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T

he biggest joy of editing this magazine is that on most of days, I am able to get out on the mountains. However, in the past several years, many of my friends have turned powder snobs. What is a powder snob, you may ask? Well, actually a powder snob is someone who goes out only if it is snowing or has snowed overnight. However, I am not one of those. Relishing trackless light powder, on the first run on a cold fresh, bright Hakuba morning is actually most people’s notion of the ideal start of the day, however, that is not at all times the case. No doubt, we have our share of powder days, and the sun shines at times in winter, however, both these things happening on the same morning, is not always a possibility, however when it occurs, the Hakuba Connect staff are typically out taking pictures. For me, the next best thing, after the powder, is the corduroy lines alluring to ski fast on the slopes every morning. I love the evenness of the slopes, after the piston bullies have smashed and smoothened the moguls and bumps of the previous day. A run on any of the courses of the resort will bring a smile, which will be as wide as the slope that you are on, even for powder hounds! It does not matter what style of snowboarder or skier you are, be it piste, trees, powder, park, or moguls, the nine Hakuba Valley resorts has a slope, which will be just perfect for you. Try all 131 of them, to believe me!

See you on the slopes SW

Publisher Editor Contributors Photgraphers Advertising Sales Design

Snow Connections Steve Williams Stewart Adamson James Robb Patrick Fux Kenji Shibata Mikiyo Williams Michael Grove Ashish Bose

On the Cover

Hakuba Connect and Powdermania’s Patrick Fux took this shot of Simon Favez of Kodama Lodge, Norikura early last season at Hakuba Cortina

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SNOW CONNECTIONS www.hakubaconnect.com

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Snowcat at Iwatake How exciting is this, ride a snowcat to the top of the mountain taking in the stars above.

New Year Countdown Celebrate the New Year either inside or outside at Happo, Goryu or Cortina. Sake and fireworks. 5,4,3,2,1

Goryu Night One of the most awesome evenings you can do in Hakuba. Expect a Taiko drumming performance, sake tasting and a huge Japanese buffet. Located at the Escal Plaza base area of Hakuba Goryu. Book 0261-75-2101

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Hakuba Goryu Xmas Event Chocolate fondue, night skiing half price and maybe a visit from Santa Claus himself.

Freeride Hakuba The freeriders roll into town. Who will be crowned the world’s best freerider and $75,000 richer?


Kashimayari Fireworks Omachi Snow Festival If you can make the trip Omachi is located to the south of Hakuba, out there then you will has Taiko drums, great food and igloos evhave an awesome time. Torch ery Saturday in February Good reports from last year! lit skiing and fireworks. Check alp-snow.com for more information.

Iwatake Thanks Saying thank-you is popular in Japan. Say thanks at Iwatake Snowfield. a fun day with Taiko drums, and rice cake pounding.

Yuki-koi Festival Yuki koi meaning “love snow” is a long event at different sites across Hakuba. Look out for the large snow carvings of different characters.

Valentine’s Night Chocolate fondue and fireworks for all romantic lovers at the night skiing area on Hakuba Goryu from 6pm.

Happo Fire Festival Located at Nakiyama base area, things get underway at 7pm. Expect food stalls, local characters and fireworks.

Tsugaike Festival Snow and Ultra Thanksgiving at Tsugaike Kogen. If you are staying near Tsugaike sign in to ski down with fire torches.

Risen Slalom The 72nd annual downhill race on Happo-one. Racing takes place on the steep Riesen Slalom Course.

Goryu Snow Festival The only festival in Hakuba, and probably the whole of Japan to feature a skiing dragon. In front of Escal Plaza.

Splash Jam Even though the slopes stay open until May, the end of season event in front of Evergreen is hilarious to watch!

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SNOW LIFE

Hakuba Connect Dining and Nightlife Guide. 88 pages of dining features and directory on where to eat, drink and play in the Valley.

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The new focal point in Hakuba will no doubt be the new Hakuba Base Camp Bus Terminal in Echoland. Visitors will not only be able to catch shuttles to Tokyo, Narita and Haneda Airports, but catch a shuttle to most of Hakuba Valley’s Ski Resorts. With announcements in both Japanese and English,

it will be easy to get where you need to be. All Nagano Snow Shuttle Services will depart and arrive from the new Hakuba Base Camp, as will Jam Jam bus services to Nagoya. Not only transport, guests will also be able to buy Hakuba Valley Lift passes on the spot, meaning no more queues at

the lift ticket office when you arrive at your resort. This lift pass will also get you free rides on all Hakuba Valley Shuttle Buses. Hakuba Snow Sports School and Evergreen International Ski School lessons can be booked on the spot, as can Snow Monkey and other day tours.

For Locals

As you can guess a coupon guide to help you save that extra yen. HAKUBA CONNECT

Hakuba Valley Promotion Board were delighted to inform us that the sales of Hakuba Valley season passes were once again on the up.

FREE

2018

HAKUBA MAP

NIGHT TIME SHUTTLE BUS TIMES

Getting around the resort is easy with the Hakuba Map. Pick it a copy up everywhere!

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There are quite a few places around Japan that are called “Little Kyoto” and though each of them has a long history, the scenery, atmosphere similar to Kyoto, or traditional culture, the most famous is Kananzawa located in Ishikawa Prefecture about 2 hours from Hakuba. With the new Shinkansen linking both Nagano City and Kanazawa City up, we here at Hakuba Valley think it is an ideal place to visit after your trip to the snow, instead of the touristy and sometimes overcrowded Tokyo or Kyoto. Check out Kanazawa on page 122.

Since its introduction only two seasons ago, the season pass that allows you to ski or ride any of the 102 lifts of the nine ski areas throughout the valley has proven to be popular with foreign guests who have decided to stay for longer times and enjoy the variation of not being committed to one resort.


HAKUBA’S FIRST BOUTIQUE SKI SCHOOL A new dimension of guest service has been brought to the valley in the form of it`s first boutique ski school - Hakuba Ski Concierge. Breaking away from the conventional ski school model, this niche new venture mirrors a style seen much throughout the European Alps as well as Hokkaido. Focusing on completely customized experiences, Hakuba Ski Concierge is the only school in the valley to exclusively offer private lessons and provide door to door transportation for every one of it`s services. Guests have full flexibility of how their time is used; whether that is by getting steep, deep and technical, or balancing it between a ski, shop and soak in one of the town`s numerous Onsens. Should you need assistance

The art of the Samurai lives on and you can experience it nightly in Hakuba during winter. The Samurai show, which includes an all you can eat Korean style barbeque dinner, which itself sounds a must do, features a sword display that will take you back through the ages. Everyone has a chance to try on Samurai body armor or a kimono. You can also try your luck at throwing a Ninja star. All children will receive a Samurai present. Now that is something to brag about when the kids go back to school! For booking and more information see page 93

with local services - such as rentals or restaurant reservations - you need only ask. Recent years have seen the valley diversify drastically in response to it`s increasing popularity as a winter destination. A wider spectrum of visitors has brought with it the need for a wider selection of services, and so in 2016 local resident and long term Hakuba ski instructor Nadine Robb, pictured above, established Hakuba Ski Concierge. Operating out of Hakuba47 Winter Sports Park, the addition of this new enterprise to the valley may attract a new style of traveller, and will certainly provide it`s visitors with more choices for their lessons. It is one more piece to the ever growing Hakuba Valley puzzle.

Though mountains are great to look at and fabulous to play on, they can give your legs and indeed your whole body a hard workout. After a long journey here or a big day on the slopes, treat yourself to one of Hakuba’s massage and spa treatments to revive your tired muscles, ease any lingering tension, and bring true relaxation to your holiday. With more options appearing every year, Hakuba Connect have selected a few to help you on the road to spa heaven! Please check listings on page 74

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Let’s face it, not everyone finds skiing to be fun, especially when starting out. Consider the lessons, awkward moments on the slopes, the occasional crossing of the tips, and of course, lugging all that equipment to and fro. Skiing, like snowboarding, has relatively long learning curves, especially if you want to have fun riding most of the terrain the ski resort has to offer, it is simply easier for ski instructors to teach people using fun skis. One such ski school is Hakuba Lion Adventure, who say that their program is very popular and books up early. The skiers regularly remark on how fast they are able to start riding the lift! The fun skis are about half the length of normal skis and almost twice as wide. They are much easier to control, turn or stop on, requiring a more natural stance than skis or snowboards. For those who just don’t have the time, it is just so much easier to enjoy the mountain on fun skis.

One of the great evenings in Hakuba is on Tuesday night (Jan 23,30 Feb 6,13) at the large Escal Plaza building at Hakuba Goryu. The evening kicks off with a Japanese buffet. In fact the buffet goes on all night, so just wander up and grab a bite when you are hungry. This is followed by a presentation of Japanese Taiko drumming. The playing is loud, hard, fast, and involves a lot of choreographed movement which many may identify with Japanese martial arts. Then it is your turn to have a go. The instructors are young and cheerful. For those of you who are partial to a little sake, there are a dozen or so bottles to choose from! www.hakubaescal.com

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There are a whole lotta reasons to come to Hakuba; the natural beauty, the local people & culture, the food, & of course the epic skiing & snowboarding. Being in the business of helping others experience this magic has been a rewarding experience indeed. But it`s about to get even better; Morino has partnered with an old friend & one of Canada`s premier Backcountry Ski Lodges, Whitecap Alpine, to offer high-end backcountry tours. Amongst the valley’s many draws, it’s the outstanding backcountry skiing & snowboarding that is the jewel in Hakuba’s crown. The terrain, snow conditions & ease of access are as good as it gets anywhere on the planet. There is absolutely nothing like laying deep powder turns amongst perfectly spaced Japanese Birch trees or being chased down an open powder bowl by the shadow of an arcing powder spray. But, the backcountry, though tremendously fun, is not to be taken lightly & true professionals are needed to navigate & manage the risks. Canada, with its Association of Canadian Mountain Guides (ACMG) is the world leader in backcountry guiding. All our guides are hand-picked by Whitecap & are some of the most respected in Canada. And with Morino’s local knowledge & Whitecap’s expertise this is your ticket to that secret stash, the ultimate line and your best day on the mountain yet. Tours are tailored to groups’ or individuals’ needs, abilities & the daily conditions.

Look up at the Japan Alps they are truly awesome. Their craggy peaks, chutes and spines are reminiscent if not better than the Dolomites in Italy or the Canadian Rockies. The Hakuba Valley lies in the heart of this mountain range and is home to some of the most exciting side and backcountry skiing and snowboarding Japan. Some of the most authentic and awe-inspiring experiences you can have in Hakuba come from grabbing a back pack, strapping on some skins and making your way up the side of a mountain under your own steam. It’s the freedom and exhilaration that comes with backcountry skiing in places like Hakuba that provided inspiration for The Haika, an ingenious combination glove system made by Japanese winter apparel brand Oyuki. The Haika is actually two gloves. A premium kangaroo leather outer shell and a breathable lycra liner. Having the two separate gloves means backcountry skiers and snowboarders can mix and match to suit the conditions. For example you may wish to use just the liner as you sweat it out, climbing to the peak and then put on the outer shell for warmth during your descent. The liner itself has leather patches to reinforce high-use areas along with a touch screen compatible fingertip and silicon grip, making it a highly versatile piece of kit. The outer shell has been built with the seams on the outside for added comfort and kangaroo leather, which is one of the most durable leathers available. The Haika should make up just a small part of your arsenal when hiking and riding in the backcountry. Always remember that safety is of the utmost importance. Having the right gear, for example a shovel, a beacon and a probe, is essential. It’s also crucial that you go with a guide or someone with experience and have your own knowledge of avalanche safety. By having the right equipment and keeping safety in mind the Hakuba backcountry can definitely provide you with the adventure of a lifetime.

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Imagine a free flowing mix of banks and natural obstacles for a full 1500m or skiing or riding, well that is what is instore for you this season at Happo-one Ski Resort’s famous Skyline Course. Happo Banks is located on the small Kita-one slope. Due to the fact that it does get plenty of snow, but with no natural features it is usually February before the Banks is able to have enough snow to make the banking obstacles. With creating Banks on the Skyline Course and using the natural terrain from the sides of the course, the opening is scheduled somewhere from the middle of December depending on snow and will stay open until Happo Banks’ opening. Another feature on Skyline to enjoy is the natural vegetation course to skier’s right, though a little tight, being one with nature is the way to go!

