For Foreign Skiers in Hakuba | トナカイの独り言

For Foreign Skiers in Hakuba

 When I was competing World Cup Freestyle, I usually trained in Canada,
mostly in Whistler.
 Also Japanese national team competed in North American competitions.
 So my first impressions of foreign ski resorts came from North American
ski areas, with strong influence of Whistler.


 Firstly I was surprised to see most of skiers were skiing in good control,
not like some Japanese ski resorts, where we see many crazily fast skiers,
just flying down, out of control.
 Secondly I was impressed by the neatness and orderly organized lifts' lines.
 Nobody cut lines. Everyone seemed happy to wait in lines,
even the lines were pretty long. This reminded me of Disney land in California.
 I found much more patient and enjoyable waiting people in California than
Japanese Disney land.
 So I thought that North American skiers were very much civilized,
and well educated.

 At that time, I did not like my own country, because of War guilt
information programs, which had been done by U.S.A. after the war.

 A few years after north American resorts, I began to visit many European
ski areas through World Cups, and some business opportunities, France, Italy,
Austria, German, Switzerland, New Zealand, etc.
 I thought European situations of ski resorts are similar to North
American countries.

 Then I had chances to go to other counties, like Korea, and Russia(Soviet era).
 Korean ski resorts startled me of having one or two persons beside a lift line
with long bamboo sticks, and sometimes they lightly hit skiers,
who tried to sneak in the line, or who excessively asserted to
go forward in the line. It was more than 20 years ago, though.

 Russia was even more astonishing than Korea.
It was last part of Soviet era.
 They had peoples who carried real clubs. Big wooden clubs.
 They hit hard skiers who cut the lift line.

 I was so shocked to see that they really hit hard. And the skiers,
who broke the line were unbelievably aggressive and rude.
 So I thought the lift lines and their way of skiing shows the part of
the country.

 Now the number of foreign skiers are increasing in Japan.
Specially Hokkaido and Nagano.
 Hakuba area in Nagano, where I live, I see much more foreign skiers
than Japanese from Christmas to the end of February.

 10 year ago, they were fine.
 7 years ago, some ski patrols started complaining about foreign skiers.
 They said that foreigners had no rules.

 Some of them skied anywhere, even the closed areas.
 Even the places where they were so obvious that the areas were not
allowed to ski.
 They did not care about the signs, they did not follow the instructions
of ski patrols, and did not listen to the announcements of the ski resorts.

 I knew a few of my acknowledged patrol friends, who had hard times
dealing with those foreign skiers. I even knew some became very close
to actual fights, and they became very angry to them.

 It is 2016 now.
 We are having 2nd. least amount of snow fall for the last 50 years.
 Good ski slopes are limited.


 Only the top part of ski resorts have good snow conditions.
 We see so many out of control foreign skiers there.
 They seem just concern about themselves.
 They do not care about other skiers.

 Being ski instructor, I often watch closely what is happening around my group.
 Plus I have been a ski instructor, and a ski coach for the last 36 years,
and now I feel the biggest danger around us in Japanese ski resorts
in this ski season.

 It has been caused by foreign skiers, mostly Australians, and some Europeans.
 We have a saying, ` Once over the border, one may do anything.'
 It seems like that to us.

 We are also having some foreign skiers and snowboarders went to
restricted areas and wrecked there.
 The rescue teams were formed more times every year.
 So that not only inside of our ski resorts, but also outside,
their thoughtless behavior are causing troubles.

 If you are a foreigner, and reading this so far, please consider that
not you alone is skiing, or snowboarding on the hill.
 Of course I know there are many foreigners who ski much safer than
average Japanese.
 So I know I should not write all the foreign skiers have low public morals.
 But I like to write a little more for the foreign skiers, who speed blindly.

 Controlling your speed does not mean just not hitting someone, or something.
 Your speed may affect many people's skiing around you.

 You may not hit somebody, but you may cause somebody to fall
because you scare them, you may cause somebody to lose control and hit
somebody, or something.

 30 years ago, I thought all the western people were well educated
and behave nicely.
 But to compare to some south Asian countries now, I was wrong.
Asian people are mostly very polite and much more considerable.

 I ask you to follow Japanese ski area rules.
 Even they are sometimes too much, and absurd.
 But I ask you to follow, as you say, When in Roma, do as Romans do.