Posted on March 23rd, 2011 2 comments
From Grand Hirafu’s opening day, our Holiday Niseko accommodation has been booked out with great people from all over the world this 2010/2011 season. January and February’s powder dumped through early March and the snow depth was all time! Stoke and hype was full power. Families and friendly groups of skiers and snowboarder’s were having a blast on their holidays- telling us that the snow has been some of the best they had ever skied or slashed. That’s normal for Niseko.
Then on March 11th things became not so normal with the earthquake outside the east coast of Sendai and the devastating tsunamis that followed leaving Fukushima, Sendai and other east coast cities ruined and waiting for rescue. Shaking the houses in Niseko and rocking the world, our eyes and ears have been tuned in to Japanese news every day since March 11th. With so many lives lost, families broken, homes and land destroyed, food shortages, nuclear reactors burning, radiation scares it’s been awkward and hard to be up here trying to enjoy skiing and snowboarding when the country is in pain.
The strong-willed Japanese people have rallied around each other trying to fix and rebuild rather than blame and compare. Their strength is inspirational. Locals in Niseko have helped out as much as possible by throwing many fund raising events in town and on the mountain sending relief-fund donations to Red Cross Japan and the Tohoku earthquake fund. The people of Kutchan and Niseko town have had donation and drop off centers for clothing and other necessities since the disaster struck. Some brave people have re-routed their lives to drive down, look for lost friends and roll up their sleeves to help out the poor victims that have been in our thoughts and prayers.
Some tourists stayed on and rode out their vacations but many foreigners cancelled their holidays and Niseko has been very very quiet as of March 11th. We have been safely tucked away in Niseko and Hokkaido has for the most part been spared from this disaster. Our hearts go out to the coastal cities of Honshu and the people in pain. Here is a few photos of what it’s been like up on the mountain since mid March. Enjoy the snow quietly