I don’t know how it’s at other schools, but my university had compulsory PE classes. Sure only once a week and only for two semesters, but it was still annoying. Except for one good thing: there was an option to take a few days long ski trip instead of the regular class in the winter semester. Which of course I did. It was my first time skiing and I loved it. That was in 2011.

Since then it’s always been “maybe next winter” or “let’s go this winter”, and never actually leaving the (relative) warmth of my room. But all it takes is “just” making the move. Things naturally fall into place when I leave myself no choice. When earlier I talked with someone and they told me how they’re in a similar “want to go but never do” situation I locked on and we went shopping for skiwear the next day.

While we agreed to go snowboarding together (next week), I decided to do some ahead practice. That is, I’ve been planning to go to some snowy mountains for a while to see how difficult it is and what I need to pay attention to. In the end the plan was to climb a peak in the morning and then practice snowboard on a nearby ski slope.

I went with an “easy” spot in the Yatsugatake mountains in Nagano. The Pilatus ski resort has lessons for beginners and a ropeway high up the mountain too. I had to get there early though because of the train and bus schedules, so I went on a Friday night and stayed in Chino, then on Saturday in a guest house on the mountain.

First morning I climbed the Kita-Yokodake peak, and on the second Shimagare. On Saturday the weather was pretty crazy, changing from bright sunshine to blizzard every thirty minutes and back. The snow was really deep, but the path was already hardened by people with snowshoes. That also meant if I stepped just a little off the path I’d sink into the snow waist-deep. Lesson learned.

Snowboarding felt way more difficult than I recall skiing. I had some nasty falls on my back when I’d accidentally catch an edge on a bump. My butt still hurts. Gonna have to practice more, especially the part turning backwards from the toe edge.