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Cool Japan / Call of the powder: sublime snow in Japan

Call of the powder: sublime snow in Japan
Japan Times - Jan 15, 2012
News photo
(Plowing gleefully through backcountry powder at Niseko in Hokkaido (far left and left),
where a "face plant" snow.)

There is nothing quite like the adrenaline rush of hurtling down a steep, untracked slope of knee-deep powder. It is an uncomplicated pleasure, pure and exhilarating; carving turns into the untouched snow and sending up white plumes in your wake. Fortunately, Japan gets masses of feathery powder, and many resorts turn a blind eye to off-piste skiing and have refined the art of Zen and grooming - taking a minimalist approach on selected runs. Having been raised on the icy slopes of New England, where deep powder runs are akin to Loch Ness monster sightings, Japan has been a revelation. In New England there are about 20 different words for icy conditions, and you get your money's worth out of your ski edges. Here, conditions are incredibly good and, unless you ski in Hokkaido, it's not nearly as cold. (Japan Times)
Niseko, Japan's own St. Moritz
New York Times - Jan 12, 2012

(At Mount Annupuri in Niseko, Japan, with Mount Yotei beyond, snowflakes can be “large enough
to cast shadows,” an instructor said. The snow, constant, gentle, creates a particular kind of quiet.)

I am barefoot and naked padding along a stone path in the depths of Japanese winter, surrounded by snow-laden pine trees. I slip into a hot pool fed by natural underground springs. Huge, slow-moving snowflakes gently settle on my hair. In the dusk I can see just a few vague figures across the pond-size area - other women barely visible through the steam. Earlier that day I had been communing with the snow in a more conventional way, skiing my way through deep blankets of powder on Mount Annupuri in Niseko. The network of ski areas around the small resort village of Hirafu on Hokkaido, Japan's northernmost island, see almost constant snowfall from December to April, a type of "Champagne powder," as aficionados call it, that is a result of low pressure systems over northeast Hokkaido meeting high pressure systems over northwest Siberia. The winds from Siberia pick up moisture from the Sea of Japan, and the resulting bands of clouds dump huge amounts of snow when they reach the mountains. (New York Times)

Mother Nature finally smiles on Japan, with bumper ski season
news.com.au - Jan 12, 2012
http://resources3.news.com.au/images/2012/01/11/1226241/917151-niseko-powder-snow-in-japan.jpg
(An Australian ski instructor enjoying the powder in Niseko, Japan.)

Skiers and snowboarders are basking in bumper snowfalls in Japan, while the United States is struggling with below average snowfalls. But ironically bookings for Japan have been down following last year's earthquake and tsunami. Whistler in British Columbia has recorded some of the best snowfalls in Canada, with a 208cm base, and Alberta resorts such as Banff and Lake Louise were also doing well. But most of the US is suffering below average snowfalls with many of the most popular resorts struggling to reach a half-metre base. Niseko on Japan's northern island Hokkaido has had more than 10m of snow fall this season. (news.com.au)

Hide out with Samurai in Japan
The Age - Jan 8, 2012
Japan
(A long overland footbridge in Gokanosho, Japan.)

Surrounded by unspoilt forest, we traverse the footbridge over a steep ravine to the crystal-clear Umenoki Todoro Falls. There is hardly a person in sight it feels a world away from the bright lights and crowded city streets of Osaka and Tokyo. This is Gokanosho on the island of Kyushu. Accessible via a windy, one-lane road that climbs into the mountains, it is considered one of the last secluded areas on Kyushu. The district is famous for being a hidden refuge for a samurai clan in the 12th century. Luckily, we have a local guide who can easily navigate the area. As a first-time visitor to Japan, I expected lots of hustle and bustle and there is no doubt that the country is heavily populated. But when you reach this national park, you get the sense that this is the real Japan. The area is remote and rugged, and the locals are especially friendly, with Gokanosho home to several quaint villages. (The Age)

Skis, goggles, hats - and radiation monitors: thousands crowd the slopes during Fukushima's ski season
telegraph.co.uk - Jan , 2012
http://i.telegraph.co.uk/multimedia/archive/02097/ski_2097020c.jpg
(Coniferous trees are covered with ice and now at Japan's one of the most popular ski resorts
Zao Ski Resort in Yamagata Prefecture, Japan.)

It seemed to be a typical festive winter scene, with crowds of smiling skiers of all ages dressed in colourful hats and goggles making their way down snow-covered slopes. But the setting is perhaps less predictable: for the ski scene was unfolding in Fukushima, a region of Japan that has become synonymous globally as home to the world's worst nuclear crisis in decades. Last week, thousands of skiers took to the snow-covered slopes of Fukushima for the official seasonal start of the ski season in resorts across the mountainous region following heavy snowfall. However, there were clues that this was no ordinary ski season - in particular, the daily postings of radiation readings in the region alongside the more standard snow reports as well as the regional authorities monitoring food safety levels. (telegraph.co.uk)

Yakushima seeks environment-tourism balance
Japan Times - Jan , 2012
News photo
(Hikers walk on wooden steps leading to the Jomon Sugi cedar tree on Yakushima
Island in Kagoshima Prefecture.)

Yakushima Island off Kagoshima Prefecture in 1993 became the country's first natural site to be entered on UNESCO's World Heritage list, together with the Shirakami Mountain Range in northeastern Japan. Known for its many large cedar trees and hot springs, Yakushima is still enjoying a boom in tourism 18 years after registration. The increase in the number of visitors, however, has caused the island's environment to deteriorate, and the local town government has been exploring ways to make tourism compatible with environmental protection. The number of visitors to the famous Jomon Sugi cedar tree on the island's 1,396-meter Mount Miyanoura, the highest peak in the Kyushu region, reached about 90,000 in 2010, a threefold increase from 2000. (Japan Times)

By TS on Jan 18, 2012
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上記広告は1ヶ月以上更新のないブログに表示されています。新しい記事を書くことで広告を消せます。