The fourth edition of the annual Niseko Shootout ProAM has wrapped up for another year, showcasing the incredible Niseko conditions that have been a talking point of the season so far. Due to travel restrictions and border closures, there were fewer pro riders competing for a share of the ¥200,000 on offer, however a star-studded line-up of judges, featuring names like Eric Pollard and Taro Tamai, were on hand to deliver their verdict in the Judges’ Choice award.

Taking the win in that category were local rider Daisuke Watanabe and photographer Kentaraw Matsuda, whose captivating night riding shot [ABOVE] was deemed the photo “that every photographer wants to capture”, by local videographer and vlogger Neil Hartman.

Pollard was equally impressed, remarking that it “…just looks like a really difficult photo to get. Long exposure, [it] nailed him at the apex of the air, and you’ve got the whole strobing effect from the long exposure.”

The Public Vote went to skier Josh Fawcett and photographer Chris Smith, which features “two of Hokkaido’s classic commodities: epic pillows and banged-up Jimnys”, according to caption on the Niseko Tourism Facebook page.

“Josh came up with the idea to make use of all the snow that fell on his beloved Jimny, that unfortunately we had to get rid of”, said Josh.

“So we put that to the test and decided: hey, let’s build a jump up to the Jimny and try to do something a little bit different.”

All-in-all, the collection of photos, captured between January 7-10, are a real indication that this season has been more that a little bit special (though not always for the right reasons). Take a look at our selection below and judge for yourselves.

[ABOVE] Photographer: Toshi Pander, Rider: Evan Wilcox

If there’s a photo that defines the 2020/21 Japanese winter season, this may well be it. Judge Lena Stoffel was a big fan, noting the “really clean lines – of the chairlift, and the turn, of the spray, and the turn before.”

Team Wilcox/Pander sum things up beautifully in their caption of the image: “A winter for the locals. One to remind us why we live here. To slow down and appreciate the natural phenomenon of Niseko’s snow and mountains. No need to rush, as fresh snow is easily found everywhere. Even right under the chairlift. Grateful.”

[ABOVE] Photographer: Toni Rodriguez, Rider: Stu Cady

Eric Pollard’s second favourite photo: “It just epitomises Japan. Those trees and those conditions…”

[ABOVE] Photographer: Aaron Jamieson, Rider: Winse Heyward

Featuring Niseko Shootout ProAM founder Winse Heyward, this sensational photo would have certainly taken the win if snow depth were the only criteria. A breathtaking photo capturing one of Niseko’s trademark experiences: deep pow under the stars.

[ABOVE] Photographer: Aaron Jamieson, Rider: Kris Lund

Another beauty from Niseko-based photographer Aaron Jamieson, which features Powderlife editor Kris Lund on a pretty special day away from the office.