Hokkaido is a heaven for ski enthusiasts.People come from all over the world to enjoy the powdery soft snow of Hokkaido. Of course I am not one of those people, I am a sand bender. Snow is to me what sand is to a Polar Bear. But, I am not a Polar Bear and I was set on trying skiing even though I was still learning to walk on icy roads. Out of my ambition sprouted an impromptu plan to go ski training with my friends. Read along if you plan to ski in Hokkaido this winter.
Our choice of slope was Teine Highland Ski Resort. Being close to Sapporo the Teine Ski Resort is an ideal place for a 1 day trip. The day started early as we planned to meet at 8.30 am at the Sapporo JR station. I bought a one day “Empty handed ski trip” package from the Sapporo station for ¥7000, which includes return tickets for train and bus, cost of renting ski gear (ski, boots and poles) and pass for ski lift for four hours. Additionally, ski wear is also available for rent costing ¥3900 per day. Talking of the Japanese convenience they also have direct bus packages from major hotels in Sapporo. Being local, we took the JR Local train to Teine JR station. Then, we boarded the JR bus # 70 to Teine Highlands. While in the bus, I googled Skiing for dummies videos and it looked like cakewalk!
After 25 min in bus we reached Teine Highlands Ski resort and straight-way went to the rental ski area in the Highland Ski Center. I filled up some forms in English giving details of my height, weight and shoe size, and then picked up the gears for never ever skiers (you can also extend the hours of the Lift pass by paying extra cash). After changing, we kept our stuffs in lockers that costs 300 yen. It was time for get set ski but only if I could reach the top in those peculiar ski shoes. Whoever designed it did not want anyone to walk in it. As I walked towards the lift I saw little kids skiing and again thought it’s going to be child`s play 🙂
It was time to climb up the lower Olympia bunny slope to get to one of the lifts. I wore the skis, but once they were on how do I climb up the slope? “Easy, just walk like a crab” my friend said. Being a beach nomad, I thought which crab should I copy? After crab walking, getting on the lift’s chair with skis on was easy, but I fell on my face while getting off. The liftie collected me back up and I was embarrassed beyond redemption 🙁 . I forgot all that as soon as I saw the view from top, it was amazing.
As my training started my friend said “To rise up in life we must first learn to fall”. I thought he is getting snow madness but little did I know he was being serious. First thing I had to learn, was to fall without breaking bones and then to get up without help. He showed me how to do it, I nailed the fall it was flawless but I couldn’t get up. My friend fell again to teach me but I was hopeless in getting up 😐 . So I changed the motto “To rise up in life you must avoid falling”. The next thing to learn was to snowplough. With little help I learned how to snowplough and I beamed with confidence.
I was exhausted after mastering falling and snowploughing. We went to the North Maple Café using the gondola to grab some lunch. I refuelled on a bowl of Soba and Tempura and then headed back for practice.
After falling enough times I went down to return my gears and pick up my bag. We hopped back on the bus to reach JR Teine station. I was all drained out by the time I reached back home. That night I slept like a baby and next morning I became aware of the existence of muscles in my body I never knew existed, as they sent waves of pain one by one.
Although I was quite sloppy on my first day of skiing, it was an awesome experience. And, as they say practise makes a woman perfect, I will head back soon may be to a different location to master not falling.
Share with me your experience of skiing in Hokkaido.
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