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ISSUE 58 | WINTER 2016 | FREE

TRACKING HISTORY IN THE

SNOWY MOUNTAINS Reclaiming the Seas of Sanriku 東北三陸の海を蘇らせる

Eco Triumph in Raja Ampat ラジャ・アンパット:環境保護におけるインドネシアの成功

Sandra Fransson's Mosaic of Skiing and Art 夢を追いかけて

2016 JAPAN SNOW GUIDE KNOWLEDGE IS POWDER, THINK DEEP. ADVENTURE

PEOPLE

C U LT U R E

TRAVEL


WINTER 2016

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I N S I D E I S S U E 5 8 ■ W I N T E R 2 016

12 F E AT U R E :

THE ROOF OF AUSTRALIA オーストラリアの天井

20

24

32

35

50

F E AT U R E S

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Follow Your Heart

オーストラリアの天井

夢を追いかけて

Reclaiming the Seas of Sanriku 東北三陸の海を蘇らせる

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Raja Ampat: Indonesia’s Eco-Success Story ラジャ・アンパット:環境保護におけるインドネシアの成功

T R AV E L E R

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The Roof of Australia

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4

INSIDE

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2016 Japan Snow Guide Knowledge is "Powder." Think deep.

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Yuki-Ita

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From the Editor

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Winter Events Market Watch

編集後記

Cycling Japan

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サイクリング・ジャパン

10

ビアー・バズ

11

ローカル 醸造

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Snow Buddies Photo Essay by Neil Hartmann

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トラベル & アドベンチャー ディレクトリー

Beer Buzz The Local Brew

Travel & Adventure Directory


WINTER 2016


■ FROM THE EDITOR Gardner Robinson, Editor-in-Chief gardner@outdoorjapan.com

W

hile Japan is better known to travelers for temples and cherry blossoms than halfpipes and powder runs, there has been a significant increase of winter travelers, mainly due to the copious amount of snow that falls in the land of the rising sun. Reasons to visit Japan in winter are as plentiful and diverse as the countless ski resorts found throughout the country. For years it seemed as if Australians were the only ones who had discovered this powder paradise, but in recent years the gates have opened to an avalanche of travelers from as far away as traditional ski hotbeds in Europe and North America as well as Asian neighbors such as Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan and Thailand. Australians still make up the majority of ski travelers, and some may wonder why there are so many winter sports enthusiasts in a country known for surfing and sandy beaches. Our intrepid contributor Aaron Jamieson is not afraid to go the extra mile for an adventure (see

本の観 光といえば、ハーフパイプやパウ ダーより寺院や桜が有名だとは思うが、じ つはこの日出ずる国に降る冬の雪をもとめ てやってくる観光客が急増している。その 理由は、日本に数多く存在するスキーリゾートとおなじ くらいたくさんある。何年ものあいだ、日本のパウダー スノーの可能性に気づいているのはオーストラリア人 だけのようだったが、ここ最近、ウィンタースポーツの メッカ、ヨーロッパや北米をはじめ、香港、シンガポー ル、台湾、タイといったアジア近隣諸国からも多くの 観光客が押し寄せるようになった。 現状、 オーストラリア人が大多数を占めてはいるが、 サーフィンやビーチカルチャーで有名なオーストラリア から、なぜウィンタースポーツをもとめてやってくるのか 不思議に思う読者もいるかもしれない。怖いもの知ら ずな本誌寄稿者であるアーロン・ジェーミソンは、冒 険のためならどこまでも行くような人間だが(本誌 55

“Greenland: Mission Impossible,” Outdoor Japan Traveler, Issue #50), but this time he stays close to home while exploring the inhospitable terrain in Australia’s Snowy Mountains, where he discovers a surprisingly long history of skiing Down Under. He and his mates follow in the footsteps of the country’s ski pioneers and lay down some beautiful first tracks of their own. In Issue #58 we also go down deep into Indonesia to Western Papua (an area formerly known as Irian Jaya) and one of the hottest dive spots in the world— Raja Ampat. Our well-traveled diving contributor Tim Rock has been exploring the region for decades and shows us how this area has become an Indonesian success story for conservation and eco tourism. Here in Japan, Bonnie Waycott dives in to report on the great work Tohoku’s Diving Volunteers continue to do as we approach five years since the great Tohoku Earthquake. The group continues its tireless work cleaning up the sea near Sanriku, one of the areas most devastated by the tsunami

triggered by the earthquake. We speak to a couple of soulful snow addicts. Sandra Fransson, whose life is a mosaic of snow and art, is doing important work educating skiers in her brother’s honor. Nagano local Atsushi Gomyo draws some artistic lines and shows us there really is such a thing as a free ride. As always our Winter Issue features our annual Japan Snow Guide, which is available in print, digital and on your favorite mobile device (iOS or Android) through iTunes and Google Play. See what’s happening at your favorite resort or discover some new places to spend your weekends this winter.

号掲載の“グリーンランド・ミッション・インポッシブル” をぜひ読んでいただきたい)、今回は祖国オーストラリ アの荒 涼とした雪山へ臨み、オーストラリアにおける スキーの歴史の深さに触れた。オーストラリアにおけ るスキーの先人たちが残した足 跡を辿って、自分たち のトラックを残した。 今号ではインドネシアのウェストパプア(前イリアン ジャヴァ)にて、世界屈指のダイビングスポット、 ラジャ・ アンパットを訪れた。経験豊かなダイバーで、本誌ラ イターのティム・ロックは、10 年以上このエリアに足 を運んでおり、いかにこの場所がインドネシアにおけ る観光保護とエコツーリズムの成功例となったかをレ ポートしてくれた。 ここ日本の記事では、ボニー・ワイコットがレポート してくれるのは、5 年 前の東 北 地 方で起きた地 震 以 来、ずっと活動をつづけている東北のダイビングボラ ンティアについてだ。津波で大被害を被った三陸沖

の清掃活動を現在もつづけているグループである。 今号ではふたりの雪山中毒者にもインタビューをお こなった。サンドラ・ジャンソンは生まれて以来、雪と アートにかこまれて生きているが、弟に敬意を表して スキーヤーの教育をおこなっている。長野ローカルの 五明淳も独自の芸術性を表現し、フリーライドとはな にかを教えてくれた。 そして毎年冬号ではおなじみのジャパン・スノーガイ ドも見逃せない。誌面、デジタル、もしくは携帯アプ リで読むことができるので、今シーズンのリゾート情報 や新しいおすすめの場所についてぜひ参考にしてい ただきたい。

OUTDOOR JAPAN TRAVELER Published Seasonally Publisher Outdoor Japan Media

Media Coordinator Rie Miyoshi

Editor-in-Chief Gardner Robinson

Contributing Editors Wayne Graczyk, Shigeo Morishita

Editor Bill Ross

Translators Kumiko Kurosaki, Yoshine Lee, Eri Nishikami, Kazusa Murai, Lana Sofer

Art Director Yuki Masuko

Contributors Joan Bailey, Lee Dobson, Eddie Gianelloni, Bryan Harrell, Neil Hartmann, Abdel Ibrahim, Pauline Kitamura, Takashi Niwa, Tim Rock, Robert Self, Justin Stein, Bonnie Waycott, Craig Yamashita Sales & Marketing media@outdoorjapan.com

©2015 OUTDOOR JAPAN INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. REPRODUCTION IN WHOLE OR IN PART WITHOUT WRITTEN PERMISSION IS PROHIBITED. VIEWS EXPRESSED HEREIN ARE NOT NECESSARILY THOSE OF OUTDOOR JAPAN INC. PRINTED IN JAPAN.

AIRLINE PARTNERS

Traveler magazine is available at selected lounges, reservations counters and in-flight libraries with the following airline partners.

トラベラーマガジンは、空港ラウンジや予約カウンターや、右記航空 会社インフライト・ライブラリーにてお読みいただけます。

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T R AV E L E R

CORRECTION In our story “Walking the Nakasendo” (Issue #57), the byline was incorrectly attributed to Michael Douglas. The writer who visited and wrote about these ancient post towns was Mark Andrews. We regret the error.

訂正:57 号の「 Walking the Nakasendo 」のライター がマイケル・ダグラスになっていましたが、正しく はマーク・アンドリュースでした。お詫びして、訂 正いたします。

Outdoor Japan Media

6-6-55 Higashi Kaigan Minami Chigasaki-shi, Kanagawa 253-0054 〒253-0054 神奈川県茅ヶ崎市東海岸南 6-6-55 Tel: (0467) 81-3212 Fax: (0467) 81-3213 EDITORIAL: editor@outdoorjapan.com ADVERTISING: ads@outdoorjapan.com SUBSCRIPTIONS: subscribe@outdoorjapan.com

www.facebook/japantraveler www.twitter.com/outdoorjapan www.youtube.com/outdoorjapan

Cover Photo Aaron Jamieson


WINTER 2016

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CELEBRATE THE SEASON

WINTER 2016 RACES & EVENTS Jan. 30-31

Feb. 5-11 (Odori, Susukino) Japan Brewers Cup Festival Feb. 5-18 (Tsudome) uests can also enjoy live paint artists and massage therapists Twenty-four craft breweries and six craft beer 67th Sapporo Snow Festival and staying in local hotels and inns with rel importers will compete in the Japan Brewers Head to Sapporo for Japan’s largest snow festival, Cup Festival 2016. The beer competition is an impressive week-long collection of giant held on the mornings of Jan. 30-31. Guests can snow sculptures. From replicas of famous castles sample 180 varieties of beer as well as snacks. and monuments to building-sized Darth Vaders, Entry fee is ¥500 and beers are ¥300-¥500. T-Rexes and favorite childhood characters, Where: Osanbashi Hall, Yokohama this festival is guaranteed fun for the kids. The Web: www.japanbrewerscup.jp park takes on a different feel at night when the sculptures are illuminated. Where: Sapporo, Hokkaido Web: www.snowfes.com

Feb. 27 Snow Splash 2016 in Minakami Snow Splash returns to Minakami with another big lineup of music and entertainment featuring PDigsss and Sambora (AKA The Peacekeepers). The lead members of Shapeshifter (voted New Zealand 2013 Band of the Year) will be playing a hard mash-up set from soul to drum and bass, house to dub step and beyond. Joined by great lineup of music and entertainment, it will be “powda inna day, louda inna night!” Tokyo Snow Club has an all-inclusive Snow Splash Bus Tour from Tokyo, check out the Web site for details. Where: Canyons Alpine Lodge, Minakami, Gunma Web: www.outdoorjapan.com/snowsplash

Photo courtesy of Mainichi Shinbun

Feb. 3

Feb. 28

Feb. 28

Setsubun Mamemaki Festival A lthough it ’s still cold, Japan celebrates setsubun—the end of winter and the start of spr i ng — on Feb. 3. Watch t he a nc ient mamemaki ceremony as soya beans are thrown to ward off the new season’s possible disasters and ensure health and good fortune. Visit one of these temples at noon to watch, or join, the bean-flinging fiesta. Where: Sensoji and Zozoji temples, Tokyo

Tokyo Marathon 2016 This annual run is one of the biggest marathons in Japan, with applications completely filled months in advance. But even if you’re not running this year, it’s fun to join in the cheering and festivities near the starting point at the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building, Shinjuku. Starts from 9:05 a.m. to 4:10 p.m. Where: Tokyo Web: www.marathon.tokyo

Omizutori During the first two weeks of March, priests run through Nigatsu-do Hall while waving massive pine torches at this 1,250-year-old festival. Those “lucky” enough to be showered by the sparks are protected from evil spirits. The ceremony concludes early in the morning of Mar. 13 when healing spring water, which only runs on this day, is offered to the gods. Where: Todai-ji Temple, Nara

retired three years ago after a long career at 3M and the birth of his daughter. “That was a turning point in my life,” he said, his tanned face beaming as he looks at his wife and daughter as they help a customer choose the perfect daikon. His table boasted purple, orange, white and yellow carrots, beets, Swiss Chard and some of the most beautiful Chinese cabbage around. Three kinds of potatoes, including a mouth-watering Andes Red, sat next to frilly wasabina and bags of pungent cilantro to fill out the edges. Those hankering for baked goods will find table upon table of doughy delights to peruse. Christmas cakes, bagels in every color, crunchy granola, scones begging for butter and Boulangerie a la Demande’s shirasutopped focaccia bread. A simple turn of the corner marks the beginning of the delightful hunt for the perfect jam or honey to pair with that bread. Clarte offered visually stunning jars of handmade jam including a beautiful strawberry along with a knockout azuki and green tea, while Beehive Apiary Murakami’s hazelnut honey is a wee bit of heaven on earth. For those hankering a more savory experiment, wander over to Do-re-mi Farms table of creative pickles to try their finely chopped mix of pickled vegetables that would make a fantastic tapenade.

Shizuka Komiya and Midori Kabaya of Aloha Farms in Tochigi are worth visiting not only for their homemade senbei, but also their adzuki, hemp and mulberry leaf flavored amazake, made with torganic rice and soymilk. Aloha Farms adds no sugar to this traditional winter drink. It was started five years ago, and the four women who work it use natural farming practices to grow their vegetables, soybeans, garlic and rice. A cluster of 15 food trucks offers shirasu rice bowls along with spicy Indian, Thai and Korean foods. Those searching for a snack can nibble on a kamaboko sausage or sip cups of fresh hot coffee or tea.

By Joan Bailey

MARKET WATCH Kitanaka Marche

J

ust outside Bashamichi Station in Yokohama is a charming new farmer’s market. Brought about by the same folks who conjured up Tokyo’s Market of the Sun, Kitanaka offers a hearty mix of local and organic as well as conventional growers, regional bakers and confectioners and an excellent selection of food trucks to satisfy the weariest of shoppers. Opened in November of 2015, the market rests between café-laden Minato Mirai and the happening Kannai. Inspired by local redevelopment efforts, Akiko Yamamoto, the market manager, said the organizers and the city thought it would be a nice way to build community. “We wanted to bring new people to the area and connect with locals,” Yamamoto said amid the hustle and bustle of the opening weekend. Eishi Yamane brings his organic produce from just down the road in Fujisawa. Yamane

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T R AV E L E R

Kitanaka Marche Nearest Station: Bashamichi Hours: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., third Saturday and Sunday of every month Directions: Head out Exit 2 and turn right. Look for the white tents on the right.


Cycling Japan:

A JOURNEY TO EXPERIENCE THE LOCAL LIFE サイクリング̶それは

By Takashi Niwa Translated by Sakae Sugahara

土地の暮らしを感じる旅

ROUTE

27

HYOGO PREFECTURE

#

AWAICHI

Kobe

Kansai international Airport

(HYOGO PREFECTURE)

AWAJI ISLAND

淡路島一周(兵庫県)

WAKAYAMA PREFECTURE Wakayama

TOKUSHIMA PREFECTURE

It ’s possible to cover the route in one day, and many do. However, why not leisurely enjoy the trip by staying one or two nights along the way? のんびりと走りたい人は1泊2日、あるいは2泊3日。1日で走り切るチャレンジングな サイクリングも多い。

“A

waichi” is short for “Awajishima Isshu,” which means a tour around Awaji Island. It is a popular route among Kansai cyclists along with “Biwaichi,” one time around Biwa Lake, and both are a 150-to-160-kilometer ride. The route is easy to access—you can drive from Kobe across the Akashi Kaikyo Bridge and park your car at the Awaji Michi-no-eki (rest area) right below the bridge. You can also take a quick boat ride on the Awaji Jenova Line across the strait from Akashi to Iwaya (13 minutes, ¥500 for adults and ¥220 for your bike (Web: www.jenova-line.co.jp). Starting from the Michi-no-eki, we’ll do a clockwise tour of the island, beginning on Route 28 and then taking local Route 76 (aka Minami Awaji Suisen Line), named after the

narcissus flowers that blossom in the southern part of the island in winter. As we pass Yura Town, right across the sea from Wakayama Prefecture, the route gets hilly until you get to the western coast. Jumping on a sightseeing cruise from Fukura Port for a relaxing cruise and viewing the famous whirlpools would surely make a memorable break along the way. The route beyond, some 100 kilometers from the start, turns almost flat as it continues north along the western shore of the Awaji Sunset Line. Cruising on an empty coastal route will bring you back north. The tour is almost over when you see the townscape of Akashi on the left across the Harima Nada Sea.

路島一周は通称 “アワイチ” 。琵琶湖一周の“ビ

山にもっとも近い由良をあとにすると、道は峠越えのよう

ワイチ” とともに、距離は約150∼160kmで、関西

に上る。ここから島の西海岸に出るまでは山岳ステージ

のサイクリストには定番コースだ。

となる。のんびり派は途中の福良から、渦 潮見学の船

 アクセスも容易で、マイカーであれば明石海峡大橋を

に乗ると、淡路島の思い出はいっそう深まることまちがい

渡って淡路島に上陸し、橋の真下にある道の駅あわじを

ない。

ベースにするとよい。自走の場合には淡路ジェノバライン

 西海岸の100 km地点あたりから、道はほぼフラットの

が明石∼岩屋間を結んでいる。(所要時間:約13分、運

淡路サンセットラインを北上する。交通量の少ない海沿

賃:大人500円 自転車 220円 www.jenova-line.co.jp/)

いをひた走ると、やがて左手前方に明石の街並みが、

 道の駅あわじから時計回りに走る。洲本からは国道28

播磨灘越しに見えてくるとゴールは近い。

号を離れ、県道76号(南淡路水仙ライン) を行く。和歌

Takashi Niwa actively organizes guided tours around the world, from the back alleys of Tokyo to remote villages in Tibet. He has authored many books including “Otona no Tame no Jitensha Nyūmon” (Nihon Keizai Shinbun Shuppansha). His company, Niwa Cycling Tours (www.ncycling.com) organizes tours in Japan and around the world. :にわサイクリングツアーズ(www.ncycling.com) を主宰し、東京の路地裏か 丹羽隆志(にわ たかし) らチベットまで、地球上のどこかをガイド。 『大人のための自転車入門』(日本経済新聞出版社刊)な ど著書多数。 WINTER 2016

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BEER BUZZ

By Justin Stein

Warming up to Barleywines

C

u i s i ne h a s it s sea son s a nd so do beverages. As winter sets in, beer drinkers tend to move toward stronger brews. Rich malts and warming alcohols match the cold night air as perfectly as sitting beside a wood fire. One of the classic examples of strong beer is barleywine, a style that showcases complex flavors, including caramel, fruit and toffee. Aged ba rley w i nes ca n ta ke on t he characteristics of sherry or port, perhaps inspiring this style’s vinous name. As this beer has a very full mouthfeel and high alcohol (8-12%) content, it is best served in a snifter like a bra ndy or a cog nac a nd enjoyed with rich foods or after dinner. The barley wine style dates back to a h istor ic mode of Br it i sh brew i ng called parti-gyle. In most moder n beers, brewers combine the first liquid that comes off the mash (called “first runnings”) with more dilute liquid produced by adding hot water. Think of the first cup of tea versus subsequent ones brewed with the same leaves—each cup gets less intense. In the parti-gyle method, brewers made one beer from the first runnings, which came out much stronger because the yeast had more sugars to ferment, and weaker beers from the second (and sometimes even third) runnings. Brewers would age these stronger beers to mellow their harsh booziness, calling them old ales, stock ales or strong ales. U.K. beer historian Martyn Cornell found the earliest known use of the term “barley wine” referring to a specific brewer’s beer. The reference was to “Bass’ Barley Wine” in an 1870 British Medical Journal analysis of the alcohol and acid contents of old ales versus mild ales (beers that were drunk fresh). The ar ticle also reveals that, in the 19th centur y, these strong beers were considerably more acidic than their younger counterparts, suggesting lactic acid bacteria provided some tartness to balance the residual sugars that tend to give strong ales their distinctive sweetness. However, contemporary barleywines do not typically employ fermentation microbes aside from the “clean” brewer’s yeast saccharomyces cerevisiae. Traditional English barleywines can be hard to find in Japan but a re wor t h t he effor t if you can locate one. Thomas

10

T R AV E L E R

Hardy’s Ale (11.9%) and J.W. Lee’s Vintage Harvest Ale (11.5%) are rich, sweet and complex. While Hardy’s was discontinued in 2008, bottles still circulate, and these beers can age well for decades. American versions are becoming easier to find, but keep in mind that they are much hoppier than their English counterparts and can actually be quite bitter. Anchor Steam Old Foghorn (10%), the first American barleywine, celebrates its 40th anniversary this year. It showcases the Cascade hop in a more balanced approach and is very drinkable. Sierra Nevada Bigfoot (9.6%) is perhaps most representat ive of the American style—when they first developed their recipe in 1983, the lab to which they sent a sample f o r a n a l y s i s s a i d , “ Yo u r barleywine is too bitter,” to which the brewer replied, “Thank you.” Stone Old Guardian (11%) is also quite hoppy and impressively drinkable, especially after a few years of aging, due to a semi-dry finish. All barleywines benefit with a few years of age, but I find this is particularly true for the American style ones, as it mellows the hop bitterness and allows the flavors to meld. Harvestmoon Barleywine, gold medalist in the 2015 International Beer Cup, has been brewed since 2000, making it one of Japan’s longest-running examples of the style. At 8%, it clocks in at the lower end of the scale on strength and its mouthfeel is also thinner than most. On the other end of the spectrum is YoHo Brewing’s Barrel-Aged Barley Wine, whose 2015 version (11.5%) was aged in a sherry barrel that has been holding liquors since 1950. I have yet to try this year’s version but, in general, wood provides a slight astringency to this beer that helps balance its intense caramel sweetness and adds complexity. The brewer says this particular barrel c ont r i buted a rom a s of apr ic ot . Ba i rd Brewing Company’s Ganko Oyaji (9%) splits the difference and provides a balanced take on the English style, while Sankt Gallen’s El Diablo (10%) goes all out on the American style with tons of hops packed into its distinctive conical purple bottle. The stronger, hoppier versions benefit from ag ing and can be stored standing up in a dark, cool space for years.


By Bryan Harrell

Ushitora Brewing Shimotsuke-shi, Tochigi Prefecture うしとらブルワリー 栃木県下野市

U

shitora is a great craft beer bar in one of Tokyo’s great drinking neighborhoods, Shimokitazawa. The area is equally accessible from Shinjuku and Shibuya. Ush itora was one of t he pioneer s who turned the typical sales channel model upside dow n by first making a popular beer bar with excellent food, which built up a strong clientele by serving the best beers available in Japan and North America. They then started their own brewery to make beers to suit the taste and vibe of their customers. Last year marked the slow rollout of beers from Ushitora’s new brewery in Shimotsuke, Tochigi, shipped mainly to their Tokyo pub. Ushitora beers have, however, been made available to other tap houses in Japan, so it is likely you will run into them sooner or later when out on the town. Ushitora’s two brewmasters, Hiromi Uetake and Takumi Murase, both brew sporadically, so the brewery is not open for tours or visits. Both have extensive brew ing k nowledge and seem to do something different in every beer they brew. This is usually attributed to how the hops are handled and the richness extracted from the malt. In their #057 Trip Yeast Belgo IPA, a full array of Belgian Tripel flavors is present, but the malt is lighter than expected in a Belgian Tripel, making a fairly full-flavored brew with large swathes of the bottom cut out, making it less filling.

