Time is a fickle creature, sometimes creeping along, other times so fast you can’t keep up. There are many ways to measure time, from atomic clocks and Swiss watches, to hourglasses, sundials or just watching a shadow on a wall. Somewhere in between is my personal favorite – kilometers per hour.
Nearly 10 years ago I picked up a video camera and hit the pavement to document the snowboarding and lifestyle of my friends here in Hokkaido. Since then we have spent countless hours on the road and many cold nights in our vehicles in search of the magic elixir – Japanese powder.
The Car Danchi film series started with a tight knit crew. We drove around Japan’s northern island searching for great backcountry spots to hike and ride. We slept in our cars and campers regardless of weather or temperature, and this became our trademark.
Today, stories of deep, endless powder in Japan have spread overseas, attracting ski bums and socialites from around the globe to hot spots such as Hakuba and Niseko. They come for the snow but soon discover the hot springs, amazing food, friendly people and incredible service are equally good reasons to come back for more.
Word of the “Danchi” lifestyle has also gotten out. Each year I get more calls from people wanting to partake in the Car Danchi lifestyle. This past year well-known snowboarder and Japan lover, Antti Autti, bombarded my inbox with questions and travel dates for the winter. He was coming with a crew of riders and filmer/photographers and they had one simple request.
“We must do Car Danchi! We want to sleep in our cars and travel the north island like you guys do!” he said.
That was all I needed to hear and soon the wheels were in motion. Our crew would join theirs at the end of January for an international “Danchi” bonanza.
This fantastic journey was documented by a talented young photographer from France named Matt Georges. He enjoyed the trip so much, he came back with his fiancé in October to spend another week traveling “Danchi-style” around Hokkaido and soaking in the autumn splendor.