This post is also available in: 日本語
For 15 years Australia’s SnowAction magazine has been delivering the best independent Japow coverage, finding new options to keep their readers ahead of the game. So when they sent Japanese-New Zealand all-mountain skier, Kenji Boekholt, to check out Aomori Spring in Winter 2016 we were excited to show him around! Here are his words.
The 1625m Iwaki-san towered in front of us, Aomori Spring Resort lies at its base. The five lifts access beginner through to expert terrain and 545m vertical, with another 700m vert on top if you hike the Iwaki-san peak. The Rockwood Hotel sits at the base of the resort, a mere 50m away from the gondola. The Rockwood has quite a western influence, with hints of Japanese flavour and warm and welcoming staff with extensive knowledge of the area.
Big Plans for the Future
Aomori Spring Marketing Director NJ (Jonghoon Na) met us as we arrived at the Rockwood hotel. NJ is an ideas man, and was quickly giving us a personal mountain tour of their plans for the future, cruising around the resort as the sun set into the Sea of Japan. With an Olympic depth pipe already in the works, and an X-Games format slopestyle course planned, they have plans to build the biggest terrain park in Japan, with training facilities for international teams, so Aomori Spring is set to be the future home of Japanese slopestyle and halfpipe skiing and snowboarding.
The plan was to skin off the back of the gondola up to the peak of Iwaki-san, but weather and fatigue prevented us from reaching our target, and we resorted to playing around the many faces and bowls around the main face of Iwaki-san.
Wild Backcountry Terrain
The terrain in the surrounding area is diverse in itself. Wild Alaskan style spines line distant faces, forests filled with deep pockets of fresh powder and wild exposed faces littered with snow ghosts. As clouds cleared, the view of the coast opened up, providing for some amazing sunset skiing as we made our way back to the resort.
Traveling and riding in Aomori was a truly surreal experience for me, not only because of the skiing but because of the people and the respect that each and every one shared not only to us, but to the mountains. The pure excitement of being out doing what they are so passionate about, and being able to show you their playground was a humbling experience. Thanks to all those I was fortunate to meet during my time there, I’m sure I’ll be back next year for some deep turns!
Words by Kenji Boekholt, photos by Dan Power.