Two weeks ago, nearly a year after I first arrived in Japan saddled with my snowboarding gear, I finally made it out of Tokyo and up into Nigata for a days snowboarding! After an early start from Tokyo Station the Shinkansen rocketed across the Kansai plain towards the mountains, but I was surprised when it disappeared into a tunnel just as the mountains drew close, expecting beautiful mountain views for the last part of the journey. I was not disappointed, however, when the train emerged the other side into the Yuzawa valley, where I was greeted with beautiful bright sunshine, and stunning mountains, coated in beautiful fresh white snow. For my first experience of snowboarding in Japan, my day at Gala Yuzawa couldn’t have been more perfect. The weather and the snow conditions were amazing and I rode endlessly up and down and around the resort with a huge smile on my face, despite the fact I felt like I spent more time on a chair lift than riding! Compared to European resorts, Gala seemed small and the runs a little short, but that didn’t take anything away from how much fun I had that day. I even managed to explore some small pockets of beautiful, light powder snow in the afternoon. It was a terrific introduction to snowboarding in Japan and I look forward to exploring and riding many more of Japan’s mountain wonders. /新宿インストラクター Tim