Getting naked, hot and wet with a bunch of total strangers is perhaps the most quintessentially Japanese thing to do. There are thousands of onsen (natural thermal hot springs) scattered the length of Japan, perhaps a bequest from the gods made as a sort of natural compensation for all of the earthquakes. No earthquakes equals no onsens, and the Japanese are in general fairly happy with the tradeoff. The difference between onsen and sento (public bathouses) is the water itself (onsen water comes from deep underground, often containing many different minerals, whereas sento water is usually town water from local reservoirs). The mineral content of almost every onsen in Japan is slightly different, and many onsens use the healing effects of their particular mineral mix in their marketing. A trip to Hakuba is not complete without a trip to the onsen. See Listings on page 76-77 Happo-ike Sanso is hands down the best spot on Happo-one for powder hounds to get the first tracks in the backcountry or down the Happo-one slopes. Located at 1850 meters elevation, it is the only accommodation option on the mountain that is above the lifts. This gives guests the option to get a full ski run in in the backcountry before anyone is even close to getting up the mountain. For those who wish to ski down inside the Happo-one ski boundary, then you will have to wait for the all clear from ski patrol. Happo-ike Sanso is unquestionably the best place for stargazing at night, far removed from the bright lights of the Hakuba Valley below. Another favorite is watching the morning sunrise, wrap up, as it is very cold in the morning. Happo-ike Sanso has a nice alpine cabin feel, which is enhanced by its isolation. The restaurant is a great place to meet other backcountry bound skiers and snowboarders.

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Buy Lift Tickets

Ski Lessons

Gear Rentals

Day Tours

Airport Transfers

Hakuba Base Camp Hakuba’s new hub in Echoland www.naganosnowshuttle.com


After last year’s Freeride Qualify, Hakuba goes one step further and the joins the likes of Switzerland’s Verbier, Kicking Horse in Canada as the first of the five global stops of the Freeride Tour. (Jan 17-27) Events are broadcast live via the web and social media, and their popularity reflects a switch in viewer interest from traditional speed-based competitive skiing toward extreme sports. As we found out last year from a rider’s perspective, and as a fan, the epic powder which Japan is so famous for can present as much of a challenge for the organizers as it is fun for the riders to shred. Hakuba’s alpine zone has already featured in a number of high-profile international snowboarding movies, made by Jeremy Jones, Xavier de la Rue, and most recently Travis Rice. However, the Freeride World Tour demonstrates what kind of terrain can be ridden in Hakuba by those with much less time to plan and wait for a window of ideal conditions. However, one thing’s for sure – Hakuba is firmly on the map for freeride, and we’ll be looking forward to seeing the top FWT riders battle it out here!

Mark Your Calendars! March 1-2 is the 72nd Anniversary of the Riesen Slalom Ski Race on Happo-one. Even though Riesen Slalom is the German word for giant slalom, the race is more like a downhill course with skiers flying down the riesen course on Happo-one. The finish is in front of Marrillen Hotel at the Nakiyama Base area. The race is open to all comers Register at http://www.happo-one.jp/ event/riesen

A few things to be careful of this year, from the local police. Make sure you have adequate insurance cover, no-jaywalking allowed in Hakuba and make sure your skis and snowboards are locked up. No fireworks late in the evenings as many accommodations are located near to residential areas. Take care when you have had a drink or two in the evening, it gets very cold! www.hakubaconnect.com

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Twenty years ago the sporting world converged on Nagano City and Hakuba as the host of the 18th Nagano Winter Olympic Games. Most of the on mountain events were held on Happo-one, while many of the off mountain events were held in Nagano –City, about 40km from Hakuba. Held in commemoration of the Olympics, Nagano’s Zenkoji Temple is lit up in an array of colorful lights. Walking up from nearby Nagano Station the road is lined with hundreds of lanterns. The lights are only on for a few days so make sure you time your trip to Nagano. (Feb 7 - 12) Different parts of the temple use different lights to create a colorful sight. The main temple is red with green and purple on the sides while the bell pagoda is yellow. The temple is about a twenty minute walk from the main Nagano Station. This year Ski Japan Holidays will run two evening tours to the lights on Feb 7th and 10th. Call SJH 0261-72-6663 to book.

With more and more places to suit every budget and atmosphere, the Hakuba Valley has everything from French to Thai and American to Korean and of course Japanese! The most popular restaurants do get very busy so it’s best to book in advance. Not all of Hakuba’s restaurants have English speakers on the other side of the phone so it is best to get your Japanese speaking accommodation staff to book for you. Local restaurants rely on seasonal business and last-minute cancellations are very damaging to their businesses. Due to this, most restaurants have strict cancellation policies. . Hakuba Connect kindly ask for your cooperation in noting the cancellation policy of each restaurant when making reservation requests.

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MR. MOI.........

M

r. Moi met and formed in Hakuba after discovering a mutual passion for music and the mountains. Taking inspiration from the energy and excitement abound Hakuba, vocalist Moe, guitarist James and Yu on the drums have combined their diverse backgrounds to produce a truly international sound, perfect for your night out in Hakuba . Moe, was born and raised near Tokyo, and works as a hot air balloon pilot, a rafting guide and an instructor of many outdoor sports, which when encouraging her customers needs her voice to be deep and powerful – just like her singing! In fact Moe has a wide range of vocal skills, enabling her to sing a lot of different kinds of genre. James, the lead guitarist of the band was born and raised in Melbourne Australia and has been involved the in the

music Industry from a young age. He has performed on many stages back in Australia, his delicate and dynamic guitar skill is a must see, from various covers and arranged genre to acoustic sounds of EDM music. James’ other love is snowboarding, the reason why is he was pulled to the Hakuba mountains. Yu, percussionist/guitarist was born in the south of Japan but raised in in the Motown city of Detroit in the USA. His groovy and funky beat is influenced from the experience of traveling around the world during his childhood. In his spare time, not only does he love to listen to a range of different kinds of music but also composes the bands original songs. Check Facebook for updates on where Mr.Moi will be performing this winter facebook.com/mrmoi898

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How long have you been in Hakuba and what brought you here? I am originally from Osaka, I first came to Hakuba Valley as a high school boy on a summer camp and duly fell in love with the abundance of nature. Later on while working in the city I longed for the freedom of the mountains and decided after visiting and staying at numerous lodges that I would open up my own. That was in 1980. What is your favorite Hakuba ski resort? All of the ski areas have their own different characteristics and I usually ski at different ones during the week. But if I had to choose, I would choose Happo-one because it’s the largest and has the most lifts. I can ski all day there without getting bored.

Another 100 mile of road biking under the belt. Piste or powder? Both! I love going fast especially early morning when there are not many people on the piste. For telemarking then I prefer powder.

Besides skiing, what else do you do in winter? I also enjoy snowshoeing Even without pushing and x-country myself, I can still ski from skiing. Actually snowshoeing is a the top of the mountain great workout as to the bottom on Happowell as enjoying one in under 5mins! the tranquility of the snow covered forests.

Hakuba Connect met up local lodge owner and all-round Mr. Nice Guy, Tetsu Fukushima to discuss his favorite places around the Hakuba Valley. Tetsu’s lodge, Meteor, is located in Misorano. www.hakuba-meteor.com/english

Tetsu’s family buiness means that everybody helps out around the lodge

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What is your favorite ski course? Without a doubt the Riesen Course on Happo-one! I usually take the first lift or gondola before work and go as fast as I can. I repeat this about four or five times before going home to work. In March there is the Riesen Slalom Race. It is open to everyone and I train hard for this. I usually ski by myself in the morning On snowy mornings I am usually found in the powder on my telemark skis with friends. I really enjoy going to Hakuba Cortina for skiing deep and light powder. I am also a member of Hakuba47 senior ski club! Tell us more about Riesen Slalom Race... This is the top amateur race in Japan. I started competing in my thirties. During this time I was very busy so I could only race about every other year. After I turned fifty I started racing every year. When I race, I feel that I must be on the podium as I am going that fast, but in reality I always finish in the middle of the pack. I recommend anyone who likes to ski fast to take part.

How do you run a lodge and have time for so many activities? Managing an accommodation is full on, but I try as hard as possible to get some sport in between jobs. I always have my mobile phone with me in case of emergencies. Do you have a favorite place to eat out in the evening? I have so many favorites that I don’t know where to start! Living in Misorano, I am in walking distance to Jing Hua which serves ramen and deep fried chicken. Yoko’s is excellent for homemade cooking, next door to my lodge is Syo with great Italian food and last but not least my local, Cherry Pub, which I feel is a home away from home! Can you skateboard? Good question but, no! My eldest son, Yuichi runs the local skateboard park True Players. My sons and grandkids are all very good. It is only 500yen per day so a lot of locals and visitors hit the park most days and evenings. Rental is also available. Summer or Winter? In summer I enjoy cycling, including long ride events held throughout the season. I also love tennis and trekking up the mountains.


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riginally in Japan and in Hakuba, there were no resorts, lifts or groomers. Anyone who wanted to ski had to hike up, negotiate mountain terrain and almost always got treated to fresh turns. Now over 100 years later, the equipment has improved, lift accessed runs have developed but the backcountry mountain terrain remains the same. There are still massive avalanche slide-paths, tight V-shaped valleys with overhead exposure and many terrain traps to mention just a few hazards. We do though now have the technologies and universally practiced methods to study, observe and forecast the conditions where avalanches can occur. Avalanche safety professionals around the world are dedicated to reducing involvements in avalanches and through public information, research and training they promote safe winter backcountry travel. In Japan, with the growing number of recreational backcountry skiers and snowboarders, the same public awareness, avalanche hazard information and training is available. Positively speaking, the shift towards providing useful and appropriate public services for avalanche awareness is still a developing concept here. However, in the past few years the ski resorts in the Hakuba valley have seen the value in providing information and services to the public to aid in safety and fostering awareness. For example, Tsugaike Kogen Ski Resort OK’d the installation of an avalanche beacon checkpoint that checks if your beacon is on and sending a signal. If you are heading out into the backcountry from Tsugaike, it is a great reminder to check your own and your group’s beacons. The Hakuba Tourism Association along with Evergreen Backcountry Guides are also currently seeking the same for the top of Happo-One Resort where people head up into the backcountry. On a national level there isn’t the same available information on avalanche hazard and area forecasting as in North America or Europe, however smaller local organizations like Hakuba’s Avalanche Control Team (ACT) http://actjapan.org/ has mountain weather station online information and The Japan Avalanche Network (JAN) http://www.nadare.jp/ offer avalanche bulletins for the Hakuba area and other areas in Japan. There are also lots of useful weather websites that offer information like wind, expected snowfall depths and temperatures for below treeline, treeline and alpine.

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For the average on-piste skier, all this is extraneous information. However, the ease at which one can enter into off-piste terrain that can potentially be deadly avalanche terrain is very relevant. Some terrain between runs or just out of the ski area boundary is a tempting treat, though the unknown consequences of treating yourself to them could be severe to you or others below. You can get into a nasty spot without really realizing. And the old adage of “ignorance is bliss” rings true in the avalanche world too, although your bliss might very well be short lived. With this in mind, the concept of providing proper signage, information and safety services to all guests on the mountain is essential. As the Hakuba ski community grows and becomes more avi-savy and the resorts offer more information to the public, we hope to minimize risk in avalanche terrain while at the same time encouraging safe backcountry touring. Be safe, be respectful of the mountains and others and happy sliding!


Like many towns around the world, Hakuba has been defined by its surrounding geography.

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ts location below the soaring Japan Alps in a valley extending from the sea to the Matsumoto plain has shaped the local economy, the local culture, and the local language. Wedged between two mountain ranges, Hakuba’s history has been one of prolonged isolation. It took motorized transportation and the modern concept of mountain-based leisure to really open up the area. Hakuba is named after the highest mountain above town, Shirouma-dake. “Hakuba” and “Shirouma” are different readings of the Chinese characters for “white horse”. Shirouma-dake is named after the shape of a working horse made by rocks that appear as the snow melts in spring. The horse is actually dark grey on white, and the “white horse” appellation is thought to have come from the word for “working horse” being mistakenly written down as “white

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horse”. The mountain does get very white, so it’s an easy mistake to have made! Unlike the mountain, the town was named “Hakuba” in just 1956 when two groups of villages known as Kamishiro and Hokujo were joined. Surprisingly, Hakuba’s name is long preceded by the foreign-sounding “Japan Alps” epithet first given to the mountain range by William Gowland, a British mining engineer in the late 1800s. Historically Hakuba has always been an agricultural town. Its location in an extended valley also made it a stopping point on the Shio-no-Michi or Salt Road linking the salt flats by the sea to Shiojiri, a market town south of Matsumoto. Salt played a vital role in olden Japan, and its trade was heavily regulated and taxed, much like tobacco or alcohol are today. Aside from the salt bearers, Hakuba would have seen few visitors. The area had no large shrine or temple to bring in pilgrims, and the only popular onsen to welcome the sick was up in neighbouring Otari.

