Niseko is awesome! I have run across random videos of the runs in Japan for years. Seems like every one of them is one or two people, grey snowy skies, no body else around laying fresh tracks. Every video, the same. Last year our group of merry men went to Jackson Hole for our annual trip. We spent a day at Grand Targhee during the middle of the trip. Cam and I were the only ones to make the morning bus, so after spending the a.m. on the hill we headed to the bar for lunch and waited for the rest of the crew to arrive. There was an older skier sitting next to us at the bar who mentioned that he was going to Japan for 2 weeks. But he didn’t call it Japan. He called it JaPow. As he told the two of us sitting at the bar about conditions in Niseko, we pretty much made up our mind to go.
This was a huge El Nino year. While snow storm Goliath brought heavy winter snow across the US (and shut down New Mexico), El Nino actually hurts Japan’s snowfall. The warmer ocean air tends to drop overall snow there buy 15%. While we were in Niseko it didn’t snow for 3 consecutive days on our trip. From the talk of everyone there that is unheard of in January. Even with the down overall snow, Niseko still had the lightest and deepest snow I’ve ever ridden. Multiple days of waist and chest deep snow. The snow texture is the same as Utah, very light and dry. The weather reports called it dry silk, which is how the video got it’s name.
Editing this year I wanted to tell a better story than I did on last years Jackson Hole / Colorado video. The final cut of JH/WF was satisfying, but when I watch it now I can see several shifts that would have made it much better. The photos from 2006 should have stayed a 4x3 ratio to match the old 2006 video and moved into widescreen when we get to 2015. The Colorado portion of the video needed more of a callout to separate from the Jackson Hole portion, instead of just rolling into the A Team parody. There are a ton of inside jokes that everyone on the trip would understand, but there wasn’t enough effort made to let the average viewer in on what we were laughing about. The original reason for doing these videos was to keep the memories of these trips, but also to learn to be a better storyteller. Last years video was a another step forward, but in hindsight could have been more.
I went into cutting this video with more of a documentary mindset. Extra effort was made to add some facts, locations and what I observed about being in Japan into the video where I felt the just the footage didn’t make it obvious. That’s where all my captions come into play. My technical ability to use the editing tools has advanced enough that most of my thought process revolves around what to do rather than how to get it done. The result shows in the final cut. Even clocking in at 25 minutes it feels leaner and more engaging than my efforts from previous years. I hope you enjoy it!