Après ski in Japan used to mean sipping malt whisky in Swiss-style mountain lodges while listening to generic smooth jazz. But in recent years this model has got shaken up a bit with the arrival of live music festivals and organized ski trips that target a crowd who like to mix socializing with their snow time.
“Powder inna day, louda inna night,” is the motto of Snow Splash Japan a live music event organized by Outdoor Magazine that is now in its fifth year. “We started Snow Splash in the 2005-2006 winter because we love winter sports and music festivals and at the time there was a lot in summer but nothing in winter,” said Gardner Robinson, the creator of Snow Splash and editor of Outdoor Magazine. The event is getting increasingly popular. “We had more than 450 people in Minakami this year and expect Hakuba to go off.” Robinson is referring to their next event, on Feb. 27, which will feature live music and DJs both local and international.
Another festival that has been, um, snowballing is WeSky a Go-Go, which started out in March 2005 with 60 to 70 participants and grew the next year to around 500. Held in Niigata at the same resort that hosts Fuji Rock festival in summer, the event is organized by Smash Japan in aid of victims of the Niigata earthquake. Aimed at a more clubby crowd than Snow Splash, DJs Takkyu Ishino, Dexpistols, Gold Panda and The Samos will be spinning the decks from 7 p.m. till midnight on March 13.