ラフトビール・バーうしとらのロケーションは、新宿、

In the #060 Dear Sterling, the crispness and “glassy texture” of the Sterling hops are present, but ver y little of the vegetal character, giving the impression that only parts of the hop were used, those providing the distinct character. Finally, the #054 Mozairu Pale Ale seemed to have sections of the hop flavor cut and pasted into its sold malt structure, as if the hops were “painted on the walls of the malt room” to provide the beer’s main flavor. With ever y new Ushitora beer, it is as though they took a modular approach to brewing, and I was the unwitting victim of a very clever trick. At ¥650 for a half-pint glass, I certainly had no complaints. The Ushitora website is essentially a large blog listing what’s on tap that evening. It is all in Japanese, yet rewards handsomely those who are able to read it.

#057 Trip Yeast Belgo IPAというビールは、ベルギーのト

渋谷からのアクセスが便利な下北沢。 「うしとら」 は、 リペル風味だがモルトはもっと軽いので、 フルフレイバー

通常の販売チャンネルを逆行させた草分け的存在だ。日

なのに切れの良さがあり、 お腹に溜まらない。

本とアメリカのおいしいビールと食事を出すバーとしてス

#060 Dear Sterlingは、 スターリングホップのスッキリなめ

タートし、顧客を獲得したあとに、彼らの口に合うビールを

らかさはあるが、植物っぽさがあまりないので、 ホップの一

つくるためのブルワリーをはじめた。

部しか使っていないような印象さえある。

昨年より栃木の下野に新しくできたブルワリーからの

#054 Mozairu Pale Aleはホップの一部を切り取ってモル

新作が、東京店に届きはじめた。 うしとらのビールはもちろ トに貼りつけたように感じる。 その風味はまるで、 ホップで んほかの店でも販売しているので、 きっとどこかで味わうこ とになると思う。 うしとらには植竹大海と村瀬匠というふたりのブリュー

塗った壁があるモルトの部屋といったものだ。 醸造過程にモジュール方式を取りいれたのではないか と思わせるのが「うしとら」のビールで、 その抜け目のない

マスターがいるが、つねにいるわけではないのでブルワ

やり方がわたしはすっかり気に入ってしまった。ハーフパイ

リーのツアーなどはない。ふたりともビールにかんする知

ントで650円にどんな文句がつけられるというのだ。

識は豊富で、 ホップの扱い方や、 モルトからいかに豊か

うしとらのウェブサイトは基本、 その日に飲めるビールを

な風味を引きだすかなど、毎回ちがった方法を試してい

リストアップしたブログである。日本語が読めるなら行く前

るようだ。

に目を通しておくと便利だ。

Ushitora Beer Bar

うしとらブルワリー

2-9-3 Kitazawa, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo (Behind the large Ozeki Supermarket) 東京都世田谷区北沢2-9-3 光久ビル2F Phone: (03) 3485-9090 Web: http://blog.ushitora.jp WINTER 2016

11


オーストラリアの天井

12

T R AV E L E R

THE ROOF OF AUSTRALIA

Story & photos by Aaron Jamieson


Retracing tracks laid by alpine pioneers, Hokkaido resident Aaron Jamieson heads to the remote western reaches of the Snowy Mountains, the birthplace of skiing in Australia. そくせき たど

アルピニストが残した足跡を辿るために、北海道在住のアーロン・ジェイミソンが、 オーストラリアにおけるスキー発祥の地でもある西オーストラリアの雪山を訪れた。

WINTER 2016

13


THE ROOF OF AUSTRALIA

I

t was almost midnight when we set out on skins from the tiny collection of lodges at Guthega, a “ski village” in Kosciuszko National Park. It was late winter, and the forecast showed a large storm rolling in. Teddy Laycock, our basecamp manager, and I had been hauling in gear on pulks (Nordic toboggans) for two days. With the storm fast approaching, we had to get back and make sure the tents lasted the night on the flanks of 2,196-meter Mt. Twynam, about seven kilometers past the trailhead. The storm was whipping horizontal sheets of rain and ice against us. We found the trailhead and crossed the first creek without incident but, as we dragged our kits along a steep traverse, the going got tough. We slipped constantly on the snow-slop that was sliding off the ice sheet below. Looking ahead, we wondered how difficult it would be to find our cluster of tents. The blizzard, coupled with a thick fog, forced us to navigate entirely by GPS. We pressed on through the darkness, slogging toward each waypoint. Eventually, we reached Illawong Lodge, one of the Alps’ historic huts, where we crossed a suspension bridge over the Snowy River. We were on the home straight now, but we had a steep climb ahead. As we gained altitude, the wind amplified. Icy water seeped down our necks and into our boots, soaking our base layers and socks. We finally spotted the tents nestled in a small grove of snow gums. They were rolling like fishing boats in the sea, the wind stretching the tent shells against distressed poles. We got to work anchoring the tents with extra guide ropes and building snow walls to protect the camp from the

14

T R AV E L E R

wind. The storm, which we later discovered was the worst of the season, blasted on, stripping us of enthusiasm for our upcoming adventure. These were not ideal conditions, but not atypical this time of year either. It is why few choose to spend a month camping in the Roof of Australia in winter. Eleven national parks and nature reserves make up the Australian Alps, home to the mainland’s highest peaks and covering 16,000 sq. km., an area larger than the Swiss Alps. This is the highest part of the Great Dividing Range and the only place on mainland Australia where deep snow falls annually. The Alps stand out from a mostly flat Australian landscape. High-altitude peaks and undulating plateaus give way to deep glacier-carved valleys and glacial lakes. The area holds enormous ecological importance, home to diverse cold-climate plants and animals, many of which evolved in isolation and are found nowhere else on the planet. Yet, it was the cultural history of the area that caught my imagination, and this is where skiing in Australia began. The Alps have a long history of indigenous occupation. People speaking at least 13 distinct languages visited the Australian highlands for festivals, ceremonies and trade – particularly in spring, when Bogong moths, which seasonally migrate en masse to the region, were harvested. Following European settlement, explorers and prospectors flocked to the Alps in search of fortune. The highlands were summer grazing lands for cattle and sheep from the 1830s onward, goldmining towns were established in the 1850s and logging became prominent from the 1860s. With industry came recreation. The Kiandra Snow Shoe Club, the world’s first alpine ski club, was established –

not in Europe or North America – but in Kiandra, a nowabandoned gold-mining town in Kosciuszko National Park, in 1861. The birthplace of skiing in Australia was about 100 km. north of our camp. Norwegian miners arrived in the 1850s and introduced the small alpine settlement to the sport, fashioning rudimentary skis out of flat planks of wood. These original skis were said to be repurposed fence palings. Skiing became so popular that, by the end of their first winter, there were no fences left in Kiandra, so the story goes. Our month-long camping, hiking and ski touring expedition through Australia’s alpine country would follow the tracks of these alpine pioneers. Our team included expedition leader Chris Booth, Teddy, myself and long-time local skiers Kenny Heatley, Tim Myers and Jake McBride. During the expedition a number of pro skiers, boarders and filmmakers joined us, drawn by the prospect of exploring Australia’s least accessible backcountry. We divided the expedition into two stages. During Stage 1 we spent two weeks launching full-day exploratory tours through the northwestern reaches of the Snowy Mountains main range. We’d follow many of the original routes laid down by cattle drovers during those 19th-century summers. We wanted to feel the isolation and awe early backcountry skiers must have experienced as they traversed little known passes, as well as carve some new tracks of our own. Part of the inspiration came from stories about the people who helped popularize skiing in the Alps in the 1950s. One such man was Colin Myers, a passionate skier and backcountry explorer who happened to be the grandfather of Kenny and Tim. Before there were any commercial ski fields in New South Wales, Colin would put on his leather


オーストラリアの高原地帯を祭日、式

スキアスズコ国立 公園にあるスキー

典、そして貿易のために訪れた。季節

ビレッジ、ガセガ

はとくに春、毎年同じ季節にこの地に 集団で移動してくるボゴング蛾が収穫さ

の小さなロッジの

集落から出発したのは真夜中

れる時期だ。

だった。冬も終わりかけで、嵐

 ヨーロッパからの開拓者につづいて、

の予報がでていた。ベースキャ

探 検 家と探 鉱 者たちが 富をもとめて

ンプのマネージャー、テディー・

オーストラリア・アルプスに大挙おし寄

レイコックと私は、北欧のソリ、

せた。1830 年代から、高原地帯は夏の

パルクに乗せた装備を2日間引

あいだに牛や羊の放牧に使われるよう

きずっていた。

護するために雪で壁をつくった。シーズン中最大の嵐だっ

になり、1850 年代には金採掘の町がつくられ、1860 年代

 嵐はスピードを上げて近づいているようだったので、私

たと後から知ったのだが、おかげで先が思いやられた。コ

からは林業が突出して発展した。

たちは標高2,196mのトワイナム山に設置したテントが無事

ンディションは最悪だったが、この時期にはあり得る天候

 産業とともに娯 楽も発達した。1861年には世界最初の

かを確かめるために戻ることにした。トレイルヘッドから約

で、ルーフ・オブ・オーストラリア (オーストラリアの屋根) と

アルペンスキー・クラブであるキアンドラ・スノーシュー・ク

7kmの場所にある。嵐で横殴りの雨と雪になってきた。

呼ばれるこのエリアで、冬にひと月キャンプする者はほとん

ラブがキアンドラにできた。ヨーロッパでも、北米でもなく、

 トレイルヘッドを見つけて無事に最初の小川を越えたの

どいない。

コジオスコ国立公園にある、いまでは廃れてしまった金鉱

だが、荷物を引きながら急な斜面をトラバースするにつれ

 国立公園や保護区も多いオーストラリアンアルプス

の町にだ。オーストラリアのスキー生誕の地であるその町

て状況は厳しくなってきた。氷の上に積もったぬかるんだ

は、16,000 平方 kmにもなるオーストラリアでもっとも標高

は、私たちのキャンプから北へ約100kmの所にあった。

雪の上で滑るようになり、テントまで無事たどり着けるかす

の高いピークがある場所だ。これは、スイス・アルプスよ

 1850年代にやってきたノルウェー人の鉱夫たちが、平ら

こし心配になった。

り広い。グレートディヴァイディング山脈のもっとも高い

な板を使って初期段階のスキー板をつくり、この地でのス

 ブリザードが濃霧とともにやってきて、ナビゲーションは

場所で、オーストラリア本土で唯一毎年深い雪が積もる

キーの素 地をつくった。当時、柵の木材を利用してスキー

GPS 任せになってしまった。暗 闇の中、ウェイポイントを重

場所である。

板をつくったそうだが、その冬以来スキーが大人気となり、

い足取りで進んだ。吊り橋を越えたスノーウィリバーのある

 ほぼ平地のオーストラリアでこのアルプスはひじょうに目

冬が終わるころにはキンドラの町中の柵がなくなってしまっ

有名なイラウォンロッジまでなんとかたどり着き、ここからは

立つ。高度の高い山々や起伏する高原が、氷河の谷と

たという逸話もある。

直線ルートだが、その先には急な登りが待っている。

氷河湖にとってかわる。ここは自然環境にとってかなり重

 ひと月にわたる私たちのオーストラリア・アルプス地帯

 高度を上げるにつれ、風が強くなった。冷たい水が首か

要なエリアである。隔離されたまま進化した寒冷地特有の

を越えてのキャンプ、ハイキング、スキーの探検旅行は、

らしみこみ、下着と靴下をぬらしながらブーツにまで入って

多様な植物や動物は、ここでしか見ることができないもの

このアルプス開拓者たちの足跡をたどるものである。メン

きたとき、ようやくスノーガムの樹にかこまれたテントを見つ

も多い。

バーはリーダーのクリス・ブース、テディ、私、それから長

けることができた。なんとか持ちこたえているポールにはり

 それより私の想像力をかき立てたのは、オーストラリア

距離スキー選手のケニー・ヒートリー、ティム・メイヤーズ、

ついたテントは風に引っ張られ、海に浮かぶ漁船のように

でスキーがはじまったというこの地の文化的歴史だった。

ジェイク・マクブライドだ。なかなか行けないバックカント

なっていた。

オーストラリア・アルプスには先住民の居住による長い歴

リーを見ることができることを期待して、多数のプロスキー

 ロープで補強してテントを固定させ、キャンプを風から保

史がある。昔は少なくとも13の異なる言語を話す部族が、

ヤー、スノーボーダー、そして映画制作者が参加した。 WINTER 2016

15


THE ROOF OF AUSTRALIA ski boots and kangaroo skin vests for warmth and explore the mountains surrounding Kiandra on skis, occasionally venturing further afield to the Victorian Alps. A true alpine pioneer, Colin eventually founded Selwyn Snowfields, a ski resort still in operation today. However, he is more famous for one of his earlier entrepreneurial endeavors. Hoping to attract more people to his beloved sport, Colin used a six-cylinder Dodge engine and a gearbox from a Matilda Tank to construct one of Australia’s first rope tows on the old King Cross Road near Kiandra in 1956. The “tank tow” was a catalyst for the skiing boom that lasted several decades. Sixty years later, outside the ski resorts, these mountains remain largely uncharted in winter and little is published of the Australian backcountry. From our base camp at the Arc of Trees and a second camp pitched higher in the range, we explored Caruthers Peak, the Sentinel, Watsons Ridge and the Crags. The terrain was steep, with 400 meters of vertical in places. Long, white slopes separated vistas filled with rugged spurs. Enormous ice walls and jagged cliff faces descended to rocky valley floors, while forest-clad hills rose to icy ridgelines. Aside from the initial storm, our expedition was blessed with mostly clear skies. We hiked and skied this northern approach for nearly three weeks. The farther we ventured, the higher the probability we were making first descents in this massive terrain. We were sunburned, half frozen and exhausted but in awe of the exceptional landscape. During the 1970s and ’80s, backcountry skiing grew in popularity in Australia. Many of the old drovers’ huts, dotted across the Alps, were converted into makeshift lodges for

16

T R AV E L E R

skiers. Today, many have been decommissioned or destroyed by fire, but those that remain are primarily maintained as emergency shelters for skiers and hikers. In the Kosciuszko area, about 90 huts still exist. During Stage 2 of the expedition, we traversed the southern end of the main range, moving camp daily until we reached Seaman’s Hut. The sturdy granite hut is a refuge for hikers and skiers and sits near the top of 2,228-meter Mt. Kosciuszko, the highest peak on the Australian mainland. It was built in 1929 in memory of Laurie Seaman and Evan Hayes, two skiers who died of exposure during a blizzard in the area a year earlier. We pitched camp next to the hut. Once darkness fell, the night sky rotated slowly, carrying the Milky Way with it above our tents, a billion stars reflecting across the desolate expanse. With the exception of the hut, there were no traces of human existence. I couldn’t help but reflect on the handful of drovers, goldminers, loggers and skiers who looked out at the same white, folding hills and sharp, silhouetted peaks. From here, we would push on to Mt. Townsend (2,209 meters), the second-highest peak on the Australian mainland. The following day was the most challenging of our

expedition. Physically and mentally exhausted from weeks of skiing, hiking and sleeping on the snow, we were faced with a long traverse along a jagged, icy face between the two highest peaks in the Alps. Howling winds coated the ridge in razor-like ice shards, yet crossing it was the only way to reach our new exploration zone. Two members of our team fell on the traverse and were quickly shredded by sharp ice. Heading deep into the western faces, we saw this as an all-too-timely reminder this was not an area where we would expect to find help quickly or easily. Using ice axes and crampons, we carefully picked our way along for several hours into a howling icy wind blowing in from the southwest. We reached the saddle of Mt. Townsend at about midday. Our wind-whipped faces were bitterly exposed to the sun, which had a powerful sting. We searched the rocky outcrops for a suitable campsite and discovered a sheltered grove of rock and snow in the crown of Mt. Townsend. We pitched camp at 2,158 meters. Standing on one of the highest points of the Australian mainland, we could see the rolling ridges of the lower Alps stretched for kilometers all around us.


だ。ダッジ製6気筒エンジンとマチルダ歩兵戦車から取りだ

海抜 2,228m のコジオスコ山の山頂付近に建っており、

した変速装置を使ってつくられた 「戦車リフト」は、その後数

ハイカーやスキーヤーの避難所となっている。この山小

十年つづいたスキーブームのきっかけとなった。

屋は1929 年に猛吹雪に遭って命を落としたスキーヤー、

  60 年経った今、スキー場をのぞいては、この山々のほ

ローリー・シーマンとエヴァン・ヘイズを偲んで建設された

とんどの部分は冬のあいだ地図にも載らない場所となり、 ものだ。 オーストラリアのバックカントリーの情報はひじょうに少な

 私たちは山小屋の隣にキャンプを設営した。日が暮れる

い。アーク・オブ・ツリーに設営したベースキャンプから、 と、ちょうど私たちのテントの上に天の河を抱えた夜空が 山脈のさらに高地に設営したふたつ目のキャンプまでの道

ゆっくりと回転し、荒涼とした大地の上に十億個の星がき

のりで、私たちはカルサーズ・ピーク、センチネル、ワトソン

らめいた。山小屋のほかに、人間の存在を思わせるもの

 私たちは旅をふたつの段階に分けた。第一段階では、

ズ・リッジ、クラッグスを探検した。

はなにもなかった。私はこれと同じ景色、白い丘と鋭い山

2 週間かけてスノーウィー・マウンテン中央地帯の北西に

 地形は険しく、400mも垂直に落ちていくような場所がと

頂の影を見たであろう家畜商人、採掘者、木こり、そして

位置する部分を、毎日まる一日かけて調査した。私たちは、

ころどころにあった。岩だらけの支脈がつづく眺望を、長く

スキーヤーたちに思いを馳せずにはいられなかった。

19世紀、牛追い人たちが夏のあいだにつくりだした道筋を

白い斜面がさえぎっている。巨大な氷の壁とのこぎり状の

 ここから私たちはオーストラリア大陸で二番目に高いタ

辿っていった。スキー板を履いて、だれも知らない細く曲が

絶壁が岩だらけの谷底へと降り、森に包まれた丘が氷に

ウンゼント山(海抜 2,209m )をめざした。そして翌日はもっ

りくねった道を旅した人々が経験した孤独感と畏 怖の念を

覆われた尾根へとつづいた。

とも過酷な日となった。何週間にもわたるスキーとハイキン

感じ、また自分たちでこの地に新しい道を刻みたいと思っ

 はじめに嵐に遭ったが、その後は好天候に恵まれた。

グに、雪の上での少ない睡眠のせいで肉体的にも精神

たからであった。

私たちは3 週間にわたって、山脈の北側をハイキングとス

的にも疲れきった状態だった私たちの目の前にあらわれた

 この冒険を思い立った要因のひとつは、1950 年にオー

キーをしてすごした。冒険が進むほどに、私たちが初めて

のは、長く、ギザギザの氷に覆われたオーストラリア・アル

ストラリア・アルプスでスキーを普及させることに尽力した

この壮大な土地をスキーで降りている可能性が高くなっ

プスの中でもっとも高いふたつの山頂のあいだをぬうトラ

人々の物語にあった。そのひとり、熱心なスキーヤーで探

た。日に焼け、半ば凍り、つかれ果てていたが、このすば

バースだった。うなるような風がカミソリのような氷片で覆

検家だったコリン・メイヤーズは、偶然にもケニーとティム

らしい風景への畏怖の念でいっぱいだった。

われた尾根をふきぬけていたが、ここを横切ることだけが、 つぎなる探検の地へとつづく唯一の道だった。

の祖父であった。ニュー・サウス・ウェールズ州に商業ス

‘ 80 年代、オーストラリアでバックカントリー   1970 年代と

キー場などができるより先に、コリンは革のスキー靴を履

が人気になった。アルプスに点々とある家畜商人の小屋

 探検隊のうちふたりがこの急斜面で崩れ落ち、瞬時に鋭

き、カンガルーの革でできた暖かいベストを着て、キアンド

は、即席のスキーロッジになった。今日ではその多くが解

い氷に切り刻まれた。西の山奥へと進む私たちは、ここで

ラをとりまく山脈地帯をスキーで探検し、ときには遥か遠

体されたり、山火事で焼失してしまったが、残っている建

簡単に救援隊の助けを求めるのが不可能であることを、あ

方、ヴィクトリア州の山岳地帯まで冒険していたのだ。

物はスキーヤーやハイカーのための緊急避難所として管

まりにも的確なタイミングで思い知らされた。私たちは南西

 やがて、生粋の山岳開拓者だったコリンは、現在も運営

理されている。コジオスコ一帯で、約90軒の山小屋が残っ

から氷のように冷たい暴風が吹き荒れる中、慎重に道を選

されているセルウィン・スノーフィールドを設立した。しかし

ている。

びながら、ピッケルとアイゼンを使い数時間かけて進んだ。

若かりしころの彼の起業家としての活動には、さらに有名な

 旅の第二段階では、シーマンズ・ハットに到達するま

 タウンゼント山の尾根に正午ごろに到着した。風に晒

ものがある。彼は自分が愛するスポーツをもっと多くの人々

で、スノーウィー・マウンテン中央地帯の南端を、毎日キャ

された私たちの顔は、刺すような強烈な太陽にさらされてさ

に楽しんでもらおうと、キアンドラ近くのキング・クロス・ロー

ンプ地を変えながらジグザクに歩いた。がんじょうな御

らに痛んだ。タウンゼント山の山頂で、キャンプ設営のた

ドの旧道にオーストラリアで最初の陸上リフトを建設したの

影 石でつくられた山小屋は、オーストラリア大陸最高峰、

めに岩が露出した場所を探していると、岩と雪に囲まれて WINTER 2016

17


We were close to the western-most reaches of the snowline, and we could see vast expanses of ski terrain, a paradise of boulder-scattered slopes, cliffs and ridges just waiting to be explored. We camped here for four days, hiking and skiing the highest peaks and longest runs on the Australian mainland. This is why we came to the Roof of Australia. ✤

雨風から守られた場所を発見した。私たちは、この海抜

2,158mの地点にキャンプを設営した。オーストラリア大陸 でもっとも高い場所に立って周囲を見わたすと、下にアル プス山脈がどこまでも広がっていた。  ここは雪線の最西端付近であり、どこまでも広がるス キーに最適の地形や、岩肌がところどころに見える斜面、 探検されるのを待ち望む断崖や尾根が見えた。私たちは ここで4日間キャンプし、オーストラリア大陸の最高峰、最 長の傾斜でハイキングやスキーをしてすごした。私たちは このために「オーストラリアの天井」に来たのだ。✤

THE ROOF OF AUSTRALIA

18

T R AV E L E R


On March 11, 2011, the most powerful earthquake in Japan's history triggered a massive tsunami that devastated the Tohoku region. Since the disaster, a group of volunteer divers has been collecting debris washed away by the colossal waves and helping fishermen protect and harvest the marine species that have been their livelihood for centuries. Four-and-a-half years after the disaster, Bonnie Waycott returns to the Sanriku Coast and visits Ofunato s Koishihama Bay in Iwate Prefecture, to take part in the latest volunteer efforts.

