Waya Winter Sports Festival

By Andy (U.K.)

Every year, Iwamizawa’s Greenland ski hill hosts the Waya Winter Sports Festival. This year, Iwamizawa was ‘lucky’ (some would disagree!) to have incredible amounts of snow before the event, then beautiful weather on the day itself.

I watched the jumps take shape in the days before the event
On Sunday March 11th, hundreds of spectators gathered at Greenland to watch skiers and snowboarders from all over Hokkaido (and one skier from England!) hit the impressive freestyle features that had been built. There were several large jumps, two giant ‘hip jumps’ and an array of different rails and jibs, including a rail built ontop of a Jeep!

The large jump at the centre of the course sent riders high into the air, the tricks getting more and more impressive as the day went on.

The roller coasters and giant big wheel at the Greenland amusement park gave an interesting backdrop!

It wasn’t all about the skiing and snowboarding though. Reggae and jazz music was pumping throughout the afternoon and into the evening courtesy of a number of different bands and a DJ.
The drinks tent was run by ‘Obars 30’ a bar in Iwamizawa, alongside other tents serving yakitori, soup curry, yaki soba and other festival favourites.

It seemed both the riders and the spectators had a great day. I really enjoyed it, and will certainly be back next year.

For now, Greenland’s ski slope has closed for the winter. But there’s still so much snow, so it hasn’t stopped me from skiing most evenings after work!

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