Snow, slopes and skiing in Hokkaido

by Grace Ko in , ,


It feels like a blur to think that last week, I was in a winter wonderland in Hokkaido, Japan- Y and I went there to ski with some friends. It was surreal that two and a half hours on a plane could bring me to a land dusted with snow.  

After some late-night packing and only three hours of sleep for me, we got on the airport shuttle at 5:45am and were at the airport by 7am. 

 First view of Hokkaido

First view of Hokkaido

We landed in Japan and had two hours until our shuttle to the ski resort. So what did we do? Had ramen for lunch, of course! 

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 My miso ramen: a big bowl of deliciousness

My miso ramen: a big bowl of deliciousness

After satisfying our stomachs, we piled into the shuttle bus to our ski resort. It was a two-hour bus ride there so when the bus stopped at a rest are, we made sure to pick up a few snacks to hold us over. 

 View from bus

View from bus

 My pick: milk caramels

My pick: milk caramels

We settled into our hotel rooms, unpacked, relaxed for a bit before we headed out to the village for dinner. Yakitori was our choice for our first night. 

Day 1 of skiing started with feelings of excitement soon followed by a whole lot of anxiety.  My fear of heights made the first gondola lift terrifying - I took deep breaths and immersed myself in conversations to distract myself from the realization that I was dangling in the air and headed upwards to the top of a mountain. Once we got up to the top, the reality of the situation hit: the only way was down. Visibility was horrendous; we were barely able to see a few feet in front of us.

Let's just say it took me quite a while to make it down the mountain... but nevertheless I did it! (Later that day, Y said to me, "I'm really proud of you!" He knows how big of a feat it was that I came down that mountain.) 

Lunch was all-you-can-eat sushi and I was in heaven. Skiing followed by sushi may be one of the best things ever. The only thing better than that is following the sushi with a nap, which is precisely what I indulged in. 

Day 2 of skiing couldn't have been more different from Day 1. If Day 1 was the evil, wintry antagonist, Day 2 was the kind-hearted, warm protagonist of the story. Day 2 was sunny and clear, the landscape was breathtaking and it sure felt nice to be able to see where I was skiing. 

 More ramen! 

More ramen! 

One of our nights, we devoured teppanyaki coupled with endless corny "punny" jokes: we laughed until our stomachs hurt. 

It was an unforgettable trip. 

There were moments when I was so focused on getting down the slope safely; my eyes fixed on the ground beneath my skis. But then I would look up and be amazed at the view, the powdered trees, the snowcapped Mount Yotei. 

Our return home though? Now that's a whole different story, unforgettable in its own way. Let's just say we ended up being in the airport for 24 hours (!!!)

But on the positive side... the one perk of being at the airport? 

Stocking up on goodies.