Cat Skiing!

Provided by: Explore Niseko (050-5309-6905), THoP, HBC & Iwanai Resort

The House of Powder/Hokkaido Backcountry Club:

Cat tours are one of the best ways to access the backcountry pow! If you aren’t too keen on hiking the back bowls of Mt Annupuri-Niseko, Chisenupuri is just a 20min drive. With a pick up service from your Niseko accomodation from 08:00, you’ll be driven through the scenic mountain ranges and arrive at your destination, more commonly known by the locals as Chise.

Once we got to the location, we got to settle into there warm lodge and get kitted up with arm bands, our safety packs and beacons. THoP patroller, Lindsey, gave us a run through of what were in our packs – shovel and probe. In addition, she shows us how to assemble the equipment to use them in an efficient manner. Once we had out beacons and packs strapped on, we stepped out into the snow where other THoP patroller, Jase, had hidden some beacons. Jase provided a simplified demonstration of search and rescue in an avalanche crisis. This was such a great refresher for us who has done their Avalanche Skills Test, or, a good introduction on how to go about equipping yourself with the knowledge of mountain safety.

We did a search together as a team to test our beacons, our dummy was found and rescued! Once we were comfortable with our beacons, we loaded the cat for our first run! HBC guide, Shin, along with the THoP patrollers, takes us down the first few laps. The first lap will always follow the lift line, this basically allows us to always have a safe confirmed route to get back to the cat. The next couple of runs, we are shown some tracks through the back country! The Chise backcountry was full of deep fluffy powder and great pillows! 

Getting back on the cat is quick and easy with 2 cats on a constant loop! I suppose one could think of it as your own private mountain with the cats as your lifts! For our next run, HBC and THoP guides split the group up by terrain interest – either back down the lift line, or, further out into the back country; making this tour fun for all ability levels. After 3-4 runs, we were free to explore the mountain ourselves, or follow one of the guides.

Around 12:00, we head back down to the lodge to have a simple packed lunch that is provided. After lunch we head back up again! With an an approximate vertical elevation of 270m, the runs may be considered short; however, our group managed to do about 6-7 runs* from 10:00-12:30! The tour runs until about 3-4pm, depending on when the sun goes down for our own safety. At the end of the tour, you also have the option to head to the all natural sulphuric onsen next door for just ¥500! After soaking in the outdoor pools and mud bath, the crew takes us back to Hirafu :)

Overall, with the quick looping of the 2 cats, this tour was perfect for us to do some slashes and jump pillows in the trees, as well as the warming up and cooling down the legs with some wide powder turns!

*number of runs depends on the overall ability level of the group.

Iwanai Resort:

Iwanai Resort is currently being re-vamped. It’s offering a 360 degree panorama glass cat! The views are phenomenal. Of all the nearby cat ski tours in Niseko, Iwanai offers the longest runs at 600m vertical and steep pitches. Overall super fun! The backcountry is currently not filled in, so take care out there and make sure you have your safety pack and beacon!

Contact us at Explore Niseko (050-5309-6905) to find out more and/or book your cat experience!


Happy Snowboarding Dayz!

Yesterday, I went to Rusutsu with the brother and Yut the Beaut.

It’s been such a long time since I’ve just been so happy snowboarding. I couldn’t stop smiling; the weather, the conditions, the terrain just perfect! This just rolls off on the day that my chest was abt to explode from happiness of fluttering snow.

It just totally reminded me of The Angry Therapist‘s post:
At a low point earlier last month, I regrammed this to remind myself that 2016 WAS that fkd up friend.. 2016 was a horrible year. I was so unhappy, overworked and underpaid/underappreciated, with a partner who didn’t want to be here.

2017 I was still really negative, I felt like nothing was going to get better…
2017 saw a break up that made me feel I wasted my time, going through a not so healthy healing process (ex was still my tenant, and a crutch as he helped me with my pets), leaving a job that paid the bills, and going no where with my own company.

But, I reread this gram last night, and I had a really different thought “Hey… 2017 IS the friend that changed my life!”; I became bffs with my bff of 18yrs’ future wife whom I’m now closer to than to him, I STARTED my own company which lead me to be in different offices and making new connections, I’ve been able to snowboard way more, I’ve made new good friends, I got my 3rd fur baby, I’ve been in trying situations that let me learn so much more abt living in a foreign country that I’ve made home, I’m in a new chapter again – a growth.

