Hakuba Connect 2018-2019

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Publisher Snow Connections

Editor Steve Williams

Contributors Stewart Adamson James Robb Photgraphers Patrick Fux Kenji Shibata

Advertising Sales Mikiyo Williams

Design Michael Grove Ashish Bose

Contact Information 1606-4 Hokujo, Hakuba, Nagano 3999301, Japan English Tel: 080-3126-0247 Japanese Tel: 080-3422-9005 Email: sales@hakubaconnect.com www.hakubaconnect.com Published by Snow Connections

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ake-up, check the weather report, clear the snow, grab a coffee, go skiing, repeat this 100 times or so and that is basically my winter. But you might ask yourself, with all this repetition, how do you not get bored doing the same thing day in day out. The answer is quite simple in the Hakuba Valley with 10 ski areas, so many different trails and countless number of trees that everyday is different, come to think of it every ski run is different. I recommend to everyone visiting the Hakuba Valley this season to check out as many resorts as you can on your trip and remember variety is the spice of life. See you on the slopes! SW

Hakuba Connect annual winter visitor guide is free when picked up at distribution points throughout the Hakuba valley. © Snow Connections. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or part without written permission is prohibited. Individual advertisers are solely responsible for the content of advertising material which they submit to us, including ensuring that it complies with relevant legislation. We accept no responsibility for the content of advertising material, including, without limitation, any error omission or inaccuracy therein © Snow Connections.

SNOW CONNECTIONS

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Satisfy your cravings with a multitude of places to eat lunch and dinner with price ranges to suit every budget. From casual aprèsski snacks to fine dining, the Hakuba Dining Guide offers diverse dining options with many featuring organic, locally-sourced ingredients. Find your next meal now!

Your skin is as unique as you are but it can get damaged by the harsh Hakuba winter conditions. To rejuvenate your precious face, the Tokyu Hotel this season will offer facials along with their other aromatherapy treatments. Before you indulge in any of their treatments, treat yourself to a long soak in the Tokyu’s beautiful onsen. Tokyu Aroma page 74.

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If you like to be wowed, head over to Xtream adventures at Tsugaike Kogen Ski Resort where you can try riding a bike on a high wire over a frozen pond with breathtaking views of the Japanese Northern Alps. Called Kogidasu, you pedal to move your bike forward and hold on tight, but don’t worry since you are safely strapped in. Open all season weather permitting. The location is a mid-station at Tsugaike Kogen.

Hakuba47, named for 4 seasons, 7 days a week, have opened more of their trees for the 2019 winter season. The trees zones are to the sides of Route 1 and Route 8 and unlike the members only tree zones, these are free areas with no need to be signed in or to wear the official bibs.

Dipping in the steaming hot water and relaxing is especially great on cold, Hakuba winter days. But there is one problem if you are shy: in an onsen because you must be naked! Fear not, try a private onsen where you can bathe alone, with family or with friends. Check listings on pages 73-74.

Happy Tours is offering an extended Snow Monkey tour this winter, with an evening in Nagano City. After a full day visiting the loveable snow monkeys, enjoying the sushi train restaurant and Zenkoji Temple, the buses will drop you off at Nagano Station with a gourmet map at 5:30 pm and pick you up at 8:45 pm to bring you back to Hakuba and your accommodations. Nagano City has so many great dining options you won’t be disappointed! Happy Tours page 91


Hakuba’s newest ski-in/ski-out condominium, Starry Residence Suite is set to open in time for winter 2019. The three story building is located in the most ideal location on the slopes at Shirakaba on Happo-one just a stone’s throw above the Adam Gondola Lift. The suites will become a new jewel in the developing luxury condominium market with distinctive Japanese alpine design and strongly influenced by the surrounding colors of the snow and trees. Featuring lavish comforts including slope viewing hot tubs and large terraces with expansive views of the ski area and the stunning Japanese peaks.

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!

Located in central Happo-One area, the popular Square Hotel has been refurbished and reopened under the new name “Hakuba Gateway Hotel” and will act as a new base of operations for SkiJapan.com in the Hakuba Valley. The highly experienced tour operator will be offering ground and guest services, just as they have done in Niseko for many years. Visitors to the area can book an extensive range of tours and activities directly from the lobby. The new building will also house NBS rental & retail as part of the shop space renovation. NBS is one of the most recognized and experienced snowsports & rental shops from Hokkaido, where they already have 3 established locations. This is NBS’s first store in Honshu, bringing with them nearly a decade of experience. The seasoned team will be providing highly professional rental services as well as a well-stocked shop with everything from gloves, goggles, thermals and more. The new NBS store will carry their full range of skis and snowboards, and will be offering competitive pricing alongside their great service. The hotel’s shop space will also host Altitude Physiotherapy; Australia’s leading snowsports focused physiotherapists. The Altitude team is led by Winter Olympic physiotherapist Peter Caine who brings more than 20 years’ experience in the snowsports industry. Peter and the team have worked with countless elite athletes to get them back on the snow quickly and safely. Altitude’s services will include general physiotherapy, massage and consultation to help manage and prevent sports injuries. Hakuba Gateway Hotel will also have a professional boot fitter, restaurant and more. The once humble hotel is now undoubtedly a real hub for visitors to the area with tonnes of services all under one roof. For more information about the hotel, contact SkiJapan. com or call Hakuba Gateway Hotel directly on 0261-755088.

