by Derek Simmons Bright and early (early, anyways…) on Saturday Feb 7, 14 good Crusaders met on time (stunningly) at 07:10 at Shinjuku Station for the start of the annual Crusaders Ski Trip. This was a welcome return for an old Cru tradition, and expectations were high on the train to Hakuba. Clear and crisp, the weather on Saturday was pretty much flawless, and after arriving at the well-appointed Snowline ski lodge, those who needed rental skis duly donned apparel and hit the Hakuba Goryu slopes. As on the rugby pitch, the Crusaders’ enthusiasm was in abundance with ability varying from instructor-level (Galdric) to (special needs) student (Frank), but a fine old time was had by all. After meeting other Cru and friends who were also in Hakuba, the evening saw restorative cocktails, a fine curry dinner and a truly bad Ireland/Italy rugby international before everyone called it a day. The weather on Sunday was distinctly worse (good snow, though), but everyone got a few good runs/tumbles in at the Happo One Skifield before heading back to Tokyo in the evening. Catching up and trading stories of catching big air or wipeouts over lunch was a highlight, as was Tooley’s ski wear, which was described as “So 80’s, David Hasselhoff would have hesitated to wear it on Knight Rider”. Many thanks to Tooley for organizing return transport, accommodation and ski rentals flawlessly for the whole party. All attendees agreed that the weekend was ‘huge fun’ and an unqualified success. Requests to run the Cru Ski Weekend next year started arriving on the Sunday as soon as people got home. So, see you on the slopes in 2016!