As expected, we had quite the adventure simply getting to Sapporo. We flew from Munich early Monday morning to Paris, then on to Tokyo/Narita. Bryan started the trip started off well by charming the nice Air France attendant into waiving all our bag fees. At the beginning, she said each bag over our allowances would be 200 euros and every kilo over 23kg was an extra 12 euros. Between Bryan, Taylor, our two wax techs, Tim Hug, the Swiss coach and serviceman, we had 19 bags – including one ski bag that was an astonishing 44kg. All in all – we were saved form paying roughly 2000 euros.
When we arrived in Tokyo/Narita we had to recheck onto our flight to Sapporo on Jetstar air. First we were told that all bags longer than 1.9 meters (all our ski bags) wouldn’t fit on board and we would have to find a cargo plane to take them. As they worked on figuring this mess out Jetstar and Japan Air decided to cancel all flights to Sapporo due to heavy snow. Once again we loaded our bags onto carts and headed for an airport hotel.
It was a drag to extend the trip another day and essentially lose a third day of training, but we tried to make the best of it. After crashing for a quick nap (or three hours if you’re pro sleeper Taylor) we took the train into the Narita city center. We could have taken an express train into Tokyo but no one was too interested in the hour-plus train ride each way and the likelihood of getting lost in Tokyo.
Narita turned out to have a real cool walking street with local shops and restaurants. We found an awesome sushi spot and treated ourselves to a nice dinner – at half the cost of most sushi restaurants in the US.
Many of the other teams arrived into Narita on Wednesday and were on our same flight to Sapporo. This time, the race organizers in Sapporo arranged to have our skis on a cargo flight and brought them directly to the hotel early the next morning. We spent most of the day traveling to Sapporo, but were able to get in a light strength session in the morning and an evening jog after we arrived at the hotel.
We stayed in the heart of the sprawling city of 2 million at the Prince Hotel. It was quite the place. 28 stories, lightning fast elevators, and a very friendly staff. All the other teams were there as well, so they had a buffet for us with a full spread of Japanese food and a few "western options." Fortunately I like seafood and will try just about anything.
The weekend of competitions went by quick, and now we're already on our way back to Europe. I'll have more on the competitions later, but for now I'll leave you with a few pictures and two must watch videos from "coach for the week" Fast Big Dog. More to come later.
Where am I?