We’ve had an interesting mix of sun and storms in town lately, and last night, temperatures dropped low enough to provide some nice late April snow, helping to keep things soft well into ‘Golden Week’!
Only the frost-gods know how much more we’ll get in the coming days, but you’d better make sure to get your sunnies back out of storage, because bluebird sunshine is guaranteed to make a comeback this spring!
Top tips for Spring Ski Fun
Tip 1: Follow the sun
When there’s no sun, things get cold…icy even. Overnight, rock-hard ice and windblown flats form, so the global rule of thumb is to keep to sun-kissed, warmer parts of the mountain for slushier snow.
With smaller resorts like Grand Hirafu, it’s more about time of day than location, so for the best park snow, try to be on the mountain from around 11am to 2pm. (Not an excuse for a lie-in… honest!) If you’re keen to free ski without dabbling in the park you can easily shred as soon as the resort opens, but — for the non-masochists amongst us — you’re far better off sticking to the groomers if you have to be up first thing.
Tip 2: Keep your gear tuned
With warmer temperatures and slowly melting slopes, it’s essential to keep your gear in shape for the changing conditions. The wet, heavy snow will leave your skis and boards feeling sticky and cumbersome, so make sure to give your spring gear a good coating of warmer temp wax to keep you sliding smoothly. Keep an eye out for scratches and knicks from newly revealed roots and rocks too!
Tip Three: Slap on sunscreen
Whether you think goggle-tans are sexy or tragic, you should really be thinking about wearing sunscreen (if you’re not already). In addition to the searing pain of excessive sunburn, the guy in the sky can also cause some extremely serious short and long-term damage, so make sure you take precautions before you play!
Tip Four: Drink even more
Warmer temperatures and physical exertion = more sweat, so make sure you keep yourself hydrated! Japan is well known for its huge number of vending machines (with the highest machine concentration anywhere in the world) and convenience stores every five minutes, and nothing says “I’m prepared for anything” more than a bottle of cool, refreshing Niseko spring water in your pack.