TOP The days before the lifts were all about earning your turns at Tsugaike Kogen. LEFT Beginners at Sakka area on Happo-one learning to ski. Notice the tree in the middle is still there. BELOW Hosono Ski Area, the previous name of Happo-one

Tourism in Hakuba began in the early twentieth century. As with the European Alps, the idea that climbing mountains was fun was limited to a distinct minority until popularized by Victorian English gentlemen, in Japan’s case, Gowland and the missionary Reverend Walter Weston. In the prewar period, Hakuba’s visitors were mainly members of mountaineering clubs at Japan’s universities who built the first huts, sometimes along paths once used by local miners. The first ski club at Hosono, modern-day Happo, was formed in 1929, three years before the railways arrived in town. Hakuba’s first big downhill ski race was held on a 10km course from Tengupara to Ochikura at modern-day Tsugaike in 1939. This golden age of “earn your turns” in Hakuba ended in 1954 when the first ski lift was erected on the Nakiyama slopes at the south end of Happo. It was 500 meters long and strung between wooden towers. The first modern gondola in the area was the “Hakuba Cable” built in 1958 at the site of the current Happo Gondola “Adam”. It too reached the Usagidaira slopes and was in operation until 1983. The installation of ski lifts, increased prosperity, and a nationwide boom in leisure activities such as hiking led to an explosive increase in visitor numbers to Hakuba in the 1960s. The annual total rocketed from 336,000 in 1960 to over 1.6 million in 1967, a four-fold increase in just eight years! During the same period, the number of passengers using Hakuba Station, then called Shinano-Yotsuya, actually fell sharply, giving witness to

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the rise of the motor car in Japan. Before this boom, tourists who visited Hakuba remarked that the village appeared to have changed little since Meiji times. By 1970, there were already many small ski resorts peppered around the lower slopes, literally hundreds of inns, and even two 1000-plus capacity mountain huts near the peak of Shirouma-Dake itself. The 1970 tariff at the huts was 1050 yen half-board, but you had to carry your own rice up the mountain! The first FIS ski race in Hakuba was held in 1982, but the town really came to international attention in 1998 when Hakuba hosted the Ski Jump, Cross-Country, Downhill, Super Giant and Giant Slalom events at the Nagano Olympic Games. The Men’s Downhill was particularly notorious, first with the town refusing to extend the course into national parkland and later during the race itself. After numerous postponements, the race finally took place with a slight tweak to the course, only to witness one of the biggest crashes in skiing history as hot favourite Hermann “Herminator” Maier lost control and flew thirty feet into the air, before bouncing off his helmet into two lines of protective fencing at an estimated 80km/h. Maier had earlier dismissed the course as being too easy. True to his legendary status though, he simply brushed himself off and returned to win both the Giant and Super Giant Slaloms only days later. The Ski Jump brought gold to Japanese competitors, also to much hysteria. In spite of Hakuba hosting so many Olympic Events, overseas tourists remained a rare sight in the 1990s. Before the Internet, information about travel to Japan was very limited and plagued by “it’s $10 for a coffee!”-type urban legends. Ironically back in the 1980s, one US dollar would get you 270 yen! Through Hakuba Connect, we hope we can supply much better information and help visitors make the most of our town. Though access is challenging in winter, the best place to see old Hakuba is Aoni, a small preserved hamlet up a steep winding road on the opposite side of the valley. The view of cascading paddies, farmhouse roofs, and the distant Goryudake is well-known to photographers. There are several shrines and temples around town – just ask your hosts in Hakuba and they’ll tell you their favourites. An exceptional old house in the Iwatake area was recently renovated and now operates as “Shoya Maruhachi”, a restaurant and culture center. It’s a great place to see how old houses were built, to eat some lovely food, and to try out Japanese culture like wearing a kimono. Far fewer Japanese visit Hakuba in winter compared to the ski boom in the early 1990s, but foreign tourism in winter and increasing Japanese tourism in summer are bringing and providng new opportunities for Hakuba’s future.

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J

apan and Hakuba in particular have some of the cheapest lift tickets on the planet. More or less half price than the equivalent ticket in North America. This is mainly due to the stagnation of the Japanese economy where many prices haven’t risen and if they have not by much since the bursting of the economic bubble in the late 90s. But where does the money from these lift ticket sales go? Hakuba Connect looked into some of the larger costs.

SKI PATROL All the Hakuba Valley resorts have a group of dedicated first responders

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to help injured and ill skiers or riders. They are often required to transport an injured patient down the mountain on a toboggan. In addition ski patrollers usually start day by sweeping the mountain to ensure that it is safe for guests and finish by further sweeping to make certain no one is left on the mountain when the lifts are closed.

PISTE BASHING Look up at the darkened slopes at night and no doubt you’ll see piste bashers as dots of light lumbering up the mountain crushing moguls and grooming the slopes to perfection. But these machines don’t keep cheap with a new pisten bully costing upwards of US$300,000 and

using 250 liters of gasoline in one night, the costs are very high.

LIFT OPERATIONS How much does it cost to operate a lift? Take out staffing costs, then about US$2,500 per month on electricity costs. Multiply that number with the number of chairlifts in a resort then costs add up very quickly.

DIGGING OUT Base areas and car parking areas need to cleared before the first patrons of the day arrive. These snow plough machines move the snow to massive dumps, which when they get too big are dumped into the rivers to melt.


Some of this snow can still be seen at the beginning of summer. All this moving of snow adds up to amounts just as large as the snow mountains themselves.

EVENTS & FESTIVALS Everybody loves events, especially the fire festivals held throughout the season at most of the resorts, or ski racing & even snowboard events that are held in Hakuba valley. All these eat into the budget of ski resorts. Preparation for these events usually start a few days in advance with all abled bodied staff helping with netting, stage construction or audio and lighting equipment. And talking about lighting, fireworks don’t come cheap! www.hakubaconnect.com

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Rise and shine after a good night’s sleep. Make sure you fill up with a hearty breakfast and coffee. One of our favorites is the Duke’s Bacon ’n’ Egg Muffin Shack located in front of Rhythm Snow Sports store in lower Wadano.

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Today Hakuba Valley’s largest resort, Happo-one is the goal. The line at the Adam Gondola can sometimes be long, especially at the weekends and national holidays, instead hit the Kokusai Lift and then further up the Alpen Lift where you can take your picks of lines on either the

left or right of Skyline Course. You can do a few laps of Skyline before it gets tracked out! There are some trees on the skiers right of the course but be warned they are tight.

There are a few great places on Happo to enjoy good tasting coffee, our favorites are Roots Café at Kokusai


Evening Snowshoe Tours

base area and Pilar Café at the top of the Alpen Quad. With the sun shining and blue skies, head up to Pilar, the large windows enable you to sip your cappuccino while taking in the magnificent views of the Hakuba three peaks.

Need to improve your turns? Make new friends? Whatever your level or style of skiing or snowboarding, the instructors at Evergreen International Ski School (EISS) will share their knowledge of snowsports and of the mountains in a friendly environment. Evergreen is located at the Kokusai Base area.

Today head down to the bottom of the fast Riesen Course and rock up to Bangkok Café. The small warm restaurant has the best Thai food in the valley.

It has been 20 years since the top snow sports athletes descended on Hakuba for the Nagano Winter Olympics. At the time, the top skier was Herman Maier, nicknamed the Herminator. After many postponements due to adverse weather, the blue ribbon event, the Men’s Downhill took place. Just below the Pilar Restaurant, the favorite, Hermainator crashed through 3 barriers, luckily into the powder beyond. Take your chance on a top to bottom run!

Finish the day with a couple of laps of Happo Banks, a flowing course with various jump points, banks, lip tricks and jibbing spots. Choose your line but mix it up a little every time for variety. Happo Banks is located at the top of Sakka Quad, or keep skiers left off Skyline Course.

Experience the beauty of Hakuba’s snowy forests at night. Stroll along with a local guide and enjoy a delicious chocolate fondue & hot spiced wine under the stars. Every Mon/Wed/ Fri/Sat from 7:00PM

Step into a Winter Wonderland Snowshoe Tours We offer full day tours into the sub-alpine areas above the resorts and half day tours into the scenic forests and mountains around Hakuba.

Cross Country Tours Cruise and glide on some fantastic nordic ski trails with a friendly and knowledgeable guide. It is great exercise and a nice way to escape the crowds.

Over 15 YEARS of quality tours in Hakuba Phone: 0261-72-5150

Email: tours@evergreen-outdoors.com

www.evergreen-backcountry.com www.hakubaconnect.com

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For those guests who feel reluctant to bathe in the presence of others but also want to to be refreshed both mentally and physically, then without a doubt indulge in a private onsen. With pricing about 3,000yen per hour, it is an ideal way to spend the down time after skiing and before dinner..

A few aches and pains? Then pop into Hakuba Physio located at the Springs Hotel in Happo. The qualified staff will give you a massage to relieve those muscles and have you fit and ready for another day on the mountain

Hakuba’s best park is located. at Hakuba47. There is a half pipe, numerous jumps to get big air, rails and boxes. The park is has two dedicated lifts.

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Pop into the Beach Bar for apres drinks, this delightful bar formerly in Happo, now located in lower Wadano on the main road is a local’s favorite that seems to be busy on most evenings. Open until 2am, with live music and DJ events on some nights.

A fantastic event that all the family can partake in is joining a snowshoe tour with chocolate fondue. After getting the right boots and sized up with snowshoes you are off with your guide, who will point out animal tracks in the fresh snow. Then it is time to hit the snow couch and table and tuck into the yummy chocolate fondue!

Eat, drink, repeat and loosen your belts a little because whether you’re on a generous budget or you’re looking for a bargain, there are plenty of bars, restaurants and fun to be had in Echoland.

Another bar we like is The Lodge located in the Tokyu Hotel, not only does it serve great drinks but also great bar snacks.

Join Hakuba Lion Adventure for an exciting snowmobile ride along the snow covered Himekawa River. Everyone welcome including beginners.

The Pub in Wadano is HUGE! Being part of the Mominoki Complex, it houses a Japanese style Izakaya bar as well as a British style pub.

No place like Japan to sing Karaoke. Check out Cherry Pub or Non Jae. Do you know karaoke means “empty orchestra”?


Hakuba Heat can be found hiding in plain sight, towards the top of the snow-covered main street in Echoland, Hakuba. An abandoned hotel turned BB Gun Skirmish; Hakuba Heat offers a truly unique experience in Hakuba Valley It’s snowing lightly as our group ascends the front steps, into the foyer. The reception desk is still intact, but instead of keys hanging behind it, you will find a myriad of different guns, large and small, some with camouflage print, others just plain black.

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game. Next an instructor lays down the ground rules, focusing on safety first before explaining the aim of the game. He then splits the group into two teams, showing them separately to their respective bases at opposite ends of the hotel.

Owner Jonnie Kamanaka wastes no time getting everyone kitted up, offering face masks & gloves to protect you from the sharp sting of plastic BB bullets. Next you choose your gun. When asked which one is the best, Jonnie replies, “They’re all the best”.

It’s dark, it’s cold, and it’s creepy as hell. All the original furnishings have been left in place, only adding to the post-apocalyptic feel. Our base is located in what must have once been a hotel room with a kitchenette. Pots and pans still litter the kitchen, and mattresses are strewn across the floor. Our team quickly makes a haphazard plan before the siren blows, indicating the start of the match. From here we split up, with the aim of being the team with the least hits, indicated by the click counter located in each base. It’s shoot, or be shot.

Once shown how to load the plastic pellets into your gun, you can practice in the miniature gun range off to one side of the foyer before you start your

As I move cautiously through the darkened hotel, I can’t help but feel nervous. Not just at the prospect of being battered with BB pellets, but also by the

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horror movie scenes revealed by every hallway I turn down. I creep through an empty bar, ears and eyes on high alert for any sound or movement. If I ever had any illusions about how I would fair in a gunfight, they’re completely dashed when I hear footsteps behind me. I hurtle up two flights of stairs, flinging myself around a corner just a fraction too late. I feel the sting of multiple plastic bullets hitting the backs of my legs. Back to base I go to re-spawn. In the end my team loses. Probably due to my complete lack of coordination and skill, but none the less we had amazing fun! And after a few more games we all head off to one of the many bars in Echoland to nurse our wounds. Jonnie Kamanaka has tapped into a side of Hakuba that no one would have thought to capitalize on, providing thrill seeking powder hounds with another way to get their adrenaline pumping off the slopes. Hakuba Heat is defitnely a must when visiting Hakuba this season. SW


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WHAT WE PROVIDE - Breakfast & briefing at Morino Lodge. - Avalanche safety briefing. - Backcountry pack with beacon, shovel, probe & packed lunch. - High-end touring skis & splitboard rentals (additional fees apply).

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Mushrooms, Olives, Cherry Tomatoes, Red Peppers & Fresh Herbs. ¥2,000

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Japan is home to so many characters, called Yuru Kyara in Japanese. Local businesses use them to promote their services and products. But Hakuba’s characters unlike most that we know, enjoy skiing and snowboarding after a hard day’s promotional work. We took a few sneaky pics on the night skiing slopes.

His full name is a mouthful, Victorie Cheval Blanc Murao 3rd, but the locals know the Hakuba Village mascot as simply “Murao” Don’t be fooled by his beguile smile, the white horse Murao loves the mountains in both summer and winter. In fact during summer or the green season as it is called, Murao can often be found hiking on the numerous mountain trails, MTBing at Iwatake Snowfield’s premier downhill course or even planting and harvesting rice! Murao is a very good skier and after a full day or evening on the slopes, he likes nothing better than to enjoy a long relaxing onsen. Look out for Murao’s character goods throughout the village stores.

