The 2019/20 winter was a bizarre one for any number of reasons. With COVID-19 border closures effectively putting Japan’s tourism industry at a standstill, there was of a crew of Japanese residents making the most of an otherwise dire situation. The result is mind-blowing: empty ski resorts and some of the best Hokkaido winter conditions captured on film.

Editor and featured rider Chris Smith describes SOE – Japans ghost winter and how the film came to be:

“The strangest winter, the ‘ghost winter’, conditions were some of the best you could ask for. All during a global pandemic. A Japanese state of emergency had set the scene for a virtually empty ski resort for the locals to enjoy.”

“My version of a feel-good, stoked, powder-hungry crew of friends who want to put the issues of the world aside and just smash pow with the homies.”

Riders pictured include Akira Fujimura, Hide Uchinuno, Andrew Spragg, Ruairdh Squair, Alex Koens, Chris Smith, Sean Potts, Darren Teasdale, James Winfield, Saki Hayashi and Andres Sarmiento.