Daron Rahlves in Japan
By | February 22nd, 2011
TGR… On The Road for JaPow!!!
I’ve been to Japan for my first Olympics at Nagano in 1998 and then 2009 for a World Champs Ski Cross. A seat on a bus from airport to ski resort I’ve seen Japan’s densely populated cities and rural country towns. The people are very friendly and always ready to help with a smile and then move quickly in a “Japanese hustle”. Not many speak English so it’s a challenge to communicate, but a nice smile will always be returned. The ski areas have friendly sounding announcements blasting over loud speakers and lots of people on the runs. It seems very routine for most Japanese skiing what they call courses or we’d call ski runs. You will see a rutted line down a run as if there were race gates. For the most part, Japanese are technically focused on skis. Good for us. That means less tracks and more pow because I’m here to free ski!
I joined TGR to ski with my Atomic teammates Chris Benchetler and Dana Flahr.
Picking it up from where Benchetler left off. Deep snow, trees loaded with pillows, pillow lines and oh yes…deep snow. We’ve been using the expression JaPow to describe how insane this snow is. After a few runs at Teine in the best snow I’ve ever skied the stoke was at an all time high and JaPow was becoming an overused expression followed by endless high fives!
The next day, Clayton owner of Black Diamond Tours , took us on a long drive. The terrain was a mix of dense deciduous trees to open areas and unique features. The mountain ridges looked like mohawks where the trees met on top. The sun was shining and snow caked everything. We hopped out of the Seico Mart littered van from all the snacks we pillaged on the drive over and quickly booted up to start the mission. Benchetler and Flahr sessioned a tunnel drop with a 360 butter and huge floating spins. In just minutes the temps were rising and snow was changing. I was thinking of a tree laced spine I saw down the road and wanted to make the move before it got baked. So I took off in the search of a “line” to ski.
After a 50min hike, I had a moment to take it all in. I like hanging with this crew, but also enjoy those moments where you feel all alone and very small in this world. It was spooky in a way. If I dropped off the backside I’d be totally out of reach with my group. What ifs ran through my head. I tried the radio and no word came back. As I felt that insecure feeling come over me I looked down to the road and saw our van. Ha, what was I freaking for?
Now it was time to shred.
Dropping in and getting those turns in Sugoi Yuki (awesome snow) kept the stoke alive. Then to hear the boys from the road as I slowed to a stop was a great capper.
That moment is why I’m out here. To ski for me and then to share it with those who know what it’s all about.
In this post: Dana Flahr Daron Rahlves Greg Epstein Location: Japan Film: One For The Road Keywords: Powder Pillows Making Of Article Premium Content Teton Gravity Research Featured Ski