“When we think of Japan, we usually think of cherry blossoms, jinrikashas, and warm sunlight. However, the central and northern parts of Japan are rich skiing centers which have only partially been developed.
“The natives of Japan are gradually awakening to the splendid possibilities, but the outside world, with the exception of Hannes Schneider, several Norwegian jumpers and the Austrian officer, Captain Theodor Edler von Lerch, who originally introduced the sport into the islands, no one in the outside world has the least conception of the skiing possibilities.
“… Skiing was introduced into Japan in 1910 by Captain Lerch of the Austrian army. This was only the beginning of the interest in the sport. Three Norwegian jumpers came in 1929, they were Helset, Snersrud and Kolterud. In 1930, Hannes Schneider was invited and spent some time lecturing on the theory of technique and equipment, and giving practical instruction in the field.
“Some twenty-one thousand people actually heard Schneider and an instruction film was made of his work which was available to every school child and almost every grown-up. A glance at the record of the 1932 Olympics held in Lake Placid shows that Japan was practically on a par with the United States in ski jumping, racing and combined.
“… Hokkaido is the second largest island of the chain and lies directly north of the main island. This is one of the leading winter resorts, although the mountains are not as high as in other districts.
“By making Sapporo one’s headquarters, it is possible to reach Sankaku-yama within a few hours. There one will find excellent practice slopes and the greatest jump of the Orient, where the Japanese championships are held.
“… It is a strange paradox that Sweden, land of skiing and the midnight sun, has so many gentle slopes, while the land of cherry blossoms has so much mountainous terrain with excellent possibilities for downhill skiing.”
– 60 Centuries of Skiing, by Charles M. Dudley, 1935