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Eat­ing and drink­ing costs are com­pa­ra­ble to those in Eu­ro­pean ski re­sorts – on

there on our se­cond ski day in Ja­pan. A small queue builds be­fore the lifts open, fat skis and off-piste gear look­ing out of place at a base that’s just a hut for tick­ets and stick­ers, with a hairdryer out­side for clear­ing gog­gles of snow. Yes, a hairdryer.

We spend the next hour or so lap­ping the dou­ble chair, find­ing lines be­tween trees, float­ing through deeps, oc­ca­sion­ally hear­ing muf­fled shouts as ev­ery­one spreads out across the area’s two val­leys. The lift pro­vides drift­ing respite as it moves lazily through trees while we’re on it, and a land­mark in­side the ping-pong ball of this re­lent­lessly snowy day as we ski down.

Just as home-made noo­dles and veg-stuffed miso soup in Taube (the one place to eat on the moun­tain) are call­ing, there’s a com­mo­tion at the bot­tom of the sin­gle-seat lift. The ski pa­trol has fi­nally dug it out – and we are among the first to ride it.

It edges up over a pris­tine steep pow­der field at a snail’s pace. As I near the top, the first skiers come down, barely vis­i­ble in the deeps, their ec­stasy ev­i­dent from the plum­ing tails of snow and sounds of joy. I laugh with them, kick­ing my skis ex­cit­edly in barely con­tained an­tic­i­pa­tion of the over-my-head snow thrills to come. Lunch will have to wait.

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