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One of the great evenings in Hakuba is held on Tuesday nights (Jan 22, 29 and Feb 5, 12 & 19) 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!

A rice ball is a triangle-shaped rice snack, much like sandwiches in the West. Rice balls are readily available at convenience stores throughout

Hakuba, they make a tasty alternative to sandwiches or chocolate. A rice ball in Japanese is omusubi or onigiri depending on which area of Japan you are from. Now you are probably thinking what has this got to do with skiing or boarding in Hakuba? Well, this year Happo-one Ski Resort will be opening their rice ball-shaped Omusubi slope for everyone to enjoy. Here’s where it gets tricky. Most of the Japanese know the area correctly as Omusubi as it is marked on the map, but many of the ex-pats and a few Japanese call it the Onigiri area. I told you it was confusing! Whatever name you use, enjoy the The shape of the mountain resembles the Japanese favorite snack, a riceball

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We here at Hakuba Connect are sad to hear of the closing of one of Hakuba’s best powder board snowboard stores, The Boarding Co. Pro Shop, near Hakuba’s main train station. The store, owned and operated by long-term ex-pat Wil Beresford, will be open all season with up to 70% off a wide range of snowboard and backcountry gear. Make your way down and pick up a bargain or two.

area after the Ski Patrol has opened the gates for the day and remember do not duck a rope, they are there for a reason!




Altitude Physio & Massage Hakuba will help you get the most from your mountain holiday. Non-medical management of Muscular strains Lower back pain Joint aches & pains Knee injuries Sports injuries Neck pain & headaches Massage can benefit every body. If you’re in need of a firm and deep sports massage to get your legs firing again, or a relaxation massage – we offer a style to suit you. Book online at: altitudephysiojapan.com Or download & book via the ‘Altitude Physio’ app Located within the Hakuba Gateway Hotel, Happo, Hakuba.


Which came first–the chicken or the egg? This question– has baffled people for years. In Hakuba, we have a similar question, which came first–the ski race or the ski resort? The answer is fairly easy: the annual Riesen Slalom ski race on Happo-one predates the ski area by thirteen years. But how you can have a ski race if you don’t have a ski resort? Happo-one is celebrating the 60th anniversary of the first lift being installed this year. Prior to that, those hardy ski racers climbed up the mountain to the area occupied by Pilar Café and raced down through trees, powder and numerous natural ob-

stacles to be claimed King of the Mountain or should we say Shogun of the Mountain. Happo-one’s previous name was Hosono Ski Area. The first lifts were wooden structures on the Nakiyama slopes that used to sway in the wind. Keep an eye out for new events throughout the season and the Hakuba Happo-one Fire Festival on February 22nd.

REGISTER FOR RIESEN SLALOM This season’s 73rd Riesen Slalom competition will take place on Thursday 28th February & 1st March. The course will be from just below Usagidaira Terrace and finish at Nakiyama Base near to the Happo-one Ski School. Deadline for applications is 31st January. Who will be crowned Shogun of the Mountains. www.happo-one.jp/gelande/riesen

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There are many great views to be had in the Hakuba Valley that are literally the best in Japan. Now, you can enjoy one of these views while sipping a hot coffee and indulging in some of the most delicious muffins and croissants around! The City Bakery at Mountain Harbor was opened this autumn to rave reviews and overlooks the newly named Iwatake Bowl area of powder heaven. If this wasn’t enough, head down to the Brew Pub to the lookers left of the base area to sample great pub fare and some of the best beer in town. The Brew Pub is a great place to finish the day. If you happen to stay late don’t worry as the bus will shuttle you back to your accommodation in the evening as well.

