I went to Niseko earlier this month for my yearly snowboard trip. It's a ski village located in the northern part of Hokkaido Village. During the white season, it's filled with Singaporeans and Australians, and now with a direct route launched from KL to Chitose (finally!), perhaps more Malaysians in the future.
It was an 8-day trip of pure snowboarding and onsens (hot spring), a.k.a. sheer bliss.
There weren't snow the first few days so I went around the nearby cities for some food and look-see. On the fourth day, the snow came heavy and the slope was laid with thick untouched virgin snow.
It was a following 3 days of heaven.
On my last slide down on the last day, I went too far off the side of the slope and fell so hard I landed in meter-deep snow.
It took all of 10 mins of me to dig myself out, but not before struggling to unclasp my snowboard from my boots. I ended up lifting the board over my head and threw it out onto the slope before heaving myself out of the snow. As luck would have it, my board landed flat on the slope and to my absolute horror, started sliding away from me, down the hill, round the corner and disappear into sight, while I stared helplessly buried under thick fresh snow.
I then walked the entire length of the snowy hill slope down, one foot at a time, with snowfall beating down on me. By the time I got down to the foot of the hill, my board was no where to be located. What ensued was hours of search, with the assistance of two ski instructors and later an official local patrol who rode me up the hill on a snowmobile to look for the board. It would have been quite a sight and an experience if I wasn't so distressed over my lost board 2 hours before my departure to the airport! I left my phone number with two hotel receptions, the ski rental and anyone's who's willing to listen and take note. The patrol guy went up the slope without me, this time with only his ski, to try to search for my snowboard.
Snow continued to fall heavily as my heart grew heavier. With each passing minute, I knew in my heart the chances of finding my board were diminishing, the image of my board stuck somewhere being buried under fresh fallen snow was beginning to surface on my mind.
By the time I got back to my hotel and my room, Aya-san from Green Leaf called and notified that patrol guy, to my dismay, has failed to locate my snowboard.
I left my hotel to the airport without my board. It dawned on me I was leaving Japan without my beloved snowboard.
On the way to the airport, I was grieving and feeling gloomy and trying to convince myself that it was just a board. Though it was hard to not feel sad because I really did love that board. It was my first board and it has a really pretty design and I have received many compliments on it.
Just when I was drafting out in my mind where I can find a nice board, my phone rang.
Aya-san called and hallelujah!
Patrol guy decided to attempt one last search before sunset and he has found my board!!
So now it's being safely kept at the hotel. I love you awesome Japanese patrol guy and Aya-san.
I'm coming back to Niseko in a week's time and am already planning what to get for these two very helpful and amazing people. I couldn't be happier.
Though the face the check-in lady at the airport was one to witness when she realised I was checking in a very empty snowboard bag.
when you're stuck and have nothing else better to do
insert random photo of my face to prove it was indeed me in the photos above