To keep practicing snowboard, the next target was Gala Yuzawa. It’s an apparently pretty famous snow resort, considering how it has its own shinkansen station (yes really) and probably the first destination for snow tourists seeing the huge number of foreigners (including the staff).
The weather was great, so the scenery was pretty impressive. On the other hand, it was very crowded (by my standards), meaning long lines for the ski lifts and severe congestion on the beginner slope. Eventually I got fed up with having to zig-zag around people sprawling all over the place and went on a not-so-beginner-anymore slope prepared to be unable to come down.
I lived to tell the tale an managed the act without breaking (or even badly bruising) anything. Sure I was still afraid for my life so I wasn’t speeding down curving, but I felt at least a little in control.
The good thing about Niigata is that they market their craft beer (Echigo mostly) a lot. Even convenience stores in other parts of the country carry the most popular brews, but all were there locally. That was a good prize for surviving and to drink on the way back.