Since I last wrote to you I have lived about 90% of my life on the snow. With my accommodation, as well as both jobs, being up on the mountain, I only leave the snow about once a week to head down to the town for either food shopping, visiting the trampolining centre, a night out or a combination of the three. Whilst it is great being so close to the slopes, and gives a vital 45 mins longer in bed in the morning, it is a pain having to lug all your food up, find a place to sleep after nights out and just in general do things in the town.

Both my jobs are going well, they’re straightforward and pretty much stress free. I get to work with cool people like this one:

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The snow has been apparently exceptionally good for Aus, with the clouds re-opening with the white stuff last night after about 3 weeks of sun which had made the place rather slushy. I have worked an alarming number of days in a t-shirt – shows that Australia’s winter still isn’t really a real winter and why they have to install so many snow guns to keep the place up and running all season. This is where I spend most of my days setting up and working:

But I do get the odd day to escape and explore places like this. Hiking up random back-country slopes to go and explore untouched snow and search for nice drops has to be one of my favourite things about skiing…

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Which is why I’m pretty excited to let you all know that I’ve accepted my next position, working in Niseko, Japan – known as the powder capital where they get up to 25 metres of snowfall. I’m moving up in the snowschool business landing a team leader position, so I’ll have a small team to manage and be partly responsible for the running of the place. Really looking forward to having more responsibility again as my current role doesn’t exactly require too much brain power, but more excited for having all that snow – already started a bit of a shortlist for which powder skis I’m going to purchase for the season. Another big plus is that the staff all live in an actual resort village, so there’s shops, bars, cafes, restaurants and clubs all located just around the slopes and where I’ll be living – apparently it’s a fair bit more vibrant than the darkness that covers Perisher once the lifts close.

The biggest consideration I had to make when accepting this job was my visa situation. To get a Japanese working holiday visa is a fairly straightforward process apart from the fact that you have to apply for it in person within your home country… As a result of this, this has happened:

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So I will be making an unexpected fly-by visit to the UK. I’m going to be around for London for about 10 days then another 10 up in York, before I fly out to Japan – so I’ll be trying to organise as many catch-ups as possible in the coming month, as well as some kind of re-union night out (be at one anyone?) I’m flying with super budget Finnair, meaning it’s a fun 3 flight journey back then another 3 flights to get me to Japan – the joys of being a shoestring traveller!

In other news I have just come back from a weekend city break to Sydney. Being back in the city made me realise just how must I missed it and urban areas in general! Due to Australia’s much more relaxed insurance laws I was able to borrow a friend’s car for the 600ish km drive and we rented a sweet airbnb apartment in Surry Hills. After a fun 4 hour visit to Canberra hospital for my friend Lynn to get her broken arm re-cast, (silly snowboarders), we spent a fantastic weekend in Sydney eating a lot of food, drinking a lot of wine with Kirstie who was back from her exile in the Northern Territories and checking out a couple of markets and museums. I’ll let the pictures summarise.

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So I’m down to my final few weeks here on the snow, which has, as everything in this past year has, gone extremely quickly. Fun fact: It was this weekend a year ago that Joe and I flew off to India. With my next job contract running all the way through to April next year and a 90% certainty that I’ll be back in Italia next summer teaching again, knowing what I’ll be doing for the upcoming year is a very odd situation for me to be in! I have pushed back my deadline for settling down and getting a ‘real’ job from 25 to 30 – time seems to go too quickly to be able to fit in all the places I want to go and things I want to do in the next year and half.

I’ll leave you with my favourite cartoon sketches – the final panels of Calvin and Hobbes – one that has seemed very relevant not just to the ski season but in general to all the places explored and ones yet to be explored.

C&H

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