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Niseko. Just mentioning the name makes Australian snowboarders’ hearts race a little faster as they think about the powdery slopes just waiting to be carved up. This little ski resort on Japan’s northernmost island of Hokkaido has been invaded by the Aussies, so much so that it’s home to an Australian-registered physiotherapy practice among other things.
I wasn’t quite an Aussie when I went there in December for my first snowboarding trip ever, but I could see on my first walk around the resort exactly why they flock here every winter. Our first morning greeted us with brilliant blue skies and perfect views of Mt. Yotei, the Mt. Fuji lookalike that towers over the town. Even though my first snowboarding lesson didn’t start until 10.30, I was fully dressed in winter gear and wandering around town taking photos by 8am. It was hard to pry myself away from my camera to go to that lesson, but I knew my reward would be an even better view from the top of the bunny hill (even though I only made it up there once on what was a difficult first day of riding).
Here are a few other photos I snapped that morning (including a very wide panorama from my phone):