Niimi Onsen seen through the forest canopy.

Niimi Onsen seen through the forest canopy.

It can be hard to describe powder skiing to those that have never come closer than a stiff groomer softened by the first kiss of the sun. So when people ask me how the powder was in Japan, it's not always easy to explain.

So...If you’re trying to imagine the Japan powder experience, just try to imagine white fluffy bunnies. Got it? If not, don't worry, I’ll help you visualize.

The bunnies have fur like clouds and ears of all shapes and sizes. If you’re picturing something like the suicide bunny, you’re a little off... but getting there.

 Photo: The Book of Bunny Suicides by Andy Riley

Photo: The Book of Bunny Suicides by Andy Riley

Similar, but less pessimistic. On a scale of 1 to cynical, these bunnies rate at the rainbow level. These bunnies have wings; shaped like Pegasus wings but they’re invisible to the naked eye.

 ACMG Ski Guide Jasmin Caton on New Years Day.

ACMG Ski Guide Jasmin Caton on New Years Day.

To understand what it’s like to ski powder in Japan, imagine that these bunnies are the size of a small pony and that you are riding them as they fly-bounce through down duvets and pillows. You, ridding your trusted bunny, are a knight amongst the dark reaching claws that tower around you in the clouds.

As the bunnies bounce through white down duvets, you float along with it in the sky. You duck, bob and swerve to avoid the gloomy claws reaching for you.

 Chuck probably wishing he brought goggles.

Chuck probably wishing he brought goggles.

 Watanabe-san snorkeling. Notice the facemask. 

Watanabe-san snorkeling. Notice the facemask. 

Sometimes it's a struggle to to breathe for all the billowing downy feathers washing up around your steed, the very very fluffy bunny. My bunny is called Tangerine. She was named by her dad, Micheal, and mom, Gumdrop. Micheal and Gumdrop are completely irrelevant to skiing powder in Japan.

 ACMG ASG Nicholas Bussiere

ACMG ASG Nicholas Bussiere

The important part is to imagine the cloud-furred bunnies frolicking in the sky amongst down duvets and pillows and somewhere in amidst it all is you, riding these bunnies in the middle of this utopia.

 Watanabe-San amongst the sasa bamboo

Watanabe-San amongst the sasa bamboo

And to finish off, here's a video of me giggling through the fields of powder with tangerine.

 

For planning your own guided powder skiing adventure in Hokkaido contact Hokkaido Powder Guides. I had a blast working for them and am looking forward to going back someday. 

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