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I almost fell off the side of Nozawa Onsen

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So once again in search of the powder fix, that like a heroin fix for a junky, can never truly be satisfied, this morning I called in sick to work to check out a whole new set of powder. . .


This is my Loooooong-winded story.


Last night at 10 pm I read on my customized resort watch, that Nozawa had gotten 30cm of new snow, but the first thing I gotta ask is "was that a mistake snowjapan.com ?" The guy at the gondola told me 10cm. And there is no mention of 30 cm on the NOW update.


In any case I got the report, licked my lips, and raced home. Proceeded to wax up my freeride board (no more getting caught with the wrong tool), and set my alarm for early.


Not having a decent command of the train schedule from Nagano to Togari (near Nozawa), I got to the station at 9:00, caught the first train at 10:04, made it to Togari, or Iiyama, or whatever I don`t remember, but it was at 11:15 - bus to the town by 11:40, walk up the town to the gondola and finally to the course by like 12:15 - too late, but whatever, I`m tired enough right now. Just to recommend checking the schedule for next time.


So yeah Nozawa Onsen - off-course friendly is an understatement - I made one run on the course all day long - To go off course, I just followed the first local that I saw ducking the ropes - didn`t get sweated once the whole day, and the lifties thought I was pretty funny, my cotton sweatshirt full of powder. . .


But I didn`t start with a cotton sweatshirt, oh no . . . I started with the whole deal waterproof jacket, helmet, etc. It was a hotter day - I think because Nozawa is at a lower elevation - than what I am used to at the Hak - and after about 2 or 3 off course gully runs, I got a little adventurous, as I`m sure many people here have, and decided to hike up a little. So yeah it was allright for a minute until I came upon what appeared to be the end of Nozawa Onsen - I would say that I had to hike out for 40 minutes, but It was really more like climbing - I mean a fall would have meant a lost board, broken face, etc. I had to swing from tree to tree - well not really, but I clawed my way back up to the course using those stemmy green plants, that somehow manage to thrive with a meter of snow covering them.


In any case, yeah I made it back to the course finally, and had an epic day checking out the place - I rode under the upper-most chair that was open - i forget the name - to the tune of about 10-20 new cm - my own lines all afternoon long. great great stuff, natural booters that will launch yah 8-10 meters without much effort.


If anyone has made it through this longwinded story, I gotta say I love Nozawa, I love the mellow vibe of the courses, and the whole place is just beautiful.


Some of the townspeople are kinda nuts though I think - grumpy lot - they don`t seem to realize that they are living in one of the nicest parts of Japan. Or maybe they just don`t like sharing it with the likes of me ? ? Oh yeah, and I`ve never seen so much water in a town before in my life - just running everywhere.


And yes I hit one of the Onsen, I figured, I had to do it to make it worthwhile. I went to the Ohyu (or however ya spell in in Romanji), buncha naked old men, but really what was I expecting ? ?

It was relaxing, but I had no towel, sopping wet all the way home. drank a beer on the train, and had a half-asleep Japanese lesson when I got home.


I`ll do it again real soon

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Oh I have to say that I spent 1 week in Nozawa 2 Seasons ago. And to this day it was the most beautiful powder snow I have ever ridden. Nozawa onsen is very cool and the dudes working the lifts and ski Patrol will happily tell you where the good runs are. A very cool and relaxing resort.

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Under the top lift at Nozawa - I love it! And climb up to the very top on a good day and you can see the sea sparkling faintly in the distance. mmm have enjoyed a few kitkats up there with that view. Cant wait to get there this weekend \:D

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