Every Christmas we release 12 special offers over 12 days to help you guys get a great deal on your Christmas presents… This year we’ve decided to release all these deals at the beginning, so you know what’s coming up and you can take advantage of them at your leisure. Here’s a rundown of the full list, and we’ll remind you daily on our facebook, instagram and twitter too – just in case you forget!
Happy shopping, and Happy Christmas! SC x
We are stoked to once again be the Official Snowboxx supplier for this years killer event. Pre order now to save yourself some cash or if you are unable to make it out to Avoriaz. Come see us at our pop up store to see what other epicness we have on offer. Meantime go see what we have in store http://shop.syndicateclothing.co.uk/category/snowboxx
So we finally got some back country hiking and a guide organised in hindsight do this In advance . It’s not cheap but is a great option at the weekend when pistes are busy and queues are long. We went with a small family run guide. An Aussie going by the name of Steve. The other option was Evergreen but they were full for the week. Having never done this before we opted for snow shoes as opposed to split boards. I guess the down side of this is carrying you board but the upside is you get to ride your own stick. We had down our Avalanche course previously so it was just a case of renting the gear(beacon,probe,shovel and poles) we almost forgot we needed poles so bad to run back to the shop. The cost of all this was 11000yen bout £75. We had been picked up by the guide Steve stopped off at the shop to pick up a packed lunch then headed to Tsugaike .
You can buy a one way ticket at all ski resorts in Japan just to get to the top this worked out at about a tenner. Once at the top we started our hike up a cat track then into the forest. We were part of a group that consisted of a bunch of chain smoking Italians who must have taking a day of from snowblading and made it their mission to hold us up both going up and coming back down the mountain. If you are going to do this get a private guide(66000yen) or at least made sure you are not going with punters. The first hike was about an hour.
It wasn’t anything crazy so as long as you have the ability to walk you should be ok. The reward was some untouched tree runs into a gully. The 2nd hike was half the time but a bit of a shorter run. Again there was no tracks to see anywhere. Our guide warned us that lower down there was more bush than a Japanese onsen(naked hot tub)
On our 3rd and final hike we reached the top where on a clear day you can see the sea. It was dumping now so vis was tougher although in the trees it was no problem. “The locals call this narnia Steve told us” we looked down at our drop in. Wide open spaces, banks, trees and drops. This was the Japan that you see the in the videos. Steve waited further down to take some shots(our go pro action involved us not wanting to ruin the enjoyment of the runs holding a camera and when we did it go covered in snow the first turn so the rest is white) I dropped in first and made my charge throwing down huge slashes and choosing my theme tune for my video section in my head.
Spotting Steve further down I picked up a bit more pace ready for the money shot. Fighting hard to hold the line due to me being to lazy to see my board all the way back for powder I held on for dear life for the photo only to hit a small tree at mach 10 and rag doll past the camera. Narnia continued down the valley with freshies all the way until the last wee but where it became an icy luge where others had gathered on the road home.
Shandy managed to eat shit in a creek and as the weather and light started to fade it was a tough shred at the end. The cost is of these 3 runs was 16000 each (£100) so with everything else it was t a cheap day. However it was worth every penny and is a must if you head out here. With the pistes all tracked out there’s still powder to be had. Hiking was actually really cool fun too. It wasn’t anything that’s gonna kill you but you feel rewarded at the top. The guides grabbed everyone a beer out the vending machine at the cost of £2 each and we toasted the best day in Japan so far
Yeeha it was a powder day. we had set our alarms to don’t miss a thing and had made the master plan to hit up Happo One again getting the fresh pow on the groomers first chair then hit up the trees. As it was only a 15 minute walk from the house we figured get there for 745am. Other resorts opened between 830am and 9 so we figured that would get us one of the first in line and we could smash it. We rocked up at 740 to see people tearing into our powder. Who the hell opens at 730am!?
We had vouchers from riding the other day(don’t throw them away) which meant that we had 1000 yen to spend on lunch.So with first tracks vanishing fast we improvised and hit up tight under the chair then into some tight trees.
Gambles were taken if tracks hadn’t gone into trees it meant we could get fresh but also stuck. It was so much fun exploring and if you hit the jackpot it was a great feeling. the famous Happo Banks was opening today too so we headed across. It was almost like a wider boarder X track set for slashes and lay backs or you could use the walls as lips to spin off. With a big crowd it was a bit of carnage but you could see the potential. A few laps later we used up our free lunch voucher. If you want to get a free drink then offer to fill out a questionaire.
