Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Up in the mountains

We are staying at a lodge in the resort of Zao Onsen. When you walk down the hill, there is a little town, with many omiyage stores and a great waft of sulphur at every turn. It is a really calm, cute and quaint place. In terms of boarding and snow fun, there is plenty. The slopes are just on the road outside the hotel and there are so many lifts to choose from. In terms of the area itself,it is a place to wander and relax. There area many eateries, sake shops and, of course, onsens.

Day one began with what is always set to be a treat and that was breakfast! You really never know where you are in a Japanese
Ryokan/ski lodge, or even hotel, but chances are, your stomach will be longing for that ''meat sauce pasta'' long before lunch time arrives.

Well, today's delight consisted of one hard-boiled egg, accompanied by a surprisingly tasty, but equally as surprisingly small sausage and salad. Oh, and access to a personal toaster and bread. Nice. Even more surprisingly, this breakfast, barring a few snacks and a sneaky tea and mochi, actually lasted us until dinnertime. How? I wish I knew! Well, we the slopes, one crap slope, to be precise, but we endured it nonetheless, dragging our boards across flat paths and exhausting ourselves or just as bad, burying ourselves in too much powder. It was still fun, but, by the time we went and walked with Elbi, the snowy air had got the better of all of us and we were out like a light.

The afternoon snow fest involved a cable car, and for the first time in a long time, I was not so scared. It was huge and we got there so fast that my heart had no time to palpitate. The slopes down were great. We were picking up pace, getting the knack back, finally. As dusk fell over the mountainous region, we felt the frost on our faces, but still pelted down the slows as if the sub had been shining on us. It was great. We had found our snowboarding niche, snow fun, onsen, dog time, nice.

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