The Mountain Wave event has become a fixture at the end of the winter in Hakuba, and we’ve been there every year. This year was no different, and with the ever-changing spring weather giving it a perfect window, Mountain Wave 2022 delivered put a pin in the season in style…
Taking the gondola up in the rain isn’t always the start of a great event but props to the digging crew who had been hard at work with faith the weather would clear. As the clouds lifted the fun started…
What’s a good spring session without a fun banked slalom too? Running a banked slalom well into May, long after the spring snow melted has closed most resorts in Japan is a always a challenge, but the Mountain Wave diggers did a great job. After an open start, the course wound tighter with deep banks and a classic snake run feel. The course held up really well to over 200 riders taking two runs and after the slush settle, results were in. It was sibling rivalry at the top of the Women’s Open with K2’s Natsuki Sato (K2) pushing her younger sister and Dragon Japan teammate Aya Sato (GNU) in second for once. In the Men’s Open the next generation was in effect, with 16-year-old Capita ripper Tanto topping the podium followed by Eiskuke Suguhara (Burton) and Rei Igarashi (Gentemstick). The cheers of the podiums werer followed by the friendly jeers as the results were taped up, and friends could see who was faster. Good times, and the perfect way to round out the season in the Hakuba Valley.
A special mention for the snowskate riders, who had the best group vibes for the banked slalom – all waiting together to cheer every rider through the finish line, irrespective of level. They were also sending it on the hip with all the crashes you’d expect – and some impressive airs, topped off by Keita Yamazaki taking the annual method champion win by landing a fully tweaked snowskate method in the final jam session, while everyone else couldn’t quite put down their best tweaks of the day under the spotlight at the end of the day – and getting roasted by MC Nobu for it!
As always a massive thanks to the Mountain Wave diggers for making this a season-ender of the good kind!