“Bag this.” was the democratic decision. We had just recovered from a preposterous train journey, when we found ourselves in the tourist honkey-ville part of Hakuba. We didn’t know it but the local hill had caught a case of tourist and school holidays, with the symptoms being mega lift congestion unlike anything I’d ever seen before. So we ditched, and begrudgingly got back on the tiny, empty train.
The little kids peered at us from behind their mothers, little cloth masks covering their face, insuring that we dont get sick on our way to getting sick. Old men hobbled on and off, as we passed tiny tiny towns and small resort, and even a couple of fully abandoned ski areas. The friendly automated japanese robot lady mysteriously announced each stop. Not wanting to risk it, we hop off where we see the base lodge- Yanaba.
Yanaba is two little lifts of pure awesome. The terrain is 50% learner and 50% park, with an all day/all night pass costing about $35. We ripped and hooted our way around dodging pizza and french fries, having plenty of sweet chats on the lifts with giggling Japanese girls, “How old are you?” “What is your favorite food?” We tried to answer in Japanese, they faired better asking in english.
We stopped from some noodles and customary vending machine beer, followed by an impromptu spine session, which is where we met SFN. SFN is a group of 14-something friends from the town of Nara, who all travel and shred together. They invited us for a couple of laps, which quickly turned into a whole nights worth of laughing, funny tricks and progression. These kids really know how to ride a party stick. Each year they put together a film that includes all the members of the group regardless of riding ability. This year Eddie and I (kind of) made the video. Like I said its regardless of riding ability, our cameo is at 3:55. The highlight of my life.