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The Land of the Rising Sun could be the world’s best-kept powder secret. With billowy snow and birch-lined slopes (watch out for the monkeys!), Japan’s cultural flair make this a must-see ski destination

STORY: S-Media
BY: Julie Nieuwenhuys PHOTOGRAPHY: Caroline Van ‘T Hoff

Big, white, fluffy snowflakes dance through the pitch-black sky and huge light towers illuminate the deserted runs of Niseko, Japan. It is 8 p.m. and while most skiers are enjoying yet another Asahi beer, I’m on a totally different kind of high. The eerie, elongated shadows of the birch trees appear to bring the forest to life. The runs and the surrounding woods are illuminated by 1,287 lights, making the visibility even better than in daylight. In this magical, three-dimensional dream world I fly through the feather-light powder. With an average of six days of snowfall a week, fifteen metres in a season lasting just 3.5 months, and 12-hour ski days, the chances of powder in Japan are the largest by far; it’s not roulette, it’s a guaranteed jackpot! Caroline and I, two Dutch powder junkies, couldn’t resist these numbers and cured our vitami