4. EAT YOUR FILL
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.