At the ski resort Sapporo Kokusai the day before we had found decent snow but not the best terrain for filming. Instead of heading to a ski hill today, we decided to drive some roads that we had seen near the resort. Many of the roads actually went higher than the ski hill so we were guaranteed to find snow that was at least as deep, and possibly better.
We loaded up with snacks and food at the 7-11 next to our hotel, which is an experience in itself. Not always sure exactly what we were buying we filled our baskets with lots of weird things and climbed into the minivan that we rented from the Black Diamond Lodge for the length of the trip.
The great thing we discovered as we explored the roads around Sapporo is that cool features can be just around the corner. Simply stop the van in the road and put the hazard lights on for a couple of hours while you go for a ski! We nearly stopped to let the guys ski this slope above the bridge but the sun was baking the snow pretty fast so we pushed on in search for something that was currently in the shade and a little cooler. Just round a little further down the road we found this……… which kept the guys amused for the rest of the day!
We heard reports that night that more snow had fallen in Niseko, our eventual destination ski town a couple of hours drive from Sapporo. The next morning we packed up the van and headed on to find out if reports were true. On the way we stopped to ski some more avalanche barriers on the side of the highway. The local police were not so pleased with our plan but they were nice enough about it so we moved quickly on.
The rest of the day in Niseko we spent some time getting our bearings and exploring the surrounding area in our van. We also checked into the Black Diamond Lodge which was to be our home for the next ten days. The BDL is a great little place to stay if you are ever in Niseko on a budget, nice people , good atmosphere and a bar ! Oddly enough we all ran into people we knew, staying at the lodge at the same time. The ski industry is a small place.
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