Chicks with Stix

A Japanese Winter

Hey Chicks with Stix tribe……hope  that summer or winter is treating you well wherever you are in the world! Our CwS Coaches and Ambassadors are all over the place and having a ton of fun competing and coaching and generally ripping it up somewhere cold and snowy!

And yep….. this is why there has been a definite lack of blog updates this season [soz]

Well we’re planning to make it up to you with some check-ins from around the world and some updates on comps, statuses and even injuries (more on that later)

So keep tuning in here and follow us on  FB for some give-aways REAL SOON [promise]

First up : an update from CwS Coach Olivia Coates who is living it up in Japan this winter….

words by Olivia Coates

“Wanting to escape the norm of the Canadian ski fields; this winter I ventured to Japan for some iconic pow and a cultural change. Apprehensive at first, knowing not a single word of Japanese (except for the tourist go-to of konichiwa) I set out on an adventure that found me in a world away from home, (even though the time difference was a mere hour apart).

For 3 months I was based at Happo-one resort in Hakuba Japan. I taught snowboarding for Evergreen Ski School and when I managed to find some time away from teaching, travelled to get lost in nearby cities and new resorts.

The thing that lured me to Japan was the exceptional snow conditions that we’ve been hearing about for a few years now. It just so happened that the year I decided to make the trip, was the year of the worst snowfall in a decade or so.  Seems fitting, my mother always said I was the sunshine child, too bad this title isn’t so good when you’re chasing winter!

In saying this, the snow did fall, just not as regularly as we would have liked. When it snows in Japan, it dumps. A storm will settle in for a few days and what you will experience during those days is the best snow of your life!

Big smiles in Cortina trees! Up to my neck in white stuff! 
 
 The vending machine tells it all
 

This season it seemed that patience was most certainly a virtue, I became really good at waiting. Watching North America and Europe early in the season get a truckload of snow, while I sat in Japan, waiting for what felt like the whole 3 months; for the snow that was said to be coming!

My off snow adventures in Japan proved to be some of my greatest memories of the trip. Of course a trip to Japan wouldn’t be complete without spending at least 3 days in Tokyo. It’s a must, even if you’re the most diehard ski or snowboarder in the world!

The ordered chaos of The Scramble at Shubuya Crossing! (movie reference: Tokyo drift)
  Masumoto Castle; where the samurai’s lived!  
    Tokyo’s handy map; a little too big to be handy, but a great size to shade you from the Japanese sun!

Happo-one, Cortina and Hakuba’s surrounding resorts offer so much terrain for every level of free skier and rider. However, tree riding within most of the resorts is considered off piste (except Cortina) and is monitored very closely, with cameras on chairlifts and active ski patrol on each mountain; I found out early into my season why this was so heavily patrolled, especially at Happo-one. A few encounters with dam walls, river crossings, as well as some very hairy drops onto cat-tracks. Not to mention the sluff slides and avalanche gates which are scattered amongst the resorts. I soon learnt that the mountains of Japan are very sensitive to varying snow conditions and that it was imperative to ride with caution.

 Dropping off of dam walls and getting lost in Happo’s trees.

This season I filled my freeride boots with bigger drops, deeper snow, tighter trees and I let my instinct guide me into some very adventurous situations. As for my park riding… well there’s one park to be found in Hakuba and it was a 20minute drive away, so a couple of sneaky night jib sessions were set up in the backyard to keep park cravings at bay.

Night jibs J                     
 A friendly bunch of ski and snowboard instructors :P

My Japanese winter was … interesting. I made some amazing new friendships and like every season learnt more about myself and my riding. Now that I’m home and moving back into the swing of uni I can already start to feel those riding jitters coming back. This time they’re not craving the big mountains and deep snow, instead sunny park laps and friendly faces.

See all you lovely ladies at the Chicks with Stix in Perisher! Make sure you yell out if you see me, I’m always up for some park laps with the girls!

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