Posted by: thewhitesintokyo | January 19, 2009

Sukeeingu in Japan (Skiing)

Fresh powder. Empty runs. Microchip lift tickets inside your glove. Incredible views.

If that doesn’t entice you to try skiing in Japan, then I don’t know what would. Regrettably, after going to Luther College in Iowa and marrying my wonderful Minnesotan wife, I took a hiatus from skiing for nearly five years. Yes, as a child born in the mountains of Colorado, I didn’t ski for five years. So, this was a triumphant return to the slopes for me.

What I didn’t know was just how triumphant that return would be. There was fresh snow on every run, partly cloudy skies and a nice 25 degree temperature to keep me cool but not melt the snow. I could not have asked for better skiing conditions.

Apparently empty slopes are a signature of Japan. There were actually runs where we were the only people on the slope, or two of 10-25 (at the most) that were traversing the sides of this gorgeous mountain. Plus, the view! The “Japanese Alps,” as they are called, are absolutely beautiful and the view from the top was awe inspiring. We stayed at a former inn that some of our church members recently bought and will be refitting as a cabin for friends and family to use year-round. See the photo below.

There aren’t many differences between skiing in Colorado and Japan, but here are a few: open, quiet slopes, no lift-operators packing you into the quad (all automatic machine-operated), and you can go to an onsen at the end of the day to rest sore muscles (mineral hot springs).

In our worship with the two dozen high school and middle school students on Saturday evening, we sang about the beauty of Creation and discussed how we had seen God in all that was around us. I cannot describe in words the refreshing quality of this trip when compared to our life of concrete, steel, and fluorescent bulbs in Tokyo. Both are wonderful parts of our experience of Japan, but getting out of the city is not only recommendable but maybe even necessary to keep your sanity in this bustling metropolis.

Rachael’s Account of the Ski Trip

Unlike Brad, I have never been an avid skiier. I went once or twice on field trips in elementary school and never made it off the bunny hill. This last weekend, I finally felt like I experience real skiing! I took a full day beginner’s class (in English) and made it through the whole day without falling.
As Brad said, the weather was amazing, the snow was perfect, and the company was wonderful. I could not have asked for a better experience. Seeing the youth group kids enjoying themselves so much made the experience that much more enjoyable. It was as if I was their age again, learning something new and exciting and loving every minute. It’s amazing what a weekend with free spirited children can do for one’s attitude, especially when you live in a place where you are packed on trains, sidewalks, and stores with millions of other people and you see nothing but buildings and concrete.
Throughout our experience in Tokyo, I have become much more aware of the small pleasures nature can bring. Clean air, sunshine, incredible views, and vast open spaces where instead of towering buildings you are surrounded by majestic mountains. Although Tokyo has a beauty of its own, I will continue to appreciate the precious moments we are given to spend away from the bussling city.


  1. Rachael,
    The mountains are where I am truly inspired and feel God everywhere. There’s really nothing quite like standing on top of a mountain and feeling his amazing presence and grace all around! Glad you had a good time and congrats on the skiing!

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