From the Editor
I met Australian Mick Tan and his Japanese wife Miki last June in Yoyogi Park to talk to them about their plans to do something people said couldn’t be done. I then tried (unsuccessfully) to walk a few steps in their shoe—or Japanese bamboo stilts, to be accurate—called takeuma.
This only reinforced my doubts they could complete a 3,000-km. journey across Japan on takeuma carrying 20-kg. backpacks and battling inclement weather, fatigue and their own doubts. When I heard they were getting close to their goal, I was simply amazed.
In January, I met Canadian Evans Parent over a pint at Paddy McGinty’s in Niseko. His plan, to spend three months road tripping around Japan searching for powder, filled me with another emotion—jealousy. This “snow chaser” has enjoyed one of the best snow seasons in recent history.
We had one more interview in Niseko about a week later, but I had already returned to Chigasaki. Luckily, long-time contributor and Hokkaido native Neil Hartmann sat in with Jake Burton who was in Japan for the Burton Mountain Festival, and I’m stoked to have the snowboarding legend on the cover our magazine this issue.
My connection with Burton goes back to my first board, a 1986 Burton Cruzer. Big, with a long nose and high-back hard bindings set way back, it probably wasn’t the best board on which to learn, but it was cheap, and I didn’t know any better.
Once I figured it out, I got myself a 1998 Burton Johan and rode it for nearly 10 years. I tried several new boards, but I’d end up ditching them and going back to the Johan. A favorite board is like a comfortable pair of old jeans.
Last year, however, I picked up a Burton Malolo, a serious powder board I heard Jake had in his rotation. I absolutely loved it, but it was a short relationship. A few days after meeting Evans, a local taxi driver strapped the board (the name ironically means “flying fish” in Hawaiian) to the top of his car and, by the time we got back to my lodge, it had flown off the rack never to be seen again.
Why someone would take it home and risk angering the snow gods, I’ll never know. Now the decision is whether to go back to the Malolo even though she broke my heart, or see if there are other fish in the sea.
Luckily, we should be able to hit the slopes well into spring this year, so note some resorts stay open through Golden Week.