by Frank Saffery

25 weary travellers started to congregate at the meeting location in Shinjuku Station and shock horror everybody was on time! Even Paddy who was actually close to death and had to get off the train to go to hospital managed to turn up bang on time. After hitting the train the treasure trove of alcohol was cracked and in true Cru form was imbibed liberally! After a few hours of beers and banter we arrive in the North of England, well judging by the relatively warm weather and the torrential rain it well could have been! It was quickly decided that all day drinking was definitely going to be more fun than skiing in such terrible weather. A few good men and ladies headed for supplies. We decided that 100+ cans 14 bottles of wine 2 bottles of hard liquor would suffice for the evening. After our merriment fuel was procured we headed to the Rabbit Hole where we bumped into some Cru old boys and continued to drink and look at the decimated lower slopes with dismay, this turned into a hefty session and hasty exit to get back for the arrival of our 25 large pizzas. (We do love you Hakuba Pizza!)

On the Sunday morning we woke to a decent amount of snow on the ground and it was decided that Hakuba 47 was going to be the place to go. Nothing else happened I didn’t misplace my own boot and accuse everybody else of hiding it, I didn’t threaten physical violence on the lads this was all a figment of everyone’s imagination. After finding said boot where I left it we headed to 47 to see the longest queue for the gondola I’ve ever seen. This thing was a behemoth, as it turned out One and a few other resorts were closed due to high winds so everybody was at 47. We persevered and had an all round great day of skiing, with some interesting visibility (white out). Things to note, Eric managed to fall over and then pop his shoulder trying to stand up. Free sled down the mountain and some hospital time for him and he was back at the lodge before us all drinking again. Myself and Mikael got stranded on a lift at the very peak for 20 minutes in high winds subsequently turning into icicles. We ski’d until the end and headed back to the lodge for a quick shower and change.

Sunday night we had planned to go to the Hakuba Tap Room for craft beers and food as we were contemplating the walk down so a van turned up. Ian the owner had forgotten to tell me they were going to ship us all down there in vans! Big thanks to Hakuba Tap Room, Ian and the staff for putting on some great food for us! After several pints of strong beers a consensus was made that going back to the lodge via the combini to replenish our booze pile was a good idea. After arriving back at the lodge Libby informed us that Rhys had kept something very quiet throughout the trip (great snitching) it was in fact his birthday. Queue numerous shots, dirty pints and added drinks. As people wound down the rugby lads retreated to the TV area to watch the six nations clash. Sat avidly watching the game and Kev shouts “He’s vomited everywhere”, poor Rhys had succumbed to the booze train and deposited a perfect pile on the floor. Some cleaning products and elbow grease later and we were good to go. England won, lads happy. bed.

Monday the final day was a warm blue bird day akin to that of spring skiing (During February, such a bad year) we all piled over to 47 and left at different times depending on how much we wanted to ski. All in all another good weekend was had by all.

Big thanks to the following.
– Kizuna lodge and the staff for putting up with us and being so kind.
– Hakuba Pizza for providing the food and being all round top lads when it came to the ordering process
– Ian and the Hakuba Taproom staff for the food, beers and lift there.
– Tooley for doing such a great job with the train tickets for us.
– Everybody for turning up and making it another great successful ski trip!

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