Louie Vito: Ohayō Gozaimasu

Feb 27, 2018

When Louie Vito asked his friend, videographer Zach Hooper, to leave the Aspen, Colorado winter and travel with him to a lesser known spot in Japan with endless powder and some park and pipe for good measure, Zach didn’t have to think twice. He knew this was one for the bucket list. This is Zach’s travel doco recording his trip with Louie and Mark Pinter to Aomori Spring Resort. Words and video produced by Zach Hooper.

As I was shopping for dinner the night before my flight, I was speaking with a friend in passing at the store explaining that I was on my way to Japan. A look of confusion passed over his face as he slowly responded, “Japan huh, I don’t really think of snow when I think of Japan.” I just smiled and responded that he may want to add it to his bucket list then.

Japan… the dream for any snowboarder that craves that bottomless pow with a rebound effect like none other. A country of the most respectful and honest humans on planet earth. Mountains and terrain that you just never want to leave. Lets not even get started on the food.

Louie Vito had hit me up a few weeks earlier asking if I would want to travel to the Northern tip of the main island of Japan to check out this hidden gem of a resort, Aomori Spring. I was so ready to get back to Japan that he didn’t even have to ask again or explain any further. Our boy Mark Pinter just so happened to get onboard with this powder filled program and we were off to Tokyo, Japan.

3 gaijin, 2 planes, a bus, a train, a van and 20 hours later we arrived in apple country of Aomori Prefecture, Japan. From the resort you can look north to the Sea of Japan over the small fishing village of Ajigasawa and on a good day see the famed island of Hokkaido. Aomori Spring Resort sits stacked in snow at the north facing aspect of the sleeping giant, Mt. Iwaki and off to the east you can see her sisters the Hakkoda Mountains. Sitting at the base of Aomori Spring we found ourselves graciously accommodated by the Rockwood Hotel and Spa. This place had all the amenities you could ask for off the board with breakfast, lunch and dinners fit for royalty, an epic indoor/outdoor onsen, game and theater room, on-site masseuse, a work out room, well let’s be honest, I didn’t use that but the vending machines full of beer, you bet your ass.

As we geared up for our first recon mission on hill we were pleasantly surprised to not feel bottom and just be floating on fluff around the clock. Aomori has terrain for all levels of snowboarder. We found ourselves mostly hiking up into alpine terrain above lift access. The higher we went, the deeper it got. Snow conditions were prime from consistent snowfall and one of the coldest winters Japan has experienced in the last 30 years. Aomori also boasts a legit terrain park with everything a modern park rat would want including a hot tub. That’s right, I said it, a hot ass hot tub to soak those bones after crushing it all day. From what we could gather it’s never a problem with snow building up the park, it’s more a matter of digging it all out and having to maintain consistency with constant heavy snowfall.

Do you see what I mean about never wanting to leave? The Japanese just do it so right. So while we were having the time of our lives shooting photos, we also managed to get some clips and were able to put together a little travel doc from our time in the land of the rising sun. Enjoy.

Special thanks to the entire staff at Aomori Spring Resort and The Rockwood Hotel & Spa. We had an epic time and memories to last a life time.

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