Several tree runs later we were spent. The bonus of starting early meant that our lift passes still had some value. So we sold them to some guys whos day was just about to start. Winner. Gutted to miss these first chairs but was still a super fun day. Awesome to get some freshies again!
It was an early rise due to the noise of the snow falling off the roof. Finally we get to see the flakes the tumbling from the heavens again. There is a tonne forecast in the next 24 hours so fingers crossed. I will no longer have to plan a flying visit to Macau. We had planned to head to Iwatake So naturally headed to Tsugaike. This time we had finally figured out how to use a bus timetable (500 yen £3 return) lower down the snow was what we call in Scotland rain.
We hung around 10 minutes to gets half day ticket and after 1 run in flat light fog and sleet decided to make a donation to Burger King. This wasn’t the Japow we had seen in the brochures and it was starting to make me comfort eat. It was starting to feel like a Saturday night out when you couldn’t be bothered and already knew it would be shite but you were scared in case you missed anything. Once BK had ran out of whoppers we forced ourselves back up.
The sleet turned to snow yes our asses still got soaked on the chairlift but we now knew that at some point this was going to get good. We hit the trees and failed miserably at attempting to ride along a fallen tree but then we found a sweet little drop in the trees that salvaged our day.
Snowboarding is a bit like heroin well probably you get that one good hit and the world is a better place. I’m now buzzing for tomorrow. As I have said previously the apre is a bit average. So much so it involves a group trip to the supermarket party on
It was another bluebird day with snow forecast tomorrow we thought it was time to be tourists and see some of this wonderful country. At always it was a bit last minute so we tried to arrange a hire car whilst tucking into a bowl of Frosties. Hakuba was all out so we sorted one at toyota in Nagano(an hour £10 on a bus) upon arrival in Nagano we walked a few back streets until we found the hire car place.
So here’s a thing did you know that your driving licence is not an international driving licence in compliance with the Geneva convention 1949. Either did we. Turns out you need to get a special licence to drive in Japan. So 40 minutes later we trudged back to the bus stop to find out how to get to the snow monkey place. We gathered our thoughts safe in the knowledge we didn’t have access to google world we ate. I then queued in the ticket office for 30 minutes to be told I was at the wrong place. The bus wanker queue was down stairs. I’m currently on another fucking bus roasting my ass off on the way to the snow monkey park. If these monkeys don’t dance and go to the fridge to get me a red bull there will be hell to pay. I better get that Instagram shot….
We made it to monkey magic land. Being a main tourist destination all the directions from the bus stop were in Japanese. It was a short 2km up hill in the snow through the woods in my hurraches and there is was just as it said on the tin.
A shit load of snow monkeys hanging out walking amongst us chilling in the hot springs and wrestling whilst trying to get into people’s rucksacks. As we settled for the camera on our iPhones there was and abundance of monkey paedos with lenses the size of your arm despite only being at arms length from them.
It was really cool seeing them and at the same time you felt that you were invading their privacy but not in a seaworld kind of way. We took our last 5000 pictures and headed back down the hill.
Shandy at this point tried to kick all the trees to knock the snow off them over us but failed. We had missed the bus to yakanda so thought as it was down hill we would walk the 4km to the sake brewery.
An hour later we rocked up to the train station to ask for directions turns out we walked passed it half an hour ago. We jumped in a taxi back to where we came from and 5 minutes later(there wasn’t much to see) walked all the way back again. Distracted by a statue of a cat with massive balls we stopped in at a traditional sushi restaurant.
I was a little apprehensive as my food choice is pizza or burgers but gave it a go and even used chopsticks mainly down to the fact there was no cutlery.
I drew the line at the shrimp head soup however but it was an awesome experience and the place had been in the family for over 100 years.
Another million photos later and we head to catch a train to catch another train which would lead to a bus then a taxi. Who needed a hire car anyway. If were not such a bunch of fuck ups we wouldn’t have had half the experience we did today. Back on the shred tomorrow
Another day another resort this time it was Hakuba 47. We actually managed to figure out the buses so it was 10 minutes from outside our house. On arrival we expected a small town but it literally was a resort we sat in the sunshine eating some mexican food waiting on the clock to tick for a half day pass(just over £20) and then headed up the gondola after a short chair lift to access it.
We had been told that once again due to the winds(you never read this is the mags) that the only way to access further across the resort was by bus. This limited what we could do but once again it was blasting some groomers. the resort was dead so we worked on carves and sprays then found what I guess was meant to be the park.
