In 2016/2017 I spent 4 months living and working in Japan. Most of my time was spent on the north island of Hokkaido in a resort town known as Niseko. In that time I skied some of the best snow of my life, made some lifelong friends and ate some pretty incredible Japanese food.
I worked at a small local bar called Bar Barunba. Niseko is quite Westernized and a lot of the town has been bought out by Australian or Chinese business owners, but there are still a few locally owned shops, bars and restaurants. Bar Barunba is a tiny little bar tucked away in what used to be an old parking garage. You have to duck to get into the doorway and the place can fit maybe max 30-40 people. It's known for it's legendary cocktails, the Jet Lee, Bruce Lee, Chuck Norris, Darth Vader and Death star. (The owner is a huge die hard and star wars fan). The cocktails are delicious, but potent, which made for a dangerous combination on my nights off. My job at the bar mostly consisted of making ice cubes by hand with an ice pick. That's right we made ice cubes for every drink by hand 🙀. You would start with a solid 2 foot by 2 foot block of ice and half it until you got the desired size for the glass. Sometimes I would even make special circular cubes for scotch or other fancy drinks of the rocks.
I lived and worked at the bar for three months. I slept in a tiny room in an area behind a curtain at the end of the bar. The door was made of plywood, which opened up to my room, which was about 5 feet wide and 8 feet long. I had to sit on the bed with my head cocked to the side at 6 feet tall. It was more than enough for me though as my main goal was to shred as much snow as possible that season.
Japan is world renowned for the amount and quality of the snow it gets. Metres upon metres of the lightest driest snow you'll ever ski in your life. The terrain, however, isn't quite as gnarly as some of the stuff we get in North America or Europe. A large majority of the mountains are volcanoes, which is super cool. I even ski-toured up Mt. Yotei, the nearby volcano that looms above the town, and skied into it's crater.
I will eventually write a guide on doing a ski season in Japan, but for now please enjoy some of my favourite photos from my time spent in Hokkaido!
The Face says it all. I'm struggling to come up for air 😂
The Daily Commute
Probably one of the coolest dudes I will ever see in my life.
Leap of Faith
Sometimes you just have to send it.
No mountains, no problem.
We hiked through the night to get this early morning view of the iconic Volcano.
Nothing beats a deep pow turn in Japan.
Came around the corner and the light made the whole place look magical.
Japan has the best night skiing on the planet. Period. Sometimes your tracks would fill in as you rode the chairlift back to the top.
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Awwww... Impressive shots @vincentschnabl friend!... Thanks for sharing!
thank you for reading :)
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those are really awesome photos vicent! the colors are sooo beautifuls, specially the sunset one.
The first guy was struggling while the second one was soo relaxed hahaha
tough walking through the deep snow! Thank you malos, appreciate the kind words
OMG these are awesome photos!! these are really so incredible!
I haven't been to Niseko but I heard it's so westernized there that prices could get higher than usual. Still, many people go there to enjoy winter!
Your photos could be my wallpaper! They are really beautiful!
I could imagine making ice cubes by hand. I saw someone do that one time, I forgot where, and I figured maybe it's really the practice in Japan..? Not sure. Anyways, the cocktail names are very creative 😅
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Wow, now I'm more than excited to go there in February! I am not very good snowboarder, so I hope the slopes will be forgiving. Thanks for sharing!
You raised your level and are now a Minnow!
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