What's it like doing a ski season in Japan?
Doing a ski season in Japan can sound a bit daunting. The cultural differences, the different food... but in reality these are the things that set it apart from other places, and makes it one of the most memorable and epic places you can go! Let Sam take you through his experience as an EA intern at Canyon's Ski School in Minakami....
JAPAN – DO THEY EVEN HAVE SNOW THERE?
That’s what people will ask when you tell them you’ve booked the trip of a lifetime. Here are 7 reasons why Japan is the best place in the world to be a seasonnaire.
1. BABY POWDER
“The best snow in the world” you’ll reply. They weren’t lying when they told you that. Don’t go to Japan for the sunshine; expect 2 weeks of insane ‘J-pow’ days in every month with peaks finely dusted with a mere 4 metres of the white stuff. From waist-deep piste to epic treelines, you might be better off bringing a surfboard.
2. TOKYO ANTICS
What the hell happened in Tokyo? (According to photos) all us interns met for unlimited food and drinks, all paid for by EA, before wandering the busiest streets in the world. What better icebreaker? Just be careful what nickname you acquire here - you’ll be stuck with it all season. Oh and try not to wake up barefooted in a Japanese man’s kitchen.
3. TOUCHING THE FISH
A sushi chef must spend 5 years scrubbing chopping boards before they are even allowed to touch the fish and in many ways, becoming a ski instructor is the same. Except in Japan, qualifications are not compulsory and so you can teach to any level of skiing or boarding that you are capable of. This means you’ll have plenty of days off the bunny hill, shredding the pow on black runs with clients – something we call a ‘touching the fish’ lesson.
4. “I’M A SKI INSTRUCTOR”
Okay it’s not as big as Val D’Isere or Whistler, but the towns in Japan are full of lively bars and a true seasonnaire vibe. Sing karaoke until your throat is sore and drink until it’s better, as long as you can still teach wedge turns in the morning! The Japanese hide away after 9:00 and the town becomes 90% Australian - “I’m a ski instructor” is the only chat-up line you’ll ever need again and the best part is you can ride with them the next day, if you remember their name.
5. GIANT CRABS AND OCTOPUS GOO
Japan is alien to all EA interns, and so is a lot of the stuff in supermarkets by the looks of things. Here in Nozawa, we are completely self-catered and have the pleasure of venturing aisle 6; the aisle where nobody knows what anything is for. The question is, on a scale of McDonalds to Octopus Goo, how brave will you be with your cooking?
6. FIRE, MONKEYS AND HOT SPRINGS
Ever been in a flaming moshpit? Not a Metallica concert, I mean the Nozawa Fire Festival. Wherever you land in Japan, make the trip over for this battle inferno and stand as close as you dare as locals literally smash burning branches over you. Just one of the many surprising gems each resort has to offer, along with playing with snow monkeys and onsen parties.
7. MAD LIBS
You fill in the blanks! Japan is an amazing country and a season here is an experience you’ll probably never have again. It really does come down to what you make of it – whether you’re looking to build up certification to open doors to a skiing career or escaping your desk job for a lifestyle that keeps you smiling. Saying ‘yes’ is what keeps life exciting.
Japan is quickly becoming one of our most popular intern destinations, and reading this update you can see why!
Learn about doing a season in Japan below...