Japan’s ski season continues to deliver a bumper snow year. To keep you connected with Aizu’s season, Kei Ishiuchi has created 6 video episodes. The first Aizu Live episode is shot on location at Inawashiro Ski Resort, one of 22 ski resorts located within Aizu. Episodes from 1 to 5 can be viewed below and 6 will be added as it drops. Phil Osborn interviews Kei to learn more.
G’day Kei, tell us about yourself?
I’ve been snowboarding for 27 years. I have 25 years of experience as a professional coach and instructor, with CASI (Canada) and AASI (USA) instructor qualifications. In the past, I have been active as a development rider for Burton. I’ve organised mountain schools and ski resorts in Japan. I now exclusively guide for Australia’s Mint Tours and travel all over Japan. My snowboarding experience has taken me around the world. I’ve been on all the world’s continents snowboarding, other than Antarctica. I’ve snowboarded in Europe, Australia, South America, North America and Africa, and has skied in more than 100 ski resorts around the world.
Check out Kei shredding in the video below in Aizu, Japan:
Describe the current snow season in Aizu?
It’s been pumping in Japan this season. Our annual snowfall is on par with a solid regular season. The weather temperatures have been low.
How many days have you ridden this season?
I’ve clocked up around 40 days of riding so far, with plenty more days to go in the season!
What’s the goal of the 6 part video series you are creating?
I want people to see what’s going on in Aizu and Japan right now. We want to create a light hearted vibe with humour, and make people know they are welcome when they return to visit us in Japan. We want people to feel the excitement of snow travel again…and start anticipating riding again in Japan.
Describe some of your fun days riding this season in Aizu? Where was it in Aizu?
I have three perfect days!! lol
Powder hunting at Minowa Ski Resort has been a highlight. Shredding nice and tight tree terrain is my favourite. We don’t have wide-open terrain, but thankfully my tiny body shape allows me to slide between the trees in powder easily!! Easy lapping tree line with lift access make those powder days fun.
The ALTS terrain park is loads of fun and has been one of my memorable days this season. After a warm-up run, including a short hike to the summit of Alts, we meet up and ride some nice steep terrain. Once we feel warmed up, we cruise into the famous transition park. ALTS has a really nice shape with Half-Pipe Cutter. Hitting boxes and rails is fun. I’ve got the surf-snow style, so flowing throw the banks and pipe is seriously fun.
I had some good friends come up from Tokyo and we headed to Grandeco to cruise some mellow terrain. Showing them this resort was fun. The mellow runs are good for beginners and young families. I really enjoyed cruising with them. On this day, we went into nearby Aizu Wakamatsu and I showed them the historic Tsuruga Castle.
Are you missing having international skiers and snowboarders in Aizu? Are you ready to welcome Australians back to Aizu?
Yes for sure. Two years ago, we had over 5,000 nights from Aussie skiers and snowboarders during the winter season, and now we are back to zero! We hope to recover from the bad situation Covid-19 created for everyone.
Will you be coming to Australia in May for the Snow Travel Expo 2022 in Melbourne 15 May and Sydney 22 May?
For sure, we would like to meet all our guests who come to Aizu in previous years, and welcome new skiers and snowboarders to come and experience Aizu. Over the last five years, we sold special packages at the Snow Travel Expo that were popular and we will aim to do this again. We want to create a “wheel of fortune” on the main stage and give a big prize such as FREE ski trip to Aizu. It’s the reason why all skiers and snowboarders should go to the Snow Travel Expo! Plus they can say g’day to me and get great travel advice and ideas for your next snow trip to Japan!
Check out Aizu Live Episode 2 – Alts Bandai.
Check out Aizu Live Episode 3 – Nekoma Ski Resort.
Check out Aizu Live Episode 4 – Grandeco Ski Resort.
Check out Aizu Live Episode 5 from Takatsue Ski Resort.
Check out Aizu Live Episode 6 from Minowa Ski Resort.