There was a though of a half pipe with a couple of decent kickers if it wasn’t for the bomb holes in the landing and a few old skinny rails. It’s hard to tell how there are so many good freestylers coming out of Japan when the parks are non existent. There was also a beginner park in the trees which was bizarre as it meant it was in the shade and erm well yeah there was trees in the way. If you wanted to do tree runs in 47 you had to go get a bib to save losing your lift pass.
As Shandy tried to set records on Ski Tracks(get the app) he ate shit and blamed his board so we took a break to try eatery. The curry was awesome and we struggled to be bothered to go back up but had to wait for a bus anyway. After a sick ally oop was ruined by some bamboo poking out it was time to blast down the hill which was now in the shadows therefore flat light and icy.
We got home done some flips off the balcony and then finally found some traditional Japanese food. It involved sitting on the floor but the food was fast, well priced and our hosts were so friendly. In hindsight a note of the name of the place would have been good at this point. It was beside some hipster pub in Echoland
Another day another resort. This time it was Happo One(pronounced Oh Neigh) It was meant to be somewhere else but the bus never showed and this was within walking distance from the house(about 15 mins)
Happo is the largest resort by far that we will encounter home to the massive ski jumps for the Nagano Olympics it also has the most updated lifts although not all. For a country big on trust they take a hell of a deposit for the lift passes I can only assume that is down to the amount of Aussies that visit. It happened to be Australia day which meant a bunch up gapers cruising the pistes with flags as capes still struggling to know what they could now sing now that their song sheet was created by Rolf Harris. It was the first blue bird day of the trip so was good to just let rip on some groomers. This would be a good way to discover where to go when it did dump again. Lift tickets came in at just over £30 and once again it was cheap on the hill to eat and drink.
There is also free wifi around all over the resorts too which is handy for when somebody take a a wrong turn. there is no park at Happo but the famous Happo Banks were getting shaped to open that weekend. There is a lot of steep stuff on the hill too which was great for flying along but also scary when you are going full speed and it gets a bit bumpy. Naturally we managed to lead ourselves into some mogul fields too which are so much fun on a snowboard. when the day was done we fancied traditional Japanese cuisine but sadly all that stuff is closed until 5pm so we settled for a hot dog. Happo town has a bit more going for it but we avoided the Aussies and settled for a cafe. Hopefully get some freshies tomorrow
Our body clocks were still fucked as we were still trying to figure out plans with our buddy Dave who had rocked up from Tokyo. At the last minute we switched up resorts. I think we have about 10 within 30 minutes of our accom. We headed to ? Again down to the want for first chair we grabbed a taxi this time 4000 yen(£25) After a lot of standing around and deliberating wheteher to stay here due to the gondy being closed from the mid station due to winds we finally got our lift passes.
Tsugiake is a lot bigger than Cortina so this meant more for a lift pass. We paid 5000 yen but this included 1000 to spend on lunch. As luck would have it this was enough for a large whopper meal and ice cream sundae at Burger King at the mid station! We headed up some dated chair lifts to see what the resort had to offer.
As with the sizes of clothes being different due to the shape of Asians the same can be said for the chairlifts. They are a lot lower therefore involved crouching lower to grab the seat. This was always a dangerous time as you edged forward hoping for somebody else to take the sting out of the low rider chair flying round at mach 10. Several bruised calves later and we had made it to the top. Spotting some runs from the chair we headed to the trees unsure where they would lead but willing to accept a hike out if required. Dropping in through the birch trees the vis became clear and the fresh pow untracked. the gaps in the trees were big enough to just go full pelt creating your own lines it was amazing. On top of that it led out to a cat track. We lapped the tree runs until we started making plans for that Burger King.
As we hit up the top of the chair once more Ski Patrol rolled back the orange mesh and opened the top run for our charge to BK . It was unreal we had first lines on the steep and deep piste. Charging down all you could hear was screams of delight and bailed riders got slashed. the run was so long the back leg was burning. We took a break for lunch and then investigated the resort some more. At the end of the day we soaked our feet in the natural foot onsen and reflected on the day.
That night we headed out to check out some of the hakkuba night life. First stop was the double black. We expected some sweaty low roofed sticky happy hour but it turned out to be a sweet hotel exchanging shoes for slippers at the door. One drink turned into 8 so we had dinner there too(that part was average) We then headed down the slippery hill to the next bar which was sweaty,sticky,low roof and smoky. Shandy thought it would be a good idea to challenge the bar staff to a jager train race which naturally ended up messy for everyone. He told us the reason the girls beat him were they had shorter arms. The rest of that night was oblivion