The Japanuary Chronicles – Part 1: 5 Bros and a Toe
Several weeks ago – I was invited to go to Japan with a small crew of shredders that I had only skied with a handful of times. Mind you, those handful of times were a ridiculously good time and they quickly got to know my level of stoke when I wouldn’t shut up about how much I love to poof in the powdery pillows of light fluffy AWESOMENESS…right! This brigade of skiers and snowboarders are known as the MYST, dedicated to Solitude’s finest slopes, they are a fun and crazy bunch of kids who like to get after it, drink PBR, and grill hot dogs in the parking lot. My type for sure.
After expressing my dire need to get to Japan ASAP with Facebook posts of random Japan edits and constantly reading trip reports of other skiers experience of Ja’pow’, I was utterly surprised when I was approached and asked if I wanted to go… this year! Knowing I only had $26 dollars in my bank account and needing to still acquire half the gear needed, I snap called and replied ‘fuck yes I want to go to Japan with you guys!’
When I say guys, I literally mean ALL dudes. This endeavor will consist of 5 bros and 1 toe (that’s me). The six of us will cram into a van and indulge in our quest to find the deepest, lightest, and most magical snow that Japan has to offer. The lacking finances and missing gear has been a huge motivator to work extra hard to play even harder. I have since found myself in a variety of jobs from serving, cocktailing, teaching, marketing, sales, and so many random things that my friends still have no idea what I’m doing half the time. Plus, local ski company Dirtybird Skis hooked me up a with a custom pair of sticks to take on the trip, so that was a huge help! In between working, I have been training, eating healthy, skiing, taking avalanche courses and practicing with backcountry gear to prepare me for the trip. Could I have planned to go to Japan next year when I would be in a more stable situation, perhaps. But my life doesn’t work like that, I thrive on spontaneity.
This trip will be memorable. It will not only be embedded in our hearts, but thanks to our trip photographer Eric Sales, we will be able to document our journey on Spread Stoke. Experience the sake hangovers, white room, terrible B.O., mullets, dance-offs, and Japanese culture with myself and the MYST crew.
Meet the crew and stay tuned for trip reports, photos and edits:
Nick the ‘Langelliti’
A ripping snowboarder who is currently earning his degree is Physical Therapy at the University of Utah. Has killer dance moves, Hawaiian flowers on his jacket, and enjoys an occasional haiku. Ladies watch out!
“I like to feel small. Forming a beautiful unison with a board under my feet while doing so resonates with me most. This form of flow is a motion that simply is. I think it’s beautiful.”
“Now let’s get pitted in every sense of the word – STOKED!!!”
A skier of all trades, photographer, adventurer and food enthusiast. When Sales isn’t traveling the world, he is researching climate issues and teaching at the University of Utah. Upi can depend on Sales to scope the line and get the shot, all while getting his share of the gnar. Sales knows the ins and outs of Japan’s finest powder and also knows where to go for the divine ramen.
“I couldn’t be more stoked to get back to Japan and get pitted with my friends!”
Harrison Hogan Holley
Harrison enjoys getting hair deep in the white stuff but will take zero-visibility bulletproof day with friends over just about anything (bold statement). He competes in the Subaru Freeride Series and IFSA Freeride Tour, and will do a back-flip off just about anything.
“Having the freedom to look at a gnarly mountain face and choose a line that is both fun and challenging has been one of the most difficult and rewarding experiences of my life. Send it before you send it!”
Northwest-born, Ice Coast bred, Kade pays rent in Seattle, but calls his Subaru home—especially when the snow starts to fly. He freelances for Powder, Outside, ESPN.com, and GrindTV, but would rather talk about amateur surf adventures, slow jams, and street food.
“Oh, and smanging pow!”
Also known as ‘Der’, he enjoys long chairlift conversations, sidestepping up steep ridges, and sipping on ice cold PBRs. You’ll often hear Die Antwoord or Phish blasting from his car speakers while he his strapping up his boots.
“Skis check, sake check.. All good”
Also known as ‘Toe’ or ‘Tornado’, Tori is devoted to the mountains, loves to ascend and descend them fast, no matter what given the season. Notorious for losing phones, emphasizing adverbs (the snow was sooooooo sick), putting avocado on everything, and getting down twirling in ski boots to a science. Will yell at you for not recycling, orders whisky on the rocks, and wears bright color tights!
“Bring on Japanuary!’