Place? People’s behavior? Skis different from any other equipment of this kind. Or maybe Hokkaido’s powdery snow? Everything combined together.
Japan Powder covers us from the begging of January. Today, my car was covered with a half-meter-thick layer of snow. It had been snowing for 24-hours. Before packing my skis, I had to, using a shovel, dig out my pack to open it. While travelling to the ski secret spot, I had to stop in the middle of the road for several times. Visibility was really bad. We were not even able to see the road signs in shape of arrows showing the direction to be followed in case of a snowstorm. Roads are white anyway and lane marks are invisible. The only points of reference we can follow are the arrows being hung. This is the one of great differences between Japan and Europe.
Arrows were of my considerable interest during the first week of my stay. I asked a Japanese who was our tourguide and a friend what was their purpose. They were hanging in a weird way just as lamps that are not glowing. He said that they were very useful in case of a snowstorm. Today, when I was leaving, Watanabe was helping me to dig out my car said:
“Pavel, be careful on the road, there is a lot of snow today.”
I looked at him and said: “But there are arrows, right?”
He replied: “Yes, there are. But for some moments you won’t be able to see them.”
I can’t recall it or maybe I have just never seen so much snow falling, flying in the air, held by wind, blown to roadsides, covering roofs and cars. There were lorries taking the snow outside the city in machines working 24-hours a day to make the roads driveable.
What for? To feel happy, to have fun and to enjoy skiing as nowhere else in the world. To swim in this snowpowder, to dive in it, to let it pass above your head, through your hands and above your helmet. Let it be everywhere.
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