Trip to NASPA Ski Garden, Niigata Prefecture

Shinkansen Car Diagram.

Matt-san enjoying the “Green Car” luxury.

We took a taxi to Naeba. Note the sunny sky.

Still sunny – and relatively warm. Snow was quite wet and heavy.

View of Naeba Prince Hotel and base station.

Looking across the valley.

Axe marketing display — the “wake up service”.

The display was quite elaborate.

At this point in the day, the weather deteriorated significantly, turning to full blizzard conditions with gale-force winds.

Goggles are a must!

Bus back to NASPA.

Echigo Yuzawa station. Note the wet parking lot. Many of the parking lots and even roads in this area are kept clear of snow via jets of warm water that flood the whole surface and melt the snow.

Here’s a closer look:

Ahh, the Gimlet: two parts gin, two parts lime juice, shake until cold.

The bar at the NASPA New Otani was not exactly hopping. Apart from a couple and a father-son pair playing pool, and a woman who came in for one drink that was a cross between a pina colada and an ice cream sundae, Matt-san and I were basically the only patrons. Nice place though. The room wasn’t too cheap, but it was huge, and the breakfast and dinner buffets were ample and reasonably tasty. Our package also came with a ‘sports ticket’ (ski rental or lift ticket or lesson – we got two days of rentals), and a coupon for discounted lift tickets and lessons. We paid about 5000 JPY for the Naeba daily ticket, and 2800 JPY for the Naspa daily ticket. we were going to get the 1/2 day for 3000 JPY but our coupon enabled us to get the daily pass for less.

I was disappointed that there was no public Karaoke facility.

I don’t really understand what a “Parody Market” is.

It’s a vending machine! No, it’s an automated external defibrilator! No kids, new shimmer is a floor wax AND a dessert topping.

Thankfully Matt-san did NOT wear this to dinner.

Fish for breakfast.

NASPA does not permit snow-boarders.

Another wintry day — not many photos. But lots and lots of powder.

In Echigo Yuzawa station, they have a food court where the sell a lot of sake and other liquor.

They also have these three guys.

The guy who’s happy to have liquor.

The guy who’s had maybe too much liquor.

And the guy who had too much already. I wonder if he had any gimlets?

In addition to liquor, they also sold these dried fish wrapped in rope. Really not sure what that’s all about.

Matt-san charges his gadgets on the train.

Carl-san’s gadgets:

Carl-san meets a new friend in Shibuya

Fun trip, easy to get to from Tokyo, and apart from the blizzard the skiing was not bad. On a sunny, colder day after one of the regular powder dumps it gets, Naeba would be fantastic; Naspa is pretty small though and you wouldn’t want to spend much more than half or 3/4 of a day there.

This is probably the last long photo series on this blog — Facebook‘s photo tool seems a lot easier for these quick-and-dirty albums. The “good” photos will continue to go on Snapfish.