How Stirling Goldman created Niseko

By 26th December 2009 August 27th, 2013 Uncategorized

GREETINGS all. No doubt you’ve dusted the skis off and pulled your weary limbs back onto the mountain to indulge in the first tracks of the season. Of course, Goldy was born ready…

With my supreme athletic figure and 210 Blizzards it was really just another day in the life of SG.

The boys at Powderlife were marvelling at my powder technique the other day when one of them managed to lift their dropped jaw off the ground long enough to ask me why I am so at home in Niseko. Well, let me tell you, that’s an interesting story. When people (especially the ladies) think of Niseko, one name comes to mind. That’s right – Stirling Goldman. Here’s why…

Back in the day, Niseko was actually just a vast region of flat plains. When I was living with my Ainu (indigenous Hokkaido) buddies, we couldn’t help but think that given the abundance of snow, what a great place it would be to carve up in winter. So we came up with the idea to build a ski mountain. That mountain today is Mt Annupuri, made largely with my own bare hands. It’s hard to believe that such a feat could be achieved, but then again we are talking about Goldman. I think we (I say ‘we’ out of respect to my Ainu buddies, but really it was ‘I’) knocked it off in six days. While God rested on the seventh day, Stirls hiked the peak – from Kutchan – for first tracks. And speaking of knocking things off, I knocked off a few other things in that time too, but that’s par for the course for SG.

Mountain building requires an intense amount of snow shovelling, lumbering numerous tonnes of steel for lifts, and lugging boulders up the hill. But with my guns and chiselled physique, I barely raised a sweat. I even managed to sneak in a few runs up to the peak in my lunch hour, if my memory serves me correctly.

There was no peak hut in those days. Stirls would brave the conditions without refuge… with his shirt off of course. Upon completion, out of respect, my Ainu buddies named it ‘Annupuri’, which roughly translates to ‘ridiculously good looking man who skis unbelievably well with an uncanny capacity to entice the ladies’. So, just think of that next time you are riding my creation – I actually mean skiing this time, girls.

There was no crab ramen or katsu curry served in on-mountain diners back then. To eat, we had to slog it out with the local Hokkaido brown bears. But old SG never fell. On the rare occasion I couldn’t defeat a bear, we usually agreed on a stalemate and went halves in whatever else we could muster up. We’d then sit together and eat our meal, washed down by a beer or 48.

It was around this time I built the King Bell Hut at Hirafu. It acted as a shelter from the weather, and the bears, and doubled as SG’s on-piste love nest. As my Ainu buddies always say, ‘when the bell rings, Stirling is king’. Happy skiing, punters.

Got a question for a man who knows? Fire it to stirling@powderlife.com.

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