Reclaiming the Seas of Sanriku 東北三陸の海を蘇らせる

2011 年 3月11日、日本の近代史上もっとも大きな地震が発生。それが引き金となって巨大な津波が東北地方を襲った。 その大災害のあと、ダイバーのボランティアグループが立ちあがった。海中の瓦 礫を除去し、 海の漁場を復活させて、幾世代にわたってつづいた漁師たちの生活を取り戻させようという取り組みである。 大災害から4 年半が過ぎ、ボニー・ウェイコットが三 陸海岸と岩手県の大 船渡市の小 石浜を再訪し、 ボランティアの活動を取材した。 20

T R AV E L E R


Reclaiming the Seas of Sanriku

I

n the distance, rising above a vivid backdrop of deep blue, a row of ropes emerges, each covered with healthy-looking scallops, sea squirts and bits of kelp and seaweed that sway gently to and fro. Small jellyfish and a few shoals of feeding fish hover close by, lighting up in our torches as we move toward what looks like a giant curtain. Visiting this underwater scallop farm in Koishihama Bay is just one of many ways volunteer divers from across Japan are involved with the Tohoku undersea recovery process. It all began when Iwate native Hiroshi Sato left his job as a diving instructor in Thailand to return home to the confusion and destruction a few days after March 11. One day, while involved in the clean-up, some local fishermen asked him to help retrieve some fishing gear and boat parts. This led to a huge underwater cleanup, and a group called Sanriku Volunteer Divers emerged from the debris. They have been diving almost every day since. The divers generally work at about six-to-10 meters

below, removing debris while boats with specialized equipment are called in to remove bigger items such as cars or tree trunks. Holding one end of a rope, the divers head underwater in search of anything they can find and tie their rope around. Meanwhile a volunteer on land holds the other end of the rope and waits for a signal (two or three tugs) before helping the diver haul items out of the water. Those on land can also assist by sorting and cleaning debris brought ashore. The Sanriku Coast has long been a major fishing ground, employing and supporting the lives of countless locals, but after the disaster everything changed. In Koishihama, the tsunami swept away young scallops and rafts, and only two of the 40 fishing boats in the bay survived. Today, things are once again up and running; 16 of the 17 scallop-farming families in the area have resumed work. Fishing boats haul in large catches of Koishihama hotate (scallops) each day. The scallops live along fixed ropes stretching down nearly 50 meters to the seabed.

Swaying weightlessly in the water, these filter feeders are thriving, opening and closing in the fresh cool sea. The volunteers regularly monitor them using torches to check whether they look healthy and if any have died and fallen off the ropes. Working at around 20 meters, they're also on the lookout for items such as nets, wires or plastic bags that might have become entangled in the ropes. Using debris they find, volunteers also help create physical structures with seaweed and kelp that provide food and shelter for marine communities such as abalone. The divers survey the seabed and take photos and footage as part of efforts to record the latest underwater conditions. Aqua-farming shelves have been built for sea squirts, and Hiroshi's efforts to remove debris from a local river have allowed salmon to return. One of the area's main attractions before the disaster was the Salmon Swim, where visitors don a mask and snorkel to observe salmon running upstream after their four-year oceanic migration.

紺の海につながれたロープにはたくましく成

だ。彼らは水中に潜ってロープを大きな障害物に巻きつけ

いないかもチェックする。また瓦礫を再利用して漁礁にし、

長した帆立貝やホヤ貝が見え、そこに付い

る。陸上のボランティアたちはダイバーからの合図を受け

海藻やワカメを育てて、アワビなどが育つ環境も整備して

た海藻や昆布がゆっくりとたなびいている。

ると (合図としてロープが 2∼3 回引かれる)、ロープを引い

いる。ダイバーたちは海底の写真や動画を撮影し、水中

て障害物を海から引きずりだす。彼らはまた陸に上げられ

の環境の変化も記録している。

小さなクラゲ、そして餌に集まる小魚の群

れ。水面にはトーチの灯りがわれわれを巨大なカーテンの

た瓦礫を処理する役目も担っている。

 ホヤの養殖用として海中に棚も設けられた。サトウさん

ように映しだしている。 

 三陸海岸はこれまで長いあいだ、大きな漁場として存在

たちは河川の瓦礫処理もおこない、サケが遡 上できるよ

 私が訪れているこの小石浜のホタテ貝の養殖場は、日

し、多くの人々の生活の糧として支えてきた。しかし震災

うにした。震災以前、このエリアではサーモンスイムという

本各地から集まったボランティアダイバーたちによる東北

がすべてを変えてしまった。小石浜では津波がホタテ貝の

行事がおこなわれていた。それは水中マスクとスノーケル

の海の再生プロセスのひとつに過ぎない。この取り組み

養殖用の筏を破壊し、40艘あった船のうち残ったのはたっ

を着けて、4 年をかけて海から戻ってきたサケの遡上を見

がはじまったのは、タイでインストラクターの仕事をしていた

た2 艘。しかし少しずつ復興は進んだ。ホタテの養殖業者

物するというものだ。地元の養殖業者たちの協力もあり、

岩手県出身のサトウ・ヒロシ氏が、故郷を心配して震災直

だった17 戸の家族のうち16 戸がふたたび仕事に戻り、漁

サケはゆっくりと川に戻ってきているという。ヒロシさんはそ

後に戻ってきたのがきっかけだった。ある日彼は、ひとりの

船は毎日、 ブランド名の “小石浜ホタテ” を水揚げしている。

の養殖場で働き、稚魚をじゅうぶんに育てて川に放流して

漁師から海底にある漁具や船の部品を回収してほしいと

ホタテは水深 50mにつなげられたロープを利用して養殖さ

いる。

頼まれ、そのきっかけが大規模な海底の回収事業へと発

れている。ホタテはほとんど無重力の海中でフレッシュな

 彼と彼のグループは、古い家をリノベーションしていずれ

展した。

冷たい海水を取り込みながらプランクトンを摂取し滋 養と

そこをダイビングショップにするつもりだ。となりの三陸鉄

 ダイバーたちは三陸ボランティアダイバーズと呼ばれ、 している。ボランティアたちは日課のようにトーチを使って

道の恋し浜駅(小石浜駅から変更)にはヒロシさんの発案

毎日のようにダイブして作業に従事している。ダイバーた

ホタテの生育を監視している。貝が死んでいないかロープ

による小石浜ホタテデッキがあり、小さなオフィスと水中

ちの役割は6 ∼ 10m の海底に潜って、専用ボートが車や

から外れていないかなどだ。水深 20mのあたりでは彼らは

写真のギャラリーとなっている。このグループは地元の中

大木を吊りあげるのを補助するために瓦礫を取り除くこと

網やワイヤーやプラスチックのゴミなどがロープに絡まって

学校にも訪れて彼らの活動を伝えている。また社会人向 WINTER 2016

21


The fish are slowly coming back, and with the help of a local fishery cooperative, Hiroshi is working with facilities that farm and release the salmon when they are fully grown. He and his group are also renovating an old house, which will eventually become a dive shop. Next to Koishihama Station on the Sanriku Railway Line is the Koishihama Hotate Deck (Scallop Deck) where Hiroshi plans to create a small office and gallery for underwater photographs. The group also visits primary and junior high schools to introduce their activities, while adults can find out more through seminars and talks that occasionally take place in cities such as Osaka and Tokyo. Although the 2011 disaster caused the Sanriku Coastline to subside nearly a meter, rich nursery grounds for fish and other species actually increased as a result. Eelgrass can now grow and thrive over a wider area, and two currents (Oyashio and Kuroshio) collide along the Sanriku coast, creating ideal conditions for thick, strong seaweed and sea squirts that grow abundantly, thanks to the large amounts of plankton. Closer to shore, fun dives are also available for volunteers at Namiita Beach, where divers who like macro life can spend time exploring the rocky topography and enjoying the underwater vegetation of this temperate region of Japan. Approaching five years since the disaster, the Sanriku Volunteer Divers aim to expand their efforts to other disaster-struck areas in Tohoku. They are arranging charity dives and expanding the scope of their work with hopes to create an eco-tourist attraction, where volunteers can educate visitors about the natural environment, history and the future of the area. Each year, Hiroshi attends Tokyo's Marine Diving Fair and talks about the latest recovery efforts, sharing tips and advice on photographing the salmon in the river. During last year's event he said, “It's vital to continue spreading the word about the group and its activities, but what's even more important is to thank those who have taken the time to volunteer.” In the words of one local fisherman, “Although the disaster changed our lives, the fact that so many people have come to help from across Japan and abroad has been extremely encouraging. Having people come to the area is a joyous occasion, and we owe the volunteers a great deal of thanks." While the Sanriku Volunteer Divers continue their work, Hiroshi's hope is not to rebuild the area to how it was before, but to create a new and different Sanriku Coast that emerges from the debris even stronger than before. ✤ ESSENTIALS Getting There: Take the Tohoku Shinkansen to Shinhanamaki (two-and-a-half to three hours from Tokyo). At Shinhanamaki, change to the JR Kamaishi Line and take an express to Kamaishi (an hour and a half). From there, take the Sanriku Railway Minami-Rias Line toward Sakari and get off at Koishihama Station (35 minutes). Getting Around: Hiring a car is a good option to explore the area. Taxis also run frequently in Ofunato. When to Go: The warmest months of the year are July and August when temperatures reach between 23-30C. January and February have the lowest temperatures at around minus 5C.

22

T R AV E L E R

Water Temperature: Water temps vary between 5C in March and April to around 28-30C in August and 15-20C in October. A 5-mm. wetsuit will suffice in summer, but a dry suit works well from October onward. Accommodation: The Hotel Tsubaki in Ofunato is a newly refurbished building offering Japanese and Western-style rooms for ¥6,200 a night, including breakfast, and ¥7,500 a night including breakfast and dinner. Towels, showers, hairdryers and other amenities are available, as well as a small public bath on the ground floor. Web: www.hoteltsubaki.com WEB CONNECTION For further information on Sanriku Volunteer Divers, visit their website at http://sanrikuvd.org (Japanese only).


Reclaiming the Seas of Sanriku

けのセミナーやトークショウを大阪や東京で開催している。

ともできるからだ。毎年、 ヒロシさんは東京マリンダイビング・

  2011 年の震災は三陸海岸を全体で1mも沈下させた

フェアを訪れて彼らの活動報告をおこなっている。河川の

が、いい結果も生んだ。沈下したところが魚やほかの生

サケの写真を交えて活動の要点やアドバイスをおこなって

物の種 苗場となったために繁殖が盛んになったのだ。水

いる。昨年のイベントで彼はこう語った。 「この活動を継続

草のアマモが広いエリアに群生し、また親潮と黒潮という

し広めていくことは重要ですが、それよりもさらに重要なこ

二大潮流が三陸沖でぶつかるために、海藻やホヤが大き

とは、活動に時間を付与してきたボランティアの方々への

く大量に成長する環境が整った。プランクトンにも感謝し

感謝の言葉です」。地元の漁師は「震災は私たちの生活

なければならない。浪 板海岸では観光ダイビングが楽しめ

を変えてしまったが、でも日本国中からいろいろな方々が

る。マクロな海洋生態系が好きな人ならば、気候に恵ま

集まって私たちを助けてくれました。それはほんとうに大き

れたその地域の岩礁の海中植物を探索してみるといいだ

な励みとなりました。ここを訪れる人々と出会うことは大き

ろう。震災から5 年目を迎えようとしているなか、三陸ボラ

な喜びです。またボランティアの人々には大いなる感謝だ

ンティアダイバーズたちは彼らの活動を東北の別のエリア

けでなく恩も感じています。三陸ボランティアダイバーたち

にも広げようと考えている。彼らはチャリティー活動として

は活動を継続中だ。彼らの夢はこの地域を以前の状態に

のダイビングやエコツリーズムのひとつとして発展させよう

戻すことではなく、瓦礫のなかからよみがえった新しい三陸

と視野を広げている。そうすればメンバーは訪れる人々に

海岸を実現することだ。✤

自然環境や、その歴史と未来について情報を発信するこ

You can read more about Bonnie Waycott’s time volunteering with the group in 2011 at www.bonniewaycott. wordpress.com/2011/11/05/november-2011-sanrikuvolunteer-divers-tohoku-japan/ Sanriku Volunteer Divers and the local fishermen don't speak much English and can only answer basic English e-mail inquiries. If you don't speak Japanese and want to dive in Ofunato, Bonnie can provide information and travel details. Email bonniewaycott@gmail.com or visit her Facebook page: Rising Bubbles at www.facebook.com/ RisingBubblesNotesOfANewDiver

旅のポイント 行き方:東北新幹線で東京駅から新花巻(しんはなまき)

ティーは装備されている。大浴場が一階に設けられている。

駅までは3時間弱。そこからJR釜石 (かまいし)線の急行に

www.hoteltsubaki.com

乗り換えて一時間半ほ どで釜石駅へ。そこからさらに三陸

インフォメーション:

鉄道の南リアス線の盛 駅行きに乗り、35 分ほどで恋し浜 駅に到着する。

現地での交通手段:広範囲に移動するならレンタカー がいい。大船渡からタクシーが利用できる。

季節:7月と8月がもっとも暖かい季節で、気温は23℃から 30℃。1月と2月がもっとも寒く、気温は-5℃くらいに下がる。

付きは7,500 円。タオル、シャワー、ヘアドライヤー、アメニ

三陸ボランティアダイバーズ http://sanrikuvd.org

ボニー・ウェイコットのブログ記事: https://bonniewaycott.wordpress.com/2011/11/05/ november-2011-sanriku-volunteer-divers-tohoku-japan/ 三陸ボランティアダイバーズと地元の漁師たちは英語が得 意ではない。英語の問い合わせはe-mailによる対応のみと

海水温:温度差が激しく、3月から4月にかけては5℃、8月

なる。 日本語が喋れない人で、大船渡エリアでダイビン

は28∼ 30℃、10月は15∼20℃。夏季も5 mm厚のウェット

グがしたければ、ボニー・ウェイコットにコンタクトを取るのが

スーツが望ましく、10月以降はドライスーツが必要となる。

いい。bonniewaycott@gmail.com

宿泊:大船渡にあるホテル椿は改装されて新しく、和室と

もしくはフェイスブック

洋室が用意されている。朝食付きは一泊6,200円。朝夕食

https://www.facebook.com/RisingBubblesNotesOfANewDiver WINTER 2016

23


: t a p m A a j Ra

INDONESIA’S ECO ラジャ・アンパット:環境保護におけるインドネシアの成功

Adventure photojournalist and Outdoor Japan correspondent Tim Rock has been visiting the beautiful and diverse Raja Ampat in Indonesia’s Western Papua for a decade. Here he tells us about this great diving eco-success story. アドベンチャーフォトグラファーでアウトドア・ジャパンライターのティム・ロックは、 この十数年、インドネシアは西パプアにある美しいラジャ・アンパットを定期的に訪れている。 今回、ラジャにおけるダイビングの環境保護活動がどのように成功をおさめたかについてお届けする。

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T R AV E L E R


-SUCCESS STORY Story & photos by Tim Rock

“Raja Ampat may well be the hottest diving destination on the planet right now. And there’s good reason for this. The diving can be spellbinding.” Raja Ampat, with its incredible scenic island, teeming reefs, isolated and protected bays, has put Indonesia’s once West Papua province on the world diving map. Located in the eastern part of this vast island nation, it is an archipelago comprising the islands of Misool, Salawati, Batanta and Wiageo.

 「ラジャ・アンパットはダイバーが今もっとも注目している ダイビングスポットだといえるが、それには理由がある。こ こでのダイビングは魅惑的なのだ」。ラジャ・アンパットは すばらしい眺望とともに、湾に守られたリーフを擁する。イ ンドネシアのウェストパプアのいち地方でしかなかったこ の場所は、今世界屈指のダイビングスポットとして地図に 載っている。広大な島国の東に位置する環礁で、ミソー ル島、サラワティ島、バタンタ島、そしてウィアゲオ島から なる。  WINTER 2016

25


pat: Raja Am

INDONESIA’S ECO-SUCCESS STORY

Dotted with tranquil bays and roughly 1,500 majestic limestone rock islands or jungle-shrouded sandy cays, this destination’s incredible marine diversity gives it an impressive wow factor. So much so, that ocean conservation groups from around the world have banded together to protect, preserve and promote this special part of the sea called The Coral Triangle. So what is the big deal here? Aside from the amazing natural beauty (Raja’s limestone islands look like Palau on steroids), this region is home to more than 1,400 species of fish, more than 100 of which were unknown in Raja Ampat until recently – four new to Indonesia. In addition, 700 mollusk species can be found in these waters. The sheer numbers impress divers. In the Dampier Straits, site after site produces masses of fusilier shoals and current-fed coral bommies. Fish schools are huge and

healthy. Sea turtles, manta rays and various shark species are commonly seen. On one dive, I even saw a blue marlin casually crossing the current-swept Sardine Reef, one of the popular dive sites in south Waigeo. The deep waters around Mansuar produce sightings of other deep-water marine mammals such as dolphins and whales. There are some mucky areas where the odd, ugly and normally tiny denizens of the deep take up residence, while divers marvel at their camouflage. Add some swift current drift dives such as The Passage, some novelty dives such as Bluewater Mangroves, where colorful red soft corals cling to the roots of mangrove trees, and Killer Cave, where divers can surface inside a stalactite-laden limestone cave, and you have the makings of an amazing dive trip where each dive seeks to outdo the last.

 静かな湾や、荘厳な石灰石の島々、そしてジャングル

26

T R AV E L E R

ンタ、サメもよく見られる。

に囲まれた小島が点在するラジャ・アンパットの醍醐味は

 流れの強いサーディンリーフは南ワイゲオの人気スポッ

海洋生物の多様性だ。コーラル・トライアングルと呼ばれ

トで、クロカジキが横切るのを見たこともある。マンスアー

るこの貴重な場所を、今、世界中の環境保護グループが

ル島の水深が深いところならば、イルカやクジラを見ること

協力し保護する活動がはじまっている。

もできる。

 では、ここのなにがすごいのかを見てみよう。自然の美

 ちょっと変わった小さな海の住人が住んでいるエリアで

しさはもちろんだが(ラジャの石灰石の島はパラオをもっと

は水が少々汚いが、ダイバーたちはカモフラージュした生

強力にした感じだ)、このエリアには1,400 種類以上の魚

物にびっくりさせられる。パッセージというポイントではカレン

類が生息している。そのうち100 種類は最近発見されたば

トを利用したドリフトダイビングを楽しめるし、マングローブ

かりで、4 種類はインドネシアの新種、軟体動物も700 種

の木にソフトサンゴがはりついたブルーウォーター・マング

類が生息している。

ローブも必見だ。キラーケーブでは、鍾乳石(しょうにゅう

 この数字だけでもダイバーには魅力的だ。ダンピア海

せき)が垂れさがる石灰石の洞窟に入ることができる。こ

峡ではどこへ行ってもタカサゴの大群が泳ぎまわり、ボミー

のように次から次へと驚かせてくれるダイビングが待ち受け

が育っている。魚の群れは大きくて元気だし、ウミガメやマ

ているのだ。


WINTER 2016

27


Batiks - The West Papuan batiks can be beautiful, and one can feel the special weave of some of the nicer ones in clothing and material shops such as Aneka Batik. The silk batiks have a special smooth feeling and are considered high quality by those who know their weaves. Also, the fancy woven socks of a koteka (or ceremonial penis gourd) make a good souvenir – and conversation piece. Birding - If you are out in the islands, bird watching is a must. There are birds-of-paradise and other desirable feathered friends for avian lovers to check off their bucket list. Listen to the calls of the 250-plus bird species found in the Raja Ampat area. Islands such as Waigeo are popular with birders who will see pigeons, doves, hornbills, parrots and cockatoos as well as honeyeaters and raptors.

If one heads to Northern Raja Ampat, the idyllic islands of Wayag provide a scenic view of huge karst uplifts, secluded beaches and emerald bays. Divers can dive the equator on the way to Wayag and then visit isolated rocks and seamounts. These sites are covered in fish life and huge patches of salmon-colored tube corals that bloom with yellow polyps when the currents move with the tides. A day of hiking up the karst for scenic views and lounging on the beaches is the reward for traveling to this uninhabited natural outpost. The gateway city for Raja is Sorong, which is serviced daily by Garuda Indonesia flights. This port town can be fun to explore. Take a morning trip to the local market, Pasar Jimbutan Puri, and watch as people lay out fresh fruits and spices for sale. Fishermen arrive by boat to sell their morning’s catch, and there are even craftspeople who offer traditional woven bags and other West Papuan specialties. The port here is the staging area for a number of liveaboard diving vessels. Generally speaking, most divers board a traditional Indonesian phinisi that has been converted for diving, providing all of the creature comforts divers need for trips that last anywhere from seven to 14 days. There is also a growing number of land-based resorts in the islands. Speedboats take divers for a two-to-threehour ride to a rustic Raja Ampat resort. Divers pay conservation areas to explore the popular dive sites to the north and south of this vast area. They receive a colorful plastic badge that attaches to their equipment. Many return year after year and have a colorful collection of these poker chip-sized medallions. The fees are directed to the operational costs of Raja Ampat’s five Marine Protected Areas for patrols, administration, salaries and maintenance. Monies also go to community conservation and development programs. The whole Raja Ampat area is considered to be an environmental success story, and one driving force behind that success has been a venture called The Misool Eco Resort, located in the south on the island of Batbitim. The visionary founders are self-described as a passionate group of divers, conservationists, eco-geeks and dreamers. The resort has only been in operation for a decade, yet is already famous for its conservation and education work. Andrew Miners conceived the project in early 2005. He is a veteran of live-aboard diving and is well acquainted with Raja Ampat's underwater riches. I first met Andrew and his crew while working on their first buildings. We visited Raja Ampat on the liveaboard Damai 1, and Andrew and his crew were invited on board. I was amazed when they told me of their determination to only use recycled materials to create their dream. They are, today, quite proud of the fact they built the resort without cutting down a single tree, and all of the reclaimed wood was purchased directly from local villages. They milled the lumber on site with their portable sawmill.