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One of the Hakuba Valley’s best skiers, Rabbi Chan is the mascot for Happo-one Ski School. He or She (we are not totally sure but we will go with he) makes his appearance toward the end of the morning or afternoon lessons at Sakka Base Area Kids Park. He loves to get his picture taken with the children. When not getting his picture taken Rabbi Chan will be perfecting his turns on the Riesen Slalom Course, voted Hakuba’s favorite ski run. Look out for Rabbi Chan’s footprints in the fresh snow first thing in the morning as he likes to bounce around when the lifts close for the evening.

Even though yetis are fairly shy and don’t like showing their face, Yuki the Yeti likes nothing better than playing the clown around young and sometimes not so young kids. Yuki is a member of Evergreen International Ski School and can be found around the kids slopes at Kokusai base area on Happo-one. Yuki the Yeti is the only snowboarder in our group of characters, though he has be seen on skis. We believe he loves to ride the deep fresh powder, especially in the trees, no doubt this was after doing a powder day clinic with Evergreen Ski School, they definitely know where and how to find the best powder!


There are many questions asked by guests to Hakuba, hopefully this guide will help you with some of the more frequent ones.

Japanese love their fire festivals with events scheduled around the country throughout the year. Here in the Hakuba Valley the events are held in the colder winter months; luckily for us! Usually there is a bonfire area and a stage. Expect taiko drumming and barrels

of sake as well as local food stalls. All the resorts let off fireworks at the end of the night. With the snow acting like a white canvas the illuminations are spectacular. A word of warning though, it does get cold at night, so wrap up warm with that extra layer!

The Hakuba mountains are host to some of the finest backcountry terrain on the planet but whether you are seasoned resort rider looking to try the BC for the first time or an experienced BC enthusiast who wants to be shown the hidden pillows and powder stashes., sounds like yourself, then book with a guide who knows what they are doing to put together a tour to best suit your ability and needs.

Every year there is a humbling reminder of nature’s power when avalanches occur and obliterate anything in their path including skiers and snowboarders, While the technique for predicting and avoiding avalanches are generally reliable, anyone who ventures into the backcountry will never be completely safe from the threat. The goal of avalanche safety instruction is to help make smart decisions so as to minimize risk and having to deal with an avalanche and know what to do if one occurs. Check Evergreen Back Country Guides for dates.

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Numbness a burning sensation or just general aches and pains can all but drain the enjoyment from a day on the Hakuba mountains. If you are unhappy with your current boots then pop over to Boot Solutions, located in the Rhythm Store in lower Wadano and speak with one of their ski boot fitting experts. They will do what they can to alleviate any pain or discomfort you may have.

Hakuba’s most popular race is the Riesen Slalom on Happo-one. The race is open to everyone on skis, sorry no snowboarders. The race is fast and steep with most racers dressed in race lycra. Those racers who come within 3 seconds of the overall winner are presented with converted black badges.

On the mountain you will brought down by ski patrol to Shintani Clinic who with English speaking assistants will advise if necessary to be dispatched to a larger hospital. Also check out Hakuba Physio, they can detect injuries to get you back in shape on the Hakuba mountains in no time at all.


No-one like standing in line, especially if powder has fallen overnight and you want to get first tracks. If this sounds like you, then you should load your Hakuba Valley Card at your convenience online to avoid lift ticket window lines as well as enjoying great savings. Your eco-friendly card can be reloaded for future visits. The credit card sized smart card offers hands-free access to

the electronic gate systems at the resorts, though you do need to exchange the pass for a paper ticket at Kashimayari & Jiigatake. First time users need to buy the card at ticket sale outlet when buying for the first time, after that the pass can be charged online. The passes can be used as a multi-day resort or just at one specific ski area. www.hakubavalley.com

Good question! We spoke to Hakuba Happo-one ski area for their clarification on this. If they are total beginners then for the first lesson a lift pass is not required as they are not taking any lifts. But if the lesson is for a full day then a pass is required as most beginners will be able to take a lift by the second lesson. Happo-one informed us of their unique Sakka Debut

Ticket, ideally suited for kids and beginners who wish to practice or learn on the wide groomed slope around the Sakka base area. Though limited to use on the two lifts at Sakka as well as the Kids Park and Beginner Park, the special pricing of only 2,500yen for adults and 1,200yen for kids is perfect for everyone to link turns before hitting the intermediate upper slopes.

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A common sight for anyone up early on a weekday is children making their daily trek to school. From the age of six, most kids get there on foot, some of them over four kilometers each way, through whatever the weather may bring. When the wind whips up and blows snow o the paddies, it can get very wild! Still, winter at school does have one advantage for the local kids. For the six years of elementary school, they get to ski. 48

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Physical education classes at Hakuba’s two elementary schools, Minami (South) and Kita (North) include three sports, regular alpine skiing, Nordic-style cross-country skiing, and, for older kids, the ski jump. Minami has around 120 pupils in the six grades, while Kita has 320.

Both schools hold alpine skiing lessons at their local resorts, Sanosaka and Goryu for the Minami school and Iwatake and Happo-one for Kita. Hakuba’s resorts offer free skiing for pre-schoolers and heavily discounted passes for local schoolkids, but many parents are busy in winter, meaning that school lessons may be pupils’ first experience on skis. With kids of many different abilities, instructors split classes up for lessons, but they always meet up again for a lunch of the ever-popular Japanese curry. Teachers are expected to help, but get no special training for ski lessons. Sometimes Sensei will faceplant in front of the kids. Minami school is unique in Japan by having its own ski field, a two-hundred meter course behind the school with Hakuba’s only drag lift. Minami parents serve as instructors and lifties, and even drive the full-size snow groomer used to prepare

the slope. In addition to regular lessons for everyone, both schools have dedicated ski race teams, with members training all-day Saturday and Sunday, and up to three times a week as regulars at Hakuba’s night skiing at Goryu and Happo. Junior racers start on giant slalom and progress to the tighter turns and slammable poles of slalom in grade five when they enter K1 class. By this time, some will have two sets of practice skis and two sets of race skis, all lovingly maintained by attentive mums and dads to the coaches’ specifications. From grade four, kids compete at race meetings held throughout Nagano, with elite racers also attending the invitation-only national championships called the “Junior Olympics”.

In grade four, Hakuba’s children get to test their nerves with a new discipline, the ski jump. Minami schoolkids practice on a jump built in dirt on one side of the school’s ski slope, but Kita has an impressive ramp constructed alongside the school sports hall. As beginners, kids practice in regular skiwear and on regular alpine skis, with lessons focusing on basic technique. In Japan, ski jumping is for girls too, with female jumper Sara Takanashi’s fifty World Cup victories making her Japan’s most successful skier. Kids who join the junior jump team get fully kitted out with huge skis with telemark bindings and spongy wind-catching suits. With all of the equipment provided, ski jumping is the easiest winter sport on the parents’ wallet! Junior jumpers compete on the ramp-like jump on looker’s left at the base of Iwatake and the two jumps built on a hill visible from the Tsugaike slopes. Off the larger of the www.hakubaconnect.com

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TSUGAIKE KOGEN

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Tsugaike jumps, some juniors record jumps of over thirty metres. Like adults, some jumpers also compete in cross-country skiing, a discipline called Nordic Combined which provided Hakuba with its first Olympic medal, a silver for Kita old boy Akito Watabe.

In shorter PE classes, and in regular breaks between lessons, pupils strap on cross-country skis and lap the school playgrounds. Both schools focus on modern skating-style cross country that uses smooth, grip-free skis. Skating is only possible on compacted snow that teachers prepare with snowmobiles. A foot of powder overnight and it’s back to snowball fights. Both schools also have day trips and races at Snow Harp, Hakuba’s dedicated cross-country center built for the 1998 Olympics. Snow Harp is also home to Kita and Minami’s cross-country teams whose members train six days a week. The cross-country teams also learn classical technique, a straight-ahead motion that relies on skis with grip wax and dedicated tracks carved into the snow. Younger racers stay on the flat and focus on poling, but by grade three, nineyears old, they will be training and racing on the same hilly courses that were used in the Olympics. In addition to Snow Harp, Hakuba hosts junior cross-country races at Iwatake and Tsugaike. Iwatake’s forest course is partially used for summer mountain biking, and Tsugaike’s starts along the historic Salt Road, once used to bring the precious mineral inland from the coast C

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Like many gymnasia in Japan, the sports halls at both Kita and Minami schools are unheated, so if the sun is out, it’s warmer for the kids to exercise outside!

Newly Opened Ski-in / Ski-out Boutique Lodge at Cortina-Norikura

momiji.haku.ba hakubaslopesidechalet.com hidapeaks.com valleychalets.com

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T

here is nothing like the sound of silence that everyone can recognize immediately as they walk in muffled sounds in a land newly buried in 20cm of light and fresh snow.

On a Tuesday, the storm came early. It was literally a gift from Ullr, the snow God, because this specific storm actually came from nowhere, the snow forecasters, who had all the technical data with them, had no information about this storm – thanks Ullr! The storm was also perfectly timed, as, we had not seen snow in a few days, and, because of it, some of the powder fields were turning into mogul courses. I contemplated hard about which Hakuba Valley ski resort should I go to, but with this storm coming from the north, my first choice was - Hakuba Cortina. The saying “No Friends on Powder Day” did hold true, as this time it was a family affair. I was accompanied by my brother, who was over for a season, to “learn” how to ski powder and my son, who is 14 years old, and, thinks a day on the mountain is better education than six lessons in the classroom. We loaded the car with fat skis and drove north - to the valley’s snowiest resort. The snow was 20cm deep in the town of Hakuba, which can amount to three times more on the mountains. This time we were not disappointed with 60cm of deep snowfall being recorded on the Hakuba Cortina Facebook page. As we pulled into the car park and saw the big gothic style hotel for the first time this season, we were all a little excited about what kind of day lay ahead. At the top of the Hakuba Cortina no.4 chairlift, we briefly thought about where we should have our first run, the trees were calling us, but, our choice was the slope, as we wanted to have a fast run before they got tracked out with the day’s riders and skiers. We slid through the powder with our hearts pounding with powder joy. As we went back on the chairlift, we decided that we should try the trees. In the past ten years, with living and skiing in the Hakuba Valley, as well as knowing where a few secret powder stashes, I had found the best places to enter the Cortina trees. But, this time, with my son’s GoPro to distract me, I missed my favorite entry point and entered somewhere else, but, here, I found another powder tree nirvana. Usually, I like to howl through the trees, however, not this time, as, without the wind, the sound of silence was serene and I was further awed by the spirit of the trees. Tree skiing is making a resurgence in the Hakuba Valley, the pioneers of the sport (about 100 years ago), long before lifts and grooming were even heard of, used to climb to the higher elevations to the open glades ski for as many hours as they could, before making their way down for the ultimate ride of the day on 1000 meters of forested terrain to the valley below. Hakuba Cortina was the first resort to implement a self-responsibility code for tree skiing, because of this, I feel like a pioneer, finding myself beneath the canopy of beech, birch and oak trees. After going through the different courses all through the day, and, taking the obligatory photographs for this magazine (honestly, it’s work), we make our way back to the town, I am grinning to myself, my son fast asleep and my brother patting himself on his back that he had finally “learned” to ski powder. SW

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Left Top: Digging out the lifts. Left Middle: My son showing us how it’s done. Left Bottom: My brother, the one ski wonder! Top: Party trcks Below: Me in the deep powder

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As the snow slowly recedes to higher altitude and the winter weather changes to spring sunshine, the cherry blossoms come out, the rivers flow and the landscape begins to change and it’s time to enjoy some other adventures. Adventures and activities which will take your breath away as most of them enable you to take in the beautiful scenery, wildlife and the glorious views. Including; road cycling, mountain biking, hiking, tree adventure, white water rafting, kayaking, canyoning, and of course paragliding from the peaks of Hakuba just to name a few. This past summer has seen Iwatake Snowfield literally transform their mountain to make some of the best MTBing courses in Japan if not the all of Asia. And it won’t stop there with more courses planned in the next few years. Will Iwatake become busier in summer than winter? There are a few excellent businesses in the resort that maybe

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you have used on your trip this winter to help you get the best of your Hakuba adventure vacation. They offer services to make the most of your time in the green season too, including Evergreen Outdoor Center and Hakuba Lion Adventure. Of course you could also take it easier by just enjoy the towering alps, take a leisurely stroll or cycle around town, work on your photography skills or even just catch up on a book or two at one of the laid back coffee shops. With flights to Japan being as cheap as they have ever been, Hakuba is the perfect place for your adventure getaway and once you are here Hakuba offers a genuine vacation experience at the right price. We look forward to seeing you in the Hakuba Valley over the warmer months to try your hand at some of the great adventures and experiences on offer.


