Argentina has come and gone, fall is in the air, it even snowed last week in Montana, clearly it's time to start planning out your ski season for the upcoming winter. You could enjoy the season at your home resort, maybe take a trip out west, or trek up to Canada with your fingers crossed the snow won't be too heavy. OR, you could take the trip of a lifetime to Japan to ski the deepest snow of your life, every single day. Hopefully this is a clear decision, but just in case it isn't, here are 5 reasons why Japan is your move this winter:
1: The Food
Meat + vegetables + juice = delicious
It's no secret the Japanese know their way around a kitchen. Yes, you'll eat the best sushi of your life, but Japan's menu goes much further above and beyond rolls of rice and fish. Enjoy crispy gyoza (Japanese dumplings), cook-it-yourself plates of Jingisukan (grilled lamb and vegetables), and my personal favorite, their legendary noodle bowls. There's something incredibly satisfying about gulping down a massive bowl of piping hot noodles after a long day of cold Japanese pow. Wash it down with a tall Sapporo and you're ready to hit reason number two...
All hail the noodle bowl
2: The Onsen
The Japanese onsen is a glorified spa, most of the time powered by natural hot spring water. The top-notch onsen at SASS Japan (available for free to all clients) comes complete with indoor and outdoor hot springs, sauna, steam room, cold tub, lemon bath, and plenty more. In all honesty it's hard to find a better après routine, and it's even harder to stay awake for dinner after spending an hour and a half taking the full tour de onsen.
A hot springs onsen in Japan's summer
3: The Culture
This one is a bit more broad, but represents some of the most unique and fascinating parts of Japan. The Japanese are incredibly respectful people, and are very punctual and timely in everything they do. Rules are never broken, the cities (and ski resorts) are very clean, and rarely will a train or plane ever leave or arrive late. On an more random note, you can buy just about anything you want from Japanese vending machines which are everywhere. For a couple US dollars, you can grab snacks, soda, cigarettes, hot or cold coffee, even beer, all from the thousands (probably more like millions) of vending machines across the country. Lastly, the Japanese are incredibly good at making whiskey. I'll leave it at that.
Vending machines lining the streetsides in Japan
4: The Nomihodai
Just because they're organized and respectful doesn't mean the Japanese won't get a little wild from time to time. That's a lie, they actually love to party, a lot. The term "nomihodai" is used for a dinner (or apres) routine that serves you all you can drink, and sometimes all you can eat as well, usually for about an hour and a half. Not that it's ever terribly expensive, but there's something gloriously intense and fun about trying to get all beer, lamb, and vegetables you can fit into your stomach in under 90 minutes. Hit up the Sapporo brewery any night of the week for their legendary nomihodai, just be sure you make it back up the hill to ski the inevitable foot of powder that will have fallen overnight.
The Sapporo Brewery Beer Garden in all its glory
5: The Snow
You knew this one was coming at the end... you've seen the photos and videos, you've heard the tales, it's all true. Coming in at a low snow year last year, Japan clients came in for their noodle bowls and Sapporos day after day saying, "that was the best snow I've ever skied". It's light, it's consistent, it's safe, and if you roll with the right crew, it'll be untouched. On top of all this, the weather patterns in the forecast are predicting Japan could be in for one of its biggest seasons in a number of years.
SASS's own Pete Connolly going submerged at 6'4"
So whether you have a crew to call on, or are in search of a solo soul-shred mission, this is the winter to enjoy the epic powder Japan serves up year after year, and what better way to enjoy the Japow with a 10-day Session at SASS Japan. We take the planning and stress out of your trip by including airport transportation, top-notch food and lodging, trips to Sapporo, and of course all your lift tickets and guiding. Going into our fourth year in Japan, we've got the best spots dialed both inbounds and out of bounds. Don't wait another year, SASS Japan is calling...