This shot makes it look like it was a pleasant, sunny day. This was taken during the about 10 minutes of actual sun we saw that day. It was mostly blizzard-y and freezing, although it was still a lot of fun. We filled up on 7-11 coffee and headed off early in the morning!
I went with a group of people from Waki. K-san, who drove us and who skis a lot, kept apologizing for the ski place being so “small,” and not cool like Mizuho or Kokusai, but I haven’t been to either of those places because it’s a pain to get there without a car, and I thought this place was perfectly fine. There was a special slalom competition going on while we were there, and we all entered because you get a free prize just for entering. It was my first time, and I placed 45th out of 60 or so people. Not bad for a first try, I think :)
If you go to the back of the mountain, there’s a steeper slope that’s less crowded and much more fun than the front side of the mountain. To get up the one at the back, you have to ride a one-man ski lift. I didn’t even know there were one-man ski lifts, for the snow, although I rode one in Matsuyama once to get up to the castle. I wanted to get a picture from the ski lift, but I was afraid I’d drop my camera. It was the land of no return back there…
I learned a lot about skis on this trip. Even though I’ve been skiing since I was a kid, it was like one or two days once a year, and since we didn’t go often, I’d always rented. Last year, I’d managed to get a pair of skis for free from a JET leaving Hiroshima, which I brought along for this trip. However, when I first started skiing, I was going down the hill so slowly it was embarrassing. I thought maybe it was the wind catching on my baggy borrowed ski clothes, or that I was possibly just bad at skiing because it’s been a while. Then, U-san, one of the guys who came up in my group, brought some wax from the car and waxed the bottom of my skis, and there was instant improvement. Things like this are really obvious, but I didn’t learn them until this trip.
I got so excited once my skis were waxed, though! That’s why I was able to place so stunningly well in the slalom later ;)
My ski boots were the right size, but I think the plastic parts where you stick your skis in were too tightly adjusted somehow, because on my last run down the hill, I fell and the skis didn’t snap out like they were supposed to, causing me to fall and almost twist my knee. I had to sit down and wait for 5-10 minutes or so, and we stopped by the doctor’s on the way back just to make sure nothing was wrong (it wasn’t). Well, I’m a smarter person now.
On a side note, I feel like I go to the doctor’s very quickly now if something is even the slightest bit wrong–it’s like the polar opposite from the U.S., where going to the doctor was a huge pain and possibly expensive, and I almost never went. Since I’m on Japanese health insurance, I’m able to afford to be careful. I’m afraid I’m overdoing it and need to find a balance somewhere–but I’m sure I’ll learn that eventually.
There’s a cafeteria at the ski lodge, and we shared some french fries and I had something that claimed to be an apple pie (it was good, but I couldn’t actually find the apples in it), and then we went back to another building where all the prizes were to be handed out. After the main prizes had been given, the MC decided to hand out the remaining prizes to the winners of a few giant rounds of rock, paper, scissors. Everything in Japan is decided by rock, paper, scissors! I have proof!
The last thing I’ve got to note is that, just like the ski place in Hokkaido that I went to, there are J-pop hits (including songs that sound like AKB48) playing out of speakers on the slopes. I’m still not sure if I like that, because I really like the solitude of being in the quiet mountains in the winter. It wasn’t as loud as the first ski resort I went to, and when you went to the back of the mountain, the speakers were either really quiet or broken, which I appreciated. The music in the changing rooms in the lodge was J-rock, and I liked that a lot better (I heard Gackt and L’Arc, too). I guess this is the norm at slopes in Japan…? I’ll know for sure once I get to Mizuho.
Besides the actual skiing, I couldn’t enough of taking pictures of the Hiroshima countryside. The road to the ski place was actually the same as the one we took to get to the kiln last year, and I was happily surprised to recognize some of the places along the way.
In conclusion, Hiroshima is beautiful, and I can’t wait to go skiing there again–even it’s only a “small” ski ranch.
Sam Tsui, “Let it go/let her go” mashup. I know I’m going to hate the “let it go” song by the time this mashup trend is over…but for now, it’s nice :) I think this is the best of all the mashups I’ve heard–even the really fancy ones.