A great escape had been brewing for a couple of weeks now. Dreams of having a day off frolicking in the snow somewhere up north was daily towards the last stint of working a month straight over Christmas.
On work day #30, that dream had grown into a plan.
The Cripple Crew were going to Furano.
We had some admin things to do first however. Furano was 4 hours drive away so we planned to stay the night there. The five of us and five pairs of skis also needed a trusty steed to take us there.
Calling Yoshi! He actually set us up with a sweet set of modern wheels. A seven seater mitsubishi people carrier. We had to find it amidst all the HTM car parks in Hirafu but after some “where’s wally” tactics it was waiting for us.
The night before, we also had a beautiful edition to our team, Jo Dee! Along with her slalom skis and Leki race poles.
It was… a squeeze with all the gear but we made it. Annika spent 20% of the day packing, 70% of the day convincing my stubborn self to ditch the race skis and bring the powder skis. There wasn’t enough space for both in the end so I had to suck it up.
Alarms set to 4am.
What felt like just closing my eyes as I sank into the cool pillow, and then opening them, it was time to get up. Was not happy.
But luckily for me Michal was comfortable to sleep on in the car. Jo Dee broke the ice in the car by playing the “would you rather” game, and Mario took on the role of “Worst Car Radio DJ”… 😉
Tomoko pulled the car into Furano car park after 4 hours of perfect cruising. Boots cold and solid, we squeezed our feet inside and ran to the ticket office to buy the lift passes.
Of course, as Bakagaijin, we had to abuse the photo opportunity at hand… at least Tomoko did it right!
We took the first gondola up and did a warm-up run on the groomers, which are pretty nice. I was griping at the fact that I wasn’t used to 96cm underfoot and was pining for my Rossis… But after the next run I quickly changed my mind!
Mario lead us out the gates, through the trees along this sketchy sideslip track… to this open face.
This. Open. Face.
It hadn’t snowed in 2 days, but there was still not many tracks. And we just let loose.
We got to the bottom with huge grins on our faces. A special type of smile that only appears when you ski Japow.
But it wasn’t over yet. We headed to the trees towards what should be the pump track back to the second gondola in resort. And we found even more powder. This stuff hadn’t been affected by wind, humans, anything.
It was EPIC. Bouncy pillows of deep fluffy powder.
We hit trees, snow-boulders, holes… crashed in huge poofs of dry snow. Like if you were to throw a bag of flour into the air. It was soft, you’d giggle uncontrollably, check yourself for bites from trees, then get back up and do it all over again.
Now… we found a fast fast pump track at the end. We were an epic team because we all made sure we were all together and warned of any… nasty surprises.
Except for one. Which was a creek that Jo Dee decided to take full flight over.
The Creek won.
All I saw from my side when I arrived was one pink Leki pole sticking up from out of the ditch. Jo Dee was of course fine, and Mario dived straight in to take her skis off.
We all tried to pull her out, giggling uncontrollably. It was a fact that when each one of us had stopped, the first thing we did was take photos of the Tic Tac in the well. Michal documented this rescue perfectly.
With everyone still alive, we went to ski some more Furano pow.
We skied the same run again it was so so good.
Furano Log House
Our squishy little car trundled down the snowy roads that lead us to our home for the night. This place was special.
The owner of the huts was a generous Japanese man, who had built all of these huts himself around the trees, and with the trees. It is located in a quiet forest, so you are living surrounded by trees too.
The smell of wooden furniture hits you like a wave when you enter, and there’s a cozy warmth emitted from the big stove in the centre.
It had a traditional Japanese bath and shower room, a teeny toilet and kitchen. Up a wooden spiral staircase on to a mezzanine top floor there are 6 comfy beds.
It was perfect and we were stoked. We even enjoyed the decorations on the walls.
But before I could take the most perfect nap… *grumble*… We were hungry and decided to go out into Furano Town for dinner.
It was about time we replenished our energy resources ready for tomorrow. This soba shop in Furano town was the place!
This was the second bowl of warming noodley goodness we had consumed in one day.
But we were in Japan so that’s allowed 😉 Oishiiiii!
And then it was time for a beer. Only a small one mind you!
Actually no… Lots of beers.
And a great game of Solo which is the Hungarian version of Uno, only with trickier cards.
So after a couple of practice rounds, it kind of turned into a Hungarian-Uno Drinking Game… We were feeling invincible and maybe a little giddy from the day of epic skiing we had had.
And then we came up with an idea…
…to be continued…