From The Editor
One of our regular (female hiking) columnists jokingly refers to me as the polar bear because I love winters in Japan. I have to admit, I’ll take crisp cold winter days over the humid summers every day of the week and twice on weekends—especially after a good snow storm.
Growing up in Oregon, and spending many years in Nagano, the mountains were never far from my doorstep. Nagano still feels like my second home and many of my best memories were of weekend snow safaris with friends. It was such a beautifully simple existence back then. Pack the car the night before, roll out the door Saturday morning at 6 a.m. pick up an accomplice and a few coffees later we were on the mountain for first tracks. After a full day we’d hit the compulsory onsen, find a place to crash and usually do it all over again on Sunday. Times have changed but I still get just as excited about winter in Japan. There are so many incredible places to ride and you just can’t beat the Japanese ski experience.
We hope you enjoy our annual Winter Sports Preview where we turn up the heat on the cold season. If you haven’t ventured to the mountains yet, you’re in for a treat and we’ve got some tips to help get you out the door and on the slopes, into the backcountry, or on your way to a relaxing winter getaway. Make sure to check out our Annual Winter Giveaway where you can win lift tickets to some great ski resorts or a getaway to one of Japan’s top winter destinations.
We’d also like to wish all of our readers a wonderful holiday season and a happy New Year. We’re excited to bring you the best in travel and outdoors in 2006 and we’d like to invite you contribute to the Outdoor Japan community by sending in photos of your travels and adventures. Each month we’ll select some of your shots for the OJ Photo Gallery and one reader will receive an Outdoor Japan cap. Please include a caption with the name of the place and when the photo was taken. Have a great winter!