I really didn't sleep much at all on the way over. Maybe 15 minutes or so altogether, so obviously I was quite tired the whole day, plus I was kinda hungry. But, I sucked it up, got my rental gear, and hit the slopes. The snow conditions on the first day were beautiful. It had snowed the night before, so it was soft and powdery, though towards the end of the day it got a little-bit icy. Here's the view from the top of one of the slopes, looking down towards the various other ski-resorts in the area.
As you can see, there was not a cloud in the sky.. really a beautiful day for snowboarding. Quite a few of my friends were just going for their first time, so I tried to help them out a bit at first to get them going, but as the day went on, we all just went our own ways, crossing paths often. The mountain was really not that big, with just a couple chairs, but it was well-kept.
Our lodgings were what might be called a Japanese-style inn. Basically, we had two rooms - one for the girls and one for the guys, where we laid out our own futons (note: a futon is not a piece of furniture that changes between a bed and couch, as you might see in Ikea). We pretty much just chilled in our rooms for an hour or two after boarding, then went down for dinner. We all ate in one room with the other lodgers, and the managers of the inn made and brought out the food for us to eat, which was quite tasty I must add. After that, we'd head back up to the rooms and hang out a bit more until we felt like going down for our baths. Japanese bathing deserves an entry of it's own, so I'll tell you more about it another time.
Really my only complaint about the lodgings had to do with the fact that a couple of the guys were pretty much chain-smokers - my clothes stank when I got back. My face had a generous dosage of sun throughout the days and got a little burnt, and coming back to a smoky room just didn't feel so nice on my skin. But overall a good time.
From a language-learning perspective, I find that outings like this give me a kick in the pants to work harder. Often times I could follow the conversation, and know generally what's being talked about, but it's the details that make things interesting.. and it's the details that I can't pick out. On top of that, often when I have something I want to add to the conversation, I find that I don't have an adequate vocabulary to express it. Basically, it's a good motivater for me to work harder so that I can be an active participant in such casual conversations, rather than an observer.
Well, to finish off, here's a couple pictures for ya. The ones that are of a little lower quality are the ones taken with my cell-phone camera. I didn't really feel like packing my digi-cam around with me while snowboarding.. for reasons that I hope are obvious.
Here's a few friends eating the food in the cafeteria (not the one at our lodgings). It seems that over-priced, bad-tasting food on the ski-resort is a world-wide constant. Here's some other friends at the same place.
This picture is just a bunch of us at the top of a run.
Here's two more pics taken while I was taking a small rest on one of the runs, facing uphill and downhill.