Japanuary Chronicles – Part 4: Living the Dream in Kiroro, Japan

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I’m in a dream, one that I don’t want to wake up out of. The ‘flow’ of life has taken us to yet another mystical and snowy village, Kiroro.

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Headed out of Kutchan, on our way to Kiroro. Photo: Kade Krichko

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Day in the life. Photo: Kade Krichko

We have been fortunate enough to connect with Liam, Kiroro’s athlete manager who has guided us around the mountain, pointing out  local stashes.  Our accommodation is at the Grand Piano Hotel where there is a buffet and a karaoke bar, in which we have all taken turns busting out our best and worse hits.

WATCH: MYST Takes Japan

Kiroro is deep. I have been battling with smiling and not choking on infinite amounts of snow here. The pitches are steep enough to soar through the bottomless and are sprinkled with exotic Japanese trees. The trees are painted white and glow miraculously, even through white outs. After skiing our first day at Kiroro Resort, we indulged in a nice meal, several bottles of wine and met up with K2 female athletes and friends to have a wild karaoke bar night.

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Eric Sales getting pitted. Photo: Kade Krichko

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Harrison-san getting inverted off a nice pillow. Photo: Eric Dyer

Have you ever experienced an emotion that doesn’t quite fit into any vocabulary description or that you never knew existed? A feeling that transcends through your body, mind, and surroundings, connecting all three at once. A feeling that lifts your energy to a higher vibration, releases the ego and leaves only one thought to harbor… thank you. For many, this feeling has come with accomplishing a grueling hike, looking into a lover’s eyes, or catching endless waves surfing. For me, this feeling recently came into fruition with a hundred thousand snowflakes falling on my face as I looked at my ‘line’ illuminated by a pink sky.

As we side stepped up a ridge at Kiroro, my heart beat increased and body shook with excitement. This feeling was ignited by the stunning views which were enhanced by every turn down a perfect face of untouched snow. Each turn was a mixture of laughs, gasps, and screams of ‘REALLY?!’. When I got to the bottom of the mountain and the daylight was fading, I had become addicted to this feeling. I was fully immersed in it’s peacefulness and I had to keep going. I knew when I looked at the rest of my crew, they were experiencing the same feeling. We returned to our rooms to get ready for a night tour on a slope located behind our hotel.  This zone was perfectly lit by the village’s light pollution.  We skinned up, with our headlamps turned off, no music, just listening to the quietness. It took us 90 minutes to get to the top, where the crew and I looked out over the untracked and just sat, stared, and exchanged looks that summed up our journey.

Skiing down in the dark, barreling through trenches in lit up snow, with not a sound other then the swishing of your skis, was the peak of that feeling. When we got to the bottom, we clicked out of skis and boards, and hugged one another before belting out our cries of joy! The experience was so surreal that we woke up at 4:30 am to do it again.  This time with the morning light shimmering onto the white pallet.  After 14 hours of skiing in the same day, it was ready to pack up our gear and head to Sapporo for our return flight. On our way back we stopped in Otaru for a great meal and a stroll along the coast. I have never been in a coastal town with 6 foot snowbanks along the roads, it was a trip!

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Night tour behind the hotel overlooking Kiroro Resort’s lights. Photo: Kade Krichko

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The Kiri Krew

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Kade and Der kicking around on the beach. Photo: Eric Sales

When we arrived to Sapporo, our tired bodies were able to make one last push to local bars and last trips to 7/11s. In the morning, we were ready to travel back in time to the Wasatch where our friends and family would NOT want to hear about all the pow ;). Goodbye Japan, you have truly changed my mind, heart and way of life.

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The last of our memories – literally – in underground train station in Sapporo. Photo: Disposable Camera

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