When winter is still a distant dream, what better way to spend the summer than by shaping a powder shred stick with your own hands?

Back in July, Nagano’s Make Snow Toys came over to Awasuno Ski Resort in Toyama prefecture to run a pair of yuki-ita workshops. The famed Japow may still be months away, but riders young and old are gathering at these workshops and getting hands on with the DIY yuki-ita culture. For 20,000 yen you received a blank, un-cut yuki-ita deck, use of tools and day long instruction from one of the top craftsmen in Japan, Make Snow Toys founder, Atsushi Gomyo:Make_yukiita_workshop-2977Atsushi Gomyo has been holding workshops for ten years now and it shows. Everything was smoothly run, and even though he is soft-spoken, everyone listened attentively whenever he was explaining the next design concept.

To the layman’s eye, Atsushi was doing what looked like the same motions as everybody else, but when he stepped away for a breather to check his work, the result was impressive. The lines flowed smoothly from nose to tail and you could easily imagine how it was going to glide effortlessly over the deepest snow.  It was fascinating watching him creating a thing of fully functional beauty.

One of the attractions of the DIY yuki-ita concept is the chance to try out your shaping skills. Have a revolutionary design that will upstage JG of Burton, Taro Tamai of Gentemstick or [insert your favourite legendary shaper here]? Or want to ride something more unconventional? Pick up pencil and sketch it out. For those not wanting to risk the trial and error of walking on the design wild side, there were outlines of proven designs to trace.

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It was a family event, with rad moms and dads helping their kids shape their first board. How cool would it be to have a family yuki-ita session on a Sunday afternoon in winter? Some lucky locals will be finding out next season by the look of it. Here, father and daughter brand her board together:Make_yukiita_workshop-2980A one day workshop isn’t usually long enough to finish a yuki-ita from scratch, but it’s enough to get most of it done. The rest is a labour of sanding love that often only ends with the retirement of the yuki-ita.

For updates on future workshops make sure you give the Make Snow Toys Facebook page a like.