Standing apart at the foothills of the incredible Hakuba mountains is the newly opened Wadano Gateway building and entertainment precinct. Designed to mimic the awe-inspiring mountains and forest it mirrors, Wadano Gateway’s rounded, glass grand entry leads into the largest open span for a wooden structure in Japan. Created within this expanse are intimate areas where one can relax after a long day on the mountains and enjoy a drink or a great meal. Wadano Gateway is ideal for both Happo and Wadano and everyone is welcome to enjoy their two new restaurants; électrique, a French Café and Brasserie and Lantern, an Asian bar and grill. Sharing this large multi-layered entertainment precinct these complementing dining and entertainment options create a space where one can enjoy variety and comfort. Both restaurants seat at least 80 people and are the ultimate social house to relax with your friends and family, mingle and even enjoy a game of pool. Entering the accommodation wing of Wadano Gateway, it’s hard to forget you are in the Japanese Alps. Nine brand-new, architecturally-perfected, self-contained suites offer stylish comfort and cool Japanese flair for couples, families or groups. The two-bedroom apartments in the upper tower provide magical views of Happo-one. Wadano Gateway takes the step up from just the usual concierge with on-call drivers offering transport to the local ski areas and evening shuttles to the supermarkets and nearby onsens.Please pop by during your visit to Hakuba and check out this amazing building. Wadano Gateway is managed by Hakuba Lodge Coop business services.




Evergreen International Ski School have set a benchmark in providing quality snowsports programs for many years, and have earned their place as the premier international snowsports school of the region. As Hakuba’s popularity has continued to grow, Evergreen International Ski School has grown with it, offering a wide and ever expanding range of exciting programs and services across the entire Hakuba Valley, which include quality facilities such as children’s centres and daycare at multiple resorts. With ski school locations at Happo-one, Iwatake, Tsugaike and Cortina, and private lesson programs available at other Hakuba Valley Resorts, Evergreen International Ski School offers guests variety, excitement and quality snowsports instruction across the entire Hakuba Valley. This winter Evergreen International Ski School will be introducing a new program specifically designed for teenage intermediate to advanced skiers and snowboarders between the ages of 13-17yrs called Nagano Ninjas. With a strong desire to cater for the teen market, and an increasing team of experienced and professional instructors from around the world, Evergreen International Ski School felt that this winter season was the right time to commence running this exciting new teen program. Nagano Ninjas will initially operate from Evergreen International Ski School Happo-one and will be available in a full day (10am-3:30pm) format (including supervised lunch). It is possible to book single days or multi-days, the best value being the 7 day Flexi-Week program, which is a 7 day consecutive ticket priced similarly to that of 5 consecutive days which gives the holder the ability to do 7 consecutive days if they desire, but also offers the flexibility to take a day or two off within that 7 consecutive day period and still benefit from the multi-day discounted pricing. The Nagano Ninjas program commences on December 15th 2018 and runs daily until February 24th 2019, excluding New Year’s Day. For further information visit evergreen-skischool.com

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At the Nakiyama base area, events get underway from 7 pm with torch-lit skiers, skiing down the night slope and lighting the large fire. Expect lots of food stalls, local characters, sake, raffles, taiko drumming and culminating in a large firework display

Drumming, live music and lots of pyrotechnics will be on the slopes in front of Escal Plaza base area at Hakuba Goryu. Look out for the Dragon! Inside restaurants will stay open if it gets too cold for you outside. Free night skiing from 5 pm to 7 pm before the snow festival kicks off. Free shuttle buses are available.

You can participate as a member at the Tsugaike Kogen Snow Festival. Come early and sign in for fire torch-lit skiing. Registration is from 5.30 pm in front of Tsugaike Ski School. The snow festival kicks off at 7.30 pm and features, live music, drumming, food stalls and, of course, a spectacular firework display.

This is a recently-held event and more cultural in nature. The event is split over two nights, a week apart. First is at the upper part of Iwatake close by to the ski area. Visit an old shrine, enjoy taiko drumming and drink fresh sake. The following week, the event takes place at lower Iwatake near to Shouya Maruachi Dining.

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Let’s get this party started! With the biggest event of the season coming to town, it is time for Hakuba to put on the lights and party like it has never done before for the Freeride World Tour’s first stop Hakuba! The venue for the opening party will be in the center of Happo Village. The event with feature live taiko drumming, a bib presentation ceremony, live music, special performances from local groups, raffles and lots of stalls where you can eat and drink. Wrap up warm, it gets cold at night.

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Break at the Southern Cross Flags, renditions of Aussie Aussie Aussie and head over to Hakuba Goryu’s Escal Plaza base area to celebrate Australia Day in style. Last year’s event attracted a great crowd, with an Australian booth serving both food and drinks and played an assortment of Australian music throughout the day. The staff at Hakuba Goryu all got involved in dressing up to make all the Australians away from home celebrate in style and to the amusement of the local Japanese. Please note the popular bar Lucky Pete’s will be closed on Australia Day.

New Year is a big event for Japanese, a little bit similar to Christmas for westerners where most Japanese will spend time with their family and many businesses will close. Being a resort, everything in the valley stays open and is one of the busiest times of the year with the dreaded long lift lines appearing. The New Year is rung in at most of the ski areas and will include a set of spectacular firework displays at 12:00 am. In the morning, if you are early and don’t have too much of a hangover, free sake will be given out as the lifts open in the morning. Don’t forget to say aloud “Akemashite Omedeto Gozaimasu!”

