Night Snowboarding at Grand Hirafu
Night Boarding is a wonderful thing. You can ride all day and then go out to eat, take a break, and/or a nap and still go back up the mountain for a second full riding session. Or if you partied all night the night before and are too hungover in the morning, you can still get some riding in. We haven’t been doing any partying in Niseko, so we rode all day long, took a break to rest our legs and dry our feet, and headed up for a night session. The crew was Seth Hill, Andy Stern, and I (Jeremy Dubs) and we headed up to Niseko United’s Grand Hirafu resort. It was going to be good since the snow had been coming down hard the last two days and the winds were howling so we were expecting fresh turns and free refills of deep powder. Seth was itching to really experience how deep the Japan snow could get, and this was finally the moment to realize how amazing it truly can be.
Due to the wind gusts, there weren’t a ton of people up at the resort. We rode the Ace Chair amidst the -10˚C weather with snow coming down like crazy. We couldn’t believe our eyes seeing all the untracked lines beneath us. We started pointing out all the lines we could take and looking for cattracks to air off of. As we got to the top of the lift the winds really increased dramatically. As we strapped in up top, we struggled to put on our bindings without getting blown down the mountain. It was actually quite a surreal and wonderful sight to see the way the snow gusts were blowing down the hill in perfect patterns creeping along the ground. The snow was really light and fluffy, some of the best you could possibly encounter for sending huge snow waves into the air every time you made a turn. We happily shredded down the mountain spraying powder in each others’ faces and enjoying the amazing turns.
The highlight of the night was finding an untracked zone where we could ride down the hill and spray the people riding up the chairlift with a wave of powder. It was all in good fun and we heard plenty of cheers for the people we sprayed.