Occupation: Pro skier/Filmmaker/Event Producer/Product Designer
Accomplishments: Former skier on the Canadian Skiing Team (Freestyle - Moguls)
Mike Douglas spent his time on the Canada Junior Team competing in moguls, until he found himself drawn to the potential of a new kind of skiing and worked on developing free-style skiing, eventually developing the world’s first twin-tip skis. He is known as the “Godfather of Freeskiing,” and has made significant contributions to freeski competitions such as half-pipe, slopestyle, and big air. He is currently active as a filmmaker, with his own film production company.
Location: Whistler-Blackcomb, British Columbia, Canada
What do you like about Japan？
If I had to make a sort of list of things that I like the most about Japan. I think number one would probably be the SNOW. Japan is one of the snowiest places on Earth. Between mid-December and mid-March, the cold winds blow off Siberia, they cross the Sea of Japan, get loaded up with moisture and then just hit the wall of mountains when they enter the country and it just snows, non-stop. And if you are into powder skiing, you'd be hard-pressed to find a better place on Earth than Japan.
What really makes the tree skiing impressive in Japan is the birch forest. And the trees are just perfectly spaced for skiing and you get these wide open forest slopes, covered in powder and there's really nothinng like it anywhere else on Earth.
I think the second thing that I really love about Japan is the food. There really isn't anywhere in the world that I would consider having better food than Japan. Everything is really tasty, healthy and there's just great variety. And everyone I ask says, "OH! I just love the food in Japan!" Another one of my favorite things is the onsen culture. Onsens are just a perfect way to recuperate at the end of the day. You ski hard all day, and you have some food, then you go to the onsen to relax and recuperate. And it's not like onsen is just in one part of Japan or in one resort or another. They are all over the place, and to stay at a nice ryokan, and get that onsen at the end of the day, so that you are ready to go for the next day. It's just something that's really unique and really special.
What would you say was the most memorable of all of the ski experiences in Japan?
Honestly, I don't think I can pick a single trip out, but one thing I do know about going to Japan is it's consistent. Out of all the times, I've been there, I've always had powder snow. I've always had good skiing.
Your message to people coming to Japan for skiing in the future.
I'm kind of surprised that Japan is not already more popluar than it currently is. A lot of foreigners end up going to places like Niseko or Hakuba, but there's so much more to Japan. There are 400 different ski areas from top to bottom. I've been lucky enough to explore at least 60 ski areas. I've skied Japan from top to bottom and it's been good everywhere. Honestly, I can't think of a place that I haven't enjoyed skiing there. There's so much to explore. There's so much to learn. Each time you go back, there's so much cultural nuances as you go through the different prefectures and I can' wait to go back.