That’s Japan, but with ‘POW’ at the end. It stands for fresh powdery snow and, for all those who don’t know it, Japan is renowned for having A LOT of snow; 8m on a bad season and at least 14m on a good one. It’s something to do with moisture coming off a sea and hitting a front of cold air and then bucketing lots of snowflakes all over the northern parts of Japan. Something like that, anyway! I am sure if you google it you’ll find a more precise explanation. I haven’t had a huge amount of luck with snowy winters in Europe, but have had some pretty hot and dry summers. Precipitation seems to avoid me. So, whilst I jet off to Japan to be guaranteed at least 8m of powder, I am sure Europe is in for a very snowy winter. Enjoy it!

Snow has arrived across the Alps - off to a good start!

Snow has arrived across the Alps – off to a good start!

Why am I going?

With no ski exams to be in Europe for, and not entirely sure of where I want to work or who for, I have decided to go and ski in other places around the world. First stop, Japan! Some may argue that I could take time off during quieter periods over the winter from earning a decent wage in France, but to me, that’s too risky – it’ll probably never happen!

What kit am I taking with me?

As you will have gathered, off-piste terrain is not my comfort zone. I have also never skied on powder skis before. Eek. My dad always said “if you’re a good skier, you can ski in anything on anything”. So I did. Well, I skied my 66mm underfoot piste skis everywhere. Although I am looking forward to ‘floating’ through the trees, I will also challenge myself to carve my new Pandora Supernatural’s, 100mm underfoot, down a piste as well as I would my Head iSpeeds. Watch this space…

Big smile for big skis.

Big smile for big skis.

New Fisher boots have also been purchased with some Sidas heaters (Thank you for the latter Mum & Dad!). As a constant sufferer of the cold and susceptible to frost nip, I don’t want to lose my toes this winter.

A very flattering photograph... Getting my boots moulded to my feet.

A very flattering photograph… Getting my boots moulded to my feet.

Verbier sales provided me with a bargain this summer – North Face Gore-tex Steep Series jacket and puffer to keep me warm and dry.

North Face Steep Series. Might be a bit chilly in denim shorts.

North Face Steep Series. Might be a bit chilly in denim shorts.

I found a Planks beanie that matches perfectly with my jackets. There’s nothing like colour coordinating your ski outfit –  and, according to my mother that is ALL that matters and ensures you’ll ski amazingly.


New goggles – Spy Marshall girly flowery ones.



New gloves – I vow by Hestra’s. They last a good 3-4 seasons (avoid rope-tows!), gore-tex, and the mittens keep my digits toasty warm. And yes, I do wear liners too.

And to finish off, some new ski socks and new poles courtesy of Decathlon – funds were getting low and the quality is not bad at all.

No poles. Old kit. No snow. Some great end of season skiing.

No poles. Old kit. No snow. Some great end of season skiing. I hope I’ll look a little more professional than this this winter.

How did I ever get through my exams with, what appears to be, no kit? I must’ve just worn it all out. Or, now that I have a badge that implies I should be a half decent skier and I better look the part. I really hope buying all this new kit will turn out to be worthwhile investments.

Will I just be skiing?

Over the winter in Japan, and then I plan to travel around the country in the spring. I’d love to see the blossom, check out the bullet train, eat any food I won’t have discovered up north but also plan a route based on advice from people I meet over the winter and what they recommend.

What am I hoping to eat?

Sushi. Something warmer on a colder day, and apparently the Japanese are in to their baking and hot chocolate – who knew! #winning

I am staying with a Japanese girl so I am hoping she’ll teach me how to cook some authentic dishes – and help with labels when shopping…

Do I speak any Japanese?



In all honesty, I am hoping to discover and learn about, what people tell me, a really interesting and vibrant country. I want to pick up some of the language, learn about their food, culture and cooking; obviously experience the skiing and to work, but to explore as much as I can.


If you enjoy reading my blog posts and want to keep up to date with how I get on skiing and working in Japan, what I’ll eat and where I’ll train, click on the link to the right of this page to get new blog posts directly to your inbox. Alternatively, you can follow me on Facebook, and I am also on Instagram @rachaelhallewell that links to Twitter @treadandchoc