Our transport was late, which was largely due the fact that Hokkaido was being inundated by another classic Japanese winter weather cycle. We were advised to hop on the train to Otaru and planned to meet our ride there. Managing to haul our overloaded to and from the train stations we were greeted by our friends from Iwanai Resort, a new cat-skiing operation.

+ Roadside zone we scoped one day when we went to ride Kiroro Resort

+ The Banana Mobile

« We were advised to hop on the train to Otaru »

We packed the van to the absolute brim and set off on a wheel well rubbing drive into the white abyss. The wind was blowing fiercely and the snow was coming down so heavily that we were virtually driving inside a shaken snow globe. It was insane, at some points we couldn’t tell which side of the road we were on. At this point our crew had all fallen asleep except me. The anticipation and excitement of driving into the deluge kept me wide eyed until we arrived at our private powder paradise.

+ The magic passage way that let us into the goods

+ CALLUM PETTIT

« The deluge kept me wide eyed until we arrived at our private powder paradise »

+ The light this day was amazing! We took full advantage hiking this zone

+
The Spire
Callum Pettit’s Jacket
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+ The airplane turn

+ Buckets off fluff

All but one of the ski lifts was shutdown and a murdered out snow-cat would play our chariot ride to the top. This ocean view resort is one of only a few in Japan. Fast and blower?? powder would skiff the underside of our bases for the next week, and we would watch the storms roll straight in off the Sea of Japan and slam into the resort.  After a few days we figured out the best spots where the snow was the deepest, as it continued to chuck overhead buckets all day. There’s not too many places in Japan you can ride a snowboard one lap, powder surf the next, and then buckle into skis shortly thereafter all the while enjoying a snack and a hot beverage on the way back to the top.

+
The Gibson Shell Bib
Callum Pettit’s Bib
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« After a few days we figured out the best spots where the snow was the deepest »

+ Lacing up for a day of boarding at Kiroro Resort with the gang

+ MASON MASHON

At the bottom a selection of Onsen’s would await our aching muscles from the day’s shred, healing us for the next day. The quiet little village of Iwanai is also host to more top-notch sushi restaurants than I’ve ever seen in Japan. This is largely because it was once one of the most productive fishing ports. Needless to say our tastebuds were treated very well.

+ One of the many abandoned lifts at Iwanai Resort

« The Japanese culture is fascinating in so many ways »

+ Ollie over a japanese shrub

+ Finally finding the snow bridge

Our trip was not just powder oriented. We spent a couple afternoons scouring the coast for potential surf spots, searching for the coolest trinkets, and exploring temples. The Japanese culture is fascinating in so many ways, both spiritually and artistically. It’s really easy to leave this place inspired and wanting to come back for more. But before leaving, a pit stop at a local karaoke bar rendered our trip a complete success.

+ The only foreigners in the entire town

FILM
Mason Mashon

PHOTOS
Mason Mashon

WORDS
Mason Mashon

SHOT ON LOCATION
Iwanai, Japan, 2018

PRODUCED & DIRECTED
Orage® 2018