There's worse jobs in the world!
Blog by Josh Allen (Manager of Reservations for World Snowfaris).
Working in this industry certainly has its perks. When The Schneider Hotel owner Gardner, invited me over to Japan to check out his new apartments and hotel in Nozawa Onsen it was very hard to say no!
So after watching countless Japan snowboard videos online to get myself pumped I was on a plane to Tokyo bound for waist deep powder, copious amounts of Sushi and tasty Japanese craft beer.
The Schneider Hotel in Nozawa Onsen was to be my home for the next 9 days but not after spending 2 nights in the brand new Yoji House and Apartments located in Shin-yu, not far from the centre of the main village of Nozawa. Yoji was great, brand new modern apartments with Japanese style bedding but western bathrooms and fully equipped kitchen complete with fridge, cook top, stove, microwave, toaster, kettle and private laundry facilities. A short walk to the Shin-yu pair and Yu-Road travellator get you up to the Schneider Hotel which is your quintessential ski in ski out accommodation that sits at the base of Kandahar and Utopia chair lifts. The Schneider Hotel gives its guests the ability to clip on their skis or boards and before you know it you are lining up for the Hikage Gondola or seeing off the kids for their day of lessons.
The other good thing about Schneider is the complimentary snow van to and from the village. The snow van ride itself is a highlight. You are travelling in a 4WD land cruiser but instead of big heavy duty tyres the van is equipped with 4 huge caterpillar wheels similar to that of an army tank! It’s certainly a contender for pimp my ride!
After getting familiar with my digs I laced up the boots and clipped into my bindings for my first run down Yamabiko. Yamabiko is up the top of Nozawa Onsen and has a mixture of blue and black runs. At over 1600 meters high it receives the most snow and blasting through chest deep pillows is not unusual in this area! The best part about Yamabiko is the natural half pipes that are scattered throughout the runs. For a surfer, Yamabiko is the place to be! You have these vertical walls either side of you that are similar to that of a wave allowing you to pull off surfing like maneuvers! For me, I was in heaven and spent 6 hours in this area on my first day and many hours throughout the week.
After what could only be described as one of my greatest days snowboarding I booked myself into one of the many private onsens in Nozawa to sooth my tired muscles and the minor bumps I’d picked up from falling in waist deep Japow all day! The private onsens are cheap. 500 yen (AUD$6) will get you an hour to soak in a private onsen. If you are a little more adventurous and like to nude up from time to time you can seek out one of Nozawa’s many multi-sex onsens which are also scattered throughout the village. Make sure you remain respectful, no alcohol can be consumed in the onsens, your towel can only be used to wipe sweat from your brow and cover your privates and the number one rule of onsen etiquette is to wash yourself before and after you enter/exit the onsen.
After soothing my aching legs, it was time to hit the town for some traditional Japanese cuisine. The main street of Nozawa is about 200 metres of cobblestone road with restaurants, bars, cafes and shops scattered either side. Off the main street you can find small hidden away Japanese restaurants serving all kinds of food and at varying prices. It is always a good idea to pre-book a table between 6pm – 8pm (prime dinner time) because as you can imagine once everyone has skied, showered and prepared for dinner it is between these times the streets are bustling and restaurants are overflowing with hungry snow seekers. The Schneider Hotel & the Yoji team can pre-book all the restaurants you wish to try during your time in Nozawa Onsen. Just ask the front desk for assistance.
After some fantastic hospitality, amazing snow and stomach filling food it was time to head home! Another great trip to Japan highlighting the reasons why me and many of our clients return every year. If you haven’t done Japan before, make sure you get there next season! It’s a special place with some of the world’s best powder snow!
For expert advice, knowledge and service please contact World Snowfaris for more information!