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pat: Raja Am

INDONESIA’S ECO-SUCCESS STORY

 ラジャ・アンパット北部へ行けば、のどかなワヤグの島々 の巨大なカルスト (※)や、ひと気のないエメラルドグリーン の湾やビーチも最高だ。ワヤグへ行く途中、赤道で潜って からこの海山を楽しむのもおすすめだ。  このあたりのポイントはとにかく魚が多い。そして、サー モンピンクのチューブコーラルの大群は、カレントで見え隠 れする黄色のポリプがとてもきれいだ。カルストをハイキン グすれば絶景が待っているし、未開の地の自然にかこま れてビーチでゆっくりするのもこの旅の醍醐味となる。  ラジャの玄関口であるソロンへは、ガルーダインドネシア 航空が毎日就航している。ソロン自体もおもしろい町で、

Pasar Jimbutan Puriの朝市では、さまざまな果物や朝採れ の鮮魚、編み上げのバッグやウェストパプアの民芸品など も売っている。  ダイビングボートはソロンの港から出る。ほとんどのボー トがインドネシアの伝統的なフィニシと呼ばれるボートをダ イビング用に改造したものを利用しており、一週間から二 週間、快適なダイビングトリップを楽しめる装備がなされて いる。最近は高速ボートで2∼3時間の場所にある島ベー スのリゾートも増えている。  南北に広がるダイビングスポットがある広大な保護地区 は有料となっていて、ダイバーたちには機材に付けること ができるプラスチック製のバッジが渡される。ダイバーの多 くはここへ何度も通うので、カジノのコインサイズのカラフ ルなバッジのコレクターとなる。  集まったお金は、警備、給与、維持費など、ラジャ・ア ンパットにある5つの海洋保護区の運営費へとあてられる ほか、コミュニティの維持と開発プログラムにも使われる。  ラジャ・アンパットは環境保護に成功したエリアとして知 られており、その中心的存在なのが、バトビティム島南部 のミソールエコリゾートだ。明確なヴィジョンとともにこの施 設を立ちあげたのは、自然保護活動家でエコオタクな根っ からのダイバーたちだ。スタートしてまだ10 年そこそこだが、 彼らの環境保護活動は広く知れわたっている。  アンドリュー・マイナーズがこのプロジェクトに着想した のは2005 年初頭。ダイブクルーズのベテランで、ラジャ・ アンパットのスポットについても詳しい。アンドリューと彼の クルーにわたしが初めて出会ったのは、彼らが最初の建 物を建設中のことだった。Damai1というクルーズボートで ラジャ・アンパットを訪れたのだが、その船に彼らも乗って いたのだ。  建設にはリサイクル資材しか使わないという話を聞いて 驚いたのを覚えている。リゾート建設に際し、彼らは木を 一本も切り倒さなかったばかりか、木材はすべて地元の村 で調達し、持ち運びできる製材機を使って材木は現地で 加工したという。

バティック:ウェストパプアのバティックは美しく、アネカバティックといったショップがお薦めだ。シルク バティックは滑らかなさわり心地が特徴で、クオリティの高さで知られる。民族衣装でペニスケースとして 知られるコテカなら土産話にもいいだろう。 バードウォッチング: 鳥が好きならば、ありとあらゆる鳥類が生息するこの島ではバードウォッチングは マストだ。ラジャ・アンパットには250種以上が生息し、ワイゲオ島では鳩、サイチョウ、オウム、コカトゥー、 ミツスイ、猛禽 (もうきん)類などを見ることができる。

Cambodia China Indonesia Maldives Mozambique Qatar Thailand United Arab Emirates Vietnam Zambia

WINTER 2016

29


Now, a short nine years later, the island holds a small, but thriving, resort that accommodates 32 guests in a combination of seaside rooms, private bungalows and a few villas. The resort and its ongoing environmental and educational verve, which has been embraced by divers worldwide, is one of the region’s great successes. The abundance of marine life throughout Raja can, in part, be attributed to the area’s incredibly low human population density. Its remote location and lack of infrastructure have, so far, inhibited the growth of tourism. The high marine diversity is strongly influenced by being between the Indian and Pacific Oceans. Here coral and fish larvae are more easily shared between the two oceans. This is one reason why it has been made a global priority for marine protection. One recent development is the entire 17,000 sq. mi./46 million hectares of Raja Ampat is now a shark and manta ray sanctuary. The economic value of these creatures is worth so much more alive to the people of Raja Ampat for visitors to see than dead in a fish market, so the government agreed and established the protective sanctuary. A couple iconic Raja Ampat dives are south. Boo Windows

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30

T R AV E L E R

is an amazing site for marine life. Underwater, windows carved naturally by the sea allow divers to swim through the small, rocky island. It is particularly amazing when the current flows, attracting large school of yellowtail fusiliers, shoals of plate-sized batfish and big bumphead parrotfish. Soft corals and barrel sponges abound. Hairy squat lobsters hide on the folds of the barrel sponges. I have also encountered a Saragassom frogfish drifting in the weeds at this spot. Then there is Magic Mountain, a seamount with a shallow top area of about seven meters (24 feet). This busy pinnacle is known for hosting reef mantas and the larger pelagic species at its cleaning station. Divers can look for Mr. Big here in the form of beautiful adult Napoleon wrasses, reef sharks and even barracuda schools. There is no doubt Raja Ampat will be a major tourism draw for years to come. With divers constantly visiting to enjoy the vast diversity and Indonesians embracing their environmental treasures, the area of The Four Kings should remain sustainable and become a model project in Indonesia and other areas across the Indo-Pacific and Asia to follow. ✤


pat: Raja Am

INDONESIA’S ECO-SUCCESS STORY

 それから9 年、海辺の部屋とプライベートバンガロー、そ

とマンタの保護区に指定された。観光客に魚市場で死ん

面から約7m。この頂上はリーフマンタや遠海魚がやってく

してヴィラに合計 32 人が寝泊まりできるリゾートと、彼らが

でいる魚たちを見てもらうよりも、生きたままのほうが、これ

るクリーニングステーションとしてよく知られており、メガネ

提供する環境保護教育のプログラムは世界各国のダイ

らの生物がもつ経済効果は格段に高いため、政府がこ

モチノウオやリーフシャーク、バラクーダの大群などと出会

バーに人気で、リゾート成功の一因となっている。

の保護区の建設に同意したのだった

えるかもしれない。

 このエリアは極端に人口が少ないことも、ラジャの海が

 ラジャ・アンパットの象徴的なスポットが南にふたつあ

ひときわ豊かな理由のひとつである。人里離れた場所に

る。まず、海洋生物の宝庫であるブーウィンドウズ。水中

あり、インフラも整っていないため観光地として成長してい

には自然に切りだされた窓ができていて、ダイバーは小さ

ない。

な岩の島を泳いでいく。流れがあると、ユメウメイロの大

 インド洋と太平洋に挟まれていることも海洋生物の多

群やバットフィッシュ、バンプヘッドパロットフィッシュなどが

様性に影響を与えている。ふたつの海のあいだでサンゴ

やってくるのでさらに見どころ満載となる。

や魚類の幼生の交換が頻繁 (ひんぱん)におこなわれ、そ

 ソフトコーラルやバレルスポンジも豊富だし、バレルスポ

れは同時にこのエリアを世界でもっとも重要な海洋保護

ンジのあいだにはヘアリースクワットロブスターも隠れてい

区にしている。

る。私はここで、海藻の間にハナオコゼを見たこともある。

 最近では、4,600万ヘクタールという広大なエリアがサメ

 ふたつ目はマジックマウンテンという海山で、頂上は海

 ラジャ・アンパットは今後まちがいなく観光地として成長 するだろう。多様な海洋生物を楽しむダイバーはもちろん、 その環境を守るインドネシア人、そしてそのほかインド太 平洋やアジアの地域にとってのモデルプロジェクトとして、 フォーキングス (ラジャ・アンパット)は持続可能な環境を 維持しつづけてほしいと思う。✤

PRACTICALITIES

その他の情報

Location: Raja Ampat islands are located in the northwest tip of Papua (formerly known as Irian Jaya) in Indonesia. Getting There: Fly into international airports in Indonesia such as Jakarta, Manado or Bali (Denpasar) and then connect by domestic flight to Sorong, Raja Ampat. The islands are normally accessed via Sorong and serviced daily by Garuda and some other domestic airlines. From Sorong to Raja Ampat, resorts can arrange a boat, and there are now some speedboats. The ride takes about an hour. Long boats take two-to-three hours. Most divers leave Sorong via their live-aboard. When to go: Raja Ampat is best to visit during the dry season (late September to early June) when wind and rain are minimal. Winds make visiting the south difficult during the wet season, but North Raja Ampat islands and the Dampier Straits still remain fairly calm all year. Where to stay: There are many land-based dive resorts and dedicated eco resorts from which to choose. Most divers use live-aboards to get to the diverse sites Raja has to offer. Permits: Before being able to dive, all divers need a permit which is good for one year from the date of purchase.

位置:インドネシアのパプア (前イリアンジャヤ)の北西端に位置する。 行き方:ジャカルタ、マナド、バリ (デンパサール)から国内線でソロン、ラジャ・ アンパットへ。島へはガルーダやほかの国内線が毎日ソロン経由で飛んでい る。ソロンからラジャ・アンパットへはボートの予約を。現在は高速船も利用 できるようになり、所要時間は一時間ほど。通常のボートだと2∼3 時間だ。 ダイバーのほとんどはソロンからダイブクルーズボートで出発する。 時期:お薦めの時期は乾季 (9月から6月初旬)で、この時期は風と雨がもっ とも少ない。風がある雨季は南部はむずかしいが、北ラジャ・アンパットの島々 とダンピア海峡は一年を通してダイブ可能。 宿泊:ダイブリゾートやエコリゾートが数多くあるが、ダイバーの多くはダイブ クルーズでポイントを周る。 許可証:ここでのダイビングには許可証が必要で、購入日から一年有効だ。

WINTER 2016

31


Photo Courtesy of Daniel Ronnback

Sandra Fransson’s life is a mosaic of outdoors and art サンドラ・フランソンの、スキーとモザイク画のアーティスティックな人生。

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T R AV E L E R

FOLLOW YOUR HEART

夢を追いかけて By Rie Miyoshi


T

he life of Scandinavian skier and artist Sandra Fransson is a mosaic of her lifelong passion for skiing and art, inspiration from the outdoors and the continuing legacy of her brother. Sandra grew up in a family of adventurers on the northern Swedish coast of Luleå. Her great-grandfather held the torch in the 1952 Helsinki Olympics and her grandfather was a champion cross-country skier in Finland. Family reunions were spent at his family-run cottage, gazing at the northern lights and racing downhill with her brother Andreas and their cousins. Sandra’s grandmother and many other family members painted. Like skiing, a talent for art runs in the Fransson family. All the paintings the family owns are self-made. Sandra always loved art as well. She attended an outdoor high school, where she learned about climbing and survival. But when she finished high school, she debated whether she should study art or ski. “I chose skiing because that was my passion. I needed to create a depth of stories to tell, which I wouldn’t have been able to do if I didn’t ski.”

FREE SPIRIT For the next six years Sandra traveled the world as a ski instructor. She taught in Norway, Switzerland, Colorado and France and escaped to Australia when it was green season everywhere else. When she was 22, she moved to Chamonix to live with her older brother who was also skiing there. “We had a season together in Chamonix where we got really close. As kids, we would play together a lot, and then during our teenage years – you know, I had my own friends, he was with his – then he moved away to Australia after high school. We didn’t see each other that

much but we talked often.” Chamonix holds a special place in Fransson’s heart, as she remembers her 23rd birthday, one of her favorite memories. “It was springtime, near Easter. It hadn’t been snowing, and Chamonix was crowded. I told Andreas I really wanted to ski some powder,” she laughs, remembering how she begged her older brother. “My brother said, ‘No problem’ and took me on this route from the back side of Chamonix. We had ropes and all this equipment, skied around glaciers…then after an hour, we ended up in this big terrain. There were no clouds in the sky, no crowds and I got to ski powder up to my knees. It was so typical of Andreas; he always found how to make the impossible possible.”

ART AT HOME At 25, she moved back to Sweden to pursue a degree in travel hospitality. But she felt like something was missing; she couldn't imagine having an 8-to-5 job. Andreas challenged her to answer honest questions about herself, and that led her to discover her true passion. The day Sandra finished school, she became an artist, using mosaic tiles as her signature style. “When I was 10, we had this photo in our home of Andreas making a mute grab. I remember thinking, ‘Wow, it would be so cool to recreate this as a mosaic.’ But, at 10 years old, I didn’t know how to do that and forgot about it. After moving back to Sweden and finishing school, I suddenly remembered this. Funny how it took 15 years.” The mute grab was her first artwork. Piece by piece, things started to fall into place: Sandra started getting orders from people who wanted to buy her paintings.

欧出身のスキーヤーでアーチストのサンドラ・

終えると彼はオーストラリアに移ってしまい会うことはなくなっ

フランソン。彼女の描くモザイク画はアウト

た。連絡は取りあっていたけれど」

ドアスポーツとアートの融合。そこには彼女

 シャモニーはフランソンにとって特別な場所となった。23

と亡き兄との思い出も込められている。

歳の誕生日の忘れられない思い出がある。 「イースターが間

“Thanks to Andreas, I’m following my dream and am an artist today.”

A BROTHER’S LEGACY “People think Andreas was a crazy skier,” says Sandra about her brother. “Yes, he always said he had to live his life to the fullest or there was no point in living. But he was also very knowledgeable in mountain safety and was about to finish educating himself to be a certified mountain guide. He would never take you someplace you couldn’t handle,” she says. “I’ve seen him turn around many times if it was too dangerous – safety was key for him. Especially after a bad accident, when he broke his neck a few years ago, he knew he couldn’t push it.” Andreas made his mark in the ski world as one of the world’s top extreme skiers and was Sweden’s 2012 adventurer of the year for his descent of Denali’s south face. In the fall of 2014, he was climbing Cerro San Lorenzo in Patagonia with fellow skier JP Auclair before the duo was engulfed in an avalanche that knocked them 2,300 feet down. Both were tragically killed in the accident. This past fall, Sandra launched Safe Passions, a non-profit organization to raise awareness of mountain safety to youths and young adults. She’s had her fair share of close calls and wanted to do something to help educate young skiers. “One of the craziest things I’ve done was going extreme skiing with some people I didn’t know well. I was more concerned about getting the ski lines than actually learning – I’m lucky nothing happened,” she said. Safe Passions will be holding its first free ski camp in Chamonix to educate teenagers and young adults on alpine safety. Andreas had always wanted to give back to the

すこしずつ作品を顧客へ販売し、収入を得るようになった。 「アンドレスに感謝しています。芸術家への道を彼は気づ かせてくれたのですから」

兄の遺産

 サンドラは、北スウェーデンの海岸にあるルレアという町

近の初春だった。雪は降らないし、おまけにシャモニーは混

で育った。彼女の家族は冒険家で、曽祖父は1952年のヘ

雑していた。それでアンドレスに言ったの、 “パウダーでスキー

 「アンドレアスはクレイジーなスキーヤーだって言われてい

ルシンキオリンピックで聖火を持ち、また祖父はフィンランド

したい” ってね」 と、 彼女は兄にそう話したときのことを語った。

“人生は る」とサンドラは兄について語った。 「彼の口癖は、

のクロスカントリースキーのチャンピオンだった。彼らは家族

 「そしたら “大丈夫だ” って兄が言って、シャモニーの裏側

全開で生きてこそ価値がある” 」。でも、もう一方では彼は山

経営のコテージを営んだ。サンドラは夜空の北極星を眺め

につづくルートへ私を連れていってくれたの。ロープや登山

での安全対策の重要性についてたいへんよく知っていた。

たり、また兄のアンドレスや従兄弟とダウンヒルを楽しみなが

用具を装備して登り、氷河をスキーで渡った。そして一時間

山岳ガイドの資格も独学で手に入れたのよ。だからスキー

ら成長した。

後、私たちは壮大な光景を目にしたわ。空には雲ひとつなく、

ヤーを危険な場所へはぜったいに連れていくことはなかった」

 サンドラの祖母がそうだったように家族には画家が多かっ

もちろん周囲には私たちだけ。私たちは膝まで沈むパウダー

 「私は彼が危険を察知するところを何度も見てきました。

た。フランソンの家族はスキーだけでなく芸術家の家系でも

を滑ったのよ。不可能を可能にしてしまう、それがアンドレス

安全こそが彼のキーワードだったのです。とくに数年前に事

あった。だから家族が所有する絵画はすべて家族のだれか

という男なの」

故で首の骨を折ってからはさらに慎重になりました」

が描いたものであった。

 アンドレアスはスキーの世界で輝かしい功績を残した。

 もちろんサンドラも芸術を愛していた。彼女はまたアウトド

芸術家としての道

世界一のエキストリームスキーヤーのひとりとして、またデナ

アの学校でクライミングやサバイバルの術を学んだ。だが学

  25 歳になると、彼女はトラベルホスピタリティー (ホテル

リの南壁を滑った功績を認められて、2012 年にスウェーデ

校を終えるとき彼女が、芸術とスキーのどちらかを選ぶかで

業)の学位を取得するためにスウェーデンに戻った。だが学

ンのアドベンチャー・オブ・ザ・イヤーに輝いた。だが2014

家族内では論争になった。

んでいるうちに8 時から5 時まで働く仕事が彼女自身にはむ

年の秋、パタゴニアのセローサンロレンゾを仲間のスキー

 「私はスキーを選んだ。スキーに夢中だったし、いずれに

いていないことを実感する。アンドレアスはそんな彼女を見

(2,300フィート)に雪崩に巻込 ヤー、JPアウクラーと登山中

せよ深みのある表現をしたければ、なにかひとつのことを追

て、本当になにをやりたいのか自分自身に正直になるべき

まれ、ふたりは帰らぬ人となってしまった。

求して経験することが大切なのです。それが私にとってはス

だと忠告した。

 昨秋、サンドラは “セーフ・パッション” という非営利の協会を

キーだった」

 サンドラは学校を終え、アーチストとして生きる道を選ん

立ちあげた。それは若い世代にむけて、山での安全と危険を

自由な精神

だ。それはタイルを使ってモザイク画を描くという彼女自身

察知する訓練が目的だ。彼女が遭遇してきた事故などの経験

の個性を生かしたスタイルだった。

を若いスキーヤーに伝える学びの場とすることが目的だった。

 その後の6年間、サンドラはスキーのインストラクターとし

(ス  「私が10歳のころ、家にアンドレアスがミュートグラブ

 「これまででいちばんクレイジーだったと思うことは危険に

て世界を旅した。ノルウェー、スイス、コロラドそしてフランス

キーの空中技) をした写真が飾ってあったの。 “これモザイク

ついてなにもわかっていなかったこと。当時は、自分が滑る

と旅をつづけ、新緑のシーズンになるとオーストラリアへと

画で表現したらおもしいかも” って思ったの。でも10歳だった

スキーのラインしか考えていなかったから、あのころ、なにも

旅立った。22歳になると彼女はシャモニーで兄と住むように

からどうやっていいかわからなかったし、 すぐに忘れてしまった。

起きなかったことは幸運だと思う」

なり、スキーに没頭した。

それでスウェーデンに戻って学校を終えたとき、そのことを突

 この “セーフ・パッション” は無料のスキーキャンプをシャモ

 「兄とはシャモニーで仲良くすごしたわ。彼は子供のころか

然思いだしたのよ。笑っちゃうわね、15年もかかったなんて」

ニーでおこなう予定である。その目的は若い世代に山岳で

らよい遊び友達で、10 代になってもつづいた。でも高校を

 ザ・ミュートグラブは彼女の最初の作品となり、それからは

の安全確保を教えることだ。 WINTER 2015

33


FOLLOW YOUR HEART

Photo Courtesy of Daniel Ronnback

community, especially to young skiers who may not have enough money but love to ski. In the spirit of his wishes, the first camp is free. While backed by the support of outdoor brands Salomon and Recco, Safe Passions also is supported by Sandra’s artwork, including her latest piece, From Darkness into the Light. This mosaic follows a spiritual tale of a man who escapes from a serpent and skis his way upward toward the mountains. The two birds signify the South American belief that, when condors glide over the Andes, they help the souls of those passed on to move toward the light. “This was almost like our last project together. It was a way for me to mourn but also remember my brother. Each time, a part of me leaves me and goes into the painting. Of course I was sad, but it wasn’t just grief that went into this

painting – it was also the love and happiness we shared,” explains Sandra. Posters of From Darkness into the Light are for sale. Collaborating with Salomon, a limited edition tribute ski collection is also available on seven pairs of Mountain Lab skis which Andreas helped develop.

JAPAN Last season, Sandra followed her brother’s footsteps and visited Japan with their mutual friend Tracy Lenard. Tracy took Andreas touring around Japan, and Sandra wanted to see the places they visited together. Sandra skied some of Japan’s finest powder in Niseko and Nagano, explored the urban landscape in Tokyo and enjoyed rock climbing in Ogawayama. She said she found

inspiration in every environment. "I love Japan because it’s a whole big experience, the whole package. People come for skiing, but there’s so much more to the mountains. There’s climbing for every level, the temples are beautiful and the snow…remember, I used to teach in Colorado and they boast they have ‘champagne snow’ over there. In Japan, it was even lighter than that, she said.” Looking toward the future, Sandra is flexible. “I see myself living in the mountains, skiing and painting even more, also learning yoga and balance, really living in the moment, because you just never know with life. “People live in a bubble. Andreas and I say, ‘Dare to ask questions.’ Is what you’re doing making you happy? You don’t want to be 90 without having followed your heart.’” ✤

I was more concerned about getting the ski lines than actually learning – I’m lucky nothing happened. 当時は、自分が滑るスキーのラインしか 考えていなかったから、あのころ、なに も起きなかったことは幸運だと思う

WEB CONNECTIONS To see how you can help support Safe Passions, visit http://andreasfransson.se. Follow Sandra Fransson and see more of her artwork at www. sandrafransson.se. 「セーフ・パション」へのURL http://andreasfransson.se サンドラ・フランソンのURL www.sandrafransson.se

 アンドレアスはつねに彼が得た報 酬をスキーのコミュニ

けでなく愛と幸福を分かちあうという意味も込められていま

 「日本が大好きになりました。すべてが新しい体験でした。

ティや、とくに裕福ではないが、スキーを愛してやまない若

す」とサンドラは語った。

スキーに来ても、まだ有り余るほどの山がここにはあり、実

い人々に還元したいと願っていた。その彼の意思をサンドラ

のポスターはサロモンとの   “From Darkness into the Light”

力に応じた登山ができます。雪に覆われた寺院の美しかっ

は受け継ぎ、またサロモンやレコというアウトドア・ブランドの

コラボレートで現在販売中である。またアンドレアスが生前

たこと。私はコロラドでスキーを教えたことがあります。彼ら

応援も得てこのキャンプは無料となった。 さらにサンドラ・アー

開発していたマウンテン・ラブ・スキーのトライビュートセット、

はそこの雪質 “シャンペン・スノー” を自慢にしていました。で

7セットも同時に販売されている。

も日本のそれはもっと軽いのです」

トワーク、彼女の近作である “From Darkness into the Light” からの収益も充てられる。

 未来に向けてサンドラはあらゆる夢があるようだ。 「山に

 そのモザイクの作品は霊的な男の話で、邪悪な大蛇から

日本の思い出

住んでスキーや絵を描くことだけでなく、ヨガやバランスのた

スキーで逃れようとした男の前に山が立ちはだかった。その

 昨シーズン、サンドラは兄の足跡を辿るために来日し、彼

めのエクササイズもしたい。 “今” を楽しむことが人生を知る

とき二羽の鳥が飛んできて彼を助けるというもので、南アメ

らの友人であるトレーシー・レナードと再会を果たした。かつ

ことじゃないかしら」

リカで信じられているコンドルがアンデス山を越えてやってく

てトレーシーはアンドレアスを伴って日本を旅したことがあり、

 「人は泡の中で生きている。と兄は言っていました。私も

るという伝承に重なる。

サンドラは彼らがかつて訪れた場所を自分の目で確かめた

同感です。泡の外にはすばらしい世界があるのにという意

 「これは彼との最後のプロジェクトともいえるでしょう。兄

かった。サンドラはニセコや長野のすばらしいパウダーを楽

味です」

の死を悼む意味と思い出が込められています」

しみ、また東京という都会を冒険し、小笠原諸島ではロック

 あなたはあなたにとって真の幸福を得られるものをもう手

 さらに「この絵を製作中、私は自分の一部を捧げて描い

クライミングに挑戦した。彼女は各地でインスピレーション

に入れましたか? それを知らないままで年齢を重ねることは

てきました。もちろん兄の死は悲しいのですが、でもそれだ

を感じたという。

不幸なことだと思いませんか。✤

34

T R AV E L E R


Photo by Neil Hartmann

Download the free App from Apple Store and Google Play

Park

ICON LEGEND

Park

Halfpipe

Beginner

Intermediate

Advanced

Night Skiing

Ski School

Ropeway

Gondola

Quad Lift

Gear Rental

Kids Facilities

Triple Lift

Double Lift

Single Lift

Snow Carpet Resort opening and closing times and lift schedules may vary from day to day and season opening and closing dates may change depending on conditions. Please check with the resort directly before you go.

WINTER 2016

35


HOKKAIDO

Kamui Ski Links

T

he general rule with skiing is, the farther north you go, the better the snow. Well, you can’t go any farther north in Japan than Hokkaido, and the area rightfully creates the biggest buzz for people in search of deep powder. The reason for this is simple: Hokkaido consistently gets the best snow conditions, and Niseko in particular is recognized as a world-class ski resort, rivaling the long-established ski areas in Europe and North America. However, anyone thinking Hokkaido is a one-trick pony will be pleasantly surprised to find there are some great ski areas all over Japan’s north island.

