After work, I'll head straight to Shinjuku station to catch a bus to Minakami in Gunma prefecture. Fun facts:
- Shinjuku station is the world's busiest transport hub (per the Guinness World Records), making it a fun place to be with a big bag during rush hour.
- I'm renting my ski jacket and pants in addition to skis, boots and poles. Count me skeptical about renting ski clothing, but it seems to be what's done here by infrequent skiers (or expats who weren't allowed to bring all their belongings to Japan).
- I haven't gone skiing in nearly 10 years!
While it probably would have been a lot more exciting to jump on a plane to Hokkaido for Sapporo's snow festival and skiing in Japan's most epic powder, I just can't spare the vacation days. I'm still pretty jazzed about skiing somewhere local as missing the opportunity to ski in Japan last winter was one of my chief first-year-in-Tokyo regrets.
Last weekend, I visited the row of ski and snowboard shops between Ogawamachi and Jimbocho to pick up a base layer and a few other items. (Aside: If you are looking for Australians, take thee to Jimbocho. I have never seen so many Aussies in one place in Tokyo--presumably, they're all picking up gear before heading to Niseko.)
All this has got me reminiscing about the ski trips our family took growing up. Mammoth Lakes, California. Big Sky, Montana. Aspen, Colorado. Mt. Hood, Oregon. Lake Tahoe, California. Brian Head, Utah. Man, was I spoiled rotten by my Dad's enduring love for skiing (and ability to get great hotel deals in exchange for presenting at professional conferences).
I am pretty worried about my knee and the ACL I tore back in college. It's been repaired and hasn't given me any trouble since, but I'm still nervous to test it with skiing. Please keep your fingers crossed for me.
Hoping to have a great time and report back with some interesting pictures :)