This week we would like to introduce Martin of The Travel Ramble. Martin is a ski enthusiast and a backpacker. The two tend to be mutually exclusive but somehow he seems to make it work by spending the summers with beat up guidebooks and the winters up mountains carving up slopes.  


Japan is one of those far-flung, exotic places– as if it has been sent from a neon lit future, to teach us all about technology and a strange form of music called J-Pop.

It is a different world full of mystique and allure, but that isn’t what attracted me to it. No, what attracted me to Japan was powder. Lots and lots of powder. Not powder in the way a Hollywood starlet like Lindsay Lohan would know it, but in the way a ski bum like myself would know it. Japan was quickly becoming the powder capital of the world.

From out of nowhere Japan snuck up on me. From the other side of the world it rose out of the ocean, like Godzilla, and became one of the premier ski destinations in the world.


People spoke of powder so deep you can tunnel your way through town. There were stories of bars that are igloos. Everything I heard sounded Alien to The Alps, as if it was on another skiing planet.  The idea of skiing in Japan had me hooked, so much so that I could no longer resist picking up that phone and booking a trip to Niseko with Crystal Ski.

Where’s the Sun? I thought this was the Land of the Rising Sun?

All I had read about Niseko was how it was swarmed by Aussie thrill seekers leaving the surf behind for deep snow. What I hadn’t read, was how much it snowed. Niseko is not in the Land of the Rising Sun, it’s in the land of the falling snow. Siberian wind comes pouring across the resort, dumping powder everywhere.  Light rich powder, the type that I could only dream of in Europe.

I started to realise why the Aussies flocked there by the thousands, they were no fools. They knew the value of fresh tracks and fresh powder.

That was the beauty of skiing in Japan. The spray, the tracks, the lumps and the bumps. The resort had its quirky feel with igloo bars and neon-lit dance floors, but the powder is what had me hooked on skiing in Japan. There were very few resorts where I could turn around and see that snaking line I’ve just made with my skis. Vainly, I’d sit there underneath the floodlights, admiring the mark I had made on the mountain. In a state of peace, as I watched that Siberian white gold-dust come billowing in from coast.


I was certain, my mind was made up, Japan was the “Land of the Falling Snow”. With one lift pass I had explored all three resorts of Hirafu, Niseko Village and Annupuris. I had flown down those tree lined slopes with that glorious white stuff spraying behind me.

When the snow finally held off, I had stood in awe of Mt Yotei. I was at ease, I was at peace, and I was certain that I would never see that much snow again.

Skiing in Japan is like visiting Mecca. It’s a powder hound’s dream, an ethereal place that can only be found in the hazy skyline of Asia. A skyline that I left on the journey back to Sapporo airport. Skiing in Japan is a unique as the snowflakes that land on it. It is a place that every ski enthusiast would be foolish to miss, it’s the powder capital of the world.

Want to learn more about Martin and his travels?

Visit Martin’s site: The Travel Ramble
Follow Martin on Twitter: @MartinNolan7
Add Martin on Google+: Martin Nolan

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