…as I may have mentioned last night, Naeba had a nice dump of snow to welcome us. After our long journey here and an 8 hour rest most of us were up at the crack of dawn chomping at the bit to get going….the only thing between us and the lift was of course the Buffet. The was no regular Jimmy Buffet…this was the Margueriataville Grand Slam! Everything from the traditional western scrambloed eggs, toast, croissants, coffee, yogurt and cereal as well as traditional Japanese fair of pickles, miso soup, tamago, rice, green tea and more. It was a great spread in the Azalea restaurant here at the Prince (the hotel, not the artist). This was our first try with chopsitcks (hashi) and everyone was passing. We all resorted to spoons for the cocoa pops!

The new snow beckoned and we made our first trip as high as we could go immediately. Stopped by snow too high on the upper chair, we chose to Ski X it out down the cat-tracks to some untouched powder on the lower section of the mountain. The snow tecture is something between what you may find in Vail and what you may find in Whistler. Fluffly but damp! Perfect for our first few runs. Alternating between the GS piste, the steep runs with fresh and moguls and the “Malibu” Cross course we skied until about noon when we decided to try for the top again. This time the snow that was dragging the chairs in sections had been cleared and the upper Chair was open for business. We managed two sweet runs on some uncharted steep terrain of about 300 feet vertical including one between the saplings and then headed back down the road led by Zeke, Quin and Victor cutting corners all the way down. At one point I forgot I had 30 years on the kids and followed suit. A small compression in thew shortcuts proved too much for my DIN 6 setting and I launchedhaed and shoulder deep into the groomed road. Feigning that I am Ok, we skied down to lunch to see what meal was next in store with the hopes of another long list of smorgasbord choices. My head is fine, my ribs are killing me but it only hurts when I speak, laugh sneeze move and ski. Should be good for the rest of the week.

Lunch was not exactly as I was dreaming but it was exactly what to expect in any ski resort….ramen, udon, ton katsu, spaghetti and more comfort foods. Drinks were extra and no desserts. Each meal becomes a test of what the kids might like, know, challenge themselves to eat or actually enjoy! Just like fries, burgers, hot chocolate and donuts (only in Canada?) the ski hill food was great!

Back on the slope for the afternoon we took 5 more runs on the race-hill and took a few more runs in the Ski -X course. The lifties (“A Ticket Inspector”), instructors and other guests were “high-fiving” our mini competitons. Quin had even started to accumulate a gorup of fans from the local university or high school girls team (I told him to keep his goggles on so they wouldn’t know he is 14!).

I slow walk into town for recovery before study and “blog” time for coffee proved to be cultural. We ended up in a Cafe/Under Armour store that is owned by the Japanese Slalom star Kentaro Minegawa and his Olympic champion wife Aiko Uemera (Moguls). Even though he was not around, we spoke on the phone and may meet on Sunday upon his return to Naeba. On the way back we ran into Maaco Kashiwagi who raced for Japan in lates 60’s and early 70’s on both the World Cup and also the World Pro Tour. He jumped out of his tractor to greet us and reminded me that he skied many times in Vail for Pro racing in the 70’s. In the 90’s I coached his daughter Kumiko. She skied in more than one Olympics and is now an acupuncturist in the Ginza neighbourhood of Tokyo…

The best was yet to come as we returned to the hotel for our study break. Before we got started, our hosts from Goldwin were keen to give us gifts that they had prepared for us. Delaney, Zeke, Genevieve, Quin and Victor were all very gracious (if not excited) in recieving their new “track” suits and other souvenirs. Later we would return the favor at dinner with the things we had brought with us for them. After a couple of hours of study and blogging we were ready to release to the world the much anticipated diaries of the kids….they are all different (in length, creativity, and style) but good reading and perhaps a better perspective that I can give you).

Here they are….

In anticipation and some bragging from me, we prepared for a dinner of Shabu Shabu. Our hosts had asked for a selection of wishes we might have and I thought this dish would be great because there was no fish and was something that everyone would likely love. The fact that it is interactive was a bonus! We sat down and were greeted by some chef’s offerrings that included what looked like mini squids and some mountain vegetables. When the tuna sashimi arrived and a few of the kids had tested their gag reflexes, our ost realized something was wrong. It seemed that we could not order Shabu Shabu at our tables and all the other ones were reserved. He quickly switched gears and began to order small filets of beef and more fun stuff! We survived (with a few close calls) and moved onto green tea ice cream to save the day. Upon Sudo’s (our host) insistence I lated delivered chciken pizza and coke’s to their rooms to kae sure they didn’t starve….

We all were in bed by 10pm and here we are back early morn in our familiar Jet Lag Cafe skypining, blogging, and tweeting and facebooking. Breakfast again in Azalea and the sun shining for another day. No new snow overnight and all terrain groomed. Race practive begins in earnest!

Look for some food pics later! Stay tuned from Japan!