And as John said in the post:

Now I hope 2018 is not a new friend but a fucking rocket that launches me to places I’ve never been to before, literally, figuratively, romantically, stretching me, pushing me, challenging me, to stack my actions on top of my words and standing on both. To run toward my true north without looking back. Or blinking. To create a wider dialogue. To let go of my kite, trusting it will fly. To love harder. To feel gratitude in my bones. To smile more. And to no longer make it about me. That is the island, where I want to go. To live a life of service and make it about others. That is my new definition of a life well lived.

I don’t want kids

So, my brother and his family are here visiting. I don’t really talk to them all too much about future stuff.

I did so today – I told them how I don’t want to have kids etc.
It’s strangely therapeutic.

My oldest nephew is also rather well behaved these days and it was actually quite a pleasant experience having dinner with them tonight :)

Going for a morning shred with Yut the Beaut, then a few quick runs with the bro, and then werkwerk… All. Day. Long. Hopefully not….

Strengths & Weaknesses

8 years ago, a boy told her, her financial ability to never rely on another and never to worry about living a decent life, was a weakness. She thought this was a strength. This made her doubt herself.

5 years ago, a boy told her, her blunt-ness and ability to talk to everyone in the room, was a weakness. She grew up being told this was appreciated, she thought it was her greatest strength. This crippled her being and sew her mouth shut.

Now, another boy told her, her ambition and drive is no good for him. She thought she created a strength, an armour, for herself out of the apathy that was her life. This emptied her and made her question her worth.

One day soon, she hopes to trust fully of what she knows;
Her strength and self-worth are not measured by another.

The Close of Another Chapter

“Hay Tahm”,

Hope you had a good flight home.

Since you moved out, there’s been alot of my head and my heart the past 6 months; alot of thanks, and, alot of hurts. Thank you for being such a great bun-dad. Thank you for helping me with my zoo even though we weren’t together anymore, thank you for waking up when I called to help catch Gin, thank you for all the chats and coffees. Thank you for reaching out for one last catch up.

I’m sorry for interrupting your farewell, I had said “Hey” a few times, and when the music finally stopped, my voice was already at its loudest. I should have used the doorbell. So, thank you for not holding it against me.

Why didn’t you empty the apartment? You’ve let me see what you left behind, again. Why did you have to tell me you were flying to Berlin the moment you landed home in the UK; why did you have to tell me you were welcoming this distraction when you made the decision to go home? I feel so insignificant to you that you rather go home that try to make a relationship work, but before you even get there, you want to escape it.

Though you are right to say we are different, you made it very clear last August you no longer wanted to be here, yet to lied to yourself, to me, that you did. I’m sure by the end of it you also knew what it is to feel loneliness with someone in bed next to you. Whatever you may tell yourself, acknowledge that you never making this place your home, you never considered me in your future. And now, to tell me you want to escape from home, is yet another thousand arrows into my heart that thought it didn’t miss you. It brings back all the memories of the thoughtless words you said that demeaned all my efforts to help you make this town home.

It also bring back the happy times, that I thought was erased from my consciousness. For you, I hope you find whatever it is you are looking for, a purpose for being and to lose that apathy you have decided is you. To find the courage to make a effort to find happiness instead to settling in contentment.

For me, life before you was great; and life after you, will also be, equally as great :)


Yesterday, I was driving to Sapporo to watch Thor (REALLY good, highly recommend), and I experienced a moment of sheer joy, the first time ever.

This year, winter is late. There is no much snow. So much changes have occurred over this past 6 months that have put me on an emotional roller coaster so to speak. The final tick on the list is riding to my heart’s content. But, where is the snow!? :(

On the way, on NakayamaToge, there was a small layer of snow. It made me smile, and sing along to the tunes playing in the car :

♪ OOOOOOH pretty baaabyyyy
Don’t let me down I pray
Oh pretty baby
Now that I’ve found you stay ♪

Almost pulling into Jozankei, the snow started to flutter heavily, towards me! And I felt my chest welling up with such happiness that it could burst. My eyes teared up and I couldn’t stop smiling. This was a first for me. I believe the Japanese call it “感動” (kan-dou). There’s no exact English translation for this, but it is something along the lines of emotional involvement, or the power to stimulate an emotion response. Which is also the philosophy of Japanese companies like Sony, Yamaha or Asahi.

I actually had a different title for this post, one about opposites of joy and frustration. But making myself revisit that feeling of joy, peace, enough-ness, has surprisingly eased the anger in my head…