Ralph Backstrom and Ryland Bell present Japandem Tandem Ep. 1
The allure of Japan for most snowboarders comes from the copious amounts of deep, fluffy, surfable pow that has become a significant part of the snowboard media year after year. Riding the steeper terrain of Hakuba, in the Japanese Alps, with the above conditions was the draw for Ralph Backstrom and Ryland Bell. Ralph and Ryland had ridden together in Squaw Valley for the past 8 years together, as well as in Haines, AK for GO! Boardin', but hadn't had many other opportunities to travel or film together.
A mere 10 days before the trip started last January, the snowpack in Hakuba was looking pretty thin. Airline tickets were booked anyways, as the unique culture alone would've made the trip worthwhile. Upon their arrival, it started dumping, and only let up for a couple days over the next 2 weeks. Which was nice. Poor stability in the snowpack can often be an issue in Hakuba, but this was not the case on this trip.
Master lensman Chris Edmands of My Own Two Feet, Deeper, and Further went along to capture the action and share his experience and endless humor with the young lads.
Ralph and Ryland discover what all the hype surrounding Japan is all about. Very few days, if any, yielded less than knee-deep powder. With a couple breaks in the weather, and potential for more in the forecast, the team spends one of the coldest nights of the year in the Japanese Alps with plans to ride some of the terrain below them, dependent on stability.