Furano, the ski town

In 1977, Furano held its first FIS World Cup Ski Competition.
The competitors, including greats such as Gustav Thöni, were all cheerful and friendly, light-heartedly chatting with us at the lifts.

One of my memories from back then was a victory celebration at the Shirakaba Hut. We had a boisterous time drinking with the competitors – even one who had been injured and hobbled in on crutches. After the celebration, we skied down together, still merry on liquor. If memory serves, that must have been the 1979 finals.

The tournament directors, together with some 200 course staff, spent every night at the Royal Lodge (then at the base of the Kitanomine ski hill), and were off to maintain the courses first thing in the morning.

Furano’s snow is different from Europe, in fact so light and dry that it was a struggle to compress. In particular, it took a long time to compress snow on the Giant Course, which held two events, slalom and giant slalom. In those days, everything was still done by hand, and we would normally wear out several shovels making each course.
The Self-Defence Force also assisted in the efforts, and their dedication was most impressive. They would head out in the morning before sunrise and work in the dark. Even if a blizzard shut down the lifts, they would hike up the mountain and get to work.

One of the FIS tournament directors was Mr Spies, who would personally ski each course and ensure that we had not missed anything. He understood the effort required by the course staff very well, and inspired us to work our hardest.

To hold the World Cup, Furano established a local committee, and its citizens united in cooperation. When the ski hill was opened, there was not yet a ski patrol, and if someone got injured, passersby would come to their aid. Once Furano achieved the major accomplishment of hosting World Cup events, skiers began to visit from far and wide. There were even lift queues as long as an hour, but all we could think was “How wonderful it is that so many people would come to our ski hill!”

Profile – Michiyuki Oikawa

Furano City Physical Education Council – Distinguished Service in Sports

1942 Born in Shikauchi, Nakafurano Village.

1963 Joined Furano Ski Federation, later becoming a director and serving until 1999

1964 Director of Furano Ski Injury Prevention Council (in charge of emergency / rescue operations)

1975-1992 Hokkaido Ski Association Alpine Technical Advisor

1977 FIS World Cup Furano Tournament Director (Course Manager)

1991 Tournament Director for XV Winter Universiade, Sapporo

Previous page