Written by Raffles – Aged 9
I love skiing more than just about anything besides shovelling food in my face. And getting to combine both of my true loves in one go at Hoshino Resorts RISONARE Tomamu was my idea of heaven.
I was lucky enough to be mum’s plus one in January on a visit to Hokkaido. Lucky not only because I got to go skiing with her at all, but also because it was one of the best years for powder in Hokkaido for a decade. Booyah!
This was my first ever time Powder Skiing and I didn’t really know what it would be like. What I didn’t expect was that powder would be so completely epic.
Powder snow is so light and fluffy and really different to the icy, slidy snow we get here in Australia. When I first went to grab a handful (so I could chuck a snowball at my mum’s head) I practically lost my arm in it, it was so deep and soft. It’s magical. But skiing on this stuff is a little different from skiing on icy snow.
But with 29 runs to explore at Hoshino Resorts TOMAMU and a huge variety of terrains I really wanted to try, I knew I had to get used to it fast. Luckily, I had one of Tomamu’s most awesome ski instructors, Yu, from Riki Japow Guide, to help me get used to it.
I picked up loads of tips at Hoshino Resorts TOMAMU. Here, I am sharing my kid’s guide to powder skiing like a pro.
1. Always stick with a buddy (even if your buddy is your mum who is way too slow and can hardly keep up with your superior snow skills).
The powder in Japan is deep. Really deep. And because it’s so dry and light and powdery, you can easily sink into it. The stuff is like quicksand. I know ‘cos I stacked into a pile of untouched powder on my first day and ended up buried up to my waist. So, having a buddy is especially important for kids, ‘cos we’re shorter and more likely to vanish into its depths.
2. Use the right skis
If you have your own skis, it is best to leave them at home and rent some at your resort. Powder skis are wider because covering a greater amount of surface area means you’re less likely to sink into it.
3. Go to ski school
It is totally worth going to ski school every time you go skiing, whatever the snow conditions. The instructors are always total dudes and they teach you so many tricks and tips.
4. Get used to losing your feet
After a fresh fall, your toes and skis will suddenly become invisible as they’ll be centimetres under snow. The first time this happens you might get a bit nervous because you don’t know what is under all that snow, but tensing up is the worst thing you can do. Chillax! Stand with your feet wide and relax your legs and you’ll take on any little hidden bumps like a pro.
5. Keep your weight spread evenly
You know how they tell you to put more weight on one ski than the other to turn? Well forget that because if you do it on powder you’re likely to lose a foot in the snow and wipe out. It is better to share the weight more evenly across your skis and turn by lightly tipping your ski. My instructor had me start with little turns until I got a feel for it.
6. Focus forward
Probably the best thing to do is to keep your skis, hands, and eyes pointing in the direction you plan on going – which in my case was straight down, fast – or your turns can become difficult in the soft powder.
7. Go as fast as humanly possible.
If the snow is especially deep, it’s better to go faster so your skis don’t get bogged down in the snow. Oh, and because it’s waaaaay more fun!
8.Stack it often
I can’t believe how much I loved crashing into Powder snow. It’s so soft and fluffy to land in, it’s like falling into a pile of cold marshmallows. Whenever I saw a huge untouched pile, I’d aim for it! Be sure to leave time for making the biggest and best snow angels ever.
9. Fuel up
Skiing uses loads of energy and you need to keep fuelled up to make the most of your time on the snow. If you should happen to be skiing powder in Japan, leave ample to time to stuff your face with all the delicious food they have on offer. To save you a little time, I’ve rounded up all the best eats at Hoshino Resorts TOMAMU here, so you can stuff your face with the best of the best food and be back on the slopes in record time.
10. Scare the pants of your parents
It turns out that kids learn to ski way faster than their parents. Mum says that is because we have a lower centre of gravity, plus we’re crazy and take risks and never worry about stuff the way they need to. I reckon she’s wrong. I reckon it’s because we are awesome and are just way better than them. Make sure you get your instructor to take you on black runs and jumps and to do tree skiing (Hoshino Resorts TOMAMU has awesome tree runs) because that will really freak your parents out and you get to watch as their eyes bug out of their heads when you tell them!
Disclosure: Raffles and his way to slow mama were hosted by Hoshino Resorts TOMAMU