Saturday, March 10, 2012

NHK Documentary Part 2

During late February:

Part 2 of the documentary trip included a beautiful night at Komaki Onsen followed by 3 full days at Hakkoda. Day 1 at Hakkoda was typical: Deep snow and poor visibility.  Day 2 had its complications but the weather was perfect.  The Ropeway had a few mechanical problems and did not run until 11am.  We were on the first tram and made the most of the fresh tracks while trying to film some shots in between.  We never braked for lunch and finished with an amazing sunset run. Day 3 was cut short as the tram was shut down due to high winds around lunch time....then it started to rain. Over all we got great types of imagery to use for the documentary and some great interviews from some of the local people at Hakkoda especially Soma-san the Legend and President of the Hakkoda Guide Club

Thanks to everyone involved in this project! I hope they don't make me look too stupid. I'll post more on when it should air, but it looks like it will be sometime in April. 

Outdoor Japan------>
Set Japan------------>
Cipher Communications Inc.------------->

Friday, March 9, 2012

Takadaodake: Japow Tour

Takadaodake sits 1552 meters high.  The fastest way to access this beast is by hiking for up to 3 hours from Yachi Onsen.  Its a south facing slope so she gets lots of sun and is prefect for early spring time riding. This is not a hike for the weak. We had blue sky all morning and then clouds rolled in just as we left the peak. Perfect timing to a prefect day. The open bowl was a little firm but the lower section had a great backside lip to slash. Ready for summer time surfing.

On a side note: I broke my snowshoes half way up the face and will be split-boarding for the remainder of the season.  Bummed but it will force me to ride the split more.  Heres to more Backcountry Adventures. 

Takadaodake 1552M
Parking lot prep.

Yes we are going to the Top
Mid accent

On top looking back towards Odake-san


Me, Josh, Mukai

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


March 1, 2012

Akakuradake has been on my hit list of places to ride in the Hakkoda Mountains since I moved here 3 years ago.  The snow and weather conditions have to be perfect to ride it in high snow season as there is high risk of Avalanche as the terrain is much steeper/ exposed and if the snow rips at the top there is really no exit below for escape.  I tagged along with Film maker Okaken and Japanese riders Shin and Toshi for this perfect day. We probably spent at least 1 or 2 hours at the peak checking the snow stability before dropping in. We all choose our separate lines and went one by one. The snow was a little firm but fast and rip-able. I have been told that the late Legend Craig Kelly wanted to ride this area of Hakkoda while he was there nearly ten years ago but snow conditions never permitted him to ride Akakuradake.  This ones for you CK...

 Photos taken with Canon G10 and Iphone.

Okaken climbing....Aomori city in the Background.

Iwaki-san in the background

Okaken Filming

Deep discussion 

Iphone Photos
Saftey Meeting

I dropped in above the cliff in the well lighted area.


My starting point...dropping in 5

Monday, March 5, 2012

Aoni Onsen

We took a break from snowboarding this weekend....not sure why...but it was worth it. Its always good to go completely off the grid. No computers, no iphones, no electricity. Just Oil Lamps, good food and a hot Onsen to keep you warm. This place is like going back in time as what it might have been like staying at a hotel in Japan 50 years ago. Aoni is deep in the Mountains near the base of the Hakkodas and is an Onsen heaven with 4 baths to choose to from.  I only made into 2 of them as I really enjoy the outdoor baths the best especially when the snow is falling.  Here are a few pictures from our one night stay. Can't wait to go back or try someplace different. Japan is truly a special place. 

almost spelled my name right

My favorite one.

Outdoor Bath


Our window view