Japan Journals is proof of just how good a japanese winter is. Before filming the first season of the series I’d been there once before but never encountered the intense cold or extreme depths of snow that we did on the series first season in 2011.
Japan Journals started as a spin off from Diaries Down Under but evolved into a series more focused on the action sports market. Both seasons were an intense month of Japanese culture and weather.
Minakami and Nozawa Onsen Were amazing for their early season snow. The amount of snow we saw in Nozawa was like nothing I’d ever seen before. It would take me 20 minutes to walk ten metres with my gear and then I’d have to dig out a platform which would be chest deep at times. The next day after another night of intense snow the tunnels left from my hiking trail and my platforms had completely disappeared. The riders found it hard to ride out of their landings as they were engulfed by an explosion of snow long after they’d landed. The landing itself was bottomless, no impact no worries. I wish I could have ridden a few laps but enjoyed watching Roland,Browna,Hyna and Dane tear up the terrain and explore these foreign mountains.
After a while on the mainland we set off up north to Hokkaido. We were very familiar with Niseko and had a base there but wanted to find something different. We’re all looking for something we hadn’t seen ridden in Japan and soon came across a few mining sights. Some of the mining sites had security so we had to sneak around the back, through the forest, and across rivers.
What we found was amazing. Being mining terrain we were careful as to where we rode, there could be holes, sharp objects and machinery hiding in the snow. Luckily we never came across any such obstacles.
We liked night riding so much in Japan and had toyed with a few nights on Grand Hirafu resort in Niseko the year before. Considering it doesn’t stop snowing much in a Hokkaido winter you often find it hard to find light and visibility during the day, but at night under lights you can see so much more, even in a blizzard.
With this in mind we decided to rent generators and go into the Niseko backcountry and get away from the crowds.We started off small but ended up carrying to large generators and four 1000w light stands with us through the deep snow, up hills, avalanche barriers and out onto platforms so that the riders could send themselves into the night.
Our last trip in Japan took us to Wikkanai, the top of Hokkaido. It was more of a road trip adventure. We planned to drive through Asahikawa and stop off and session anything we saw on the side of the road.
Once again mining sites were abundant and we tried a few of the northern mines but security was always a problem and we were shut down a few times. We did manage to find some awesome terrain and can probably say we are the only people who have ever ridden these locations