Furano Kiroro Snow World

Sahoro

Niseko Grand Hirafu Niseko Village Niseko Annupuri Rusutsu Tomamu

NISEKO NISEKO GRAND HIRAFU, NISEKO ANNUPURI, NISEKO VILLAGE RESORT

Kutchan-cho, Hokkaido Niseko United: www.niseko.ne.jp

Niseko Grand Hirafu 37% 1 8 Park

Park

Niseko Annupuri

Longest Course: 4,000m Top Elevation: 1,156m Base Elevation: 400m Beginner Lifts

Intermediate Gondola

Niseko HANAZONO Resort

Longest Course: 4,550m Top Elevation: 1,030m Base Elevation: 308m

Niseko Grand Hirafu

Advanced

Longest Course: 5,600m Top Elevation: 1,200m Niseko Village Base Elevation: 240m Longest Course: 5,000m Top Elevation: 1,175m Base Elevation: 280m

40% 5 1

23% 1

T R AV E L E R

36% 1

32% 4

32% 2

27

courses

30

courses

Niseko Annupuri 30% 1

40% 1

Niseko HANAZONO Resort 30% 4

13

courses

For more Hokkaido information visit OJ Online (www.outdoorjapan.com)

36

Niseko Village Resort

25% 3

11

courses

63%

12%


Niseko gets a lot of attention, and rightfully so. It is the most international ski resort in Japan and consistently gets some of the heaviest snowfall in the world. The mountain, Mt. Annupuri (which, in Ainu, means White Mountain), is home to three ski resorts: Niseko Grand Hirafu, Niseko Village (formerly Niseko Higashiyama) and Niseko Annupuri. Collectively they form Niseko United and share a common lift pass. The Hanazono area of Niseko

Grand Hirafu is independently managed, and one of the more progressive areas on the mountain, featuring three terrain parks and the only FIS Half Pipe in Japan, which is well maintained throughout the season, and a bag jump, where you can safely practice your freestyle tricks. Niseko Village (which is a 10-minute drive from the main Hirafu Village area) also has nice facilities and a lot of activities. Niseko Annupuri keeps the lowest profile of the three, but has some nice areas that can be less crowded. Other nearby resorts are Niseko Moiwa and Niseko Weiss. The lifts are no longer running at Weiss, but cat tours service the area. While a few other resorts may challenge Niseko’s claim to the best powder in Japan, there is no doubt Niseko has the best, and widest, selection of restaurants and accommodations in Japan. The infrastructure is well organized, with efficient bus service to/from Sapporo and New Chitose Airport and a shuttle bus that takes visitors to the various resorts. On one of those rare mid-season clear days, the view of Mt. Yotei from the slopes is the quintessential image of skiing in Japan.

NISEKO ANNUPURI (0136) 58-2080 Nov. 28 - May 5

www.cks.chuo-bus.co.jp/annupuri 8:30 - 20:30 (16:30 - 20:30)

1 DAY Adults ¥5,000 TICKET Kids ¥2,900

Park

By Train: 120 minutes from Sapporo Station to Kutchan Station ACCESS By Car: 120 minutes from Sapporo City and New Chitose Airport

NISEKO GRAND HIRAFU (0136) 22-0109 Nov. 21 - May 5

www.grand-hirafu.jp 8:30 - 20:30 (16:30 - 20:30)

1 DAY Adults ¥5,200 TICKET Kids ¥2,900

Park

By Train: 120 minutes from Sapporo Station ACCESS to Kutchan Station By Car: 160 minutes from Sapporo City and 180 minutes from New Chitose Airport

NISEKO VILLAGE (0136) 44-2211 Dec. 1 - Apr. 3 1 DAY TICKET

www.niseko-village.com 8:30 - 20:00 (16:30 - 20:00)

Adults ¥5,000 Youth ¥3,950 Kids ¥3,100

Park

By Train: 120 minutes from Sapporo Station ACCESS to Kutchan Station By Car: 120 minutes from Sapporo City and New Chitose Airport

NISEKO HANAZONO RESORT (0136) 21-6655 Dec. 5 - Apr. 3

www.hanazononiseko.com 8:30 - 16:00

1 DAY Adults ¥5,200 TICKET Kids ¥2,900

Park

By Train: 120 minutes from Sapporo Station ACCESS to Kutchan Station By Car: 120 minutes from Sapporo City and New Chitose Airport More information online at www.outdoorjapan.com/snow WINTER 2016

37


RUSUTSU RESORT

Rusutsu, Hokkaido

(0136) 46-3331 http://en.rusutsu.co.jp Nov. 21 - Apr. 10 9:00 - 21:00 (16:00 - 21:00)

1 DAY Adults ¥5,500 TICKET Kids ¥2,750

Rusutsu is more than a good day trip from Niseko. It’s an excellent all-round mountain with 37 courses over three mountains: Mt. Isola, East Mountain and West Mountain. Powder lovers will love the big valleys full of deep tree runs funneling down to the modern, efficient lifts, and everyone will enjoy the views of the back side of Mt. Yotei and the quieter alternative to bustling Niseko. The ski-in/ski-out Rusutsu Resort Hotel is the most convenient place to stay with hot springs, day care, fireworks during Christmas and New Year and a variety of great activities.

Park

30% 4

4

Park

Beginner Lifts

Intermediate Gondola

40% 7

30% 4

Advanced

37

courses

Longest Top E Base E

30% 7

Park

Beginner Intermediate Station ACCESS By Train: 120 minutes from Sapporo Station to Kutchan Lifts Gondola By Car: 90 minutes from New Chitose Airport

Advanced

KIRORO SNOW WORLD (0135) 34-7111 www.kiroro.co.jp/english/ Nov. 21 - May 8 9:00 - 20:00 (16:30 - 19:30)

Longest Course: 3,500m Top Elevation: 994m Base Elevation: 400m

37

courses

Akaigawa, Hokkaido 1 DAY Adults ¥5,500 TICKET Kids ¥2,800

Kiroro is a relatively new (opened in 1992) ski resort just 30 kilometers west of Sapporo. The resort has great facilities, some amazing views of the Japan Sea and the natural surroundings and gets a lot of snow from midDecember until early May. Kiroro makes up for its lack of challenging terrain by offering a few powder pockets and plenty of gentle slopes for beginners and children. The ""Powder Zone"" opens middle of January to middle of March. Kiroro also has one of the best base lodges in Japan, complete with a hot spring to soak away the day’s bumps and bruises and an adjacent hotel with good restaurants.

Park

37% 1

3

Park

Beginner Lifts

Intermediate Gondola

37% 4

37% 1

Advanced

10

courses

Longest Top Ele Base E

26% 4

Park

NOZAWA BACKCOUNTRY TOURS

Beginner byIntermediate car from ACCESS By Car: About 30 minutes by car from Otaru or 80 minutes Lifts Gondola downtown Sapporo

Sapporo, Hokkaido

080-9083-2172

1 DAY Adults ¥3,200 TICKET Kids ¥1,000

If you ski or snowboard, Sapporo is hard to beat. Residents can get a few quick runs just 15 minutes from downtown at Sapporo Bankei. However, many families make the one-hour drive out to “Kokusai,” which offers more choices for beginners and intermediate skiers and has a nice park. Although this is a day-trip resort, it does attract a spattering of international guests who find it hard to stay in the city when snow is falling. Most will be pleasantly surprised as this coastal resort gets its fair share of powder days and offers some varied, albeit fairly short, runs and a small, but decent park. Night skiing is not available.

Untracked powder, BC knowledge, Riding tips, Professional guides

nozawaskischool@gmail.com

Longest Course: 4,050m Top Elevation: 1,180m courses Base Elevation: 570m

10

SAPPORO KOKUSAI (0115) 98-4511 www.sapporo-kokusai.jp Nov. 20 - May 8 9:00 - 17:00 (-18:00 on weekends)

www.nozawaski.com

Advanced

Park

ACCESS

Beginner Intermediate By car: One hour from Sapporo city center, depending Lifts on traffic Gondola

Advanced

Park

30% 2 Park

Beginner Lifts

T R AV E L E R

7

courses

Longest Top Ele Base E

10% 2

Longest Course: 3,600m Top Elevation: 1,100m Base Elevation: 670m

7

courses

www.sapporo-teine.com 9:00 - 21:00 (16:00 - 21:00)

1 DAY Adults ¥4,900 TICKET Kids ¥2,400

Beginner Intermediate By Car: 30 minutes from Sapporo city center, depending Lifts on traffic Gondola

Advanced

Park

40% 1

Beginner Lifts

Intermediate Gondola

40% 1

30% 1

Advanced

30%

Longest Course: 6,000m Top Elevation: 1,023m courses Base Elevation: 680m

15

For more Hokkaido information visit OJ Online (www.outdoorjapan.com)

38

Advanced

Sapporo, Hokkaido

If someone mentions the Winter Olympics in Japan, you’ll undoubtedly think of the 1998 Nagano Olympics. Yet 26 years earlier, Sapporo hosted its own Winter Games at a resort just 30 minutes from downtown Sapporo. Yet, what might be most surprising is this resort, Sapporo Teine, offers some steep and deep powder fun for intermediate and advanced riders. The off-piste terrain is up in the Teine Highland area, accessible without having to duck ropes or elude the patrol. The Teine Olympia is a kinder, gentler area, which has a lively park scene. Night skiing available until 9 p.m. ACCESS

60% 1

30% 2

SAPPORO TEINE (0116) 82-6000 Nov. 21 - May 5

Intermediate Gondola

6

15

courses

3

Longest Top Ele Base E


SAHORO RESORT (0156) 64-4121 Dec. 1 - Apr. 3

Shintoku, Hokkaido

www.sahoro.co.jp 9:00 - 18:00 (15:00 - 18:00)

1 DAY Adults ¥5,000 TICKET Kids ¥4,000

Park

Sahoro is a well-run resort that caters to families. There are 17 nicely groomed courses, some “semi-backcountry,” a cross-country course and a terrain park. Like Tomamu, it’s a place where you can have fun whether you are a skier or not, with lots of activities. Two all-inclusive hotels service Sahoro Resort: The Sahoro Resort Hotel, an attractive luxury hotel, and the Club Med Sahoro. English ski lessons are available and lots of organized fun for the whole family. Sahoro is not for the budget traveler, but makes for a great family getaway.

Beginner Station Intermediate ACCESS By Train: 94 minutes from New Chitose Airport to Shintoku Gondola By car: 200 min. from Sapporo to Shimukappu I.C. Lifts

30% 1 2 Beginner Lifts

30% 1 2

Advanced

17

courses

www.snowtomamu.jp 9:00 - 19:00 (16:00 - 19:00)

1 DAY Adults ¥5,400 TICKET Kids ¥3,800

Beginner Station Intermediate ACCESS By Train: 70 minutes from New Chitose Airport to Tomamu Lifts Gondola By Car: 90 minutes from New Chitose Airport

30% 1

SNOWBOARD WITH THE LOCALS Nagano ◊ Niseko Alaska ◊ USA ◊ Canada www.cloudlinetours.com

Park

25% 1 2 Beginner Lifts

25% 1 2

Advanced

30% 1

Longest Course: 3,000m Top Elevation: 1,030m Base Elevation: 420m

Shimukappu, Hokkaido

Tomamu has excellent facilities and a beautiful location. Many courses are suited for beginners, yet a challenging double black diamond course and cat-ski tours will challenge advanced riders. Tomamu is a destination in itself with a plethora of ways to entertain the whole family. There’s a good selection of restaurants, an indoor wave pool, Kids Park, ice village, dog sledding, nighttime air-balloon rides and a variety of spa and relaxation options. Tomamu is celebrating its 30th year by opening a new high-speed quad, expanding the Family Adventure area and connecting the two mountains (no more walking).

Intermediate Gondola

45% 2

Advanced

15

courses

45% 2

30% 5

Longest Course: 4,500m Top Elevation: 1,210m Base Elevation: 699m

30% 5

Longest Course: 4,500m Top Elevation: 1,210m courses Base Elevation: 699m

15

FURANO RESORT

Furano, Hokkaido

(0167) 22-1111 www.princehotels.co.jp/newfurano Nov. 28 - May 5 8:30 - 19:30 (17:00 - 19:30)

1 DAY Adults ¥4,000 TICKET Kids FREE

Park

Central Hokkaido's Furano Resort is known for blue skies, yet manages nearly nine meters of snow each year. There are two sides to the mountain, serviced by a 101-person cable car (Japan’s fastest). The nearby Tokachi Range is a popular backcountry playground. The ski-in/ski-out New Furano Prince Hotel has a new hot springs facility. Join the Host Program and get a tour from a local or a bus tour from January to March to Lake Shikarebetsu’s ice village and bathe in ice bathhouses or enjoy a drink at the ice bar built on the frozen lake.

Park

Beginner Lifts

Park

40% 1 5

23 Beginner Intermediate Advanced Asahikawa Airport courses ACCESS Bus or car access is recommended: 60 minutes from Lifts Gondola to Furano Station

KAMUI SKI LINKS (0166) 72-2311 Dec. 1 - Apr.3

40% 2 1

Advanced

Longest Course: 3,000m 17 Top Elevation: 1,030m courses Base Elevation: 420m

HOSHINO RESORTS TOMAMU (0167) 58-1111 Nov. 28 - Apr. 5

Intermediate Gondola

40% 2 1

Intermediate Gondola

40% 1

Advanced

40% 25% 1 52

15 23

courses

40% 45% 12

20% 30% 52

Longest Course: 4,000m 4,500m Top Elevation: 1,209m 1,210m Base Elevation: 699m 245m

20% 2

Longest Course: 4,000m Top Elevation: 1,209m Base Elevation: 245m

Asahikawa, Hokkaido

www.kamui-skilinks.com 9:00 - 17:00

1 DAY Adults ¥3,100 TICKET Kids ¥1,500

Kamui Ski Links is a resort run “by skiers, for skiers.” Those who enjoy powder and tree skiing will understand why this little resort 20 kilometers outside of Asahikawa has so many admirers. Management has no restrictions on tree skiing and has even left several courses in which to play ungroomed. On top of that, the snow quality is excellent. You may find yourself in some short lines for the lifts on weekends, but on weekdays it is nothing but fresh lines down the hill. Be sure to warm up by the fireplace at Café 751 at the top of the gondola.

Park

20% 1

40% 7

40%

Park

Beginner Lifts

20% 1

Intermediate Gondola

40% 7

Advanced

10

courses

Longest Course: 4,000m Top Elevation: 750m Base Elevation: 150m

40%

Park

10 Beginner from Intermediate downtownAdvanced courses ACCESS Bus or car access is recommended: About 25 minutes Lifts Gondola Asahikawa on Route 12

Longest Course: 4,000m Top Elevation: 750m Base Elevation: 150m

More information online at www.outdoorjapan.com/snow WINTER 2016

39


Snow Buddies

Photo Essay by Neil Hartmann

It’s winter, time for good friends and good times! “Lead me to the goods, show me the line, I am hot on your heels ready to get mine!” Hayato Doi follows Yamauchi Kazushi in style.

The shark bites deep into the cold, dry mid-winter snow at Hokkaido’s Tomamu Resort. “Orange Man” gives chase and a compatible spray.

40

T R AV E L E R


Springtime is perfect for grabbing a buddy and laying out deep carves in the slushy snow of Niseko’s Moiwa Resort. Black in hot pursuit of orange!

Another winter in the snow memory banks, the remaining white stuff is melting fast, follow a buddy for one more mellow cruiser before parting ways. Until next season my friends!

WINTER 2016

41


TOHOKU Hakkoda Ropeway

Hachimantai Resort

Tazawako

HAKKODA ROPEWAY

Hakkoda, Aomori

Appi Kogen

Gran Deco Miyagi Eboshi Alts Bandai Yamagata Zao

APPI KOGEN

Photo courtesy of JapowTours.com

T

he Tohoku Region represents about 35 percent of the area of Japan’s main island, Honshu. Running north-south through the center of Tohoku are the Ou Mountains, ranging between 1,500-2,000 meters. When the famous poet, Matsuo Basho, wrote The Narrow Road to the Deep North (Oku no Hosomichi), these were the mountains toward which he walked. Today they are full of some of Japan’s least crowded ski resorts. Tohoku may seem far away, but it’s only twoto-four hours by bullet train or you can jump on a domestic flight. Regardless, it’s never too far to go to find good snow.

Hachimantai, Iwate

(0195) 73-6401 www.appi.co.jp/foreign_country/english/ Dec. 5 - May 6 8:00 - 20:00 (16:00 - 20:00)

(017) 738-0343 www.hakkoda-ropeway.jp 9:00 - 15:20 Beginning of Dec. - Mid May

1 DAY Adults ¥5,400 TICKET Kids ¥3,100

1 DAY Adults 5 Times (on Ropeway) ¥5,050 TICKET Kids ¥2,250 Park

Park

Tour Route Area Tour Route Area

20% 1

60% 1

20%

30% 2 1

Park

4 3

Longest Course: Longest APPI5,000m is a giant resort (41K of trails) with a The eight peaks of Hakkoda attract Japan's 5 Top Elevation: 21 Top Ele 1,324m(thanks to the many north-facing Beginner Intermediate Advanced Beginner Intermediate Advanced long season most devoted powder lovers. It is basically courses courses Lifts Gondola Lifts Gondola Base Elevation: Base E slopes) 660m plus some great facilities (thanks to backcountry with a 100-person gondola that bubble era spending). Unlike many resorts in takes 10 minutes to the top with four trips 40% 20% Japan that have relatively short runs, the average course 30% 20% 60% 30% every hour. Once you get off, you can choose from "Direct" or Tour length at APPI is 2,100m; the longest 5,500m. It’s possible to "Forest" trails. You won't get many Route blueAreabird days here, and 1 1 2 3 11 Tour Route Area do Appi as a long day-trip from Tokyo but, with two ski-in/skivisibility can be difficult during snowstorms, which happen out hotels and an annex hotel, which collectively sleep 4,100 often. So if you are a Hakkoda newbie and want to explore guests, why not stay and soak away sore muscles at one the terrain, it's best to grab a local guide. Hakkoda Sansou, Longest Course: 5,000m Longest Course: 5,500m of the two natural hot springs after a day on the mountain. across the parking lot from the gondola, is the closest 5 21 Top Elevation: 1,328m Top Elevation: 1,324m Beginner Advanced Beginner Intermediate Advanced Families will appreciate the Kids Park. accommodation. Up the road, Sukayu Onsen Intermediate is a mixed hot courses Base Elevation: 660m courses Base Elevation: 828m Lifts Gondola Lifts Gondola spring with a 300-year history and a 1,000-person bath. Park

ACCESS By Bus: 80 minutes from Aomori Station By Car: 35 min. from Aomori I.C. and Ishiguri I.C.

ACCESS By Train and Bus: 50 minutes from Morioka Station to APPI. By Car: 15 minutes from Matsuo-Hachimantai I.C. or Ashiro I.C.

HACHIMANTAI RESORT

Hachimantai, Iwate

(0195) 78-4111 www.hachimantai.co.jp Dec. 18 - Apr. 3 8:30 - 16:30 (12/27-1/4 everyday 16:30-21:00. 1/10-3/21every Saturday.)

TAZAWAKO SKI RESORT

Tazawako, Akita

(0187) 46-2011 www.tazawako-ski.com Dec. 18 - Apr. 3 9:00 - 16:00

1 DAY Adults ¥4,000 TICKET Kids ¥2,800

1 DAY Adults ¥4,000 TICKET Kids ¥1,000

Park

Park

40% 1

PANORAMA

30% 1

20% 5

30% 2

3 4

SHIMOKURA Park

Longest Longest Course: 2,700m When it snows in Tazawako, and it usually It’s easy to get confused because there are 13 Top Ele 14 Top Elevation: 1,130m Beginner Intermediate Advanced Beginner Intermediate Advanced does, there is deep powder and a good variety of two Iwate Hachimantai resorts and another in courses courses Lifts Gondola Lifts Gondola Base E Base Elevation: courses 540m to enjoy. When it is not snowing, you are Akita. The smaller Hachimantai in Iwate is a treated to one of the great views of any ski resort three-lift powder resort known for free riding. 40% 30% 30% in Japan, with Lake Tazawa below providing a stunning backdrop. 40% 30% 30% PANORAMA Iwate’s Hachimantai Resort, on the other hand, is larger and For this reason, Tazawako is a popular ski resort for people in is a great family ski destination. Hachimantai Resort covers 1 4 1 5 2 Tohoku, but the lines are still relatively short when compared to two main areas, Panorama ski area and the Shomokura resorts in other areas of Japan. The lifts run directly from the ski area. Both are well sheltered from the weather, and SHIMOKURA Tazawako Onsen hotel area. The selection of runs should keep Panorama features a huge night skiing area. There are highLongest Course: 2,700m Longest Course: 3,000m happy; on one side is a beginner and intermediate area, speed lifts servicing mostly beginner or intermediate courses 14 Top Elevation: 1,000m everyone 13 Top Elevation: 1,186m Beginner room Intermediate Advanced Advanced and on the other is a more challengingBeginner advancedIntermediate course. Powder that are wide open, so plenty of breathing for beginners courses Base Elevation: 540m courses Base Elevation: 608m Lifts Gondola Lifts Gondola lovers won’t want to miss the Komagatake Panoramic Cat Tour. or kids wanting to bomb down the hill. Park

Park

Park

ACCESS By Train and Bus: Shinkansen from Tokyo to Morioka Station (2 hours, 26 minutes), then about 90 minutes by bus to Hachimantai Resort

ACCESS By Train and Bus: Shinkansen from Tokyo to Tazawako Station (3 hours), then 30 minutes by bus to the ski resort

For more Tohoku information visit OJ Online (www.outdoorjapan.com)

42

T R AV E L E R


EBOSHI RESORT

Zao-machi, Miyagi

(0224) 34-4001 www.eboshi.co.jp Dec. 1 - Apr. 3 9:00 - 22:00 (17:30 - 22:00)

1 DAY Adults ¥4,500 TICKET Kids ¥2,800

Miyagi's Eboshi Resort is on the other side of the mountain from the more famous Yamagata Zao Onsen Ski Resort. It's much quieter, the lift lines are shorter on this side of the track, and the views are fantastic. Although it's a decent sized resort with well laid-out courses and a variety of ways to descend the mountain, it is more geared for beginners or advanced riders, as there is not a lot of challenging terrain. Powder hounds will be salivating on some of the areas outside the lines.

Park

50% 1

30% 1

20% 6

Park

Beginner Lifts

Intermediate Gondola

50% 1

30% 1

Advanced

10

courses

Longest Course: 4,300m Top Elevation: 1,350m Base Elevation: 650m

20% 6

Park

Longest Course: 4,300m Top Elevation: 1,350m Base Elevation: 650m

10 Beginner Station Intermediate(1 hour, Advanced courses ACCESS By Train and Bus: Shinkansen from Tokyo to Shoroishi-Zao Gondola 54 minutes) then about an hour to the ski resort Lifts

YAMAGATA ZAO SKI RESORT

Yamagata-shi, Yamagata

(023) 694-9328 www.zao-ski.or.jp Dec. 5 - Early May 8:30 - 21:00 (17:00 - 21:00)

1 DAY Adults ¥5,000 TICKET Kids ¥2,500

Ski resorts each have their own personalities; it is one of the joys of exploring new resort areas. Zao Onsen has a big bubbling personality. The town is literally bubbling with hot springs, and the ski resort offers a unique ski experience—skiing among the famous Zao Snow Monsters (juhyo). The resort is big with four gondolas, 35 lifts and a 10K downhill course. Skiers will enjoy the layout more than snowboarders (too much traversing), but the highlight, undoubtedly, is riding among these huge creatures formed of ice and wind. The peak season is February, and the juhyo illumination is spectacular.

