Day Eleven and Twelve in Japan! The Waiting Game

IMG_20180114_141313DAY 12: Today was incredible!!! I keep saying my days are incredible!!! Words can not explain…. So incredible keeps coming out! FABULOUS!!! Only took one lap this morning. It was so fucking good!! (Excuse my French) I snowboarded the Lone Tree spine again. Third times a charm!! Skied it way better and with waaaay more confidence this time. The first time, almost two weeks ago now, I had no idea where I was going. Just followed Matthias’s tracks and I was scared as hell!!! The second time I shredded it alone, learning my surroundings, and there was so much snow and slough. This time was it!!! I skied it with so much confidence. So fluid!! No hesitation at all! Got it dialed! Very stoked about it!!!! I feel very accomplished! It was just Lee and I out today. We skinned up to the peak this morning. Passed Travis Rice, Shin Biyajima, and their film crew on our way up, per usual… It was crazy windy up top! There was a small wind slab avalanche coming off the drop in zone to one of the spines. When Lee and I got to the top we discussed our thoughts on the snow. I told him I was concerned about wind slabs, especially in our start zone, and obviously he felt the same way. As I was getting my splitboard put together he went down and poked around in the snow near our start zone. He found that the wind slab was easily breakable about 6cm or so down and the rain crust was about 30cm down, but the snow was still bonding well to the rain crust. We talked about how the wind slab could be much larger a bit further into the start zone, but overall felt good about it. I asked him if he thought it was safe and he said yes. He asked me if I felt good about it and said yes, but trusted his decision more on Japanese snowpack because if we were in Silverton I would say fuck no! We both agreed to shred it! He dropped first into his spine line to the skiers left. I gave him a few minutes, then dropped in! I snowboarded to my spine skiers right! The snow felt great!! Minimal to no sloughing! Nice and buttery snow! Skied fast and confident down my line through a gully just below the start zone then onto my spine. I knew exactly where I was going this time. Charged it!!! I wanted to send the drop at the bottom again, but once I got up on top of it I noticed that the glide crack below had gotten much larger and if I hit the jump I would land directly in it! So I hit the brakes hard, shifted my body and board to the side, and dropped slowly off the side of the cliff-like feature into the gully. Totally worked out!! Hella stoked!!!! So much fun!!!!!!!! For the love of POW! I fucking love snowboarding!!!!!!! Thank you snow gods! Legs were burning on the way out, my whole body is exhausted, the past like six days have been out of this world shredding!! Getting some rest right now, catching up on internet stuff, then going to the Nozawa Fire Festival tonight!! I will talk all about the fire fest in my next post!!!!

DAY 11: The waiting game was played yesterday!! Hardcore! It is so common in skiing and snowboarding to wait. We do it so often. It is apart of it. Sometimes it can be for days or weeks. Yesterday it was just hours. Just hours…. HA! Feels long as hell when you are standing on top a line. The forecast was all set to be clear. In the morning it was. Everyone in the Hakuba Powder Lodge was extremely excited and motivated. Matty, Giulia, Alberto, Filippo, Michele, and I went out together. We toured up the ridge to the peak. Passing Travis and Shin again… The whole skin up we were starring at our lines. The spines looked so purty! All of us were stoked! I was feeling so good!!! Very excited to get the spine how I wanted to. Alberto was going to ski the same one as me and follow my tracks. He too had that scared feeling. He had never skied spines like this before and I totally understood the feeling. I was in that same position not too long ago. We discussed the line through pictures of the face on his phone. We were all set. Then when we got to the top of the peak with our spines below, clouds moved in… We were totally socked in. Could not see more than a few meters down our line, if that. The plan was for me to drop first and it was going to get filmed on a drone! Fuck yea I was down with that. They said wait 30 seconds when you see the drone then go! Never happened… Matty stood on top of his spine on the skiers left side of the peak. Giulia, Alberto, and myself stood on top of ours on the skiers right of the peak. We all stood around hoping the clouds would clear for an hour and a half. Damn weather man… After all the waiting we decided to call it and hike up to Tengu. Tengu was a peak with lots of trees on it so we would be able to work our way down. No complaints for a plan B option! It was great! We all party mobbed down in deeeeep POW! Lots of fun! The Italians are great people! I love skiing with them! And Matthias is a super rad dude! Snowboarder connection for sure. Him and I shredded close to each other down this one kicking up clouds of cold smoke everywhere!! So much fun! When we got down to the bottom they were thinking a North facing lap. At first I said I was going to head home, but then after a few seconds of thinking about it I could not resist the POW!!! Up we all went for another lap! While touring up the clouds broke clear! YES! We were all so excited! Lets get to the top as fast as we can and rip some spines!!! We hiked so fast! Hella fast! And of course…. When we get to the top, clouds rolled in again! Totally socked in once again standing on top of our lines! What the fuck man!!! We stuck around for about thirty minutes this time then called it. Clouds never cleared. THE WAITING GAME! Thankfully once again our plan B option was not bad at all! We got to rip some North facing powder! It was a super long ski! Started off dropping into a gully! Matty went first, then I followed. I was slashing huge turns in the gully. Felt amazing! Our plan was to traverse over after the gully and get to a similar line as the first few days here, but Giulia could not contain herself and just kept skiing down the gully. Understandable!! Hard to stop when the snow is that good! The rest of us were up on a ridge so we all party mobbed the ridge shredding down to Giulia. Still hella fun!! We all were finally linked up and still had more POW to ski! All of us stuck to the ridges and party mobbed down! Love skiing with all these guys! The features down through these trees were great! Little pillows everywhere. Jumping left and right!!! Jump, land, turn, jump, land, turn… Probably spent more time in the air getting down this face! HA! There was a sick pillow hit to a tree grind too! Love those powdery trees that are so heavy it is perfectly slouched over to ski it! We got to the bottom and had to cross the river again. We crossed at this beautiful waterfall. So beautiful and peaceful. Life is gooooooood! We made it out and got gelato on our ski back to the Powder Lodge. Italian approved!! It was very good! I got chocolate chip mocha for one scoop and a Japanese tea for the other scoop. YUM! Went to work for my last night of work while here. Exhausted by the end of the day and went straight to sleep when I got home. The waiting game can be a mind fuck for us skiers and snowboarders. You want something so bad sometimes it becomes very difficult to turn away. Oh well.. My mindset was that it was not meant to be. We were not meant to ski the spines yesterday. And sure enough I got to go back today and ripped the fuck out of it! Hell yea! What a wonderful life! Time for some rest then off to the fire shenanigans! POWWWWWWWIMG_20180114_125849IMG_20180114_140524

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