The 20-year Hakuba veteran and founder of Evergreen Outdoor Center casts his memory back to the "amazing season" last winter

Trying to pinpoint my best day on snow in Hakuba is like trying to remember all the amazing meals I’ve had over my lifetime, and there have been plenty of those with a partner and a mother who are both amazing cooks. I have to say I have whipped up a few beauties myself.

Yes, not only do I love riding powder but I am a definite foodie and vegan to boot. Last season was a terrible season for business if you are in the international travel and service industry, but it was an amazing season here in the Japanese Alps and the Hakuba Valley due to great snowfalls and hardly anyone at the resorts.

Buna Bowl, Tsugaike

Overhead conditions in Tsugaike’s “Buna Bowl”

So thinking back as far as last January, I would have to say that one of my best days out last season was on a private off-piste guiding day with an American fighter pilot at Tsugaike. He was an advanced skier and we had done one day of touring the previous day. We had a great day out in fresh light snow typical for January, and were able to get a few good lines of fresh tracks up above Tsugaike before we got absolutely dumped on overnight.

“…close to 60cm in 24 hours”

We decided that lift lapping was going to be the best call for the day with close to 60cm in the last 24 hours – most from that night. The morning was a full reset, and thanks to our friend Rona and it being mid-week, there was no one on the resort. We took a photographer with us for a couple of runs and we ended up getting a couple of great shots for the scrap book.

Buna Bowl, Tsugaike

“…an amazing feeling and one I don’t think I had had since guiding Travis Rice, Mark Landvik and Shin Biyajima”

Jumping into the trees that I had been able to officially open only six years prior, creating what is now known as TsugaPow, was an amazing feeling and one I don’t think I had had since guiding Travis Rice, Mark Landvik and Shin Biyajima into these wide open trees and cliff zones during the filming of The Fourth Phase. This day, like six years earlier, was overhead and no one in sight.

I have a hunch that this season is going to be very similar without many overseas visitors and another La Niña season on our doorstep. We have snow on the peaks now and about 30+ cm forecasted to hit the slopes next week.

Who knows…I may have another best day ever again very soon!