A First Ski Experience in Yuzawa

A day with Pod Snowsports

By Gaurav Raja Dahal    - 3 min read

Despite being born in Nepal, land of the Himalayas, I saw snow for the first time in Japan. I was fortunate enough to experience it in Yuzawa in Niigata Prefecture, an area popularly known as “Snow Country”. Obviously, with the snow here I wanted to try some snow sports.

As I was new to this country and had no Japanese language skill, I wondered how I could possibly try snow sports like skiing, which I had always fancied since childhood. A friend of mine suggested Pod Snowsports, located just few stations away from my university in Yuzawa. I was hesitant at first to contact them because I could not speak Japanese. But with my strong interest backing me up, I was determined to try these sports and quench my adrenaline thirst so I contacted them through their Facebook page.

View from the top of Kogen (Photo: Gaurav Dahal)
View from the top of Kogen (Photo: Gaurav Dahal)

I was amazed that they were providing all their services to international customers and that English was their language of use. It came as a surprise to me. The staff helped me book my lessons and check all the requirements regarding gear and equipment. I reserved my ski lesson for around Christmas with one of the instructors there from Poland. There were many ski and snowboarding instructors from all over the world including Europe, Australia, and Canada. I felt very comfortable talking in English with them.

Echigo Yuzawa Station welcoming in Xmas (Photo: Gaurav Dahal)
Echigo Yuzawa Station welcoming in Xmas (Photo: Gaurav Dahal)

The day finally arrived. I was in my hotel room preparing for my lessons. The Pod Snowsports team sent a van to drive me up to the resort where I was to have my lesson. My instructor gave me recommendations on what gear I would require on the mountain. Fully set, we took the chair-lift up the slopes. He taught me some basic skills which I tried to follow but it was harder than I had imagined. My instructor was so patient, though, and taught me in a calm manner, repeating it time and again.

A happy snowman (Photo: Gaurav Dahal)
A happy snowman (Photo: Gaurav Dahal)

I must say, he was one of the kindest people I had ever met. I'd like to thank him for all of his efforts in teaching a complete beginner like me. He was also a very interesting person to talk to. As we were practicing, he told me about his long years of skiing experience and that he had won a number of trophies and awards in international tournaments. After completing my 4 hour-lesson, we shared our contact details. I am glad we are still sharing our experiences.

Pod Snowsports instructors (Photo: Gaurav Dahal)
Pod Snowsports instructors (Photo: Gaurav Dahal)

After my lesson was completed, I spent some time by myself in the Yuzawa Kogen Ski resort, trying all the moves and skills that I had learned that day. Around 4pm I felt like going back to my room but was just too tired to move! One of the staff from Pod Snowsports then informed me that they had arranged a van to take me back to the hotel. What service! Without a doubt it was the one of best days of my life. Thank you Pod Snowsports!

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Gaurav Raja Dahal

Gaurav Raja Dahal @gaurav.dahal

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Kim B 3 weeks ago
Great article Gaurav! Love seeing Niigata in the spotlight :)
Gaurav Raja Dahal Author 2 weeks ago
😊 thank you Kim☺️