thanks Kelly!) it was a different type of skiing. It took me awhile to get comfortable, but by the end of the day, I was a powderhound!
Owen is learning how to snowboard with the NorthStar instructors. Because of his base of skiing, he is picking it up quickly and should be pretty good by the time we leave Friday afternoon. Oliver is with his fellow 7th graders and they are not skiing but practicing winter sports. Today they built an igloo and had snowball fights. He is enjoying time with his friends.
There is hardly anyone on the slopes. I estimated maybe 300 people and there are quite a few runs. Absolutely no wait time in lines – a perfect day for me! It was interesting to watch a brigade of Japanese Self Defense forces training on telemark skiing. They had their helmets and backpacks and military camouflage. I don’t know what they were ski-training. A possible North Korean invasion?
A final note – Japan has the most advanced vending machines in the world. This coffee machine at a roadside stop has a selection of 78 different coffee and hot/cold drinks one can choose from. This is just one machine in a row of 20.