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Hida Range, Honshu Island, Japan, 1982

Photo: Hida Range
Skiers dot the slopes in this night view of the Happo-One Ski Resort in the Japan Alps' Hida Range near Tokyo, Japan.

Skiing was brought to Japan in 1911 when the imperial general staff asked the Austrian Army for help training ski troops. The officer dispatched by Vienna brought his own skis, equipped with modern bindings. Within four weeks, Japan's imperial armory in Tokyo had produced 30 perfect replicas of the bindings and delivered them to the country's first ski-infantry division.

(Text adapted from and photo shot on assignment for, but not published in, "The Japan Alps," August 1984, National Geographic magazine)

Photograph by George F. Mobley

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