Saturday, January 8, 2011


Today is suddenly the last day of the holiday. As with all holidays, the time has shot by in the most enjoyable way. By the second or third day of boarding, we had found our niche, out in the diamond valley. The valley was beautiful; from the top, you can see down into the valley of diamonds, the diamonds being the beautiful sparkling White tree tops, glistening in the distance. The scenery here is just amazing. Everywhere you look, there is White. It's a precious White, that i have never seen so much of before. Every step you take crunches deep into thick snow, leaving a mark, showing the next skier or barred that you trod this path.

So, as far as blogs go, I don't think that a snowboarding/onsen trip is particularly one to fill the pages of an immense blog, but then, we remember that I am not really doing this for the reader, more for my memory.

This trip was a magical indeed. We went from the first paragraph of this blog on a cable car. Now, bearing in mind, we were considering leaving early because the weather looked a bit naff, we did quite well.

There are two cable cars up to the very very top where the snow monsters live. Of course, they are not real monsters, although I would not like to be up there in the dead of the night (or rather late afternoon judging by the time of dusk on the slopes). No, these are the tops of the trees, the really really tall trees you see on the mountains the tops of those, covered with thick, thick snow. It really is amazing and, chances are, if you are a city girl, like me, you might never have seen so much snow before....seriously!!! Except, I had, because I had been here trekking before, but today, like four years ago, my jaw was on the ground. Yamagata ken and , in particular, Zao Onsen town, were awe inspiring places. For someone scared of heights and the odd wobbly cable car, I saw no fear as the ropeways carried us up to the misfired mountain tops. The wind screeched through the openings and the car swayed to each side, but we somehow knew there was awesomeness ahead.

It is up in this area that there is the Zao course that leads to an area known as 'boarder's paradise'. Sadly , today it was more of a nightmare. The moment we stepped out of the second cable car, the frosty wind blew us away. The magical monsters swaying with the force of the cold air and our fingers already frozen from a shot too many. Our only respite, the restaurant with it's spicy tan tan men and beer.

Zao onsen is definitely a place to remember. It seems it's perfect any season. We just found out that our lodge is open in the summer time too, for private hire...that means no Paolo! Thank goodness!

Until the next holiday blog gets typed, so long x


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