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01. Oakley Fall Line Prizm Goggles This optically correct goggle uses Prizm™ technology, providing unprecedented control of light transmission, resulting in more precise colours, maximised contrast and enhanced visibility. Its rimless frame makes lens changing easy, and is also compatible with most kinds of prescription eyewear. These goggles are also suitable for use with majority of helmets. 02. Picture Naikoon Jacket Picture’s line of ski and snowboard outerwear is all made in the most environmentally friendly way possible by using organic, recycled and Bio-Sourced products. It is highly technical while offering freedom of movement. Its green R-PET membrane is 20k waterproof and 15k breathable making it ideal for mountain exploring. It also comes with waterproof zips, magnets closures, hand gaiters and fully taped seams. piece. 03. Oyuki “The Pep” Pep Fujas Signature Series Trigger Mitt Designed and tested by freeskiing legend Pep Fujas, this trigger mitt has been specifically masterminded to provide maximum warmth and dexterity during serious on-mountain missions. It comes with internal fingers for extra warmth, a super supple goatskin leather outer, 200g of premium PrimaLoft Gold Insulation and a Gore -Tex® membrane so these mitts are waterproof, windproof and breathable – guaranteed. 04.Black Crows Atris Birdie ski This women’s big mountain ski is lively and poppy while still having a firm enough flex to cope with crud and high-speed edging. Primarily a freeride ski, it has a double rocker for immediate pivot and consistency through the turn. Its medium classic camber makes it effortlessly floaty while still being manoeuvrable and stable. 05. Burton Step-On Binding This binding system is snowboarding’s next revolution. A vast improvement on the step-in systems of the past, Burton’s boot-to-binding connection offers unprecedented convenience and performance. The binding can be exited using a quick release lever. Once disengaged is instantly resets for handsfree re-entry.

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Hakuba Connect popped down to Rhythm Snowsports in Wadano as they were setting up the store for this winter, we grabbed a cup of coffee at the Gloorious Café and were frankly amazed at the wide selection of helmets, gloves, backpacks, back country gear and more they were setting out. Here are the five most exciting products for this winter!

1.

2.

4. 3.

5.

4.


QUALITY RENTALS

EXTENSIVE RETAIL RANGE

CUSTOM BOOT FITTING

TUNING AND WORKSHOP

ALLPRESS COFFEE


HAKUBA’S PRO SKI SHOP

OUTLET CORNER 40% ~ 50% OFF

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Japanese are crazy about stickers! There are so many to choose from that they make such unique gifts. Many of the stickers in the local stores will have Hakuba or the ski resort names.

Look out for Murao in the stores, his big head adorns many products that are made locally. Check out 902 store in Echoland, they have Murao in some great positions.

Without a doubt the hottest character in Japan is Hello Kitty who adorns more than 50,000 products from lunch boxes, pencil cases, smart phones to a full airplane! Is Kitty-chan a cat? No, not according to the makers, she is just a bright little girl with a heart of gold!

A kendama is a ball and string toy that was introduced to Japan about 300 years ago. Move aside video games, a simple wooden kendama promises hours of fun for children and adults alike. It is a little tricky at first but you can soon get the hang of it. Available in a huge array of different designs and styles, they make for the perfect souvenir of traditional Japan.

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One of the most famous Japanese souvenirs is the sushi magnet, an item resembling real sushi, renowned for the preciseness of its details. Items that look identical to real food are very popular among foreigners having recently won the Best Souvenir in Japan Contest.

Pop down to The Big Supermarket to the 100yen store. Here you can purchase, besides so many other things, chopsticks. Chopsticks come in different materials and even kids sizes. They make great souvenirs and don’t take up too much space or weight in your luggage.

T-shirts tend to be the most treasured souvenirs. They are a wearable way of declaring what places you have visited as well to show off to your friends. Declare your love of Hakuba with a T-shirt. There is a huge selection to choose from. Look out for “898” which said in Japanese sounds, a lot like Hakuba!

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You have come all the way to Japan, drunk the real thing in the numerous restaurants, enjoyed it and now you want to take some home. Sake bottles come in different sizes, the large one, is probably too large to take back, but the smaller ones should be fine. An alternative is a set of sake cups with a flask.

Bear bells are small metal bells like sleigh bells. Hikers, famers and even school children tie single bear bells or clusters to their boots, backpacks or walking sticks. The idea is that the bear bells will keep the bears away.

Yes, keychains are so cheesy but you can buy keychains with all kinds of motives, such as sushi, Mt. Fuji, I Love Hakuba, teddy bears, and ones with animé characters on them. A fun and typical souvenir to buy in Hakuba!


SNOW MONKEY TOUR

10 Jan-16 Mar 2018, Daily 6,000 yen / person (aged 10 or above)

Including show shoe rental and lift tickets.


THE 1998 WINTER OLYMPICS

It has been 20 years since the Olympics rolled into Hakuba. Look around you will see a lot of signage from that special two weeks. The ski jumping events were held at the purposely built Ski Jumping Stadium at the south end of Happo-One. Going into the games, ski jumping looked Japan’s best hope for medals, after a poor start, a strong recovery from the whole team gave Japan, the gold the fans wanted. Kazuyoshi Funaki, an elegant jumper who would remain perfectly still in midair, finished with two golds and a silver, making him Japan’s star performer at this or any other Winter Olympics.

ABOVE Hakuba’s Ski Jump this year will hold the Nordic Combined World Cup. RIGHT Plaque on the Gondola Adam building. FAR RIGHT Snow Harp X-country stadium BELOW Start gate for the Ladies Downhill on Happo-one

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At a length of 3,289 meters, it was the longest men’s downhill in Olympic history. Problems relating to the Downhill, as uncooperative weather wrought havoc with the race, traditionally the first Alpine event, causing three postponements and a five-day delay. Favorite, Hermann “The Herminator” Maier crashed, that has entered Olympic folklore, as he spectacularly lost control at the seventh turn. That turn, near the top of Usagidaira, ultimately claimed fourteen of the forty-four starters.,

Cross country events were held at another purpose-built facility, the “Snow Harp” Cross Country Stadium located at the south-east corner of Hakuba. Visitors arriving from Nagano City actually pass close to the runs which lie in the woods to the left as you enter Hakuba. As with the downhill skiing, inclement weather plagued the races, with huge teams of volunteers shifting snow to pack the runs and most races held in snow. Snow Harp remains open to this day and provides an excellent alternative to a day of downhill skiing or snowboarding. Cross country skiing is one of the world’s few sports were complete beginners can start on an Olympic course. Don’t do that at Happo-one on the downhill!,


Hakuba Snow Sports School is a company born of passion, expertise and experience all coming together to create a service which is second to none in the instruction or skiing and snowboarding. The two owners and managers of the school have over 70 seasons of combined experience working in ski and snowboard schools. Fully certified and able to teach both skiing and snowboarding these guys have a true understanding of what it takes to get the most out of your day on the snow. When you go to Hakuba Snow Sports you will meet Daniel and Dougie in person as they are the guys who will greet you and make sure you have the right instructor for your needs. You will feel their passion when you walk in the door. www.hakubasnowsports.com

Go private for a complete one to one experience New for the 2017-2018 Winter Season Many people go on family vacations to experience things “as a family,” the precious together time, bonding....but there are times when Mom and Dad need a vacation too. Maybe it’s taking a few runs together or a romantic lunch. New for this Season! Hakuba Snow Sports now has Day Care for children 6 months to 5 years of age. Half days, half days with lunch, full days, day care plus private lessons to get your young ones off the flats and on to the lifts. All options are available.

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If you want to learn quickly this is the way to go. Get a personalised lesson from some of the best in the world. Technique is a just a tool to have more fun and freedom on the snow. These guys can show you tips and short cuts to get you from zero to hero in no time. Private lessons are available for skiers and snowboarders of all ages and abilities and offer personalized instruction not available in a group setting.

Learn under the stars with wide open slopes at Hakuba Goryut

Kids just wanna have fun! Kids’ group lessons are a great way for all kids to learn with and make new friends at their own ability levels. Put them in for full days instruction with lunch included. You will soon see them flying past you to get to the last lift of the day. All ability levels catered for, from the absolute beginner to the budding freestyle champion.

Try something new and get the most from your snow holiday. Your dedicated instructor will pick you up from your accommodation and show you how to ski or ride the freshly groomed, uncongested slopes. Lessons available between 6pm -10pm every evening at Hakuba Goryu Ski Area. With many restaurants open it’s a perfect way to begin a night of fun.


1.SKI SCHOOL Good, kid-focused ski instructors are trained to connect with your children and teach them core skills while keeping it fun and safe. Kids all learn differently; some are visual, others are auditory, others again are kinesthetic. Professional instructors have an array of techniques to meet your child’s specific needs.

2.KEEP IT FUN Halfpipes jumps and rail slides are the

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way to go for the teenagers. Hakuba 47 has the best park in the valley

Babysitting (090-6123-1485)should be your number one choice.

3.DAYS OFF

5.KIDS SKI FREE

Kids get tired. Why not treat them to a visit to the lovable snow monkeys? They’re about 90 minutes from Hakuba. Tours leave most days of the week.

Children under elementary school age (i.e., up to six years old) can ride the lifts for free at all the Hakuba Valley’s ski resorts if with a paying adult. Moreover watch out for “Kids Days”, mainly on Sundays, where the bigger kids can also ski for free.

4.BABY SITTING SERVICES Both Evergreen and Hakuba Snowsports have on mountain day care services. For off mountain then Mommy Smile


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I’ve been working in snow-sports physio for ten years, and currently work in Japan over the northern hemisphere winter and during the southern hemisphere winter I run the physio at Mt Hotham, in Australia. Over the last couple of years I have been working with the Australian National Snowboard Cross (SBX) team. I have attended 5 World Cups with them as their team physio in Switzerland, Bulgaria, Germany and Argentina. SBX involves racing against other riders down a course that can consist of huge berms, rollers and jumps (sometimes over 100 feet!). Riders need speed, technical abilities, athleticism and be willing to take calculated risks. It is a sport where errors can result in high consequence crashes and collisions. As a spectator it is fast, exciting and exhilarating to watch. I definitely got hooked! Despite Australia having a relatively small population and limited snow, Australia has a large number of the world’s best SBX athletes - Alex (Chumpy) Pullin, Belle Brockhoff, Jarryd Hughes, Cameron Bolton, Adam Lambert, Matthew Thomas, Josh Miller and Adam Dixon are all highly ranked athletes. This current season is particularly important for the athletes with the coming Winter Olympics that will be held in Pyeongchang, South Korea in February 2018. The SBX season commenced this year with a double World Cup in Cerro Catedral, Argentina. I was fortunate to be there when Chumpy Pullin made history by winning back to back World Cup gold medals. He demolished his competition in each final to make him the the current number one male SBX rider in the world, and is now the favouriite for gold in Korea. All the other athletes on the team also rode well and definitely have the potential to podium in the upcoming events. The type of physio work these athletes need involves injury management for example if an athlete sustains a knee or ankle injury, exercise prescription, therapy for pre-existing conditions, stretching or anything in particular they may need to keep their bodies performing at the highest possible level. Often the athletes will get daily physio in addition to their gym work and self management regime. Aside from being on snow or performing physio, I had the chance to participate in a few fun activities with the athletes. I learnt how to play curling while in Switzerland (with bruises to prove it!), hit a few tennis balls with the athletes, went to an indoor glass dome water park in the middle of the snow one night with DJ’s playing in Germany and of course ate lots of the local food. A comment my dad made to me years ago started to resonate “wouldn’t it be nice to have a job that involves something you really love doing?”. These trips and working in Japan and Mt Hotham has definitely covered a few of my passions - helping people, traveling to some interesting countries, snowboarding and enjoying the company of great people. By Wennie Tan, physiotherapist at Hakuba Physio,located at Hakuba Springs Hotel in Happo.

The spa at the Tokyu Hotel offers a variety of aroma massages in combination with their natural hot spring. Modern, chic and spotlessly clean, the onsen at the Tokyu Hotel offers a comfortable introduction to Japanese bathing. When you do visit for a massage, make sure you give yourself an extra 15 minutes for the staff to greet you with warm cup of herbal tea and discuss with your what to expect from the treatment. Bangkok-ya Massage is located just around the corner from the Thai restaurant with the same name. Thai massages are a little more rigorous than more conventional massages, which is great for those who need to get back on the slopes as quickly as possible. A variety of packages are available including special deals for couples. Tamamido Massage, led by the cheerful Miki, are dedicated winter sport enthusiasts who will be usually found on the slopes in the morning. They have developed a deep understanding of the physical intensity of skiing and snowboarding. They have a wide range of treatments on offer including both Japanese and Thai massages along with oil aroma treatments. Located at Shakespeare Hotel in Echoland.

