Darth Vader and a Chain Saw

I think I know why I got so sick while snowboarding in Shiga-Kogen… I could not sleep well. Mainly because I was in a very small room caught between Darth Vader and a chain saw.


Went to Nagano and got a ride with a friend to Shiga-Kogen. There we met with 2 other friends and as soon as we had checked in at the hotel we went out in the slopes. The first day was not so good as they had not run the machines in the slopes the whole week so it was bumpy.

Saturday morning was really nice though. We were the first in the lift in the morning. And it had been falling 15 cm new snow since they had run the machines in the slopes so it was great fun snowboarding in the slopes as well as outside of the slopes 🙂

Everything was great until it was not. On Saturday after lunch I got sick and stayed sick. The only fun that happened after that was that we could watch a group of monkeys on our way home 🙂

Summary of Shiga Kogen

The wonderful days of Shiga Kogen is over for this year and I just want to make a summary of it here. So if you are not interested in snowboarding you had better skip to the next blog post.

1st day. Snowing but quite good snowboarding. The visibility was still OK even though it was snowing.

2nd day. Blue sky. 15 cm new and powdery snow. I snowboarded in back country area most of the morning until the snow became a bit wet and heavy in the sunshine. Wonderful!

I went riding in three different back country areas. You can see two of them in the pictures below. The red arrows is where I was riding. In the area in the picture to the left I went maybe 10-15 times. Up in the lift and down on the board… With a big smile on my face 😀 It was replaced quit fast by sweat and strain on my face once I finished the ride in the picture to the right as I had to walk in deep snow for about 25 minutes to get back to the slopes 😛

The final day was very clear. You could see the minami-alps (sout alps) in the background. It was really beautiful. And if we did not have to go back to Tokyo already before noon I think I would have just found a nice spot in the warm sun and relaxed there the whole afternoon, viewing the mountains.

Finally a word on what keeps the energy levels up during a trip like this… Chocolate and nuts and any other sweets that you can find. The picture below just shows the leftovers after 7 people had been eating what I brought. I think half my bag was full of sweets on the way there 🙂

Ohhh, and a fun part of the trip was that we could see some monkeys on the way back. It was nice and only the second time I’ve seen monkeys in Japan, if you exclude those in the office 😉

Final Day in Shiga Kogen

Early birds get paid… I was waiting for the lift to open today again. But today I was alone. The rest? Stayed in bed and watched TV.

Anyway, I took the opportunity to enjoy yet another sunny day in the slopes. Or at least the 2 first hours of it. The lift opened at 8 am and by 10 am I was done. Not so much because I was exhausted but our checkout time was 11 am.

Also, already by 10 am the snow started to get wet and the slopes started to get crowded. I enjoyed the 2 best hours of the day 🙂

From the top you could have a great view of the “Japanese Alps”, stretching out as a white-topped mountain wall in the horizon. It was such a great day I didn’t really mind it not being the best snowboarding. It was just great being out in the fresh air with all the white snow 😎

By 2 pm I was back in Tokyo. Returning directly home. Then waiting for Chie to get back home so we could have a dinner together. Tonight we went to Il Lupone, an Italian restaurant not far from home. Yummy!

Oh, I almost forgot… On our way down from Shiga Kogen we saw two monkeys, Japanese Macaque. The first was probably a teenager, quite small and living life on the edge running around on road. The other was fully grown and sitting on the railings on the side of the road. Unfortunately I did not get the camera up in time, so you just have to trust me 🙂

Sunny Day in Shiga Kogen

Yesterday it was snowing the whole day but today it was nothing but blue sky everywhere. And it had snowed about 10 cm during the night so it was a great morning. We all started it by being the first to get on the lift.

At first I went with my friends but they wanted to ski in the ski only area after a while so I continued on my own. I found a great back country area with powder snow (though not as powdery as in Niseko).

At lunch time the powder snow had turned in to quite wet and heavy snow, though still quite soft. And my legs had turned in to jelly (more leg exercises in the gym to prepare for next snowboard season). It was time to meet my friends for some food.