This winter is likely to be slightly different from what we are used to as the resorts are all implementing measures to prevent the spread of viruses. Fingers crossed that it is effective and we manage to get a full season of skiing and snowboarding.
If you are worried about the current situation but still want to get out into the snow this winter here are some tips.
Avoid the busy resorts and explore.
There are certain resorts in the Yuzawa and Minami Uonuma areas that are the big hitters and pull in a large number of visitors each winter. One of the great aspects of this region though is that there are many resorts dotted around the valley. Get off the beaten track and spend a day at one of the lesser known resorts. Most ski areas here are great for a day, and you might find yourself getting more runs in without the extra crowds around. Some resorts might be limiting numbers on each chair lift which could possibly make the queues at certain lifts longer than usual.
Avoid the busy periods.
This is our standard advice anyway, but if you can avoid the peak periods and ski or snowboard during the week you are likely to have a different experience in terms of the number of other resort users. Not everyone has flexibility on when they can come to the mountains, so if that is you, maybe consider the point above.
Get out into the backcountry.
Nothing screams social isolation more than hiking out into the mountains where no one else is to be found. Of course, you wouldn’t go on your own but you are sure to find seclusion, peace, and hopefully amazing untouched powder. If you haven’t tried hiking up a mountain on snowshoes or skis with grippy skins on the bases, this year could be a great time to start. Hire a guide and get out there. You are likely to get hooked. Drop us a line for more information on backcountry guiding in Yuzawa or Minami Uonuma.
Try something new.
If you are already competent in one discipline and find that you spend longer lining up and riding lifts than you do on the snow, maybe it is time for a switch. Book a lesson and try snowboarding, skiing, snow kiting, or telemarking. You’ll find the gentle slopes suddenly look vastly more intimidating, and you’ll likely spend longer getting down them, but you will have great fun doing so and a huge sense of achievement as you improve. With a great instructor it is possible that you will find yourself getting really good really quick so might be back at square one before you know it!
Experience the snow in a different way.
For a completely different experience you can come to the mountains and try snowshoeing or cross country skiing. Both will avoid the crowds, will take you to picturesque spots, and are great for your health too. If you are worried about going to the gym at the moment but would like a bit of a work out, either of these can get you moving.
We are planning on a full season of ski and snowboard lessons with our team of instructors and coaches, and will be carefully looking at what the resorts are asking guests to do to keep everyone safe. If there are no travel restrictions and it is safe to do so, we hope you’ll come to isolate with us in the mountains of Yuzawa this winter!