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Hakuba Sanzan

September 15th, 2014

 

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Unless you’ve been living under a very big rock, you’ve heard the tales of Japan’s surreal terrain, neck deep powder on tap — day or night. The hype was buzzing extra strong this season and we were itching to go get a taste of it one way or another. When the plans finally took shape, it was May! Not exactly the prime month for free refills of pow, but if we didn’t pounce on the trip this year, it might have never happened, right? So we went with the flow and booked a ticket.

Touchdown Narita airport where the culture shock began. In a bustling world far from home, we circled through security not once but twice, but it worked out for the better. Our extra lap bumped us right into a Japanese snowboarder wearing a Canada toque, fresh off a winter in Canmore. Turns out our new friend Yuske (last name), local snowboard legend, also rode a G3 split and represented the Caravan crew we were trying to meet. Off to a good start. Yuske led us and our bulky bags through the maze of Tokyo train systems to a meet up with the Caravan crew, G3′s Japan distributors. After food, drinks, and a classic night in a ‘capsule’, we were eager to escape the bustling city for the mountains. Our bus to Hakuba pushed us upstream through nonstop currents of cities and people in constant motion before dropping us at the source…the mountains.

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A world apart, we found mountains quite reminiscent of our Coast Mountains back at home, with multi-peak linkups just waiting to be skied. After a week of fun, we were ready for the bigger days. Fortunately our pension owner in Gakuei-kan was an instructor, guide and pro back in his day, with a wealth of Japanese ski touring history to share with us, shaping ideas for where to head next. The plan hatched for the Hakuba Sanzan, linking the 3 highest peaks in Hakuba in a day.

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Meeting at precisely 6:00am on his orders, we hopped in the van and headed up with a vengeance. With only a brief pause before the off-road section, he pinned it and we held on for the ride. This wasn’t his first rodeo. Even the river wouldn’t have stopped him but we insisted on saving his car (and us for that matter), so we jumped out and let our feet do the rest. Most people enjoy the luxury of a 2 day trip with a mountain lodge overnight stay, but with our fine thread budget it wasn’t an option. So we slogged in the spring heat and enjoyed it for all it was worth, transition after transition – hike, skin, ski, repeat.
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But even we were hardly roughing it. With a cafe 500 ft from the last summit, we couldn’t say no to a soup and coffee before bagging the last peak. Solid weather, fun skiing, and our unstoppable shuttle driver all made for a great trifecta of the three high peaks of Hakuba.
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With one amazing Japan ski trip in the bag, we’re already plotting a mid-winter return for the legendary winter conditions. With any luck we’ll once again land in the hands of friendly,  seasoned locals, and the powder refills will flow as constantly as the sake from our first night in Tokyo.
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Story: Andy Traslin
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Active Lifestyle, adventure, Osprey Athletes, Outdoor Activities, photos, Snowsports, Travel , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

May is National Bike Month!

May 2nd, 2013

It’s time to celebrate; May is National Bike Month! That means wherever you live, no matter what city or state, you can take part in something as simple and beautiful as riding your bike.

The League of American Bicyclists has a fantastic website with all of the key dates for this month’s happenings, so if you want to stay in the loop, check here. If you want to partake in an event in your neck of the woods but don’t have the inside scoop, search here by city, state or zip code.

Looking for more National Bike Month info to digest? Check out the League of American Bicyclists blog for inspiring, motivating and informing posts centered around cycling. And while you’re at it, check out the video at the top of this post, a PSA of sorts created by the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition that asks the question: “Why ride a bike?”

Happy cycling!

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Active Lifestyle, Advocacy, Ditch Your Car, Events, Lane Love, video , , ,

Kick April Off with 30 Days of Biking!

March 22nd, 2013

March came with the onset of spring. April comes with the opportunity to ride your bike every single day. It’s time to throw out your excuses and pull on your bike shorts! 30 Days of Biking has a motivational vid (above) and all the information you need to get started (below):

30 Days of Biking, whose fourth year begins April 1, has one rule: Bike somewhere every day for 30 days—around the block, 20 miles to work, whatever suits you—then share your adventures online. We advocate daily bicycling because we believe it enriches lives and preserves the Earth. A worldwide, thousands-strong community of joyful cyclists has been forming around that idea since April 2010—and will further amass in 2013! We ride our bikes every day.

Sign up at 30DOB.com

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Active Lifestyle, Ditch Your Car, Events, Health, Lane Love, Osprey Life, Pedaling Change, video , ,

Ditch Your Car: National Bike Month Starts in May

March 28th, 2012

May is National Bike Month in the U.S. — when cyclists around the country commit to commuting to and from work, school and even locales such as the grocery store via bicycle as much as possible. Seeing as it hits in May, the month known for flowers rather than showers, Bike Month is the perfect opportunity to dust off or dry off your bike and simply pedal!

Read more…

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