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Getting naked, hot and wet with a bunch of total strangers is perhaps the most quintessentially Japanese thing to do. There are several onsen (natural thermal hot springs) scattered the length of the Hakuba Valley. The mineral content of almost every onsen in Hakuba is slightly different, and many onsens use the healing effects of their particular mineral mix in their marketing. A trip to Hakuba is not complete without a trip to the onsen.

Step 1 Undress slowly and calmly, taking care to fold your clothes and place them neatly in the basket or locker provided. Step 2 Remove your towel from its packaging - it will probably be no bigger than a handkerchief. This towel is meant to hide your genitals, to rub a soapy foam on your body, or to cool your forehead in the hot bath. Step 3 Wash and rinse before you enter the bath - this is done while kneeling or seated on a small stool, and bowls are provided. This is one of the most important steps bathing without first washing yourself is considered the height of rudeness. Scrub like you’ve never scrubbed before.

Step 4 Enter the bath slowly and gradually, especially if you are in a large group. Upon entering the water, you may loudly exclaim your pleasure, and discuss its quality. You will then slowly relax as the hot bath washes over you. Step 5 After a dip, you can then exit the bath to scrub your body (or someone else’s) once more, until you reach a boiled red or purple color. You may then reenter the bath, and repeat. Step 6 In Japan, one popular post-bath custom is to drink milk, with many onsen selling it. Drinking alcohol immediately after bathing is not recommended (although it doesn’t stop many from doing so); it will dehydrate your body even further.

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6

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HAKUBA TOKYU HOTEL

Aromatherapy Treatment

Relax in the complimentary natural hotspring before indulging an aromatherapy massage

Full   body 60min \11,500

Full body 90min \15,500

Half body 45min \8,500

Legs 30min \5,800

Legs & Reflexology 45min \8,500 www.hakuba-h.tokyuhotels.co.jp

Tel: 0261-72-3001 (For

Reservation)

【Opening hours】16:00~23:00

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4mm

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It may seem obvious that a lot of snow falls at Hakuba. But have you ever wondered why Hakuba gets huge “unexpected” dumps of snow, or why Hakuba Cortina sometimes gets twice as much snow as Hakuba Goryu, or why it might be snowing at the top of Happo, but it’s sunny on the other side of the valley? www.hakubaconnect.com

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Most places in the world will get snow when there is a big storm system/cold front/low pressure system. But why is it that Hakuba gets a lot of snow when there’s no storm? The answer is something called “the lake effect”. When a northerly wind blows in Japan, it’s usually coming straight off Siberia, so it’s cold (-20C degrees or colder). When very cold air blows across warm water, it sucks a huge amount of moisture from the water and forms cloud. In the case of Japan, the “lake” is the Sea of Japan. Moving from the north, the cloud hits the Japan Alps, rises and cools, and drops snow on the mountains. You can actually see (see below) where the cold winds hit the Sea of Japan, and within 150-200km of the Asian mainland, cloud has formed. This hits the mountains of Japan, dropping huge amounts of snow on the side facing the sea. On the Tokyo side of the mountains, the cloud “burns off ”, leaving the Pacific side of Japan in a sunny rain shadow! In this satellite shot, you can see the air is still cold enough to form new cloud once it hits the warmer Pacific water.

When cloud hits the mountains, it rises, cools and it snows. Generally speaking, the higher it rises, the more it snows, and once it drops the snow, the air has little moisture left after it passes over the mountains. For Hakuba (and most of central Japan), the two most important factors are the direction of the wind and its strength. If the wind blows too far from the west, it rakes the coastal mountains from the side, and doesn’t penetrate far enough inland to snow much at Hakuba. If it’s more to the northeast, it is often a loop on a low pressure trough off eastern Hokkaido, the winds are too warm, and the lake effect doesn’t kick in. The ideal winds are from the north to northwest. If the wind is too light, it may pick up moisture, but then it doesn’t hit the mountains and penetrate far enough from the coast to drop much snow on Hakuba which is 30-40km away. In the Hakuba area, if the wind is from NNW, most of the snow falls on the Sea of Japan side, and both Happo & Cortina get some snow, along with some blow over snow. If you are looking from the top of a sunny Iwatake/Tsugaike on a fresh NNW wind, Happo & Goryu/47 will often be cloudy, and you can see that it is snowing there, because of snow blow over. On the other hand, if the wind is blowing directly from the north, while at Happo/Goryu/47/Iwatake/Tsugaike are still in the shadow of the higher peaks, at Cortina there are no higher peaks north, so Cortina gets most of the snow that would otherwise fall on higher peaks. (see above) This is why Cortina sometimes gets more snow (even twice as much) as Happo. Of course knowing how and why snow falls at Hakuba is a lot more complex than that, but if you know there will be a fresh breeze coming directly from the north, it might pay to head up to Cortina for some deep, fresh tracks!!!! By Sandy Messini

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The Happo Information Center and bus station with a cafe and WiFi is located in the center of Happo Village, besides selling bus tickets, it carries local tourist brochures and maps in your local language. English speaking staff are on hand to help out with various inquires including sending luggage onwards. They also have an international ATM, money changing machine as well as ski lockers. Open daily from 06:00 - 21:00 Happo Information Center 0261-72-3066

Ski Shuttle Buses are plentiful and service all resorts. For some routes you will need to change at the Happo Information Center /Bus Terminal. Please remember which number or letter bus you catch in the morning so you can get the same one back to your accommodation. If in doubt check with the driver your Hotel’s name. Please note, though a little confusing the Hakuba Valley Buses that run from resort to resort are 500 yen each way, though Hakuba Valley ticket holder’s can ride for free. Other buses from accommodation areas to individual resort are free.

You need to have a valid Inernational Driver’s License for renting

All cars : 4WD/Snow Tyres/Roof Rack Optional : English GPS, WiFi Booking over 72 hour: Free pick up at your accommodation in the Hakuba Area

S Class Nissan March/Toyota Vitz 5 Passengers

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G Class Mazda Premacy Subaru Forester XG Class Volvo v70 5 Passengers

F Class Nissan Elgrand / Honda STW 8passengers XF class Toyota Hi-Ace 10 passengers

Hakuba is served by local taxi companies and are usually parked up at the main Hakuba station. Expect to pay about 1,500 yen between Wadano and Echoland. Ask your accommodation to book for you as most drivers do not speak English. Please note that the taxis stop running at about 1:00am. After that you are on your own. Book early for peak times! Alps Daichi Koutsu Service 0261-72-2221 Hakuba Kanko Taxi 0261-72-2144 Getting around in the evening is cheap and convenient with the Genki-go evening shuttle bus services. The buses circulate the resort from about 6pm to about 11pm.. Make sure you know what time the bus leaves to go back to your accommodation or it could be an expensive taxi ride or a long walk. The fare is 300 yen for both adults and children. Under sixes are free. The service runs from December 23rd through to February 28. Check inside the free Hakuba Connect map for times and routes.


Most hotels and lodges will either have computer terminals, wireless networks or both. Happo Information Center has a computer terminal for rent. Free public wireless internet is available around the town, though there is limited access. Many restaurants and cafes carry free internet. Public telephones are limited though there is an international one across from the Wadano Visitor Center.. The green public telephones are for domestic use and the grey ones for international. Telephone cards can be purchased at convenience stores and some hotels.

There are international ATMs available in 7-Eleven convenience stores as well as one in the Happo Information Center. These will take foreign issued cards and are open 24 hours. The ATM at the post office will also accept foreign issued cards but is only open during normal postal hours. Even though credit cards are becoming more and more widespread, cash is still the king in Japan. Most large restaurants, hotels, ski rental, ski schools will take credit cards. Japan is a relatively safe country, therefore we recommend carrying enough cash with you as a backup in case your card is refused.

Hakuba has two post offices one is located near the Hakuba main train station with the other near to Goryu train station. Both have international ATMs that accept most international issued cards. Though the post office are opened Monday to Friday 9am – 5pm the ATMs are opened until 7pm. Japan post boxes are red with a T mark with a bar across the top. Stamps can also be bought at convenience stores.

For overseas tourists, look out for the tax-free logo in the stores. You can save on the 8% sales tax (VAT, GST) on sales of over 10,000yen on most goods or 5,000yen on consumables such as medicine and tobacco. You will need to bring your passport with you, which the store will place a proof of purchase in, this will then be collected by a customs officer as you leave the country.

facebook.com/ohtayakkyoku www.hakubaconnect.com

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Hakuba doesn’t have a hospital, the nearest is Omachi, which is about 30 minutes away. Most on mountain ski accident patients are taken to Shintani Clinic. (0261-75-4177) English speaking staff are on hand to help out. Credit cards are accepted. For more serious cases, Shintani Clinic will arrange ambulance services to nearby hospitals. Basic medicine, headache & muscle pain relief can be bought over the counter at Ohta Pharmacy. The staff speak English and have medical dictionaries to help you find the most suitable medicine.

Nagano Snow Shuttle (0261-75-5360) offer a reliable direct bus to both Tokyo City Haneda and Narita Airports. Buses leave daily from Echoland Base Camp Happo Information Center/ Bus terminal and Hakuba Goryu four times daily. Bookings can be made online, through your accommodation, by phone. See back page for timings Alpico Narita Airport Bus have one service to Narita Aiport. The bus has pick ups at Happo Information Center/ Bus terminal, Hakuba Train Station and Goryu.

Travelling on after visiting Hakuba but don’t want to heave your luggage including skis and snowboards around?

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Why not use the cheap and efficient courier service called “takkyubin”. You are able to send your luggage to the airport, which will then be held by the courier company until your flight departure as specified on the luggage tag. When you arrive at the airport, you will have to collect your luggage from the courier company and then check in as normal. Luggage sent from Hakuba to the Tokyo airports, requires to be sent two days before departure. Kuroneko 0261- 72-3811

If you are confident about driving on the snow and ice then renting a car is great way of getting first tracks in the powder as well as doing day trips. All rental cars are 4wd and come fitted with snow tyres. All customers wishing to rent will need either a Japanese driver’s license or an international license and a passport. Without these cars cannot be rented. Windy Car Rental 0261-72-5382 Hakuba Car Rental 0261-85-0097 Buses leaving from Happo, Hakuba Train Station and Goryu Station can be taken to Nagano train station where you can connect with Shinkansen train services to Tokyo and around Japan. Shinkansens are frequent from Nagano Station and express trains take about 80 minutes to Tokyo. Buses from Hakuba to Nagano take about 75minutes, cost 1,800yen one way. Check out www.hyperdia.com/en/ for shinakensen and other train times within the Japanese rail network.


Day Tours

Located south of Hakuba the impressive Matsumoto Castle is a must for anyone who wants to take a step back and view ancient Japan. Construction on the five storey castle was started in 1592 and is one of only few castles to survive from that feudal period. Sanorku Tours Pg 64

Most monkeys are happy swinging in the trees of tropical jungles, but not here in Nagano. For our monkeys, there’s nothing like soaking in a hot bath to ease their troubles away. One look at them relaxing in the tub, and it’s you who’ll be singing “Oobee doo! I wanna be like you!” Nicknamed the “snow monkeys”, these cheeky-looking animals are called macaques and have a much chillier existence than their tropical

Luckily here in Hakuba we have knowledgeable Hitomi Matsushita, who will act as your private tour guide for day trips in Hakuba and throughout Nagano. Tour guides like Hitomi, with a professional license and tour guiding certificate, ensure you have the best possible tour experience here in Japan. Let Hitomi craft the perfect private, custom tour. For those who want a day off the mountain she can also organize craft days. Somino Lab Pg 84

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cousins. In fact, they are the most northly of all the primates, assisted no doubt by all that thick fur. Japanese monkeys live in forests and survive on a varied diet of berries, roots, nuts, bugs, and sometimes even fish. Monkeys are spotted occasionally here in Hakuba and are very common down the road in Hakuba’s next town, Omachi. A troupe living there has been tracked using GPS and was found to venture very high up into the mountains in summer in

search of food. Japan’s best known monkeys though have taken residence in Jigokudani, or “Hell’s Valley”, a volcanic spring in the Shiga Kogen area. Two groups of macaques were observed coming to bathe in a small hole that filled with hot spring water. This inspired locals to build a proper bath for the monkeys and in 1964, the Jigokudani Monkey Park was born. One troupe settled in the park, and can be seen year round,

There are lots of ways to spend a day off the slopes in Hakuba. You could sit and read a book and enjoy the scenery. Or, if you’re a petrolhead and that all sounds a bit tame, you can saddle up on hit the throttle, and go snowmobiling with Lion Adventure. Each course starts with a guide taking you through the safety features of Lion’s bright yellow SkiDoos. They are all new and have a top speed of around 60km per hour. Once the snowmobiling has finished and you’ve made your way back down, that doesn’t mean it’s the end of the trip. The guys from Lion finish things off by taking you down the valley to the Jigokudani Monkey Park! Lion Adventure Pg 88/91


though peak viewing comes in winter when the numbers swell, the monkeys spend longer in the water, and the young can be seen playing in the snow. The monkeys are tame and at ease with their human visitors, so you can observe them and delight in their expressions at extremely close distances. The park is great for kids and a massive draw to photographers who can take memorable shots without waiting for hours or using big zoom lenses. Once out the tub, you can see how wiry they are under their fur. It’s quite a trans-

Zenkoji temple has been admired for over 1400 years as Japan’s primary center of Buddhist faith. Zenkoji houses the first Buddhist statue to come to Japan, attracting pilgrims from all denominations. Approximately six million worshippers visit

formation. Trips run several times a week from Hakuba to the Jigokudani Park. It takes about two and a half hours to get there and once at the park, it’s about a twenty-minute walk along an often icy trail through the woods. Choose your footwear accordingly, and don’t forget your camera! SJH Pg. 2-3 Tel: 0261-72-6663 SANROKU TOUS Pg. 64-65 Tel: 0261-72-6900 MORE RESORT Pg .85 Tel: 0261-75-5175

every year. The main hall is officially classified as a national treasure. The temple is about a 20 minute walk from Nagano City train and bus station. The Tomyo light festival is definitely worth a visit! Page 50

Our passion is to provide an unforgettable dining experience in the comfort of your accommodation. Comprehensive menu offering from fine dining degustation, weddings, conferences, school groups to tailored buffets.

