TGR's Almost Live #4: Japan



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[Editor's note: Here on ESPN Freeskiing, we are hosting Teton Gravity Research's Almost Live series -- sneak peeks into footage taken for their fall 2011 release. Click the tabs above if you've missed any of the last episodes.]

It's no secret that Japan has become a go-to destination for powder hungry pro skiers -- particularly this year. On March 11, three weeks after TGR's crew, including Dana Flahr, Daron Rahlves, and Chris Benchetler, left Japan, the country was devastated by the Sendai earthquake and the ensuing tsunami, killing an estimated 9,000 people (with 13,000 still missing), according to the latest reports.

Although the epicenter of the quake was several hundred miles from where the crew was, Flahr recalls one of his favorite parts of the trip -- skiing right next to the ocean. "Looking back on it, it's crazy, we were touring through farmer's fields and making pow turns right next to the ocean," Flahr said. This heartfelt episode seems to capture the magic of Japan, the awe of being able to ski to the shoreline, and the vulnerability we are all susceptible to.

"Japan has always been an unforgettable experience, between the culture, food, skiing, and pace of life, but this last trip was one I will definitely never forget," Benchetler said, "The beauty was undeniable, but it was something I definitely took for granted at the time. Now looking back after all the devastation, I realize how lucky I was for the opportunity to see it all. It goes to show you how unexpected life can be, so live every moment to the fullest and enjoy what you have. And if you can manage helping in any way, please do. They need us."

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