In January this year a Facebook status grabbed my attention;
“anyone want to come to Japan? We’ve had a friend pull out”
With little to no hesitation “uhh me!” I said and the next thing you know I had my bum on a flight from the Gold Coast to Tokyo with 6 babe town girls!
After calling Hakuba (and the karaoke bar/physio) home for two weeks, I decided I would leave my fellow Byron girls and head to the white powdery north. I was excited to head to the Nth island to meet up with a top bloke Marcus and even more pumped to see my now ex boyfriend; Matt :( We also had pro riders Ryusei and Jye (pie man) come along. Both Marcus and Matt are extremely talented videographers and even better company to have around. Naturally both of them jumped at the thought of shooting some outlandish snowboarding in the back country..or whatever you want to call it in Hokkaido.
So after cutting shapes in Tokyo, I hustled out on my own on jam packed trains and buses & finally arriving at Narita Airport in Tokyo. Stressful but all apart of the excitement right?
So I’ll get to the point…
The next day I made my way to Rusustu Resort and met the all time crew; Marcus, Matt and riders Jye and Ryusei –this was going to be some fun!
Talented Mr Marcus had managed to gain the interest of both the Rususutu Resort and snowboarding brands like Burton. This allowed us to ride and stay for free! Does it get any better? I know I’m a big deal now.
Our first few nights stay was in this cute little log cabin below, which was half way up a run on the resort. Not the easiest place to get your luggage to.. luckily the Japanese are so nice, it was hilarious to watch.
We spent a few days having some deep pow fun in the resort including some runs at night skiing before we moved out of our little log cabin and into Matty’s aunty and uncle’s mansion they just so happen to own.
I was absolutely blown away the house was incredible. Walking in I basically cried… HOW DID I GET SO LUCKY?
Coffee pods, heated floors, traditional style bathrooms… and yes tandem showering and not to mention ski passes for us and access to a car! We were very spoilt young adults and I am not sure I even thanked Matt and his aunty & uncle enough! (so thank you!)
The floors were even heated….
The next day the sun rose and we piled our bodies into the van it was time to get out in the backcountry to get the good stuff we came for!
Mid en route we of course stopped at our trusty and faithful general store; Lawsons to pick up some vital snacks and vital alcohol. Chocolate, sushi rolls and of course Chuhi’s (STRONG’s) (a lethan 8% alcoholic drink that tastes like lollies).
Pulling off the highway we arrived at the spot.. middle of no where. We geared up with all our cameras, put the snow shoes on and jumped over the highway barriers. We trudged through deep snow until we reached a stunning outlet where we could build the perfect jump.
THAT’S THE SPOT!
The scene was breathtaking. Ryusei and Marcus shared their knowledge with us about the building the perfect jump and before we knew it…I was quite intoxicated and having the time of my life building large ice bricks.
I learned loads this day. About team work, about building something together and just how to make the perfect ice brick (it’s not as easy as it sounds). I loved being out there, it really is something you don’t get to do every day.
Although teamwork always involved Jye seemingly just ‘speculating’ about the jump… not sure how much he actually built??
Now for the funny part. Jye and Ryesi were ready to hit our magnificent and all mighty hand built and shaped jump. Even better, Marcus and Matt were ready to shoot it all. With Marcus on the RED camera and Matt on stills… who was going to fly the drone? Well look no further good old Faz of course!
Matt kindly set the drone up for me and got me prepped for the shot, he trusted me with his expensive toys it was a very attractive trait to have.. but oh god, help me.
We set flight to the Mavic and Matt gave me only one instruction…Just ONE.
“make sure you watch the drone in the air B, not the screen on my phone while you’re shooting”
“Ok” I said. The next minute Pie man was flying high off the jump and I was pulling away from him on the drone. I was thinking to myself “wow that look’s epic!”. The next minute I hear Matt yell to me..
“Faz!”... then BOOM!
The drone clipped a tree and plunged out of the air and onto the snow crashing. Yep… I fucked up the one thing he told me not to do.
Matt kept his cool with me, he always does.. but boy did I felt terrible not to mention embarrassed as I was still trying to impress the guy! I guess on the plus side the drone did live on! Phew
After an above average day, we decided to go back the next day only to build a bigger and better jump! At first I’m not gonna lie I really couldn’t be bothered, but we had extra hands this time we brought downright legend Snowy and Aeoden. With 4 extra hands and of course more alcohol it made a difference.
This day was one for the books and one I will remember forever. After shaping and making ice bricks and building the 2nd jump the boys started flying through the air. How did they make it look so easy? So fearless? I really did admire them for what they could do.
Somewhere in between a drunken haze I remember how I felt. I looked around and felt I was exactly where I needed to be. I felt lucky, happy and alive to be experiencing it all before my eyes and all with those who I cared about and even better those who could capture the essence of it all!
Even as the only girl, I was happy and took everything I could in my stride. I built bricks I drank in the white glow, the native tree’s and the dry and dreamy powder that I was essentially immersed in.
As the day got on and we wrapped up, I’ll have you know that both Matt and I attempted the jump. Matt however continued to try multiple backflips only leaving him as the real John Snow with almost a broken neck! Me? Well I wound down the windows and ate shit too! But you know what!? Those are the moments you live for. Matty used to tell me I should do something that made me scared every day— this day, this moment was it.
The videos and pictures captured for the ODD FOLKS short film will give you a better idea of how it all went down and some of the best days’s and night’s I have had. For anyone thinking about going to Japan. I would really recommend it. The culture is so strangely cool, the people are lovely and the pow even better!
While I’m here, I’d like to also thank these guys for giving me the time they did.
Marcus, Thank you for just being you! For inviting me. For organising it and being the data munching talented machine you are. You make amazing work in extreme conditions and I am forever proud of you.
Matt, thanks for opening me up to this area, for letting us stay and always having my back. Thanks for running to Lawson’s with me in the middle of the night and picking up hitch hikers. Thanks for putting me first and most of all thanks for having fun and pushing me!
Pie man – thanks for just being your loose self, for providing us with the worst jokes and and even worse dancing. Thanks for entering into a rail jam just to win us a bar tab, and thanks for you’re shit ‘CHIX’ jokes. You’re a unique idiot but I really do love ya!
Ryusei- I miss your cheeky smile. Thanks for speaking Japanese for us basically everywhere we went. Thanks for being a boss rider, for driving, never complaining and for being a max chiller. You are so humble and an incredible rider. Keep shredding you legend!
Thanks Pete and Lou for letting us stay in your beautiful home, I am forever grateful.
For anyone that wants to know more or who would like to check out Marcus’ film check it out!
My attempt is the last video on the page… ate sh** but ENJOY!