07039451377

hakubachefandcatering@gmail.com hakubachefandcatering.com

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Who needs water when you have snow? Get ready for a bumpy ride as you are pulled along by a snowmobile on the river bank in front of Hakuba47 Ski Area. Contact Lion Adventure. Pg 91

The allure of epics lines and the freedom of fresh powder ďŹ elds call to any advanced skier or rider. The only way to enjoy the mountains is with a professional guide with a lot of Hakuba mountain experience.

One of the ladies, the friendly sta will assist you in putting one of beautiful kimonos on. This is a morning tour and includes a Japanese lunch. Children can join but must be over 150cm. Sanroku Tours Pg 65

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Enjoy learning the art of Japanese cooking and then getting to devour it all afterwards. You can then impress your family and friends when you go back home with the skills you have learnt.

A great family activity that involves snow and chocolate and hot spiced wine for the adults. The return leg is the best, running, jumping and more than likely falling face first in the snow! Contact Evergreen Pg. 39

Japanese drumming is loud and electrifying. Watch the professionals work up a sweat before it is your turn to play with them. This is an activity great for all the family to participate in every Thursday Sanroku Tours Pg 64

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Hakuba Heat will push you to the limits to give you the most heart pumping airsoft action around. From casual games to full on military simulations. Pg 95

Man made trails in the Hakuba area usually get going once there is a good base. Snow Harp Olympic stadium and Iwatake trails offer the best courses. Tours available with Evergreen Pg 39

Who needs water when you have snow? Hold on tight and get ready for a bumpy ride as you are pulled along by a snowmobile in front of Hakuba47 Ski Area. Fun for everyone including kids Contact Lion Adventure. Pg 91

Does that hurt? Hakuba Physio therapists are trained specifically to deal with the demands of the mountains. They understand how much skiing or boarding means to you and will have you back enjoying the mountains as soon as possible. Pg 41

Step back in time and watch a master swordsmanship display Samurai show. You will be amazed on the sharpness of the blades. Then get your cameras ready as it is your turn to dress up in samurai or kimono wear. Pg 93

A leisure activity where one can venture of the beaten paths. Nothing compares to walking through deep fresh snow in a winter forest with snow shoes on, taking in the magnificent views. Evergreen Outdoor Center Pg 39 Sanorku Tours Pg 64


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Skiing or riding powder is a little different than groomed, with all the snow that Hakuba gets make sure you are not left out with a lesson or two at a powder clinic at one of the resort’s great ski schools.

If you have ever wanted to feel and touch a pistol or machine gun, including Hollywood favorites, Desert Eagle, then you are in luck. Top Target in Echoland has a selection of BB guns that fire small ball plastic pellets. Pg 81

Get your boots on and take a stroll around the town to find hidden shrines and temples. Not too worry if you get tired, there are plenty of coffee shops to take a rest in!

Whether you have enjoyed a magic ski day on the piste or a powder filled day off-piste it’s time to relax and get pampered. Massage therapists offer a variety of specialist therapies and treatments to soothe those muscles & joints after a day on the slopes. Pg 76-77

Most people will sadly put their bike into storage. But what if there were a way to combine your love of riding with your love of snow? With the fat bike, there is. Fat bikes are available for rent at Spicy’s in their Wadano store.

With more and more guests staying in self-catering condominiums and chalets and in some occasions for the price of a table in a restaurant, book a private chef in your own accommodation Your chef arrives with fresh ingredients, prepares the meal, serves and cleans the kitchen.

Learn about what effects snow stability and how to travel through the side and back country while staying safe. Sign up for an avalanche course with Evergreen Backcountry Guides Pg31

Not everyone is comfortable naked with strangers, so for those guests who feel reluctant to bathe in the presence of others, we recommend choosing a private onsen. This is perfect for families or couples. Check onsen listings on Pg 76

www.hakubaconnect.com

Whether you are a freestyle beginner or a pipe and kicker master, there is always something new to learn from trained and qualified freestyle professional Hakuba Snow Sports School has ski and snowboard freestyle instructors available for specialized freestyle training.


Starting at the top of the Toomi 2nd Chairlift on Toomi Slope right in front of Hakuba Goryu’s Escal Plaza, the nighta is perfect for beginners and intermediates to get some extra practice in the evenings. The slopes at Hakuba Goryu close at 5pm and for one hour the pisten bullies go to work on the slopes which re-open at 6pm to smooth corduroy. Night skiing is also available at Happo-one, Hakuba Cortina and Tsugaike Kogen.

With two base areas offering the gentlest slopes Tsugaike Kogen is ideal for linking turns on the lower slopes. The Kanenomaru nursery slope, lookers left, is wide, very wide, in fact it is a full 1000 meters wide! No wonder the ski school in located there. This year you can enjoy a tandem flight on a paraski on the slope. Basically, you are hooked up to an experienced instructor, ski and away you go on the wind. There is also a beginner cable that allows you to jump a few feet of air while being pulled along. Other notable mentions, Happ-one Saka slope, Goryu’s Iimori slope and Hakuba Norikura’s Satomi area.

Choosing this was very difficult as all of the Hakuba Valley’s ski resorts have kid’s parks with fun attractions and visited by different characters during the day. But the Takeko Park at Iwatake Snowfield goes that extra distance with snow mobile rafting where you hold on tight as you sit in the raft as a snowmobile pulls you along bouncing along the snow. It’s a fun experience that all kids will love. Another fun option is the buggy cruise which is a little slower and sedate. The cruise takes about 20 minutes, under 3s must be accompanied by an adult. If you still want more things to do, then other activities to partake in at Takeko Park include, target practice on the snow, snow tubing, snow sliders and strider bikes for the little ones!

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This was touch and go with Hakuba Iwatake but we think Hakuba Kashimayari just takes top spot with the jaw dropping view of Lake Aokiko and Lake Nakatsuna below. Lake Nakatsuna freezes over at times during winter and if you are lucky you might see colorful tents on the lake, these are not campers but fishermen ice fishing on the frozen lake staying warm in their tents. Hakuba Iwatake is the only one of the Hakuba resortsto sit on its own mountain, you therefore get a wonderful 360 degree panorama view, including the Hakuba peaks ,which look so close. Take a look at the three main peaks and try to decide which one in the highest.

Thanks to wide and perfectly groomed ski runs, carving freaks will be more than thrilled at Hakuba Norikura. There’s a lot of little, meticulous, attention-to-detail items that is done on a nightly basis to make it the No. 1 in grooming in the valley. HakuNori as the locals call it, doesn’t get the crowds as some of the other Hakuba Valley resorts, therefore the groomed runs are perfect for families, beginners and intermediates. The runs are coupled with the moderate pitch that everyone will be perfecting their skills in no time at all.

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If you are new to the slopes it’s a good chance you’ll want to try your luck on a kicker or rail. With the Hakuba Valley’s only half pipe Hakuba47 , excuse the pun, stands head and shoulders above all the other competition. A double, double dedicated chair lift services the park to maximize time spent on all the features. Skiers right of the park is where the big jumps are. Be warned the jumps are big. For newbies the best thing to do is to treat the park like a piste; ski within your limits and progress at a steady controlled pace

The longest continuous slopes in Hakuba are on Happo-one. Expect a mixture of powder, mogul, smooth and a long cattrack. The longest run is a very long 8000 meters, yes a full 8KM! In fact, Happo-one is home to many of the valley’s favorite runs. For high level intermediates and over, have a tackle at the Ladies and Men’s Downhill Courses used for the Nagano Olympic Games of 1998. Start at the top of the mountain, bear skiers right at Pilar Café, head down Panorama all the way to the Sakka area. Try to do it non-stop to get the burning sensation in your quads. Twenty years ago, the Olympians did it in about ninety seconds, we think five minutes is a more realistic time. Tsugaike Kogen and Kashimayari top to base are also long runs that definitely deserve a mention.

The trees in the Hakuba Valley have made a great turn around with many of the resorts opening up the gladed runs once again. Once again you may ask? Yes, skiing roots were in the trees when the pioneers of the sport earned their turns over 100 years ago by skinning up the forested terrain and riding back down into the valley through the beech, birch and oak trees. Hakuba Cortina were the first resort to re-open their trees and what a great decision it was, with the best and longest tree runs in the valley.

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kiers and snowboarders come from all over the world to test their skills on the Hakuba mountains. The colors are coded as blue for beginners, red for intermediates and black for advanced. Black lines on the lift map used to be the benchmark for the expert skier or snowboarder with the runs usually being the steepest, iciest and most moguled on the mountain. But recently in the Hakuba Valley we are finding a new sign, and even though it is black it has two diamonds to accompany it. Hence the name Double Black Diamond. As mentioned black lines on the piste map used to act for progressive skiers: am I sufficiently skilled and con-

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fident to tackle the steepest that this resort can throw at me? So what is a double black diamond? According to trails.com a double black diamond course is described as very challenging with the slopes being exceptionally steep, coupled with other hazards such as strong exposure to winds, narrow terrain and other difficult conditions. This fits Hakuba pretty well But where to go to get that inbounds backcountry powder and varied terrain? Head to one of the resorts’ double black diamond trails.

www.hakubapowdertours.com

Corduroy lovers need not apply. www.hakubaconnect.com

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Hakuba Cortina is the jewel in the crown in Hakuba free riding. The area of tree skiing and riding is huge and full of hazards. Hakuba Cortina operate on a self-responsibility code, where the skier or rider is responsible for any costs occurred, be it search or rescue while riding in these zones.

Tsugapow has the area is known at Tsugaike is accessed from the gate at the top chairlift. Before you enter the tree glades, you need to go to the 2nd floor of Tsuga-no-mori restaurant at the bottom of the top lift, listen to the short lecture and get an armband to gain access.

Kashimayari has opened up their trees at the top of the mountain on lookers right. Don’t go in the trees at the opposite side as there is a beginner’s cat track below. The trees go on for about 900m before you must cut in to get back onto the slopes. Do not proceed any further down or you will have a very long walk back!

The area at Hakuba47 is called the Tree Riding Zone. Entry is permitted after you follow a few steps. First, register at the ski school, where you will be briefed on a short safety lecture. After signing a waiver form you will be issued with an ID card, exchange this card for a bib. You don’t have to do the safety briefing every time just bring your card and exchange it for the bib

Hakuba Iwatake is moving in the right direction, in summer they are creating world class MTBing courses and for winter they are opening up more and more terrain for free riding. View-a (alpha) is one of these courses. Not to be confused with View A, it is a tree course about 500m long with lots of intriguing features.

The top ridge at Happo-one on skier’s left is called URAKURO. To get to the gate, you can either take the top Grat Quad and ski down to it, or walk/push over from the top of Alpen Quad. Ski Patrol will open the gate after making sure the conditions are right. Be wary on windy or foggy days, the ridge is exposed to a steep drop onto the north face!

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Know your ability, there is no real tree skiing or riding for abilities less than advanced. Remember, grooming machines don’t fit in the forest - so, you need to be able to ski in the various conditions you will find there.iusam repcons

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Some folks won’t bother with this, but it’s one of the simplest steps skiers and riders can take to decrease chances of a skull fracture. Wear a HELMET. Don’t risk it.

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Even the best skiers make mistakes sometimes that will land them head first into the hollow cavity around the base of a tree. Partner up before entering the trees and stay in line of sight of one another until you’re both safely out of the woods.

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If you get going too fast and crash, it won’t just be the soft powder snow that breaks your fall. Visibility can be limited, especially in thick trees, so keep your turns controlled and don’t go launching off blind roll oversrditem Catiemus,

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Watch the time, a good general rule is not to enter the trees after 3:00 PM, because if you get lost, getting found quickly, after dark, is problematic to say the least. sf


Explore the Hakuba Valley with Evergreen.

