Everyone who spends any time on the interwebz has seen the Snow Monsters of Zao—evergreen trees that become so enrobed in snow and ice that they stop looking like trees and start looking like something that goes bump in the night.
The ads for the ski resort usually look like this:
But on the sparkling blue sky days in the travel pictures, the snow monsters are actually shrinking, not growing. They only grow on days like yesterday, when cold air from Siberia descends on the slopes of Mt. Zao, surrounding the evergreens in freezing fog (it was a chilly -13°C at the top of the ropeway) and wicked winds (that pushed the temp down to about -24°C), to sculpt the frost-covered boughs into fantastical forms.
So strap on your muffler and gloves, and come with me up the mountain to watch the monsters grow!
Travel note: If you’re dying to visit the snow monsters and take some pix of your own, dress for Antarctica: no exposed skin. After five minutes outside, the exposed ends of my fingers in the gloves I use when I have to operate a camera had gone so dead, it was like stabbing the shutter button with a wooden chopstick. Feeling didn’t start to return until I was nearly down the mountain, and when it did, it hurt like hell. You can seriously get hospital-level frostbite in the kind of conditions you might find at the top of this mountain, so be careful.
If you could use a little more amusement & amazement in your life…
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Jonelle Patrick writes novels set in Japan, produces the monthly e-magazine Japanagram, and blogs at Only In Japan and The Tokyo Guide I Wish I’d Had