After an interesting week of riding in Chamonix, it was time for the Spark crew to press on. So we headed back to Munich, just in time to throw Jeff on a flight to Tokyo for the SBJ and Interstyle trade shows. A quick 13 hours later, he was checking out the latest in shred, for the Japanese market.
Overall the trade shows went very well. It was great to see many of the Japanese based brands selling splitboards. Also representing were Rome, K2, Mervin, Burton and a few others. All in all, a great sign that splitboarding is gaining popularity in Japan. It was also great to be able to meet with some of our Japanese dealers. Jeff even squeezed in a couple interviews with a few Japanese snowboard mags.
After a few days of trade shows, it was time to head to the mountains. First stop would be Hakuba. While walking the trade show floor, all snow reports were increasingly positive. Finally! Rumor had it that 3-4′ of fresh snow had fallen the previous couple of days, and the sun was supposed to shine for the next few days.
We were able to spend a few days in the greater Hakuba area, riding a variety of different terrain. The sun was out each day, which was great. While riding the Iwataka resort, I bumped into a local guy rockin some Spark bindings. He was kind enough to allow me to do a little impromptu demo at lunch. It was a pretty big hit with the locals.
After a few too many days of sun, the snow in Hakuba got a bit heavy. So we decided to head to Tenjin. The snow here was amazing. A few feet of fresh right before we got there, then nothing but blue skies for the next few days. The terrain there was great and the side country splitting, even better. Easily the highlight of the trip.
I would like to thank Toshi, Yosuke and Yoshi at Native Products for the hospitality. I would also like to thank Taku at Voltage and William at The Boarding Company. Its always great to be back in Japan and to meet some new friends.