Konbanwa from NisekoComments
Konbanwa from Niseko
We have had some amazingly clear night skiing sessions in Niseko this season and the view of the village from the slopes is pretty special during twilight and also once it is fully night time.
This photo was taken from the top of the ridge on a run called Super.
I had the privilege to attend a demo day for Ride Snowboards at Moiwa this season. Moiwa is a small resort that is also on Mt Annupuri but it is not part of the Niseko United resort so while you can ski over there through the backcountry gates you will need another lift pass as they are owned by a different company. Moiwa is known for having the same deep pow but without the crowds of Niseko. It was an epic day as the top lifts had been closed the day before due to the snow storm and they were opened the following day for the test day I attended. It was one of the best pow days for the season. Happy days
The first board I test rode was the 159cm Ride Alter Ego model which is a directional camber board with a rockered nose. The camber gives you control and pop, while the rockered nose provides the float you need in powder. This has been a board I have been itching to ride ever since I saw it at Mainpeak. It is a powder board and is right at home in Japan but I would also consider this an all mountain board for someone that doesn’t ride switch. I could see it shredding just as hard in Australia or New Zealand. That is because the board has this awesome feature which gives the board two personalities. The board has a split tail that you can clip or unclip depending on what snow conditions you are riding. In deep pow you would ride it unclipped so it acts like a fish tail board to give you that surfy feeling or to be able to turn on a dime when bombing through the trees. Then once on hardpack or groomers you would clip the tail together and it stiffens up the board so you have the control of a camber board and carve like a boss. I had so much fun in this board and would buy one if I didn’t already have a powder board.
The other board I test rode was the 158cm Ride Machete GT. This is a centred twin board which has camber between the feet but rocker on the nose and tail. I rode this board a couple of years ago in Japan when my friend bought one funnily enough from Mainpeak and I absolutely loved it. Nothing has changed since then and it is a board I gelled instantly with and just feel extremely comfortable on. The flex of this board I just right for me and I think this is an awesome all mountain board as well as a park board. Again the camber between the feet gave it great pop and control but the rocker nose and tail also provided the float you need in powder, it also made buttering tricks a lot easier. I had so much fun and found doing nose and tail presses on this board was a lot easier because of the rocker feature.
On both of these boards I used the Ride Rodeo LTD bindings. For an aluminium chassis I was surprised how much sideways flex they had to do presses and just being playful but the highback was stiff enough to provide the power I needed to do heelside turns. The clip on the ankle and toe straps made adjusting the strap size super quick and much easier than conventional screws that you need to undo to change the length of your binding. The best feature I think and was extremely impressed with was the toe strap webbing. It would stretch over the toe cap of your boot no matter what shape your boot was. I am so impressed with the toe strap cap webbing I would consider getting a pair of Ride bindings just for that feature.
With the nice weather we have had in February I was able to go skiing for the second time in my life. I was extremely nervous but had so much fun. I stayed only on the beginner green runs and the first run down the slope was mainly doing snow plow turns but each run I was getting faster and more confident. Towards the end of the session I was beginning to get my parallel turns dialled in. I found skiing awkward but it is nice to have a challenge and with the weather heading towards spring I will definitely be switching it up and heading out skiing a bit more.
Accumulative snowfall to date 627.5 cm