The 2017 Northern Hemi winter was my tenth year visiting Japan. With the preceding seven or eight years holding longer stints for me, I was content to shorten this year’s trip to just six weeks; more work for 360nz back home in Wanaka, a tad more summer (when it finally showed up), and plenty of time riding dirt instead of snow.

With SBINZ exams to run in Niseko at either end of my six week trip, the start and end of my schedule was set. What came in between was as flexible an Indian Yogi. I ended up spending three of those weeks down south on the Honshu Island, visiting the old favourites Nozawa Onsen and Myoko Akakura, then heading up to Aomori to check out the renamed and revamped resort Aomori Spring to write an official review for World Snowboard Guide (check it out here) and an article for Outdoor Japan Magazine (watch this space).

Over the course of three weeks I scored a bunch of deep pow days, got to spend time with old friends and ride with new friends, shoot with some of NZ’s best riding talent, network with a few very interesting high flyers, do some coaching with my favourite Hong Kong family, write for two publications, and check out four new ski resorts (new to me anyway). This last one actually a rather hard feat considering I had visited over 50 Japanese resorts during the Snow-search Japan days.

Here’s a visual recap of my trip…

Thanks to Iain in Nozawa for outstanding organisation and blue-bird pow laps, Vincent and family for the constant snowboarding stoke, Stefan and Swissy crew for showing me your secret spots, Karen and the Aomori Spring team for hooking up every aspect possible, and finally Will J for your relentless energy and silky skills.

Contact me to view the unpublished shots from the trip, all available for licensing.