Mark
Day three proofs less rewarding. Another snowstorm is on its way and all the resorts in the nearby proximity have been closed due to gale force winds. Hoping to outsmart Frūjin (the Japanese god of wind) we stack up in Ian’s small cube-shaped Kei car and probe for features on the remote roads of the lower valley. The extreme weather has the window wipers working overtime, as we drive through several now deserted ghost towns that depict Japanese snowsport glory during the ‘80s ski boom decade.
We spot a pillow line off the roof of an old school building, but numerous efforts later the snow packed climb up forces us to surrender. The combination of patience, persistence, and perspiration finally pays off when we successfully attack a curvaceous roadside ridge just before dawn sets in. That night, feeling somewhat defeated, and with our calves filled with lactate, we head back to one of many onsen (or traditional mineral-rich hot tubs), to heal our wounds in a way that allegedly rejuvenated the wounded samurai in the war against the Mongolian Army.