Visitors view traditional skiing technique at Lerch Festival in Niigata resort

An annual festival named after a military officer from the Austro-Hungarian Empire, who is said to have introduced skiing to Japan, was held at a ski resort in Niigata Prefecture.

The Lerch Festival took place at Kanayasan Ski Resort on Saturday and Sunday. Major Theodor von Lerch is said to have first introduced skiing in this area in 1911.

Sunday's events kicked off with music played by Japan's Ground Self-Defense Force members. Local elementary school students contributed to the festivities with taiko drum performances.

Local skiers in traditional attire skied down the slopes using the one-pole technique that was taught by Lerch.

Some families enjoyed sliding down the slopes on sleds and others savored meals from the food stalls.

An elementary school student who came with his family said he saw the one-pole skiing method for the first time and it looked like fun.

One vendor in his 70s said the festival has a long history and he was happy to see many people gathering. He said he has been coming to the ski slope since he was a child and wants to keep the festival going.