As most of you will have noticed I have been rather quiet on the blog recently, I do apologize! We have been away for the last few days to take a visit to the snow on a little ski trip! As South Africans, the majority of our team hadn’t experienced snow before so this was quite the adventure for everyone!
(scroll over the pic’s for captions)
From Tokyo, we took the JR Shinkansen to Niigata which is up north and took about a 1 hour and 20 minutes. From Echigo-Yuzawa Station we caught our hotel shuttle to Sierra Resort where we spent two nights. As this time is the end of the snow season, there wasn’t snow on the roads but it surrounded us on all the mountains and slopes which was breathtakingly beautiful!
Our resort was super cozy with friendly staff and spacious rooms. We stayed in the Garden Room which had a lovely view of the slopes and snowy mountains. We unpacked and headed out in our snow boots for a walk up the hill to the ski slope which was only a 5 minute walk. Restaurants and cafes lined up the bottom of the slope which was super convenient when people finished off with their skiing or snow boarding session.
We decided to attempt the night skiing which I have mixed emotions about. It was so picturesque and skiing looked pretty simple to do after watching all the regulars on the slopes earlier…wrong!! It is a lot more difficult than I thought! Heading up onto the steep slope with the snow turning to hard ice was not the most clever idea for someone that has never attempted to ski before! The boys seemed to grasp the concept really well though and managed a few turns before we headed back to the resort for dinner. Although I was rather disheartened by the first experience of having to walk all the way down the slope due to extreme nervousness, I decided that evening that I had to give this sport one more chance the next day!
Dinner at the resort was wonderful! Nice and cozy in the restaurant we were served in separate courses. What a start to our little getaway!
Day 2 and we were up and about nice and early with a traditional Japanese breakfast, like the one from this post about Hakone. All geared up and ready to go, we hit the slopes. Well, the boys hit the slopes and us girls started out on the kiddy slope to gain some confidence. This was quite a laugh with the two of us grown women filing in line with tiny tots around the ages of 4 and 5 – we indeed got some interesting glares from the kids!
Gaining some confidence was great as we then hit the intermediate slope with the hope in getting to the bottom without breaking anything. We made it! An exhilarating experience this was and how wonderful a feeling when everything just clicks!
To reward ourselves, we went for Pizza and Gluhwein at the little Pizzeria alongside the slopes. Delicious!
A truly wonderful experience in the snowy mountains, standing in the snow whilst it was snowing, skiing for the first time, making snowmen and snow angels, all with a great bunch of people made it a holiday we will never forget!