Saturday, March 22, 2014

Niseko Trip #2

This post is long overdue ...

My group of expat all-stars from Samsung Korea traveled to Niseko, Japan for the 2014 Lunar New Year holiday. The snow was so good during Lunar New Year 2013 that we just had to return. Though not as spectacular as the year before, Niseko once again did not disappoint!

Just like last year, a big group of us rented a big house in the Grand Hirafu Village, ready to shred for 3 days on the most amazing powdery snow I have ever seen. We got quite unlucky with the weather this year as high winds prevented us from skiing on the top of the mountain for all 3 days that we visited. However, even with 20% of the ski mountain accessible the skiing is still many times better than Korean skiing! We were still able to do some backcountry skiing in knee deep powder — totally worth it.

This year the skiing took a back seat to the delicious meals and wonderful camaraderie our house of 13 experienced together after ski day. We knew from the outset that our house would be a bit like an "Animal House", sort of a grown-up fraternity similar to the movie "Old School". We ate lavishly at elegant Japanese restaurants our first two nights before catering in at our house on the third evening. It seemed like a grown-up dinner at first, but naturally evolved into a night of vodka pulls, flipcup, and physical challenges. We collectively felt hungover the day after — and we all learned the valuable lesson that skiing is much, much harder after heavy drinking!

Of course, the return to reality after leaving ski fantasy land was hard, and it's not clear how many more of these expat rendezvous we will all still be in Korea for. The brief, fleeting moment of rediscovered youth that we all felt in Niseko 2014 is a feeling we all will not forget for some time.

Loving quirky Japan, as always!

1 comment:

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