Postcards from Niseko is a new series for ’17-’18 we have developed with Rome SDS Ambassador, Evan Wilcox. He will be sending us digital postcards from Niseko, sharing images and videos of the famed japow, and detailing the adventures he gets up to.
Spring is in full swing here in Niseko. Being in the middle my third snow season here, what I have learned is that anything can happen weather-wise during this time. This spring has stayed true to that pattern. Early March brought sunny powder days, as well as a lot of rain. Those beautiful spring powder days were welcomed wholeheartedly by the locals after a winter full of heavy snow and almost no visibility every day. This one in particular was one of my favorites. Dropping from peak of Mt. Niseko-Annupuri with fresh snow and perfect light. These casual turns were so much fun!
Once the rain and snow cycles subsided, Niseko was blessed with perfect sunny spring days for about 2 weeks straight. Both Grand Hirafu and Hanazono expanded their parks, and I had a good time lapping them with friends. These days park riding isn’t my focus, however it is undeniable how fun it can be on a slushy spring day.
This perfect spring weather was a great time to get some smooth turns in the backcountry. The weather in Niseko brings some fast and clean spring corn snow this time of year, so I spent most of my time in recent weeks hiking peaks and making big turns in the soft, yet fast snow. Here’s a toeside one with the Sea of Japan in the background:
One of my favorite rides during this time of year is a full top to bottom run from the peak of the
Niseko United resorts. Starting at Hanazono, I take 4 chairlifts, and hike about 15 minutes to the peak of Mt. Niseko-Annupuri. From there I drop the backside, which holds the steepest pitch of the whole mountain. Wide and fast turns in the back bowl slowly funnel narrower and narrower, until you reach a natural halfpipe. Carrying speed through this pipe is a blast, as I channel my inner snowsurfer, making flowy turns back and forth on the steep walls. This gully off of the backside holds fun little hips and hits, and traverses all the way back to the base of Annupuri ski resort. This lap is a leg-burner if you don’t stop to take a break, and features 9 minutes of surfy turns without needing to hike back to the chairlifts.
I’ve already got a ton of great spring riding in, however the resorts in Niseko are open for over another month! These long resort seasons are something I am used to back home in Oregon and Utah, however it is something I appreciate as I get to keep riding later than most places in the world.
Hello from Hokkaido! I'm Evan. I'm from Portland, Oregon, but now call Niseko my home. A few uninspiring snow years in the US left me with a hunger for deep snow, which let me to pick up and move to the snowiest place on earth. I now work marketing for Hanazono Niseko Resort and have the freedom to ride and explore these incredible mountains blessed with that world-famous japow. Follow my adventures here through Japan Grabs' Postcards!