Park

Park

Beginner Lifts

Advanced

40% 3 27

Advanced

26

courses

40% 3 27

20% 5 1

Longest Course: 10,000m Top Elevation: 1,660m Base Elevation: 780m

20% 5 1

Longest Course: 10,000m Top Elevation: 1,660m courses Base Elevation: 780m

26

ALTS BANDAI

Bandai, Fukushima

(0242) 74-5000 www.alts.co.jp Dec. 19 - Mar. 27 8:00 - 21:00 (17:00 - 21:00)

1 DAY Adults ¥4,700 TICKET Kids ¥3,700

With 30K of rideable terrain, nearly 30 courses and progressive freestyle parks, it is no surprise ALTS is a favorite of many of the top park riders in Japan. The resort is the largest in southern Tohoku and was the home to the Asia Open. This year ALTS features a new Cat Ski area on the west side of the resort where visitors can enjoy some deep turns. They offer budget backpacker accommodations and have shuttle bus service directly from Narita. After crankin’ big air in the pipe, slide into the Riders’ Café for a drink or relax in the hotel's great hot springs. ALTS is a south-facing resort, so it’s bright and features some nice terrain for free riding, but powder lovers will want to head next door to north-facing Nekoma.

Park

35% 1 1 Park

Beginner Lifts

Advanced

GRANDECO SNOW RESORT

Intermediate Gondola

35% 1 1

Park

Beginner StationIntermediate ACCESS By Train: 82 minutes from Tokyo Station to KoriyamaLifts By Car: 60 minutes from Fukushima International Airport. Gondola

(0241) 32-2530 www.grandeco.com Nov. 28 - May. 8 8:30 - 17:00

Intermediate Gondola

40% 1 3

Park

Beginner Intermediate to Yamagata ACCESS By Train and Bus: 2 1/2 hours by bullet train from Tokyo Lifts Gondola Station, then 40 minutes by bus to Zao Onsen

40% 1 3

29

courses

40% 3

Advanced

29

courses

40% 3

25% 7

Longest Course: 3,300m Top Elevation: 1,280m Base Elevation: 700m

25% 7

Longest Course: 3,300m Top Elevation: 1,280m Base Elevation: 700m

Aizu Ura Bandai, Fukushima 1 DAY Adults ¥4,700 TICKET Kids ¥3,500

Gran Deco Snow Resort is a medium-sized resort with first-rate facilities, which include a gondola and express chairlifts and artificial snow-making capabilities to guarantee early and late-season riding. There is also a luxury hotel and SIA certified Snow Academy. Although the resort is best suited for beginners and intermediate riders, there are tree runs for advanced riders and a well maintained park. Gran Deco is one of the highest resorts in the area, which means good quality snow. The nearby Hotel Gran Deco has western-style rooms, an indoor and outdoor swimming pool (open in winter), Jacuzzis, saunas, hot spring baths, restaurants and bars. Beginner bus. ACCESS By train: 45 minutes from Inawashiro Station via local Lifts By car: 35 minutes from Inawashiro Bandai Kogen I.C.

Intermediate Gondola

Advanced

Park

40% 1

Beginner Lifts

40% 1

Intermediate Gondola

45% 4

Advanced

8

45% 4

15% 2

Longest Course: 4,000m Top Elevation: 1,590m

courses Base Elevation: 1,010m

15% 2

Longest Course: 4,000m Top Elevation: 1,590m courses Base Elevation: 1,010m

8

More information online at www.outdoorjapan.com/snow WINTER 2016

43


JAPAN SNOW GUIDE

TRAVEL NOTES HOKKAIDO

Join the Niseko Weiss Powder Cats on a fullday guided tour on the slopes of Weisshorn, a 1,045-meter-high mountain. The Weisshorn’s wide-open terrain and cozy tree runs is perfect for skiers and snowboarders new to powder. The program includes lunch and avalanche safety gear. Hanazono Niseko will also host fun Jump, banked slalom and slope style competitions during the season. Web: www.hanazononiseko. com Kids under 12 ski for free at Furano. After a day skiing or enjoying the snow tubing course, round up the family for a star-watching tour under Hokkaido’s clear skies. The Furano Star Watching Tour is held ever y day from Dec. 26 – Jan. 17 and every Monday, Tuesday and Saturday between Jan. 18 – Mar. 19. The tour starts at 6 p.m. at the foot of Furano Ropeway. A l so, F ura no Ka n Ka n Mura : Snow Night Fantasy is illuminated each evening from Dec. 23 - Mar. 10. Night owls won’t want to miss the all-night skiing on Jan. 30 or the Furano Ski Festival Jan. 30-31. The fun continues in spring at the Mountain Outdoor Garden, open Mar. 26-27 at the East Center Station. For ¥5,000, guests can ride the gondola lifts and enjoy a BBQ as DJs spin some great tunes. Test your skills at the Splash Cup on Mar. 26 where entrants ride down a slope and see how far they can skim across the water. Web: www.princehotels.com/en/ski/furano/

Furano

Kiroro Resort now has designated backcountry exits at the Nagamine and Asari Peaks and the Family Lift at the mountain base. Backcountry riders are required to register with the local police and must bring along a shovel, beacon and probe. Along with the powder zones, this season brings additional ungroomed areas for a limited time during the season. Serious backcountry riders should consider the Kiroro Mountain Club. Members can enjoy the new club center next to Kiroro’s café and have access to the resort’s cat tours, discounts on backcountr y eq uipment rentals, express police registration as well as avalanche and backcountry seminars. Kiroro’s restructured Internationa l Academy of fer s ta i lor-made lessons specifically for foreigners, led by a large team of international instructors. Web: www. kiroro.co.jp

44

T R AV E L E R

Furano


Yokote Kamakura Snow Festival

uests can also enjoy live paint artists and massage therapists and staying in local hotels and inns with rel

Yamagata Zao

TOHOKU

Ya m a g a t a Z a o ’s f a m o u s j u h y o “ I c e Monsters” take on a beautifully eerie life by night. View this natural phenomena during the Juhyo Illumination on Jan. 3, 9, 10, 16-18, and Feb. 23-28 from 5-9 p.m. from the Yamagata Zao ropeway. Web: www.zaoropeway.co.jp

Yokote Kamakura Snow Festival APPI

If you are visiting from overseas, show your passport at Grandeco for a special foreigneronly discount for lift tickets. Also keep a lookout for family-friendly events that happen on an almost-weekly basis at this resort, including a shaved ice-eating contest, volleyball tournament and banana boat and rafting races on the snow. Web: www.grandeco.com Impress your Valentine’s date by taking him or her to the Yokote Kamakura Snow Festival in Akita Feb. 15-16 at Doro Koen. Spend the even i ng hudd led i n a coz y Japa nese igloo with traditional mochi (rice cakes), amazake (sweetened rice wine) and sweets as the park is lit up at this 400-year-old celebration. Part of the Mogul World Cup, the 2016 FIS freestyle skiing competition will be held Feb. 27-28 at Akita’s Tazawako Ski Resort. Watch top freestyle skiers compete in the mogul and dual mogul competition on a late February weekend. The races are expected to attract more than 8,000 guests. Web: www.tazawako-ski.com

WINTER 2016

45


NAGANO N

agano is the traditional center of the Japan snow scene, and at the heart of it is the Japan Alps. The prefecture is home to some of the finest, steepest and biggest resorts in Japan, and boasts arguably the most breathtaking scenery. Within Nagano, the sheer volume of ski areas is due to the jagged spine of rugged natural beauty known as the Japan Alps slashing through the prefecture. This area is as much a Mecca for photographers as it is for skiers, with its many onsen, snow-swept valleys and bristling peaks. Backcountry fun here is limited only to your preparedness and daring. Hakuba, Shiga Kogen, Nozawa and the Iiyama areas are just the tip of the proverbial iceberg.

HAKUBA GORYU

Hakuba, Nagano

(0261) 75-2101 www.hakubagoryu.com/e/index.html 8:00 - 22:00 (18:00 - 22:00) Nov. 21 - May 5

Nozawa Onsen

Togakushi

Okushiga

Madarao

Hakuba Cortina

Yakebitaiyama Shiga Kogen Area

Tsugaike Hakuba Iwatake Hakuba Happo

Hoppobundaira Higashitateyama Nishitateyama

Hakuba 47 Hakuba Goryu Norikura Kogen

HAKUBA 47

Hakuba, Nagano

(0261) 75-3533 www.hakuba47.co.jp 8:00 - 16:20 End of Nov. - May 5 1 DAY Adults ¥4,800 TICKET Kids ¥2,500

1 DAY Adults ¥5,000 TICKET Kids ¥2,700

Park

Park

35% 1 1

40% 3

25% 9

30% 1

4

Longest Course: 5,000m Longest Hakuba 47 is a relatively new resort (opened Hakuba Goryu is not the largest resort in 16 Top Elevation: 8 Top Ele 1,624m Beginner Intermediate Advanced Beginner Intermediate Advanced in 1990), and they’ve been trying to take some Hakuba, but it is one of the most scenic and courses courses Lifts Gondola Lifts Gondola Base Elevation: 950m Base E fresh, progressive steps to making a better pleasant places to ski. Soak up the view as resort experience. There are loads of activities the Japan Alps soar behind you, and then 40% 25% and events, an extensive snow park with lots of jibs, kickers 35% 40% 30% 30% head down to the Escal Plaza, one of the best base lodges in and things to launch off, and a great half pipe. The resort Japan. There is a ski/snowboard rental shop, a nice selection 1 9 1 4 3 1 also has some excellent intermediate courses, a challenging of restaurants and even a bath open until 9 p.m. daily. If mogul course and a shared ticket with Goryu, so no shortage you’re on a tight budget, there is a “resting room” where you 1 of courses from which to choose. If you were wondering can wait for the lifts to open. It’s a common space that fits Longest Course: 5,000m Longest Course: 6,400m about the name, the goal of the resort is to offer a great up to 100 people (no reservations required). Serious skiers 16 8 Top Elevation: 1,614m Top Elevation: 1,624m Beginner Intermediate Advanced Beginner Intermediate mountain experience “4” seasons and “7” days a week. Advanced courses can challenge themselves on the Champions expert run, and courses Base Elevation: 950m Lifts Gondola Lifts Gondola Base Elevation: 820m Goryu also shares a common lift pass with Hakuba 47. Park

Park

Park

Park

ACCESS By Train and Shuttle: Shinkansen to Nagano Station and the direct bus to Hakuba. A shuttle service runs between Goryu and Hakuba 47

HAKUBA HAPPO-ONE

Hakuba, Nagano

(0261) 72-3066 www.happo-one.jp Nov. 21 - May 4 8:00 - 21:00 (17:00 - 21:00)

ACCESS By Train and Bus: Shinkansen from Tokyo Station to Nagano Station (1 hour, 45 minutes), then an Alpico Bus to Hakuba (60 minutes)

HAKUBA IWATAKE SNOW FIELD

Hakuba, Nagano

(0261) 72-2474 iwatake.jp Dec. 18 - Mar. 27 8:00 - 17:00 1 DAY Adults ¥5,000 TICKET Kids ¥2,500

1 DAY Adults ¥4,200 TICKET Kids ¥2,400

Park

Park

Park

30% 1 2

50% 5

20% 4 Park

30% 1 12

5

South Side North Side Longest Course: 8,000m Longest If the crowds at Happo are too much for you, Happo is a huge resort that is heaven for 13 Top Elevation: 15 Top Ele 1,831m Beginner Intermediate Advanced Beginner Intermediate Advanced head over to nearby Iwatake. The base of the skiers who enjoy well-groomed, long courses. courses courses Lifts Gondola Lifts Gondola Base Elevation: 760mup at Hakuba’s highest peaks for Base E resort looks There are many runs, good challenging terrain a spectacular view while you enjoy the slopes. and a nice park and the Hakuba Banks Park 50% 20% The resort itself is surprisingly big, making it a great place to 50% 30% 20% 30% opens on Feb. 1. Happo hosted the downhill races during the go to get away from the crowds and explore the 24 courses. 1998 Olympics and, if you want to test your meddle, head to 4 1 5 1 1 1 It’s mostly beginner and intermediate runs, but there is a the top of the men’s downhill course. While advanced riders nearly four-kilometer cruiser and a small terrain park. Lift will love Happo, beginners may get frustrated with the many 2 12 1 lines are relatively short by Hakuba standards, and you can narrow paths leading down the mountain. If you need a South Side Longest Course: 8,000m Longest Course: 3,800m often find some pockets of powder here after it has been North Side break, there are plenty of restaurants to stop for a bite. Note 13 Top Elevation: 1,831m tracked out at other resorts nearby.Beginner Intermediate Advanced 15 Top Elevation: 1,289m Intermediate Advanced the resort’s popularity means it canBeginner get crowded, especially courses Base Elevation: 760m courses Base Elevation: 539m Lifts Gondola Lifts Gondola on long weekends. Park

Park

ACCESS By Train and Bus: Shinkansen from Tokyo Station to Nagano Station (1 hour, 45 minutes), then an Alpico Bus to Hakuba (60 minutes)

ACCESS By Train and Bus: Shinkansen from Tokyo Station to Nagano Station (1 hour, 45 minutes), then an Alpico Bus to Hakuba (60 minutes)

For more Nagano information visit OJ Online (www.outdoorjapan.com)

46

T R AV E L E R


HAKUBA CORTINA SKI RESORT

Hakuba, Nagano

(0261) 82-2236 www.hgp.co.jp 1 DAY Adults ¥3,600 Dec. 12 - Apr. 2 8:30 -17:00 (Sun-Fri: 17:00 - 20:00, Sat: 17:00 - 21:00) TICKET Kids ¥2,000

If you are looking for a place to spend a quiet, romantic ski weekend in the Hakuba area, head over to Cortina. The massive Green Plaza Hotel with northern European architecture is impressive. If your ski partner is just starting out, the course right outside the door of the hotel is a gentle slope and great for beginners. Although most of the runs are in the beginner to intermediate range, there are some steep courses, and they have adopted a progressive approach to tree skiing and power areas in which guests are responsible for themselves if they get into trouble. The Hakuba Cortina Resort also offers a convenient shuttle from Nagano Station (one-way, 1,000 yen). Beginner Intermediate ACCESS By Train: From Shinjuku to Minami Otari: 4 hours (ByLiftsAzusa)Gondola By Car: 90 minutes from Nagano I.C. to hotel

Advanced

Park

40% 2

Beginner Lifts

Intermediate Gondola

16

Longest Course: 2,025m Top Elevation: 1,402m Base Elevation: 872m

30%

Otari, Nagano 1 DAY Adults ¥4,900 TICKET Kids ¥2,800

Tsugaike is actually located in Otari Village, just up the road from Hakuba. The resort could be considered one of the most underrated, considering it has some huge bowls, a big gondola, terrain park, cross-country course, good night skiing and some interesting runs. There are even heli-skiing tours in spring and good places to hike to get fresh turns. The Children’s Square is great for kids just starting out on the slopes. Most of Tsugaike’s runs are in the intermediate range, but there are a few expert areas as well. To finish off a great day, head over to Tsuga no Yu hot springs, just 100 meters from the gondola. Park

Beginner NaganoIntermediate Station ACCESS By Train and Bus: Shinkansen from Tokyo Station toLifts Gondola (1 hour, 45 minutes), then a shuttle to Hakuba Cortina (80 minutes)

MT. NORIKURA (0263) 93-2645 www.norikura.co.jp Dec. 5 - Mar. 3 8:30 - 16:30

16

courses

30%

Longest Course: 2,025m Top Elevation: 1,402m Base Elevation: 872m

HAKUBA TSUGAIKE KOGEN (0261) 83-2515 www.tsugaike.gr.jp Nov. 21 - Early May 8:00 - 17:00 (8:00 - 20:50 on Sat.)

30% 5

40% 2

courses

Advanced

30% 5

Advanced

Park

50% 1 1

Park

Beginner Lifts

Intermediate Gondola

30% 1 9

50% 1 1

Advanced

14

courses

30% 1 9

20% 9 2

Longest Course: 4,630m Top Elevation: 1,704m Base Elevation: 800m

20% 9 2

Longest Course: 4,630m Top Elevation: 1,704m courses Base Elevation: 800m

14

Norikura Kogen Onsen, Nagano 1 DAY Adults ¥4,100 TICKET Kids ¥2,000

The base of Mt. Norikura (not to be confused with the smaller Hakuba Norikura) starts at 1,500 meters, meaning the snow quality is excellent, and you’ll spend more time riding than in lift lines. It is a relatively small, local resort, yet the dedicated locals have created a progressive and challenging terrain park and good facilities for beginners to learn to ride. There is no ATM, so bring cash and make sure to pack chains or have a 4WD, since Norikura is nestled deep in the Northern Alps. After a day on the mountain, don’t miss the great rotenburo at Yukemurikan. Park

Park

30% 2 1

Park

Beginner Lifts

30% 2 1

Intermediate Gondola

40% 1

Advanced

20

40% 1

30% 5

Longest Course: 5,000m Top Elevation: 2,000m

courses Base Elevation: 1,500m

30% 5

Longest Course: 5,000m 20 Top Elevation: 2,000m Beginner Intermediate Advanced (2 hours, 37 courses ACCESS By Train: Super Azusa Express train from Shinjuku to Matsumoto Lifts Gondola Base Elevation: 1,500m minutes. Transfer at Matsumoto, then on to Shin Shimashima (30 minutes)

More information online at www.outdoorjapan.com/snow WINTER 2016

47


SHIGA KOGEN Shiga Kogen, Nagano www.shigakogen-ski.com

Okushiga Kogen

Shibutouge Terakoya Yokoteyama

Yakebitaiyama Yama no Kami

Ichinose Family Tanne no Mori

Hoppo Bunadaira, Higashidateyama, Nishidateyama

Diamond

Kumanoyu Giant

Kidoike

Hasuike

SunValley Maruike

If you include all 19 interlinked ski resorts, Shiga Kogen in northern Nagano is Japan’s largest ski resort area. Surrounded by 2,000-meter mountains, Shiga has good elevation and is a great place to get in some early or late season runs, as the season stretches from late November to early May. Shiga Kogen hosted the women’s downhill, slalom, the super giant slalom and both snowboarding events for the 1998 Nagano Olympic Winter Games. With more than 80 accommodations scattered around the area, there is no shortage of places to stay, although it has retained an “old school” feel with most restaurants found inside hotels; some serving Shiga Kogen’s excellent microbrew. There are many onsen in the area to soak in after a day on the mountain, yet the most famous in the area is off-limits to humans. Jigokudani Yaen Koen is a sanctuary for resident snow monkeys that lounge in their own hot springs, while visitors snap away with their cameras. Shiga Kogen has limited ATM access (ATM is available at the Shiga Kogen Post Office in the Hasuike area), so bring some cash. Starting this year, a common ski lift pass will be available for Shiga Kogen Resort’s 13 ski areas which are part of the “Shiga Kogen Resort Chuo Area.” These resorts include Sun Valley, Maruike, Hasuike, Giant, Happo Bunahira, Higashi Tateyama, Teragoya, Takamahara Mammoth, Nishi Tateyama, Tanne-no-mori Okojo, Ichinose Family, Ichinose Diamond and Ichinose Yama-no-kami. If you plan to try all the ski areas, you’ll need to give yourself at least a few days to explore the various terrain.

Okushiga Kogen is known as “Skiers Paradise” as it remains a skiers-only resort, (along with Kumanoyu), while Yakebitaiyama is a Prince Resort with excellent facilities. The Hoppo Bunadaira area is great for beginners and families with small children while Higashidateyama is best suited for advanced skiers, although there is a gentle woodland course as well. The resort hosted the men’s and women’s giant slalom in the 1998 Olympic Games, and it boasts an extremely challenging downhill course. The restaurant at the summit of Mt. Higashidate boasts incredible panoramic views and is the starting point to get to other ski areas such as Terakoya. ACCESS By Train and Bus: 110 minutes from Tokyo Station to Nagano Station, then bus (70 minutes) to Shiga Kogen resorts

HOPPO BUNADAIRA - HIGASHIDATEYAMA - NISHIDATEYAMA (0269) 34-2301 www.shigakogen.co.jp.e.aafw.hpf.transer.com/ Mid-Dec. - Beg. of Apr. 8:30 - 16:30 1 DAY Adults ¥4,800 TICKET Kids ¥2,400

50% 1

Park

ACCESS By Train: 110 minutes from Tokyo Stn. to Nagano Stn. By Car: 300 minutes from Tokyo

Beginner Lifts

Intermediate Gondola

Advanced

40% 3

10% 1

Longest course: 3,500m Top Elevation: 2,030m

7

courses Base Elevation: 1,325m

YAKEBITAIYAMA (0269) 34-3117 www.princehotels.com/en/ski/shiga_kougen.html Dec. 5 - Apr. 3 8:00 - 16:00 (18:00 - 20:00) 1 DAY Adults ¥4,800 TICKET Kids ¥2,400

35% 2

Park

35% 2

30% 2

Park

ACCESS By Train: 110 minutes from Tokyo Stn. to Nagano Stn. By Car: 300 minutes from Tokyo

Beginner Lifts

Intermediate Gondola

Advanced

15

Longest Course: 2,500m Top Elevation: 2,000m

courses Base Elevation: 1,550m

OKUSHIGA KOGEN SKI FIELD (0269) 34-2225 www.okushigakogen.com Dec. 12 - May 4 7:30 - 16:30 1 DAY Adults ¥5,000 TICKET Kids ¥2,500

45% 1

Park

ACCESS By Train: 110 minutes from Tokyo Stn. to Nagano Stn. By Car: 300 minutes from Tokyo

Beginner Lifts

For more Nagano information visit OJ Online (www.outdoorjapan.com)

48

T R AV E L E R

Intermediate Gondola

Advanced

35% 5

20%

Longest Course: 2,200m Top Elevation: 2,000m courses Base Elevation: 1,460m

9


MADARAO MOUNTAIN RESORT

Iiyama, Nagano

(0269) 64-3214 www.madarao.jp Dec. 18 - End of Mar. 8:30 - 21:00 (17:00 - 21:00)

1 DAY Adults TICKET Kids

¥4,500 ¥1,500

Located in northeastern Nagano just above Iiyama Town, Madarao Kogen features 16 lifts and 22 courses across a bowl-shaped terrain on Mt. Madarao (1,382 meters). The resort has a nice variety of courses, groomers, a tree run area, free ride park, wave courses and kids park, and the resort is free to kids under 12. They claim 60 percent of the course is ungroomed so, if you like riding powder, there should be plenty in which to play. There is also a joint ticket available for Tangram Ski Circus, a small, pretty resort. Backcountry tours can be arranged through the resort. Park

Beginner City (1 Intermediate hour, 28 ACCESS By Train and Bus: Shinkansen from Tokyo to Nagano Lifts Gondola minutes) then by bus to Tangram Madarao

Advanced

Park

TANGRAM SKI CIRCUS Park

Beginner Lifts

Intermediate Gondola

30% 2 1

40% 3

Advanced

30% 2 1

29

courses

40% 3

30% 5

Longest Course: 2,500m Top Elevation: 1,350m Base Elevation: 440m

30% 5

Longest Course: 2,500m Top Elevation: 1,350m Base Elevation: 440m

29

courses

TANGRAM SKI CIRCUS

Madarao, Nagano

(026) 258-3511 www.tangram.jp/foreign/english.html 1 DAY Adults ¥4,200 TICKET Kids ¥3,200 Dec. 19 - Apr. 3 9:00 - 16:30 (from 8:30 on Sat.&Sun.) (16:30 - 20:00 on Saturday) Tangram Ski Circus sounds like a great place for kids—and it is. The ski-in/out Hotel Tangram sits right at the bottom of this family-friendly resort. Facilities include hot spring baths and a heated indoor swimming pool. The resort features 14 courses on the northwest side of Mt. Madarao, with well-groomed runs, great for mom and dad to get in some leg burners with the kids. The trees look tempting, but beware the ski patrol is vigilant here. However the resort is connected to Madarao Kogen, giving you 30 courses to explore if you get bored with the runs right outside your door.

