Yukitopia: Kutchan’s snow festival

By 7th February 2009 August 27th, 2013 Uncategorized

THE Japanese love a festival and February sees the winter festivals throughout many of the alpine regions. While most people will have heard of Sapporo’s world-renowned snow festival (see p.36 for Powderlife’s run down), Niseko’s service town, Kutchan, has its own snow festival, Yukitopia (Yuki means snow).

If you own a pair of skis or a snowboard that isn’t just collecting dust and growing rust in your shed, chances are you came to Kutchan to enjoy Niseko’s snow. You are well aware of its serene beauty, friendly people, and of course it’s fluctuating climate. It can rain one day, just to give you an excuse to take a break and go have a coffee, get cashed up, have a massage and an onsen, and wake up to find the temperature has dropped and its knee deep at your doorstep! Well rested, you hit the slopes once more to find your self saying: “That was the best day ever!” A phrase I put as much stock in as “I’m never drinking again!”

While most of us enjoy playing here, spare a thought for the men and women who move more powder in one winter than Pablo Escobar did in a lifetime – the people of Kutchan who clear the snow. While you might be enjoying a night on the town, singing karaoke, or West Australian wines in front of your fireplace, some Japanese wives are up at 2am preparing breakfast for their husbands who have to be in their snow plows by 3am. Year after year these nocturnal people keep the city going by pushing powder.

21 years ago, some of these guys got together to find a way they could spend a couple of days having a few drinks and playing with their kids in the snow while they still recognized them, and hence was the birth of Yukitopia!  This year’s Yukitopia will be held Feb 21st & 22nd at the giant ski jump behind Kutchan train station.

Below you will find a list of events;

Feb. 21st (Sat)
 9:30~13:00 Snow Camping Demo
10:30~17:00 Giant Snowman with slippery slide
10:50~11:00 Daiko drum extravaganza
11:00~18:00 Food / drink Stalls
11:00~17:00 Flea Market
11:00~11:20  Festival Opening: Rice Cake Grab
11:30~13:00 Human Hammer Throw
12:30~14:00 Snowball Fight (adults)
13:00~14:00 Bobsled
14:00~15:30 Snowball Fight (children)
14:00~16:00 Song and Dance Event
15:00~16:00 Snowball Target Practice
16:00~17:00 Raffle Draw
17:00~18:00 Hot Pot (Nabe) Extravaganza
17:00~17:30 Candle Light Event
18:30~20:00 Kutchan Pub Crawl

Feb. 22nd (Sun)
10:00~15:00 Snow Camping Demo
10:00~15:30 Food / drink Stalls & Flea Market
10:00~14:00 Snowmobile Experience
10:00~10:30 Character Show
10:00~12:30 Human Donkey Race
10:00~14:00 Paintball Comp
11:30~12:30 Let’s make Mochi (rice cakes)
12:00~13:00 Hot Pot (Nabe) Extravaganza
12:30~13:15 Treasure Hunt
13:15~13:30 Rice Cake Grab
13:30~14:00 Character Show
14:00~15:30 The Great Water Trial

For more information call: 22-1121 (ext. 242)