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Nozawa Onsen Dec 18-19 2012


I headed to Nozawa Onsen for my first slide of the season. My snowboarding partner for this trip was my girlfriend. She had previously tried boarding but didn't like it, the only reason she agreed to try again is because I'll be in the snow nearly every weekend for the next 3 months. We arrived at Nozawa Onsen around 9 am, drove around town for a while looking for the rental shop and getting ready and we were strapping up our bindings at Yamabiko station by 11. The snow wasn't too bad on the 18th, around lunch time there was about 5-10 cm of fresh snow on top of a really hard ice layer. As the day went on the snow that was falling became lighter and more consistent.









There were limited lifts and courses open which lift me playing in the Yamabiko area while my girlfriend took an afternoon lesson. After her lesson we decided against taking the gondola down and tried to go down the Rinkan course. This wasn't the best idea as at the bottom the snow was still too thin to snowboard across to the car park area.






That night it continued to snow and we woke up to about 10cm of fresh snow on the car and a lot more up the top. The second day we ere able to get ready a lot faster and we were up the top and sliding by 9. I left me girlfriend to practice for a bit and went up to see what Yamabiko had to offer. The snow was amazing with the off piste action offering knee to waist deep snow. The visibility was pretty bad, which was made a lot worse by my goggles continually fogging up. I ended up spending most of the day boarding without goggles. As painful as it was riding without goggles it was still an extremely enjoyable morning. I did manage to get a couple of breaks in the weather and snap some photos. Most of the time it was like the first 2 photos in this post.









I met up with my girlfriend and rode the green runs down to the bottom of paradise until lunch. There was plenty of fresh snow even on these runs with the edge of paradise being knee deep if not more. After lunch the snow started to ease off a bit and we had some periods of no snow and even some blue sky.











I think we got pretty lucky with the weather and the conditions could have been a lot worse. It was my first time to go to Nozawa Onsen and definitely a place I would like to go back to in the future. We had a wonderful time and now my girlfriend has agreed to go on another trip early next years. So Jan 6-9 we will be off to Suginohara.


Also the pizzas at the Yamabiko restaurant are really good.

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You do need to pop back for sure. wait until you get to play on that middle run (ushikubi area) in a dump. I love that place, its just pure chaos. The things choppy as hell and mega fast. Its literally like youre riding on a bouncy castle. :) I love ushikubi. I mean theres better of course, and when it gets dry and icy its tough going, but if theres poder on it, its hilarious.

And next to that (also unopened at present) is skyline which i also adore but for the other reason that you can just open up and bomb it for a few kms (or however long it is). Its the only consistent and long fall line on the mountain, and i genuinely think its a real nice charging line. Its not like downhill material since its pretty damn straight, (and it does have one part that feels uphill), but aside that its a brilliant line to just push through.


Oh and the top of uenotaira to hikage via schneider is also good fun when its powdery. Its going to get moguled to hell thereafter, but its actually a more mellow line than ushikubi for a while. Lots to love to be honest.

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This is a short video I put together from the second day December 19th. I really didn't take much footage because I forgot my GoPro mounts but this will give you a better idea of what the snow condition was like. Its all filmed by just holding the camera in my hand, so I'm sorry if it causes you motion sickness.



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