BEFORE anyone arrives for first lifts in the morning, local avalanche expert Shinya-san (interview page 19) has already checked the weather forecast, Japan’s coast-guard information, tested the snow and written his avalanche report for the day. His role in Niseko’s mountain safety is undeniably one of the most important.
ON New Year’s Day, Niseko had its first avalanche fatality in 12 years when an experienced skier made a poor decision to hike the back bowls during a high-risk time. For those wanting to go back country this year, please be careful. Black Diamond Lodge runs a backcountry seminar every Tuesday (see details page 45), which is great way to get a basic understanding of backcountry skills and avalanche awareness. Shinya-san’s daily report, written in both English and Japanese, is also mandatory reading for those going backcountry – you can find it at http://niseko.nadare.info.
On a lighter note, Kong Hee Fatt Choy (happy new year)! This issue of Powderlife coincides with the beginning of Chinese New Year (February 3). Growing up with a Malaysian/Chinese father, I have fond memories of Chinese New Year and I’m glad I can still experience the excitement of this event whilst living in Japan, as a steady flow of Chinese guests enjoy their holiday in the snow.
The Year of The Rabbit is traditionally associated with home and family, artistic pursuits, diplomacy, and keeping the peace. It’s predicated that 2011 is likely to be a calmer one than 2010 both on the world scene, as well as on a personal level. We hope you enjoy this issue of Powderlife and wish you
a very happy, safe and prosperous Year of The Rabbit.
Lizzy Hoo, Powderlife, Managing Editor, email email@example.com