Up until now, the Villa has been a pretty calm place. Most of the residents are families from a variety of countries. This morning we had some new arrivals, a large family group of very loud Gold Coast Aussies. We shudder to think how many cultural faux pas they will commit while in Japan! The shuttle bus was delayed about 20 minutes this morning as they just couldn’t get organised. The ever-patient Villa staff finally got them sorted and we were on our way to the slopes for a fourth day.
It was another hot sunny bluebird day in Nozawa. We went up in t-shirts and light jackets today and Anna traded her ski pants for track pants. First stop was the snow park run, then we headed to the top as the snow got softer. There was less haze than yesterday, so the views were pretty impressive. We couldn’t quite see as far as the Sea of Japan though. Our skiing is improving each day, although the leg muscles are definitely taking a bit of a hammering. It’s not a hardship to sit down in the snow for more frequent rests with the views around here though.
We had to branch out with our lunch location today as Buna had closed for the season. We found a good alternative at the top of the gondola. The food was pretty good although it didn’t have the views of Buna. We are getting unseasonably hot weather here and the snow gets pretty slushy in the afternoon, so we decided to just ski a half day today.
We had hatched a new plan for the descent after yesterday’s disappearing road. There is a run from near the top right down to the base by the Villa. The first half is a red run that follows a ridge, then it drops down into a green run down the valley for the last three kilometres. Now that the kids are confident on reds, it seemed like the perfect option. They have closed the lift up as the run is officially closed, but the Villa staff assured us it would be fine to ski. We could get most of the way up to the start by coming down from a higher run, and just climbed up the rest of the way. After ducking under the “keep out” tape, we were on our way. It was the most magic run as we didn’t see a single person the whole way down. The views from the ridge were spectacular and the last half was a long fast cruiser. It was great to end up so close to the Villa at the of the run.
We were back to the Villa early afternoon, so it was nice to have some time to explore this gorgeous village. First stop was the Sparena, the only mixed bathing hot pools in the village and the only ones where swimsuits are required. The other 30 or so hot pools are traditional Japanese style, and the kids just can’t get their heads around the dress code! Andy tried one earlier in the week and highly recommends them, but the kids don’t want to know. The Sparena was lovely and the hot water did wonders for the sore muscles. Our route back to the villa took us via the convenience store for a round of cheap and yummy Japanese ice creams.
Dinner tonight was Korean BBQ – beef, mutton, pork and veggies cooked on a BBQ in the middle of our table. It was pretty quiet, but we shared the restaurant with a Japanese family all dressed in Yukatas on the way back from the Onsen. The food was great and a really easy option for the kids. We have been surprised how easy the food has been here with the kids. There are plenty of things that they wouldn’t touch, but no shortage of things they are happy to eat.
Tomorrow we have the promise of brief colder temperatures and some snow, so let’s hope it delivers this time. There might be some skiing in the morning then we are off to the snow monkeys in then afternoon. And we get to celebrate Andy’s birthday in Japan!