Beginner City (1 Intermediate hour, 28 ACCESS By Train and Bus: Shinkansen from Tokyo to Nagano Lifts Gondola minutes) then by bus to Tangram Madarao

Advanced

Park

30% 2 1

MADARAO MOUNTAIN RESORT Park

Beginner Lifts

Intermediate Gondola

30% 2

29

courses

30% 5

Longest Course: 2,500m Top Elevation: 1,350m Base Elevation: 440m

30% 1

Longest Course: 2,500m Top Elevation: 1,320m Base Elevation: 800m

14

courses

TOGAKUSHI

40% 3

Advanced

40% 3

Togakushi, Nagano

(026) 254-2106 www.togakusi.com Dec. 12 - Apr. 3 8:30 - 16:30

1 DAY Adults ¥4,000 TICKET Kids ¥2,500

Togakushi is an interesting, medium-sized resort. The name “Togakushi” means “hidden door,” it derived from the Japanese myth and the resort is owned by Nagano City, yet it is still relatively unknown to people outside the area. The best way to describe Togakushi is pleasant. The conditions always seem to be pretty good, course is variegated and there are often great powder days. Best of all, it never seems to get as busy as the more popular Nagano resorts, and it has retained a very local feel. Togakushi Village is in itself an interesting place. It is famous for soba, and there are some beautiful shrines, temples and onsen nearby to finish off a great day on the mountain. Park

Beginner NaganoIntermediate Station ACCESS By Train and Bus: Shinkansen from Tokyo Station toLifts Gondola (1 hour, 30 minutes), then less than 1 hour to Togakushi by bus

Advanced

NOZAWA ONSEN

Park

30% 2 Park

Beginner Lifts

Intermediate Gondola

30% 2

40% 5

Advanced

19

40% 5

30%

Longest Course: 3,000m Top Elevation: 1,750m

courses Base Elevation: 1,200m

30%

Longest Course: 3,000m Top Elevation: 1,750m

19

courses Base Elevation: 1,200m Nozawa Onsen, Nagano

(0269) 85-3166 www.nozawaski.com Nov.28 - May 8 8:30 - 17:00 (16:30 - 20:00)

1 DAY Adults ¥4,800 TICKET Kids ¥2,200

If you’re looking for the quintessential Japanese ski experience, Nozawa Onsen is hard to beat. This traditional hot spring village sits at the base of a great mountain (Mt. Kenashi, 1,650m). The resort is one of the oldest ski grounds in Japan, getting consistent snowfall. There are two gondolas and a large selection of courses to choose from. The town also features 30 hot springs scattered around the village (including 13 free baths in town) and the Dosojin Matsuri (Fire Festival) held on Jan. 15, which is a spectacle to behold. Park

Park

Park

40% 2 10

Park

Park

Beginner Lifts

40% 2 10

By Train: Tokyo Station to Nagano Station by Shinkansen (109 minutes), then 36 Intermediate ACCESS Iiyama Line to Togari-Nozawa Onsen St. (60 minutes) andBeginner taxi or shuttle bus to Advanced courses Gondola Nozawa Onsen. By Car: 75 minutes from Nagano Station Lifts

Intermediate Gondola

30% 5 1

Advanced

36

courses

30% 5 1

40% 3 1

Longest Course: 10,000m Top Elevation: 1,650m Base Elevation: 565m

40% 3 1

Longest Course: 10,000m Top Elevation: 1,650m Base Elevation: 565m

More information online at www.outdoorjapan.com/snow WINTER 2016

49


Yuki-Ita By Rie Miyoshi

B

orn and raised in Nagano, Atsushi Gomyo is no stranger to the mountains. He began snowboarding when he was 10 and climbed the professional snowboarding ladder in his early teens. In his 20s, he began riding for Gentemstick, the legendary powder board maker from Hokkaido. Exploring different ways to experience and enjoy powder has been his passion, so when a new contraption called a snow deck came on the scene nearly 20 years ago, combining snowboarding, surfing and skateboarding, Gomyo jumped right on. “It was easy to turn, fun and fast—like skateboarding on snow,” he remembers after trying Burton’s Junkyard. “But it was primarily built for the piste.” Around the same time, a friend brought out a piece of

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Photo Courtesy of Gaku Harada Photos Courtesy of Atsushi Gomyo

shaped wood Gomyo had tested on the powder. It was like nothing he’d ever ridden before. Unlike the snow decks, this wooden board was surprisingly good on powder yet was also enjoyable in other conditions. He expected someone would eventually start producing a similar board, but when nothing appeared in Japan, he took the initiative and spent countless hours perfecting his signature “yuki-ita,” a no-edge, no-binding snowboard that literally translates to “snow board.”

Freeriding The motivation for creating a new line of boards came from wanting to express a new and natural way to enjoy the snow. Yuki-ita reminded him of fond memories sledding as a child. Developing his boards took three-to-four years,

although he continues to fine tune them today. “The most challenging part is determining the shape of the board. I have to think about what kind of terrain it would be ridden in before and while shaping. I have eight board shapes now,” he says. For powder, he recommends boards 120 to 150 centimeters long, and for parks and late season, shorter boards 90 centimeters long with channels and grooved fin-like layers on the tail. Riding binding-less may be freeing, but it’s also tricky as every minute movement or weight shift affects your ride. But for Gomyo, that’s the beauty of it, as the yuki-ita improved his snowboarding skills. “When you’re on a snowboard, you rely on your bindings and boots to turn and stabilize yourself. With the yuki-

ita, you have only your balance to rely on. It really builds up your perception of balance and helps you be a better snowboarder,” he said. Riding binding-free boards may seem intimidating, but Gomyo says anyone can ride a yuki-ita on a straight path. Turning can be difficult at first, but there’s a stabilizing leash cord that provides some support. Most importantly, he says is for people to have fun with the board. “Rather than focusing on the technicalities, you have to ride the yuki-ita with the mindset of wanting to directly feel the powder and ride for pure enjoyment,” he said.

Grassroots “I’m inspired by the local community—the people I ride with and friends who I’ve known for a long time,” he adds. This season, Gomyo and his snowboard friends launched a snowboard line called PRANA PUNKS snowboarding, which uses locally sourced wood for the board core. Gomyo recently partnered with KEEN to become a brand ambassador and holds yuki-ita board shaping workshops at resorts around Japan where locals can test ride their new boards as well as try out KEEN’s Winterport boots. “The boots grip well, and the soles are soft and easy to walk around in when riding,” says Gomyo. As for the future of yuki-ita, Gomyo is determined to continue using locally sourced materials and raising awareness of forest conservation while sharing the versatile yuki-ita with the rest of the world. For more information about his snow toys, visit www.makesnowtoys. com.✤ WINTER 2016

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NIIGATA O

ne day in 1986, the good people of Joetsu, a coastal city in Niigata, were deluged by 232 centimeters of snow—in one day. That’s roughly enough to bury a one-story building. Although this sort of thing doesn’t happen every day, Niigata gets some of the heaviest snowfalls in Japan. The town of Yuzawa was where Yasunari Kawabata penned his award-winning novel “Snow Country” (Yukiguni). It is also Niigata’s most popular of winter sports areas, due to the easy access from Tokyo (77 minutes) and the variety of ski resorts a snowball’s throw from the station. Just over the border from Nagano Prefecture, in the southeastern part of Niigata, the Myoko Kogen area is one of Japan’s best-kept secrets. This scenic, mountainous area stretches all the way to the Sea of Japan coast and features some great resorts in its own right.

Joetsu Kokusai NASPA Ski Garden GALA Yuzawa

Iwappara

Charmant Hiuchi

Seki Onsen Akakura Myoko Suginohara Kagura Tashiro Mitsumata

GALA YUZAWA SNOW RESORT YUZAWA KOGEN GALA YUZAWA STATION

NUNOBA

Mt. NAEBA KAGURA • MITSUMATA

Naeba

NUNOBA FAMILY IPPONSUGI SKI RESORT

Mt. NAEBA KAGURA • TASHIRO

ECHIGO YUZAWA STATION

NASPA SKI GARDEN

IWA-PPARA WINTER RESORT

KANDATSU KOGEN LUDENS YUZAWA SKI

YUZAWA PARK SKI YUZAWA NAKAZATO KAYAMA CAPTAIN COAST NAKAZATO SNOW WOOD Mt. NAEBA

Mt. NAEBA • SHIRAKABA Mt. NAEBA • ASAGAI

GONDOLA ROPEWAY

MT. NAEBA

Yuzawa, Niigata

(0257) 89-2211 www.princehotels.com/ski/naeba Dec. 12 - TBD 8:00 - 21:00 (16:00 - 21:00)

KAGURA - TASHIRO - MITSUMATA

Yuzawa, Niigata

(0257) 88-9221 www.princehotels.co.jp/ski/kagura Nov. 21 - May 29 8:00 - 17:00 1 DAY Adults ¥5,000 TICKET Kids ¥2,500

1 DAY Adults ¥4,700 TICKET Kids ¥3,800

Park

Park

To Naeba

30% 3

40% 5

30% 5

Kagura Area Park

Tashiro Area To Naeba

45% 3 1

3 5

Longest Course: 4,000m Longest These three connecting ski areas form one Mt. Naeba calls itself "The Station Moritz 22 Top Elevation: 23 Top Ele 1,789m Beginner Intermediate Advanced Beginner Intermediate Advanced big resort. If you count Naeba, the total rideable of the East" and is a popular choice for Kanto courses courses Lifts Gondola Lifts Gondola Base Elevation: 900mhectares. From Naeba, you’ll be Base E area is 368 trendsetters wishing to get away for a convenient lifted above Lake Tashiro to wider and less ski weekend. The crescent-shaped Prince Hotel Kagura 40% 35% 30% crowded slopes and better snow quality, but the area closes 20% 30% 45% cuts an imposing figure at the base of this classic ski-in/skiArea at 4 p.m. and the lift line back to Naeba can be long, so beware. out resort and features all the trappings you would expect from 14 3 3 5 5 5 A better option is to access the Tashiro Ropeway on Route a Prince-managed resort hotel. Off the mountain, there are To Naeba Tashiro Area 17. You can then traverse across Tashiro in about 40 minutes children’s services, hot springs and other amenities and, on the 1 to Kagura, a popular backcountry zone and a great option for mountain, a terrain park, kids park, family snow park and more. To Naeba Longest Course: 4,000m Longest Course: 6,000m early and late season skiing. The Mitsumata area has a small Naeba is connected to Kagura, Tashiro, and Mitsumata ski areas 22 Top Elevation: 1,789m boarder's park, a few jumps and twoBeginner 23 Top Elevation: 1,845m Beginner Intermediate Intermediate Advanced good slopes for learning. via the "Dragondola," which travels 5.5 kilometers in just 15 Advanced courses courses Lifts Gondola Lifts Gondola Base Elevation: 900m Base Elevation: 620m Accessible by the Mitsumata Ropeway on Route 17. minutes, so there are 44 trails explore if you have the time. Park

Park

Park

ACCESS By Train and Free Shuttle: Joetsu Shinkansen from Tokyo to Echigo Yuzawa Station (77 minutes) then free shuttle bus to Naeba Resort (50 minutes)

ACCESS By Train and Shuttle Bus: Take the Joetsu Shinkansen to Echigo Yuzawa Station (77 minutes) then shuttle bus to the resort (approx. 30 minutes)

For more Niigata information visit OJ Online (www.outdoorjapan.com)

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GALA YUZAWA SNOW RESORT (0257) 85-6543 Dec. 19 - May 8

Yuzawa, Niigata

www.galaresort.jp/winter/english 8:00  - 17:00

1 DAY Adults ¥4,600 TICKET Kids ¥2,300

If you want a quick, convenient day-trip from Tokyo, you can’t get any easier than GALA Yuzawa. The ski resort has its very own bullet train and train station that doubles as the ski lodge. The amazing efficiency means you won’t be alone on the hill. However, get up to the mountain, get in a few runs with friends and be back in time to buy your favorite designer goods in Harajuku. The resort is geared toward recreation and families with kids, but it does connect to other resorts, so there are more options for serious skiers. And if you just want to have fun in the snow for a day with friends, you can’t beat the convenience. Park

Beginner Station Intermediate ACCESS By Train: 77 minutes from Tokyo Station to GALA Yuzawa Lifts Gondola By Car: 5 minutes from Yuzawa I.C. (Kanetsu Expressway)

Advanced Descent Course

Park

35% 1 2

Park

Beginner Lifts

Intermediate Advanced Descent Course Gondola

35% 1 2

16

courses

40% 1 4

16

courses

40% 1 4

25% 3

Longest Course: 2,500m Top Elevation: 1,181m Base Elevation: 358m

25% 3

Longest Course: 2,500m Top Elevation: 1,181m Base Elevation: 358m

IWAPPARA

Yuzawa, Niigata

(0257) 87-3211 www.iwa-ppara.com 1 DAY Adults ¥4,000 Dec.5 - Apr. 3 8:00 - 20:00 (17:00 - 20:00) (Saturdays: 8:00 - 21:00) TICKET Kids ¥2,500

Although Iwappara looks like a relic of Japan’s bubble era, with big pink apartments along the course, it is still one of the more popular resorts in the Yuzawa area. It’s super convenient from the station (seven minutes) by shuttle bus, so it is quite possible to do a day trip from Tokyo. The main course is very wide open, making it a great place for beginners to practice their turns without fear of being run over by a speedy skier (or vice versa). The views from the top are nice, and the village area around the ski area has a nice selection of restaurants.

Beginnerto Echigo Intermediate Advanced Yuzawa ACCESS By Train and Shuttle Bus: 77 minutes from Tokyo Station Lifts(7 minutes) Gondola Station then shuttle bus from Echigo Yuzawa Station

Park

40% 2

Beginner Lifts

40% 2

Intermediate Gondola

Advanced

40% 7

12

courses

Snow-Country

20%

Super Pass

Yuzawa, Niigata 1 DAY Adults ¥4,200 TICKET Kids ¥3,200

NASPA is a relatively new ski resort (opened in 1992) whose claim to fame is being one of the last skiers-only resorts left in Japan. The ski hill is behind the deluxe New Otani Hotel. The resort definitely caters toward families who ski and want to stay in luxury. Guests can enjoy the excellent hot springs, Jacuzzis, a swimming pool, fitness center and a selection of restaurants. Its location near the station makes for a quick, convenient ski weekend from Tokyo, if you want to get in a few turns (on skis) with the family. Park

(025) 782-1028 www.jkokusai.co.jp Dec. 5 - Apr. 3 8:00 - 21:00 (17:00 - 21:00)

38% 2

Park

38% 2

8 BeginnerYuzawa Intermediate StationAdvanced (77 courses ACCESS By Train and Free Shuttle Bus: Joetsu Shinkansen to Echigo minutes) then free shuttle bus to NASPA Ski Garden (5Lifts minutes)Gondola

JOETSU KOKUSAI SKI RESORT

YUZAWA;

Park

Beginner Lifts

Intermediate Gondola

37% 1

Advanced

20%

Longest Course: 4,000m Top Elevation: 985m Base Elevation: 400m

Longest Course: 4,000m 12 Top Elevation: 985m courses Base Elevation: 400m

NASPA SKI GARDEN (025) 780-6888 www.naspa.co.jp/ski/ Dec. 19 - Apr. 10 8:30 - 18:00 (17:00 - 18:00)

40% 7

8

courses

25% 2

01. NAEBA 01. NAEBA-ASAGAI 02. KAGURA 03. LUDENS YUZAWA 04. NAKAZATO SNOW WOOD 05. YUZAWA NAKAZATO 06. YUZAWA PARK 07. IWAPPARA 08. NASPA SKI GARDEN Longest Course: 2.2km 09. IPPONSUGI Top 10. Elevation: 690mKOGEN YUZAWA Base 11. Elevation: GALA430m YUZAWA 12. MAIKO

37% 1

25% 2

MINAKAMI; 13. NORN

MUIKAMACHI; 14. MUIKAMACHI 15. HAKKAISAN

TOKAMACHI; 16. MATSUNOYAMA-ONSEN

SAKAE VILLAGE; 17. SAKAE CLUB

Longest Course: 2.2km Top Elevation: 690m Base Elevation: 430m

Minamiuonuma, Niigata 1 DAY Adults ¥4,000 TICKET Kids ¥2,500

To the north of Yuzawa Town is a 634-room, European-style hotel that anchors the Joetsu Kokusai Ski Resort. The runs are relatively short here, but there is a long 6K trail and a 38-degree “Daibetto Slope” that will challenge anyone’s courage. The resort also has an extensive terrain park and two half-pipes; one used for the World Cup, and regularly hosts events such as the Nippon Freeskiing Competition. It’s also a great place for kids featuring the Kids Paradise areas with snow tubing and air slides, Sori Land (Sled Land), the Sponge Bob Kids Park and a “day nursery.” Park

Beginner Intermediate Echigo Yuzawa ACCESS By Train and Bus: Joetsu Shinkansen from Tokyo toLifts Gondola Station (77 minutes) then train to Joetsu Kokusai (15 minutes)

Advanced

Park

30% 3 Park

Beginner Lifts

30% 3

Intermediate Gondola

50% 4

Advanced

22

courses

50% 4

20% 18

Longest Course: 6,000m Top Elevation: 1,017m Base Elevation: 200m

20% 18

Longest Course: 6,000m Top Elevation: 1,017m courses Base Elevation: 200m

22

More information online at www.outdoorjapan.com/snow WINTER 2016

53


JAPAN SNOW GUIDE

TRAVEL NOTES Joetsu Kokusai

NIIGATA

If you missed one of the torch skiing events during the holiday season, you can still have a chance to enjoy the spectacle at the Ski Carnival and Fireworks Festival at Seki Onsen on Mar. 20 (from 7 p.m.). This year, from Jan. 16 and Feb. 19, a shuttle bus will run from Akakura Onsen to Seki Onsen, departing at 8:20 a.m. from Akakura and returning from Seki Onsen at 3:40 p.m. The trip takes about 30 minutes. Web: www.sekionsen.com Step back in time at the Kamakura Festival in Gala Yuzawa. From Feb. 6-14 visitors can enjoy warm sake and oshiruko (red bean desserts) while sitting inside a kamakura (igloo). You can also wear traditional Japanese snow wear. Enjoy Niigata Prefecture’s famous sake and local ingredients while watching the fireworks at the Gala Yuzawa Fair (Feb. 1221). Web: www.galaresort.jp The Jokoku Winter Carnival at Joetsu Kokusai will take place on Mar. 12. This oneday celebration features fireworks, prizes and giveaways, sake and food stalls and, of course, skiing and snowboarding. Feb. 6 and Mar. 5 are game days at Joetsu Kokusai, where you and your kids can participate in an undokai

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Charmant Hiuchi

( spor ts fest iva l ) w it h obstacle a nd relay races that last from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Admission is free and there will be prizes for participants. Slope Style, one of Japan’s top annual slope style snowboarding events, will be held Feb. 27-28. Web: www.jkokusai.co.jp

all season. Take in the v iew of beautif ul Lake Nojiri below and enjoy watching your k id s ma ke t hei r f i r st t u r n s. Web : w w w. princehotels.co.jp/ski/myoko

This season Charmant Hiuchi introduces free morning and evening shuttle buses making it an easy day trip from Tokyo via the new Hokuriku Shinkansen (bullet train). T he s hut t le bu s r u n s on we ek end s a nd public holidays from Itoigawa Station (on the Hokuriku Shinkansen Line) with pick-up times at 9 a.m. from Itoigawa Station and 4 p.m. from Charmant Hiuchi. It is an hour ride from the station to the ski resort.

Jap a n’s to p o utd o or br a n d M ont b e l l opened its second shop in Switzerland at the base of the iconic Matterhorn. The new store is on the second floor right in front of Zermatt Station. Montbell’s latest location is the place to pick up any last minute hiking gear, information, souvenirs or travel goods before visiting the Gornergrat observatory or trekking in the surrounding mountains. Web: www.montbell.com

March is contest season at Charmant Hiuchi. Skiers and snowboarders can compete for the Charmant Cup 2016, held Mar. 13, and the Speed Masters 2016 on Mar. 20. The fastest contestant takes home the prize. Web: www. charmant-hiuchi.jp

The North Face Mountain Gear Stand at Tomamu is back for the snow season. This year the container pop -up store has t wo zones: The Snow Stand, which offers winter sports apparel, backpacks and accessories, and the Travel Stand, featuring travel-friendly and practical lifestyle wear. Open every day from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on the first floor of The Tower at Tomamu Resort. Web: www. snowtomamu.jp

If you’ve been thinking about getting your kids on the mountain, now is the time. Kids under 13 ski free at Myoko Suginohara

GEAR


MYOKO SUGINOHARA (0255) 86-6211 www.princehotels.co.jp/ski/myoko Dec. 19 - Mar. 27 8:30 - 16:30

Myoko, Niigata 1 DAY Adults ¥4,500 TICKET Kids ¥3,900

Park

Myoko Kogen is simply one of the naturally prettiest ski areas in Japan. Suginohara is part of the Prince Resorts family (although there is no hotel here), and the facilities are well maintained. The runs above the gondola are where advanced skiers and powder hounds will have the most fun, and there are English backcountry guides available. The resort has 16 trails, a terrain park, kids sledding area (ask about kids skiing free), hot springs and six on-hill restaurants. Suginohara also boasts Japan’s longest top-to-bottom, an 8.5-kilometer thigh burner that will test anyone’s meddle if left for the last run of the day. The stunning view of Lake Nojiri below from the gondola makes it worth the trip alone.

40% 1

40% 2

20% 2

Park

Beginner Lifts

Intermediate Gondola

40% 2

40% 1

Advanced

16

courses

Longest Course: 8,500m Top Elevation: 1,855m Base Elevation: 731m

20% 2

Park

Beginner Station Intermediate ACCESS By Train: 120 minutes from Tokyo Station to Myoko Kogen Lifts Gondola By Car: 160 minutes from Tokyo

Advanced

16

courses

AKAKURA ONSEN (0255) 87-2125 Dec. 12 - Apr. 3

Akakura Onsen, Niigata

www.akakura-ski.com 8:30 - 22:00 (17:00 - 22:00)

1 DAY Adults ¥4,200 TICKET Kids ¥3,000

Park

Akakura Ski Resort is located at the bottom of Mt. Myoko and is the largest resort in the Myoko Heights area. The resort has a nice variety of courses as well as powder stashes and some challenging courses on the old “Champions” side of the mountain. The town’s hot springs date back to 1814, and there is no better way to finish off a day on the mountain. The Akakura Resort & Spa sits majestically on the slopes. It’s a great place to stay if you want ski in/ski out luxury. The area averages about 13 meters of snow annually, so there is plenty of fluffy stuff, and it has a pleasant natural beauty. Akakura has a nice variety of courses, but the most challenging runs are on the old “Champions” side of the mountain.

