Japan Trip Days 4-6: First Time Skiing: Nozawa Onsen, Nagano, Japan

After dinner, our big ski group took the overnight bus to our destination ski resort. It was a long trip of over 8 hours. The bus stopped for multiple toilet and food breaks during the night, but all I wanted was a warm bed in a dark room for some proper shuteye. I don’t know how much money we ended up saving like that, but I really wouldn’t try that ever again.

I woke up from my intermittent sleep to see all the snow outside the window:


We eventually got to the ski resort, Nozawa Onsen. We had to queue up for a long time in a super small and packed shop to get our rented gear. It took another long time before I was fitted, learnt how to wear them, learnt how to walk in them (read: waddle), learnt how to go up and down stairs in them (read: more waddle), learnt how to carry the skis without knocking the ceiling out or killing others… and we were finally at the bottom of the greenest of green slope.

It was my first time skiing ever. I quickly learnt that:

  1. I was dressed entirely too warm for beginner skiing.
  2. Once fallen, it is next to impossible to get up from the flat snow ground with ski gear on.
  3. The above point is apparently only true for total beginners like me.
  4. I am terrible at this.

Chee Yee, our friend and coach with the sprained ankle for the trip, taught us the very basics of skiing, which I failed at miserably. The brother was much more adept at this and was brought up on the ski lift to the top of the green slope. It took him a while to get back to the bottom, but he did make it down and we were all very amazed and proud of his progress.

We have never been more exhausted. We fell dead asleep when we headed back to the lodge.

On the second day, we wasted no time and headed straight out after breakfast. It was an unfortunately warm and sunny day and the snow was melting a little. Honestly, it made no difference to a total beginner.

Kenneth, another more seasoned skier, took me on my first ski lift trip. I still didn’t know how to turn or stop yet and had no fear of speed. Very deadly combination.

In about 5 seconds, I made it from the top of the slope to the bottom. I fell a lot, laughed a lot, and bruised even more.

I went up several more times, until I had one last fall that left me with both skis in the air, a sprained left thumb, a scratched nose, and taste of blood in my mouth. I slid on the snow for over 10m before I eventually stopped. I was okay, but was finally scared enough to stop and rest.

Another dead night of sleep back at the lodge.

We woke up to this on the third day:

So, so much more snow; we they were all very excited (still didn’t mean much to a total beginner like me). I did, however, get my courage back and was back on the ski lift and slope. More laughs and bruises, but thankfully no more bleeding — outside the skin, that is!

It was near noon and we had to take another long bus trip back to Tokyo soon. We couldn’t believe our three days of skiing was over just like that. This ski trip was really an experience of a lifetime.

Half of the Lovely Ski Group
This is only half of the lovely group of new friends; photo taken in the lobby of Resort Inn Chitose (I’m the one in pink)

Hopefully this isn’t the last — skiing, or hanging out with such an awesome group of friends. smile





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