Hakuba Valley, Nagano, Japan

Evergreen International Ski School is the largest international ski and snowboard school of the region, boasting Hakuba’s best facilities and most progressive programs designed specifically for kids. Big kids (Hero’s program) love to explore Hakuba on skis or boards, our Yeti’s (3-6 year old skiers) have their own Kids Centre and learning park as well as magic carpet, while our daycare facility has both indoor and outdoor play areas.

Evergreen International Ski School has the whole family covered with excellent programs for Mum and Dad from beginners to advanced (and even back country). Come and enjoy the Evergreen difference in a fun and safe environment with our friendly and professional staff. Our team and programs are designed to enhance your family winter holiday here in Hakuba, Japan.

Hey Kids, learn to ski with me here in Hakuba. Ikimashou... Let’s Go! • Yuki Club (3-6yrs) • Hakuba Hero’s (7-14yrs) • Daycare (from 18mths)

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• Ski & Board Lessons • Group & Private • Race Programs

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Hakuba Valley, Japan


The area is serviced by eight lifts with a respectable vertical of 720m. Kashimayari has two “base” areas depending on which direction you arrive from. If you are arriving from Hakuba then you will arrive at the Lake Nakatsuna base. On the way past the lake make sure you try to catch a look at the ice fishing that happens when the lake freezes over. If you are coming from the south the quickest way is to take the road that cuts through the mountain and ends at the middle station base area, Central Plaza.

The Central-Plaza itself is a great area to base yourself and meet up for lunch. From here you can ski in every direction. The plaza houses restaurants serving the usual skiers fare as well as Baskin Robbins ice cream parlor. The plaza even has its own accommodation, great for getting first on the lifts in the morning.

Beginners For beginners, head skiers right for the long cat track down to the mid station. for hours with a magic carpet, hoops and slides. For the older kids, there is a good intermediate park at the Nakatsuna base area serviced by either the No.6 Quad or the No.8 Pair

Intermediates A favorite run is to take the 1 Quad lift followed by the 10 Pair lift to the top of the resort. After taking the obligatory photographs, put the camera away and head down the Route 1 or Route 15 courses. These are fast groomed courses that will make you feel like a ski racer.

Advanced For powder lovers, turn left outside the mid-station building and jump on the No.5 Pair lift. There are a couple of courses through the ungroomed down to mid-station. Be warned that after a few days without snow, this course becomes a serious mogul field. Tree skiing is available from the skiers left on the uppermost lift. www.hakubaconnect.com

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the resort’s closing in May!

The linked resorts of Hakuba Goryu has a wide intermediate slope at Goryu and Hakuba47 form the top of the gondola with great snow Hakuba’s most popular hill and three lifts to keep you moving. in terms of visitor numbers. Both resorts can be ridden Advanced using the same lift ticket. Routes 2 and 3 off the quad at 47 both Beginners On the 47 side, ride the mid-mountain courses next door to the park or better still shoot up to the top lift linking 47 with Goryu. At Goryu, beginners are spoilt for choice with the long slope above the Toomi base and many gentle runs over towards the Iimori side that many people tend to miss. Skiers who are just starting out should really head over this way.

Intermediates

At 47, a top-to bottom run down Route 1 from the top of the quad offers about 600 meters of vertical at a steady 2025 degree pitch. Due to its overall northeasternly orientation, this course is usually rideable to the base even at

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exceed 30 degrees, with the latter mostly un-groomed. At Goryu, simply do laps top to bottom off the gondola, taking the Champion Expert and not the switchbacks. Also at Goryu, the upper Alps Daira slope is wide and ungroomed. Lap it up! Hakuba47 has Hakuba’s best terrain park, with a well-maintained half pipe, kickers that range from small to veritably huge, and a selection of rails and boxes. Two parallel lifts let you hit it again and again. 47’s park is popular with local seasonaires who often can’t make first lifts due to work on the breakfast shift. Get up there early and the lineups will usually be short. Night Skiing is available at Hakuba Gor yu from 6pm to 9:30pm ever y evening


Happo-One (pronounced “oh-nay”) is Hakuba’s oldest, largest and most central ski hill. Happo offers riders a leg-burning thousand meters of top to bottom skiing with stunning views of Hakuba’s three symbolic peaks. Host to the men’s and women’s blue ribbon downhill and super giant slalom events at the 1998 Nagano Olympics, Happo is the one hill not to miss in Hakuba.

Beginners Beginners should head out to the Sakka area where the gentle slopes will get you linking turns in no time at all. There is the Sakka Kids Park area with a magic carpet, tobaganning, and a banked tubing course where conditions vary from great fun to genuinely hairraising!

Intermediates A favourite is the Panorama slope just below the top of the gondola. It’s wide and well groomed with three lifts to keep you moving. Of the routes down from mid-mountain, Riesen Slalom to skiers’ right from Usagidaira provides great mogul-free cruising all the way to Nakiyama or via a cattrack back to the gondola. The easiest advice to lower intermediates is to not go higher than the gondola.

Advanced Try your hand at the 1998 Winter Olympic men’s and ladies downhill courses. The Olympians finished in about two minutes. See how long it takes you. Powder Hounds first come, first served! The upper part of Happo is mostly ungroomed, so get yourself on the gondola when it opens. If you see one of the Kurobishi lifts moving (the longer one seems to run mainly at weekends now), head over to that side but watch out for buried moguls! Cruise past the restaurant there and down Skyline for some of the best powder that Hakuba has to offer. Get your breath back on the lift before you embark on another slide through the powder wonderland! www.hakubaconnect.com

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Beginners Beginners can stay low or take the gondola and ride a number of courses with lifts back up to the summit restaurant.

Intermediates Intermediate riders should be able to enjoy the whole hill. From the resort top, there is only one way down to the base – follow the signs and check the map if visibility is poor. Midway there is the “Corridor”, a flat section

where slower skiers and riders should stay left to allow others to pass.

Advanced The resort has a number of powder pockets that do not see the same traffic as at the big boys nearby. The resort has moved away from grooming all its courses and now leaves several areas to lay down some tracks. Due to the high proportion of snowboarders in the resort’s clientele, Iwatake remains

HAKUBA IWATAKE

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almost completely free of the moguls you will find in ungroomed areas elsewhere. A number of park items are also provided along another easily-missed course, this time to lookers’ right of the restaurant at the top.

Locals Knowledge A ride on the gondola gets you to Iwatake’s summit, from which courses radiate out in all directions. Easiest to miss is the Resort View area that is accessed by a cat track off

to the left as you get off the quad lift. This area provides quite varied terrain and great views of the three Hakuba peaks.


大量的山地 和基地区的餐 厅,包括高级美 食,比萨的皮拉 尔 大量的山地 和基地

Beginners Tsugaike’s biggest draw is the expansive beginner area at the bottom where ten lifts service Hakuba’s widest piste. When not buried in powder, this area offers a nice easy introduction to sliding on snow.

Intermediates First is a short hop over very gentle slopes to a mid-mountain area where you can jump on or off, or more likely stay on to reach the higher upper area. From there you can take a number of routes down to skiers’ right or take a further lift up to the main ridge course. Tsugaike has a further area north of the gondola to lookers’ right, originally a separate ski area. It tends to be very quiet. Almost all of Tsugaike’s terrain is groomed, which may disappoint powder hounds, but means hardly any of the moguls that develop on other resorts’ ungroomed areas b e t w e e n s t o r m s . Ts u g a i k e provides smooth respite to th o s e w h o s t r u g g l e i n th e bumps. You can really open it up and let the scenery fly by.

Advanced A fine snowpark is built near the resort’s summit late in the season - there’s too much snow to do it earlier! As well as the HIT park further down the slopes. For the trees at the top of the resort, you must sign in and register.

Locals Knowledge Expert skiers and riders are best off hiring a guide and hiking above the resort. We’re not going to say where, but great options lie just a short bootpack away. The combination of high snowfall, high winds, and fluctuating temperatures makes this genuine avalanche terrain. We strongly reccommends hiring a guided backcountry service. www.hakubaconnect.com

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Intermediates Hakuba Norikura is a weekend war rior kind of place, thus making the combination of lots of space, lots of snow, and the lack of crowds that can be found at the larger resorts providing a great stage for building up confidence.

Advanced Norikura shares Cortina’s mighty snowfall and extends for a very respectable 600 meters of vertical up the ridge it shares with Cortina. Power hounds should head skiers left of the resort to the Alps 10 Pair Chairlift, from the top lap up the powder the hour before Hakuba Cortina opens. Hakuba Norikura is linked to its neighbouring resort, Hakuba Cortina, which can be ridden using the same pass if you buy the combined resort ticket. We think this is a must as it doubles the terrain that you can enjoy. Make sure you ask for the combined

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ticket when purchasing.

Beginners A number of shorter lifts are also aligned along the wide foothills. There’s a great choice for beginners and those who may not have ridden fresh soft snow before.

Local Knowledge Many visitors to Hakuba do not give Norikura much of a thought, but we think it could be the valley’s most u n d e r ra te d re s o r t . W h e n combined with Cortina, it certainly offers a lot of different options.


Beginners Above the hotel itself extends a long central beginner run with a dedicated beginners/kids snow park. In fact even though Hakuba Cortina is loved by powder hounds there is still plenty of areas for beginners to progress.

Intermediates A favorite run is to take the 2 Quad lift followed by the No. 4 Lift to the top of the resort. After taking the obligatory photographs, put the camera away and head down the route 1 or route 15 courses. These are fast groomed courses that will make you feel like a true ski racer.

Advanced As the closest resort to the sea, Cortina regularly records the highest amount of snowfall in the valley. It doesn’t just snow at Cortina, it dumps! When Happo-One and Goryu up the valley will report 20cm of fresh snow, Cortina will probably receive about 50cm! Not content with having the valley’s largest hotel and heaviest snowfall, Cortina is also famous for having the steepest pistes, one of which averages 36 degrees and touches 42 degrees in places. We urge all readers to respect the few rules they have. If they mark an area as out-ofbounds or closed, it will be for a reason. For the more adventurous Cortina also has three gates to access the backcountry, though standard backcountry rules apply.

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K

anazawa is one of the top destinations for Japanese visitors, but, is hardly known outside the country. Sandwiched between the Japan Alps and the Sea of Japan, peaks engraved on the skyline like a milieu to a stage, Kanazawa is actually off the beaten track. Kanazawa was at one time the fourth biggest and flourished city of ancient times. And is frequently compared to Kyoto, for its riches of ancient buildings having been spared by tsunamis and earthquakes and having got away from the World War II air attacks that devastated many Japanese cities. The Higashi Pleasure District is the only place outside Kyoto which has geishas. The conventional structural design of low roofs of glinting curved black tiles, gauzily patterned facades (easy to see out, but not in) - is unaffected. Geishas in ghost-white faces and intricate kimonos can be spotted, or heard practicing their songs and instruments - the threestringed shamisen or even a drum.

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The Samurai region of Nagamachi is similarly entirely the same as it was since feudal times. Paved roads, amazingly free of the typical spaghetti interweave of overhead cables that frequent over Japanese towns and citiies, wind amid the ochre mud walls. Near to the canal, with its sliding paper doors, uncluttered interiors, meditatively peaceful garden and tatami straw mats, with the option of carp swimming in soothingly trickling waters is the Samurai Nomura family house, and is a peaceful abode for the residence of a warrior, But the main tourist lure is Kenrokuen, which was once part of the 18th Century palace, some of which still remains, and now is one of the three stunning gardens of Japan. Gyokusenen Garden is a more serene, and a bit smaller family-owned garden, in which there are zigzag paths under trees, moss-covered stone lanterns, waterfalls and rivulets. The shinkansen “Kagayaki� takes 1 hour from Nagano City to Kanazawa, which is one of the most stunning cities in Japan.


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9:30

10:30

15:30

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9:00

10:30

11:30

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Hakuba

8:00

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21 DEC 2017 - 11 M A R 2018

Nagano

13:00

16:30

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Tokyo - JR Shinjuku Station

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14:00

15:30

18:00

20:30

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Narita Airport Terminal 2

14:00

15:30

16:45

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Haneda Airport Int. Terminal

-

-

-

18:45

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Adult 9.500 Child 8.500

10:30

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15:30

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21 DEC 2017 - 11 M A R 2018

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Nozawa Onsen - Chuo Terminal

10:00

12:30

15:00

17:30

5.900 / 4.900

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Madarao Kogen Hotel

12:30

15:00

17:30

5.900 / 4.900

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Madarao Kogen Tangram

12:40

15:10

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Myoko Kogen Akakura Bus Stop

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Shiga Kogen Accommodation

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Hakuba ・ Nozawa Onsen ・ Shiga Kogen ・ Myoko Kogen ・ Madarao Kogen ・ Shinjuku ・ Narita ・ Haneda

Hakuba connect 2017 2018  
Hakuba connect 2017 2018  

The Ultimate Guide to the Hakuba Valley

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