By Britt Cupp and Logan Austin
We did it, the dream of all dream trips - Japan. The buzz has been going on for a while now and anyone who loves powder has this eclectic country on their to do list.
And for good reason, Japan is absolutely amazing - the people, culture, scenery, food and food, holy smokes did I mention the food? Our trip started in Tokyo with a sensory overload that bordered comical, especially paired with navigating the packed sidewalks with luggage and board bags (in pouring rain). But Tokyo was just a puddle jump for us. We were off to Hokkaido, the land of pow, the ultimate destination for face shots, or so we thought.
Day 1 was great, we were figuring out foreign terrain in complete awe of the covered chair lifts and were learning the ins and outs of a new place. Bonus too, the ski area had gotten several inches the night before - yay what a great start! Jump into day 3, 4, 5, 6, only several inches total. Yes JaPOW was in a dry spell and our little window was looking more like wind, poor visibility, and yes, no snow. Add to that, The San Juan Mountains were getting crushed. Record breaking snow levels right in our hometown backyard. The powder wizard was hiding in Japan and we were hunting hard on and off piste, getting as creative as we could. This was supposed to be the place of all places, right?
We weren’t the only ones looking for snow, everywhere we went other eager powder hunters were swarming with increasing aggression. Aussies were asking, “You’re from Colorado, why did you come all this way?”. The answer became foggy with the lack of snow. You see, powder is the best for surfing the snow. It is the driver of why we get up early and race each other to get the first lines. But sometimes this might not be the best approach. While dealing with frustrations on my expectations of what the trip was supposed to be, I completely fell out of tune with myself and being in the present moment - in effing Japan!
Powder is cool and all, but it’s not the ultimate (well kinda, but hear me out). There is so much to gain from snowboarding even when there’s no snow. The want for fresh turns can sometimes blind the beauty in the simple things that make snowboarding great - trees and the sound of wind, watching Japanese school children in the brightest colors ski in perfect formation lines, listening to crazy Japanese pop music over loud speakers across the mountain, and sharing stoke that is understood even across the world. So I advise before you drag your ass very very far away for powder, have no expectations and just enjoy! Or quit your job and stay awhile…