50% 2 Park

Beginner Lifts

Intermediate Gondola

30% 4

50% 2

Park

20 Beginner Advanced (1 hr., 45Intermediate min.), then take courses ACCESS By Train: Shinkansen from Tokyo Station to Nagano Station Lifts10 minutes Gondola the JR Shinetsu Honsen Line to Myoko Kogen Station, then by bus

SEKI ONSEN (0255) 82-2316 Dec. 18 - May 8

Longest Course: 8,500m Top Elevation: 1,855m Base Elevation: 731m

Advanced

20

courses

30% 4

20% 9

Longest Course: 3,000m Top Elevation: 1,200m Base Elevation: 650m

20% 9

English Ski & Snowboard Lessons Snowshoe tour

Longest Course: 3,000m Top Elevation: 1,200m Base Elevation: 650m

Seki Onsen, Niigata

www.sekionsen.com 9:00 - 17:00

1 DAY Adults ¥4,000 TICKET Kids ¥3,000

Park

Seki is the highest ski area in the Myoko Kogen area and, even though there are just two lifts, there is access to many powder runs. This is a locals mountain, and they check the weather reports and know when the storms will hit, sometimes dropping one or two meters of new snow overnight. It pays to get up early if you want first tracks. Don’t expect groomers; this is natural terrain and free riding at its finest: tree runs, natural pipes and some good hits.

20% 1 Park

Beginner Lifts

20% 1

Intermediate Gondola

30% 1

Advanced

Longest Course: 1,600m Top Elevation: 1,620m

6

courses Base Elevation: 1,000m

A little-known place awesome for

50%

Skiing & Snowboarding

MINAKAMI GUNMA

Park

Beginner(1 hr., Intermediate Advanced 45 min.), then ACCESS By Train: Shinkansen from Tokyo Station to Nagano Station Gondolaby taxi take the JR Shinetsu Honsen Line to Sekiyama Station,Lifts then 20 min.

+81-80-9083-2179

30% 50% 1 www.canyons.jp

Longest Course: 1,600m 6 Top Elevation: 1,620m courses Base Elevation: 1,000m

CHARMANT HIUCHI

Alpine Lodge Ski & Snowboard Lessons Backcountry tours Snowshoe tours

Itoigawa, Niigata

(025) 568-2244 http://charmant-hiuchi.jp Dec. 19 - May 10 8:30 - 16:30

1 DAY Adults ¥3,800 TICKET Kids ¥2,800

Park

Charmant is a locally owned and operated ski resort most of your friends do not know about but may wish they did. The resort is literally right on the Japan Sea (you can see it from the top lifts) and gets some of the heaviest snow dumps around. It is also a healthy drive from Tokyo (four hours), but is worth the trip if you enjoy short lift lines and uncrowded slopes. There are lots of ungroomed areas and advanced terrain including a 1,000-meter powder course. The proximity to the sea means there is some excellent seafood nearby as well, and you can ski straight through Golden Week.

20% 1

35%

Park

Beginner Lifts

20% 1

Intermediate Gondola

45% 2

Advanced

16

courses

Longest Course: 2,700m Top Elevation: 1,009m Base Elevation: 501m

35%

Park

Beginner Intermediate From Advanced is inconvenient. ACCESS Car access is recommended: Train and bus serviceLifts Gondola Tokyo it takes 4 hours by car, depending on traffic and weather

45% 2

Longest Course: 2,700m 16 Top Elevation: 1,009m courses Base Elevation: 501m

+81-278-72-2811 www.canyons.jp

For more Niigata information visit OJ Online (www.outdoorjapan.com) WINTER 2016

55


Kawaba

Minakami Houdaigi Okutone Snow Park

GUNMA

Tenjindaira Tanigawadake

Oze Iwakura

Norn Minakami Manza Onsen

Kusatsu Kokusai

W

hile neighboring Niigata gets most of the attention, Gunma quietly has some great snow resorts of its own. Located in northeast Gunma near the border with

Niigata, Minakami has 10 ski resorts and is just 90 minutes from Tokyo. Oze Katashina is another quality area that flies under the radar. Katashina Town lies in the shadows of mighty Mt. Hotaka and Mt. Shirane and features nearby resorts such as the popular Oze Iwakura, Hotaka Bokujo, a boarder’s park, and Oguna Hotaka, a nice mid-sized resort. Manza, to the east of Katashina, the popular ski and onsen areas of Manza and Kusatsu Resort & Spa are great places to relax before or after a good day on the mountain.

MINAKAMI HOUDAIGI

OKUTONE SNOW PARK

Minakami, Gunma

(0278) 75-2557 www.hodaigi.jp Dec. 12 - Apr. 10 8:00 - 16:30

(0278) 72-8101 Dec. 18 - Apr. 3

1 DAY Adults ¥4,200 TICKET Kids ¥2,800

Minakami, Gunma

www.okutone.jp 8:00 - 22:00 (weekends & holidays 6:00 - 24:00)

(17:00-22:00) (Until 24:00 on Fridays, Saturdays, and the days before National Holidays)

1 DAY Adults ¥4,200 TICKET Kids Free for children <12

Park

Park

50% 2

30% 5

20% 1

30% 5

4 1

Park

Minakami Houdaigi ski resort is the largest in the Minakami area. The resort, due to the higher elevation, also gets good quality snow. Although there are many beginner and intermediate runs, there are a few advanced courses as well, including a killer 40-degree slope and a 2,600-meter cruiser. Parents can let their kids have fun safely on tubes and airboards in the “Kids Land,” and older kids can enjoy the “Action Land” with tabletops, waves and banks. Park

Beginner Lifts

Intermediate

Advanced

Park

Longest Course: 1,400m Longest If rails, pipes and jumps are your thing, 16 Top Elevation: 10 Top Ele 1,400m Beginner Intermediate Advanced Beginner Intermediate Advanced Okutone ski area is the place to go in courses courses Lifts Lifts Gondola Base Elevation: 830m Base E Minakami. The park staff takes good care of guests who come to perfect their style at the 30% 20% resort’s park. The night sessions are popular, since they keep 50% 40% 30% 30% the lights on until midnight on Friday and Saturday nights 1 2 5 5 1 and before national holidays. The north-facing courses have nice snow quality, and you can enjoy some turns on the 3,000-meter long course. Okutone is just two hours from Longest Course: 1,400m Longest Course: 3,000m making it super convenient. They offer free tickets to 16 Top Elevation: 1,400m Tokyo, 10 Top Elevation: 1,083m Intermediate Advanced kids under 12 and free coffee if you Beginner come before 10 a.m. on courses Base Elevation: 830m courses Base Elevation: 550m Lifts Gondola weekdays. Park

ACCESS By Train and Bus: Shinkansen to Jomo Kogen (75 minutes) then bus to Houdaigi (70 minutes)

NORN MINAKAMI

Minakami, Gunma

(0278)-72-6688 www.norn.co.jp Dec. 17 - Mar. 31 8:00 - 22:00/24:00 (16:30 - 24:00)

ACCESS By Train and Bus: Shinkansen to Jomo Kogen (75 minutes) then bus to Okutone (40 minutes)

TENJINDAIRA TANIGAWADAKE

Minakami, Gunma

(0278) 72-3575 www.tanigawadake-rw.com End of Nov. - Late May 8:00 - 16:00 1 DAY Adults ¥4,500 TICKET Kids ¥3,600

1 DAY Adults ¥3,500 TICKET Kids ¥2,000

Park

Park

30% 2

50% 2

30% 1

20%

4 4

Park Park

Longest Longest Course: 2,000mTenjindaira is better known to Although Situated just three kilometers from the 10 Top Ele 5 Top Elevation: 1,220m Beginner Intermediate Advanced most for trekking in summer, when the tram is Beginner Intermediate Advanced Minakami Interchange, Norn Minakami is the courses courses Lifts Gondola Lifts Base E Base Elevation: 820mhikers, the resort is a popular stop packed with most convenient of the Minakami Resorts if on the backcountry trail. The resort itself is you are coming by car. The resort is great for 40% 30% 30% 20% relatively small, but lift lines are usually short and the snow 20% 60% families. They’ve created “family zones” where the average quality can be excellent if it’s not too windy up top. However, slope is just 13 degrees and a Day Care Center where parents 1 4 2 2 the secret to “Tenjin” is off the main trails. Those who like can drop off the little ones and enjoy some time on the their riding steep and deep head for the backcountry. This mountain themselves. Norn is open from 7 a.m. to midnight is “enter at your own risk” territory and not a place to go on weekends, so you can enjoy a long day on the slopes and, Longest Course: 4,000m Longest Course: 2,000m avalanche gear (and the knowledge how to use it). like all Minakami resorts, it is not far from some great hot 10 Top Elevation: 1,500m 5 Top Elevation: 1,220m without Beginner local Intermediate Beginner Intermediate Advanced Better yet, hire one of the knowledgeable guides andAdvanced courses springs. courses Lifts Gondola Lifts Base Elevation: 750m Base Elevation: 820m enjoy some "Japow!" Park

Park

ACCESS By Train: 150 minutes from Tokyo Station to Minakami Station, then free shuttle. By Car: 90 minutes from Tokyo (Nerima IC) via Kanetsu Expressway

ACCESS By Train and Bus: Shinkansen to Takasaki Station, then change to the Joetsu Line to Minakami Station, then 20 minutes by bus to Tenjindaira

For more Gunma information visit OJ Online (www.outdoorjapan.com)

56

T R AV E L E R


KAWABA (0278) 52-3345 Dec. 5 - Apr. 10

Kawaba, Gunma www.kawaba.co.jp 8:30 - 16:00

1 DAY Adults ¥4,500 TICKET Kids ¥3,200

There’s something different about Kawaba. You’ll notice it the first time you pull into the covered parking area of the eight-story Kawaba City center house. There are six floors of parking and the seventh and eighth floors are filled with restaurants and ski/board shops. On the mountain, Kawaba is progressive as well with a nice balance of park and powder. Within the 10,790 meters of skiable terrain is the “Powder Zone,” a section of the mountain left ungroomed for powder lovers. There is a good mogul course, the Free Ride Park (back by popular demand) and a 3,300-meter trail for cruising. Kawaba City also includes a ski school, kids corner and locker rooms.

Park

20% 3

40% 1

40% 1

Park

Beginner Lifts

Intermediate Gondola

20% 3

40% 1

Advanced

10

Longest Course: 2,000m Top Elevation: 2,020m

courses Base Elevation: 1,290m

40% 1

Park

Longest Course: 2,000m 10 Top Elevation: 2,020m Beginner Intermediatethen Advanced (75 minutes), a courses ACCESS By Train and Shuttle Bus: Shinkansen to Jomo Kogen Lifts Gondola Base Elevation: 1,290m 50-minute shuttle bus ride to Kawaba

KUSATSU KOKUSAI

Kusatsu, Gunma

(0279) 88-8111 www.kusatsu-kokusai.com Dec. 12 - Apr. 10 8:30 - 21:00 (17:00 - 21:00)

1 DAY Adults ¥4,000 TICKET Kids ¥3,200

Although Kusatsu is famous as one of the country’s best onsen resorts, the area also features a quality ski resort that has been around since the Taisho Era and is open nearly six months out of the year. Kusatsu Snow & Spa has an eight-kilometer downhill course, one of the longest in Japan (along with Myoko Suginohara), a Kids Square where the little ones can enjoy activities such as snow tubing, and a variety of Heliport courses for all levels. However, the best part of being at Kusatsu is the fact you can enjoy some world-famous hot springs after a great day on the mountain.

Park Heliport

20% 1

50% 2

30% 8

Park

Beginner Lifts

Intermediate Gondola

20% 1

50% 2

Advanced

Longest Course: 8,000m Top Elevation: 2,171m

9

courses Base Elevation: 1,245m

30% 8

Park

Beginner Intermediate from Tokyo (72 ACCESS By Train and Bus: Shinkansen to Karuizawa StationLifts minutes), then 55 min. by direct bus from Karuizawa Station Gondola

Advanced

Longest Course: 8,000m Top Elevation: 2,171m courses Base Elevation: 1,245m

9

MANZA ONSEN

Tsumagoi, Gunma

(0279) 97-3117 www.princehotels.co.jp/ski/manza/ Dec. 12 - Apr. 10 8:30 - 17:00 (Saturdays 8:30 - 20:00)

1 DAY Adults ¥4,300 TICKET Kids ¥0

Manza Onsen is another of Prince Resorts signature properties, and the hotel’s buildings command an imposing presence at the bottom of the hill. The resort features a lot of good beginner and intermediate runs and is a great place for families. There are not a lot of challenging runs for advanced skiers, but the scenery is beautiful, the snow quality excellent as it is one of Japan’s highest resorts and the hotel has a nice rotenburo (outdoor bath) for after-ski soaking. The facilities and amenities are on a par with what you’d expect from Prince Resorts, making for a stress-free ski experience.

Park

40% 20% 40% 1 At Nozawa 5 Onsen Snow Resort

Below Hikage Area Mos Burger

Park

Beginner Lifts

Intermediate Gondola

40% 1

40% 5

Advanced

www.shirakaba8.com/rental

Longest Course: 2,100m Top Elevation: 1,994m

9

courses Base Elevation: 1,646m

20%

Park

Longest Course: 2,100m 9 Top Elevation: 1,994m Beginner Intermediate Advanced Manza-Kazawaguchi courses ACCESS By Train & Bus: Takasaki Line from JR Ueno Station to Lifts Gondola(50 min.) Base Elevation: 1,646m Stn. (160 min.) then change to the Seibu Kogen Bus to Manza Onsen

OZE IWAKURA

Katashina, Gunma

(0278) 58-7777 www.oze-iwakura.co.jp/ski/ Dec. 12 - Apr. 10 8:00 - 21:00 (16:30 - 21:00)

1 DAY Adults ¥4,600 TICKET Kids ¥2,500

Oze Iwakura is the largest of the Katashina ski resorts. It was also one of the longest skiersonly holdouts. The mountain itself has a timeless, genteel feel to it, where visitors enjoy breathing in the fresh air and taking in the views. This year Oze Iwakura celebrates its 40th anniversary, and with the new Shisaka Tunnel, access from Numata I.C. has never been easier. If you get tired of groomers, you’ll find some nice powder on the fringes while some areas outside the lines will be tempting. Yet Iwakura remains a skier's mountain at heart, and skiers will enjoy the long, cruising runs, moguls and some challenging steep terrain. Park

Beginner then byIntermediate bus to Oze ACCESS By Train and Bus: Shinkansen to Jomo Kogen (75 minutes) Lifts Gondola Iwakura (90 min.)

Advanced

Park

30% 11 9

Park

Beginner Lifts

30% 11 9

Intermediate Gondola

40% 1

Advanced

16

40% 1

30% 2

Longest Course: 3,200m Top Elevation: 1,703m

courses Base Elevation: 1,006m

30% 2

Longest Course: 3,200m Top Elevation: 1,703m courses Base Elevation: 1,006m

16

More information online at www.outdoorjapan.com/snow WINTER 2016

57


JAPAN SNOW GUIDE

TRAVEL NOTES

Hakuba Cortina

NAGANO

If your kids love cars, trucks or trains, they’ll adore the “Snow Cat” snowmobiles at Hakuba Cortina Resort this season. Ever y Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday from Dec. 26 – Mar. 30, guests can enjoy a leisurely ride across the snowy landscape in the beautiful Hakuba Valley. Admission fee is ¥1,800 for adults and ¥1,200 for k ids. Web: w w w.hg p.co.jp / cortina/ski Hakuba Iwatake’s new Takeko Park has plenty of kid-friendly activities – from snow rafting, bouncy house, snowmobile riding and sledding slopes. Between January and March, go treasure hunting for a h idden su r pr ise somewhere within this park. If you find stickers around the resort’s slopes and trees with the “Takeko” mascot on it, you could win goodies, lif t tickets and even a season pass. Spring discounts from March 22-27, when 1-day passes cost ¥2,200 for adults and ¥1,200 for kids. Web: www.iwatake.jp Po w der lo v er s s ho u ld j u mp on t he ne w Hokuriku Shinkansen to Iiyama Station; from here, hop on the bus to Madarao. Madarao’s two tree and powder areas have expanded this season. Be sure to check out Madarao’s new “Sawa” tree run. The course boasts a kilometerlong natural half-pipe. The powder zones are on the right as you make your way down the Family Line. Backcountry tours are also available. Web: www.madarao.jp/ski and www.tangram.jp Manza Onsen Madarao

Celebrate Manza Onsen’s 60th Anniversary this season. Every month on the 6th, 16th and 26th score an adult pair tickets for just ¥6,000, while seniors (60-years+) receive free oneday tickets on these dates. Manza Onsen also welcomes a new Snow Park with a 50-meter snow escalator, sledding area for kids, a practice area for beginners and a long tubing course. Web: www.princehotels.co.jp/ski/manza

The North Face Kids Nature School

Kawaba

GUNMA

Start your Minakami Okutone ski holiday at the resort’s newly renovated ski center, The Gatehouse. The center, at the base of the hill, includes a café, easy ticketing booths, ski and snowboard rentals, gloves and snow-wear shop and comfortable locker and changing room facilities. Drop by before 10 a.m. on weekdays for the “Welcome Coffee Service” to receive a free cup of coffee. The Gatehouse is open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Web: http://okutone.jp/english.php.

58

T R AV E L E R

Lea r n to ski f rom Oly mpic skier A ki ra Sasaki on Jan. 16 at Tambara Ski Park. The Nor th Face am bassador w ill be at the Kids Nature School, a workshop organized by The North Face, specifically for parents and children From Grades 1-6. The participation fee is ¥8,000 for adults and ¥6,000 for children and includes a lift pass and rental skis and boots. To sign up, call (03) 6450-6481 or email tnf-kids-ns@benature.jp. Cruise untouched tracks on Kawaba’s First T racks Tour bet ween Decem ber a nd m idMarch, depending on snow conditions. Ride a snowmobile and receive one free commemorative photo of you and your friends (picked up at the ticket counter after your tour). Reser vations are required and can be made online. While you’re descending Kawaba’s peaks, stop by the resort’s new Jacky’s restaurant, for crispy fried chicken. Jacky’s is located on the first floor of the Restaurant Panorama House. Web: www. kawaba.co.jp


GIFU Takasu Snow Park Dynaland

A

s far as resorts in central Honshu go, Gifu gets much less attention than Nagano, Niigata and Gunma. Nonetheless there are a number of quality resorts in the region that primarily service the Nagoya and Kansai regions. Less than a couple hours from the main Gifu ski resorts is the Edo-style town of Takayama, known as “Little Kyoto.” Takayama’s master carpenters built some beautiful shrines and temples here at the base of the Japan Alps. Also in the region, along the border of Gifu and Toyama prefectures are the World Heritage villages of Shirakawa-go and Gokoyama, known for the thatched roof houses built in “gassho-zukuri” (praying hands) style. These A-frame farmhouses are constructed to withstand the heavy snowfall that blankets the region each year. If you are looking for good skiing and mixing in some great cultural experiences, Gifu is a great winter destination.

TAKASU SNOW PARK

Takasu, Gifu

(0575) 72-7000 www.takasu.gr.jp Dec. 12 - Apr. 24 8:00 - 16:30

1 DAY Adults ¥4,900 TICKET Kids ¥2,000

Takasu is well known to park riders. The resort has a large free ride park that includes kickers, rails, boxes and one of the biggest super pipes in Japan. There is also a 600-meter professional boarder cross course and a mogul course. The resort is the training grounds for many of Japan’s rising stars and has hosted a number of competitions including the FIS Snowboard World Cup. Aside from the amazing pipe and park, winter sports enthusiasts of all levels can enjoy the openfaced free ride terrain including a 4,800-meter trail, one of longest in western Japan, and several other 4,000-meter trails. There are even some backcountry tours through Dainichi Valley.

Park

35% 1

35% 3

30%

Park

Beginner Lifts

Intermediate Gondola

35% 1

35% 3

Advanced

12

courses

Longest Course: 4,800m Top Elevation: 1,550m Base Elevation: 950m

30%

Park

BeginnerTakasu Intermediate and ACCESS By Bus: A bus leaves Nagoya at 8 a.m. stopping at both Gondola Dynaland. The trip takes about 2 hours, 45 minutes Lifts

Advanced

12

courses

Longest Course: 4,800m Top Elevation: 1,550m Base Elevation: 950m

DYNALAND

Takasu, Gifu

(0575) 72-6636 www.dynaland.co.jp Dec. 5 - Apr. 3 Weekdays 8:00 - 16:30 (18:00 - 23:00)

1 DAY Adults ¥4,900 TICKET Kids ¥2,000

Dynaland is the largest of the Takasu ski resorts. There are 19 runs; the longest a 3,200-meter thigh burner. There is a shared ticket to neighboring Takasu Snow Park and two places on the mountain that connect the resorts. If you want to get out on the slopes first thing in the morning, the Hotel Villa Mon-Saint is right in front of the resort, and there are 5 a.m. openings for first tracks on selected dates. The resort has featured a resident DJ who will take music requests, and you can do some good for Mother Nature while having a lunch break since the Dynaland Eco Project collects proceeds from resort restaurants to support a Gifu tree planting project. Night skiing runs until 11 p.m.

Park

40% 3

32% 3

28%

Park

Beginner Lifts

40% 3

Intermediate Gondola

32% 2

Advanced

18

courses

Longest Course: 3,200m Top Elevation: 1,430m Base Elevation: 983m

28%

Park

Beginner Intermediate Takasu and ACCESS By Bus: A bus leaves Nagoya at 8 a.m. stopping at both Gondola Dynaland. The trip takes about 2 hours, 45 minutes Lifts

Advanced

Longest Course: 3,200m Top Elevation: 1,430m courses Base Elevation: 983m

20

For more Gifu information visit OJ Online (www.outdoorjapan.com) WINTER 2016

59


TRAVEL & ADVENTURE DIRECTORY HOKKAIDO

HOKKAIDO

Amazingly Dry Powder Snow

Head to Hokkaido's last frontier ' ' www.facebook.com/HokkaidoPowderBelt NAGANO

HOKKAIDO

GUNMA

NAGANO

SKI JAPAN

Season runs from December 3rd to May 6th (With Mother Natures Blessing)

Come in December, March or April and beat the crowds and save some money!

tel. 050 5532 6026 www.nozawaholidays.com

60

T R AV E L E R


TOKYO

TOKUSHIMA

TOKYO

SAITAMA

TOKYO

SHIZUOKA

CELEBRATING HUMAN POWER AND INTRODUCING THE QUIET BACKSTREETS, BEAUTIFUL PARKS AND UNIQUE CULTURE OF TOKYO NOT FOUND ON TOURIST MAPS.

freewheeling.jp KOCHI

PPYRA A H

OKINAWA

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WINTER 2016

61


TRAVEL & ADVENTURE DIRECTORY OKINAWA

MICRONESIA

MICRONESIA

THAILAND

KOH LANTA  KRABI  THAILAND

email: reservation@pimalai.com

www.pimalai.com

Discover Nature, Discover Yourself. MICRONESIA

BALI 癒しの空間で... 波を心いくまで満喫...

サーフィンガイド サーフィンコーチ ラグジャリーな宿泊施設

Surf Guiding Surf Coaching Luxury Accommodation

Feel at home... Enjoy the ride... TAIWAN

62

T R AV E L E R

VIETNAM

www.thechillhouse.com VIETNAM


Outdoor Japan Traveler - Issue 58 - Winter 2016  

Outdoor Japan Traveler's big winter issue includes the annual Japan Snow Guide packed full of resort guides, Japan Ski Resort Maps and lots...

Outdoor Japan Traveler - Issue 58 - Winter 2016  

Outdoor Japan Traveler's big winter issue includes the annual Japan Snow Guide packed full of resort guides, Japan Ski Resort Maps and lots...

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