Smith x Oyuki | Inside The Collaboration
Inside the Design
The art behind this collaboration centers around Niseko and its surrounding mountains, with a yōkai art twist, Mike Shankster, the artist behind the piece said, “Yōkai, which translates to “bewitching apparition” or “mysterious phenomena,” is an integral part of Japanese folklore and is often depicted in art, literature, and popular culture. These supernatural creatures, ranging from mischievous to downright scary, have been inspiring artists for centuries. This piece represents the playful side of Japanese culture, beautiful landscapes and the never-ending search for snow.”
On Location in Niseko
Once we had the design, we knew we needed to take the gear for a spin, so we called up athletes Gen Sasaki and Yuki Nakayama to do the honors and headed to Niseko, the location that inspired the design, and a place that is close to Sasaki’s heart, “I skied a lot in Niseko when I was a kid, however, when I was a slopestyle and big air athlete, I rarely skied there. Now I’m very happy to be able to ski in Niseko for fun, as a hobby, and as a job.”
If you’ve been dreaming about your own trip to check out the powder in Japan, we highly recommend it as the ski and snowboard culture there is like nowhere else in the world. “In Japan we get snow in abundance so naturally the culture is channeled towards powder hunting and finding that perfect line,” said Nakayama, “Park is somewhat of an afterthought in the spring season.” Sasaki added, “Japanese people sometimes seem to prioritize improving their skills over having fun. However, you might say that this is typical of Japan. In terms of culture, Japan’s ski world may still be in its infancy. However, I hope that I can grow up with Japan’s ski culture.”
Looking to get the most out of your Japan trip? Yuki Nakayama recommends leaning into being an early bird, “Wake up early! Don’t miss the first lift! I know staying in bed after a fun night filled with Sapporo classics sounds like a better idea in the cold morning, but grab your half asleep friends and get your butt to the chair lift. You will thank yourself later when you are riding that fresh first line.” Once you’ve had your fill of beautiful fluffy powder, Gen Sasaki recommends Hokkaido for quality snow and dynamic slopes, make sure you take the time to see the sights and soak up the culture.
If a trip to Japan isn’t in the cards yet, get a taste of Japanese pow wherever you are and be sure to check out our collaboration with Oyuki.