Niseko, Japan 🇯🇵

Alice and I have been talking about going skiing since we discovered this shared love and FINALLY we made it to the mountains. It’s been 2.5 years in the making, namely because it’s so expensive. Lots of umming and aahing about parting with our precious ringos before we booked but I can say it was worth every penny.So, here we are in country number 51. I’m going to take a moment to talk about something else that’s bothered me a lot before I get on to Japan. The suicide of Caroline Flack. This has been on my mind so much and I’ve been trying to work out why it’s affected me more so than any other celebrity death. I shamelessly admit to loving ‘Love Island’ and I guess Caroline Flack came across as someone you’d be friends with. She was very fun, light hearted and created seemingly personal relationships with everyone on that show. She was someone Jess and I would label as a goddess; 40 and fabulous. When I read in the media about her assault charge I was shocked and I was sceptical. Something about that entire media frenzy didn’t make sense to me. I’ve always despised the media to be honest and I steer clear of most of it. I read numerous news reports about mine and Jerry’s accident which didn’t contain any facts and I don’t take anything I read to be the whole truth. I feel disgusted at the way our society handled Caroline’s situation and I’m really, really sad that someone who I found relatable felt they had no other option. The world is really cruel for no reason. We watched the love island finale in our hostel room and I struggled emotionally to watch the dedication to her. I hope we all learn something from this outcome. A few days before the holidays I received a message request on Instagram from a random person saying ‘Keep counting countries you coward.’ I have no idea who this person is. I can brush off that kind of bizarre message of course but I was really wondering who does this kind of thing and what their motivation is. People never fail to confuse me. I can’t imagine what the judgement of thousands of people in a celebrity’s day to day life would do a person’s mental health.Anyway, moving on from that onto a more positive topic. Skiing. Skiing was my first passion and it remains my strongest one. I love to do lots of things but skiing has my heart because of the feeling and adrenaline that comes with being a tiny person sliding down a mountain. It’s not a hobby that is particularly easy to access because it relies on being in the right location and having the ability to travel at the right times of the year. I’m very fortunate to have grown up in a family who share this passion and supported me to learn as a child, and that now as an adult I have the ability to enjoy it still.We heard such great things about Japan especially about the snow conditions (JaPow). Powder dreams!! Everyone loves a fresh blanket of snow on the slopes. The travel time to get here was long, long, long on a budget airline overnight. Shout out to the Air Asia staff who tried to stop me from moving into an empty row to sleep on a 7 hour flight and for telling me that you can’t eat your own food on the plane. Last month someone hacked into my online Air Asia account and booked flights under my name using 7 different cards then name changed them at the airport and Air Asia did NOTHING. You’re really doing well lately guys.We booked our ski trip as a package online so we had transfers, accommodation and lift passes already sorted out. Cannot fault the transfer at all and the hostel we stayed at was great. Owashi Lodge was the cheapest option we could find and it’s just a 5 minute walk to the ski lift. It has amazing showers that are better than my own, comfy beds and great morning coffee.We stayed in Grand Hirafu but our pass gave us access to four ski resorts. We skiied pretty much every run in all four resorts. It’s very easy to navigate and the mountain is much smaller than some resorts I’ve been to before. That being said there’s a good variety of runs and there’s lots of opportunity for off piste skiing. The first day we arrived it snowed all day and so we had that fresh powder and it was incredible. We were so lucky with the weather.Alice and I love a routine so we got on the lift at exactly the moment when it opened each day and we were among the first people on the mountain. We stopped for a coffee after a couple of hours and we lived for our beer in the snow. Beer on the slopes tastes better than any other time.I’m not the risk taker I used to be when it comes to anything so our skiing was pretty ‘safe’ but so, so enjoyable. The runs are not particularly well labelled but it’s very easy to find your way down. Clean air and mountain views do wonders for the soul and to reunite with winter clothes and ski fashion was the best. I absolutely love admiring people’s goggles, hats and ski coat choices. We browsed shops we couldn’t afford every day and could have bought everything.Niseko is small but welcoming and the people are really polite. It’s full of Aussies doing ski seasons and they definitely out number the Japanese. The supermarket is the best supermarket I’ve experienced abroad (don’t worry Aldi no one will ever replace you) and since everything is pretty expensive it’s where we got our meals from. Going to miss the katsu curry and salad bowls.Another element of this trip which really made it for us was our addiction to Netflix show ‘The Circle’. What a concept. Shocking moment after shocking moment for 12 wonderful episodes.If you want ski runs for all abilities, friendly surroundings and amazing snow conditions get yourself to Niseko. It was worth every penny and we are already determined to return next year. We will miss the snow, the clean air and the exercise. Also Japan has the best toilets in the world. For someone with a slight phobia of public toilets this is a big deal. Japanese toilet hygiene needs to spread to the rest of the world.