The beautiful weather this morning came as somewhat of a surprise. After reading the daily snow report and avalanche report, it was obvious that today was a day to head for the summit – clear skies, low winds and fresh snow after a couple of days of the summit being closed. Check out the photos from Powdershots Niseko of the action from this morning.
The bottom half of the mountain was deserted, which instantly rang alarm bells. This is peak season, and there were no people at the gondola, and same again at the King Hooded Triple. Not surprisingly, I wasn’t the only person thinking the same thing, as it seemed that everyone on the mountain had come to the King #4 lift to reach the summit.
Then the scramble on foot up the last stretch began, with cold air burning the lungs with each frantic breath.
Surprisingly, most people took some time to relax at the peak and soaking in the views rather than strapping in and bolting straight down – it almost becomes a social meeting hub, with plenty of posing for cameras and time for a cigarette or two. But, when the skies are this clear, the sun is shining, and views out to the Japan Sea, and all the surrounding mountains are there to be enjoyed, who can blame them.
The hike to the summit make require a little physical exertion, but the actual ride down is almost as tiring. It’s steep and deep as anywhere you’ll find in Niseko, except it goes on and on and on! But that’s a phenomenal thing.
Then the inevitable happens, the dreaded cat track comes into sight signifying the end of the fun… and yet another walk back to Hanazono. But, like they say, if you want the best, you’ve got to earn your turns.