The etnies team (Simon Chamberlain, Stian Solberg, Joe Sexton and Markku Koski) tour the land of the rising sun with an escort from the Transworld Japan editor and photographer to capture an 8 page exclusive. Their mission - To session a variety of street rails, take some deep powder turns, explore the Japanese trees and compete in the slope contest at Joetsu Kokusai resort.
After a solid four days of hitting it hard out in the streets and in the trees, the crew headed for Joetsu Kokusai resort for the Slope Contest.
Here we are at the Hotel Green Plaza, looks like a Swiss Chalet doesn't it?
Shred invaders...Markku, Simon, Stian and Joe.
The Slope Live Session! Haaaigh! The podium.
The sun decided to grace us for about...ahhh...five minutes...but what an incredible view, eh? Can you believe we were in Japan?
Stian and Joe sizing up the course...Joe Sexton on the right looks a little nervous. I think he was concerned with the size of the rails?
The course was pretty basic...Starting off with a plethora of rails to choose from, then off to a giant size tabletop and finishing off with a step up gap. During the contest most of the riders were having trouble with their speed due to the tremendous amount of snowfall. Luckily the snow park crew was there to groom as much as possible to help the riders clear the jumps.
View from the top of the course while the sun lasted.
Unfortunately, Stian was in the first heat, which meant his run was bright and early in the morning when the snow just wouldn't let up.
Here's Stian giviner during his heat.
Markku Koski with a cab 5 as the crowd went nuts!
During the intermission the 32 team sets up for the famous "AUTOGRAPH SESSION"...
The boys making their marks in Japan.
The booth was packed and the fans lined up in proper order.
Even the little kids were hyped to get some free shwag.
Simon tossing out some stickers and almost causing a riot!
So after the autograph session, Simon decided to play ro-sham-bo with the crowd, for what reason? I don't know...but the fans seemed to love it.
Maybe Simon was sizing up the crowd so he could go crowd surfing? Or maybe Simon Chamberlain thought he was at a punk show?
I think Simon made it about 2 feet until he hit the ground.
AARRRRRRGGGGG!!! Simon feeling the bling!
Saturday night's big event...the Rail Jam. As you can see in the photo, the snow just kept coming down and didn't let up.
Joe Sexton mixing it up and showing the judges what he's made of.
I don't know if Joe owns a pair of gloves? I guess he's so used to the cold, he doesn't need them?
Joe pretty much dominated and took Best Jibber. Congratulations Joe! It's all about the Yen!
Markku and Stian having some backcountry withdrawals.
As we were getting ready to leave Joetsu Kokusai resort, we realized it had been snowing for 3 days straight.
Japanese Twinkie, anyone?
It only snowed about 4ft...
so the crew busted out the shovels...
to help dig out cars.
So back on the road again headed to Akakura Kanko for our last stop before Tokyo bound. As you can see, the snow level just kept rising.
Can you see the resemblance? Joe Sexton vs. Hokaido snow pile?
Back to the slashing...here's Stian Solberg in mid "haaayah!" position.
Stian 50/50 tree ride.
Markku Koski ollies the abaranch blocker.
Stian Solberg was told a few months ago that he couldn't do methods? Looks like he proved someone wrong...ooooh soooo-cooouer.
Well, after 10 days of snow and lots of abaranch dangers, the crew made it—despite a few road blocks and some sickness, but all in all, everyone survived the 2008 ThirtyTwo/Stepchild Japan Invasion. (Joe Sexton, aka Ninja-sahn, giving the thumbs up)
Domo Arrigato once again from the crew!