You know it’s going to be a good snow day when you have to use the bootpack just to get from the ticket window to the gondola base!

I caught the first bus to Sapporo Kokusai on Monday to get a last riding day in before leaving.  The bus lady said that if the resort was closed, the bus would return to Sapporo – after all, it was so early that the employees probably hadn’t shown up at the resort yet, so there was no way to check this early.  Everyone was apparently sleeping in late, as I had the entire bus to myself on the drive over.  Still, the bus lady got on the PA for the announcements: She could have just come over and told me directly…

Rolling into the parking area, the lot attendants were out directing cars into parking stalls, so my trepidation level came down a bit.  Peering out the back of the daylodge, I saw the grooming machines clearing the base area and the gondola cabins being loaded onto the cable, so everything seemed good.  I wasn’t truly relieved until I heard the opening announcement on the PA.

In the time between arriving and seeing the base being groomed to suiting up and getting my lift ticket, enough snow had fallen that walking up the slight hill to the gondola base was actually difficult without using the bootpack.  It was -9C at the top and a little windy.  Visibility was around 50M with new snow falling.  I hit the downhill course first.  Even though the spoon-nosed, swallowtailed board crew had droppped in before me, there was still piles of untracked areas, and on subsequent runs, the “self-healing” surface was refreshed every time, until the user level climbed along with the temperature and the snow began to pack.  Dropping some of the other courses, it was like there were no “stashes”, since there were vast unridden areas inbounds. 

After taking a break to let the legs rest, I went back out to finish the day, but the snowfall had become granular and the wind had risen.  I did several more runs to finish the day.  On what I had intended to be my last run anyway, I had a close call with doom partially due to fatigue, so I really knew I was due to stop for the day.  I packed up and by chance when I went to look at the bus schedule, there was the 16:00 bus ready to leave, so I was on it without even getting the chance to get a drink or snack for the ride back to town.

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