Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Ski Race Trip - Part 2

Everyone was up by 6 am Sunday.  We had to clean before we could check out of the youth hostel.  Everyone cleaned their own sleeping areas and the group cleaned the bathrooms and common areas.  Some elderly people vacuumed the hallway.  After that was all done, we met in a lounge area for our box breakfast, which was faster than eating in the cafeteria. This looks more like what we might eat for lunch in the US, but here it is breakfast.

Before getting on the shuttle bus
We took shuttle buses to the race start areas.  The 38.3 km race and the 10 km race both started at 9 am at different locations.  The 20 km race started at 10 am at the same place as the 38.3 km race. I had to leave on an earlier shuttle than Ted and go to a different location, so he asked one of the students who was in the 10 km to watch out for me.  I was told to look for the bus that said Biei in hiragana.  Both buses said Biei!  We did get on the right bus and went to the start area.  On the way we saw a deer and two Hokkaido foxes in the snow. The start area was in the middle of nowhere, near a farm and we saw some sheep.

Just like at running races!

The race program had a list of all the people entered in the three races and their ages.  My name and Ted’s name were the only two that weren’t in kanji, so I think the other participants were all from Japan.  There were 228 people in my event, ranging in age from 7 to 92!  In Ted’s event, there were 432, with ages from 9 to 82. The day started mostly sunny, with some light snowflakes falling, like glitter. It was crowded at the start of my race, but it thinned out after a while.  I had some beautiful scenery to look at and stopped a few times to take pictures.

The second half of Ted’s race was my course, but it was later in the day when he skied that section.  The clouds hid the sun and the snow fell harder by then.

20 km race start

I finished in 1 hour and 50 minutes and stayed at the finish line to watch and cheer for the other finishers.  People wore all different outfits – from skin hugging tights to blue jeans, and one woman was dressed like a cow.

Taking off timing chip

the 92 year old skier

Ted finished his race in 3 hours and 29 minutes. Some of his students had already finished, so he had a nice cheering section when he came in.

There was a big cheering section for the last student to finish. I’m really impressed with the students here.

We all received “Record Certificates” at the end, with name, time, and other things written in Japanese. There are two temperatures and I think it must be the temperature when we started and when we finished.  Mine says -13 degrees C and -11 C.  Ted’s says -11 C and -16 C.  We’ll put the certificates in the scrapbook.

The ride home was quiet.  I think everyone was tired, as we were. Even though I didn’t know what was happening until it did, it was a fun weekend trip.

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