Day 11: Furano Skiing

Our hotel, Furano Naturwald resting area
Wednesday, 4 February 2015 

Continues from Day 10: Hakodate & Furano
Today is the first of three we'll be spending in Furano skiing!

We've never skied before, in Japan, Australia or anywhere else.

The reason we chose Furano was because we wanted to go skiing somewhere in Hokkaido that had plenty of beginner slopes, had English lessons and wasn't full of Australians.

Marshmallows and baked potatoes (in box), free at our hotel
That last requirement generally rules out Hakuba in Honshu and Niseko in Hokkaido which have turned into mini Australia-towns according to some reports. 

Furano fit all of those requirements.

Another positive is we were able to hire not only skies, poles and boots but also helmets, beanies, jackets, pants, gloves and goggles from a shop right next to the main lift.

All of this equipment came to 15,000 yen each for three days, which is quite reasonable and much less than what you would pay in Australia.

Although we'd already entered our measurements when booking online, the guy at the shop made sure everything fit and showed us how to put on the boots.

As we had never skied before we booked a first timers lesson this morning from 10:00 to 12:00 and then half day group lessons on the following two days.

Japanese cheesecakes from Hakodate
After signing in at the ski school we were assigned an English speaking Japanese instructor, for just the two of us.

After meeting our instructor we headed out to the small practice "bunny" slope. This slope wasn't very high, maybe 5-6 metres, and had a flying carpet lift, which is like a travelator you can ride up to the top of the hill while wearing skies.

At the bottom our instructor showed us how to put on skies after which we practised walking up the hill sideways. Next we practised going down the hill using the V-shape snowplough manoeuvre. This is the most basic technique and allows you to slowly travel down the hill.

We practised this for the duration of our lesson, and then for a little bit longer in the afternoon. Lunch was had at the cafeteria inside the main building; a bunch of Japanese food was available such as ramen and curry.

Towards the end of the day we went up the Kitanomine High Speed Lift No. 1 and managed to make our way down the first beginner slope (Family Slope). Although this slope is very tame, it was much steeper than the bunny slope so was still a challenge. We fell over a couple of times, but as we were going slowly we didn't suffer any injuries.

Once back at our hotel we roasted the provided marshmallows and enjoyed some free potatoes at the little resting area fire they had inside. A great way to warm up!

Later in the evening we enjoyed some of the baked spongy cheesecake we had acquired in Hakodate: delicious!

Tomorrow will be our second day skiing, and we have another half day lesson in the morning!

Continue reading Day 12: Furano Skiing

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