MARCH 24 As spring takes the edge off the winter chill and even though the slopes stay open until early May, the warm weather melts the snow on the lower slopes and it is time to celebrate what an awesome season everyone had. An end of season tradition at Evergreen International Ski School is the Splash Jam, a mix of skiing or snowboarding followed by water skiing over a cold-water pool in fancy dress. A few make it across but many don’t! Location Kokusai Lodge on Happo-one.

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15-Dec 24-Dec 25-Dec 31-Dec 31-Dec 31-Dec 31-Dec 01-Jan 02-Jan 12-13 Jan 12, 19, 26 Jan 13-Jan 15-17 Jan 16-31 Jan 18-Jan 19-26 Jan 20-Jan 22-Jan 23-Jan 26-Jan 26-Jan 26-Jan 26-Jan 26-27 Jan 29-Jan 30-Jan

All Ski Areas Goryu Matsumoto Happo Tracks Bar Hakuba Tokyu Hotel Happo Hakuba Hakuba47 Goryu Iwatake The Pub Goryu Tracks Bar Tokyu Hotel Matsumoto Goryu Iwatake

Goryu Cortina Mominoki Hotel The Pub Goryu Happo-one Cortina

Happy New Year Events New Year's Event at Goryu Iimori (Play Bingo) Ameichi, Candy Market Festival Happo Snow Plaza Sakka Night Event Live Majestic Circus (Jam band from Tokyo) Freeride World Tour Qualifier 2019 Hakuba Tokyu Hotel 60th Special Dinner (steak) Freeride World Tour Opening Party Freeride World Tour 2019 Treasure Hunt for Kids Goryu Night at Hakuba Goryu (buffet, taiko etc) Hakuba Iwatake Winter Festival Australia Day Events at The Pub Australia Day at Hakuba Goryu Australia Day with Mommy Funk New Happo Kurobishi Sake Release Ice Scuplture Festival Goryu Night at Hakuba Goryu (buffet, taiko etc) Hakuba Iwatake Winter Festival 1-15 Feb 02-Feb 02-Feb 2, 9, 16, 23 Feb 2, 9, 16, 23 Feb 03-Feb 05-Feb 06-Feb 6-11 Feb 09-Feb 09-Feb 09-Feb 09-Feb 12-Feb 14-Feb 16-28 Feb 17-Feb 17-Feb 19-Feb 22-Feb 22-23 Feb 23-Feb 24-Feb 28 Feb-1 Mar

02-Mar 2-3 Mar 09-Mar 10-Mar 17-Mar 24-Mar

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Tracks Bar Hakuba Goryu Goryu Iimori Hakuba47 Happo-one

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Goryu Movie Festival Christmas Event at Hakuba Cortina Christmas Music Event at Fireside Lounge Hakuba's Biggest New Year's Countdown Party New Year's Countdown Event New Year's Countdown Event New Year's Countdown Event

Powder Love at Tracks Bar Rainbow Events (LGBT) Goryu Snow Festival Iimori Junior Ski Cross Treasure Hunt for Kids Splash Jam Party (Evergreen)

MARCH

DECEMBER

JANUARY Tokyu Hotel Iwatake Kashimayari Happo Omachi Tracks Bar Goryu Tracks Bar Nagano Goryu Cortina Roots Café Otari Goryu The Pub Tokyu Hotel Tsugaike Hakuba47 Goryu Happo-one Goryu Tsugaike Kashimayari Happo-one

Hakuba Tokyu Hotel 60th Special Dinner (Chinese) Thanks Festival Kashimayari Fire Festival Happo Snow Plaza Sakka Night Event Festival of Dream Fireworks & Sound Live Music at Tracks Bar (Ao & Swingmins) Goryu Night at Hakuba Goryu (buffet, taiko etc) Waitangi Day. Hangi Dinner & Live Music Zenkoji Tomyo Festival (illumintations) Happy Valentine’s Night (chocolate fondue & concert) Japan Freeride Open Juniors Bob Marley's Birthday Bash Oami Festival at Night Goryu Night at Hakuba Goryu (buffet, taiko etc) 13th Annual Winter Love Party Hakuba Tokyu Hotel 60th Special Dinner (sushi) Tsugaike Kids Event Treasure Hunt for Kids Goryu Night at Hakuba Goryu (buffet, taiko etc) Happo-one Fire Festival Goryu Red Bull Edge Tsugaike Fire Festival Thanks Festival Riesen Slalom Race

FEBRUARY



We love the outdoors in Hakuba. The fresh air, the views, the sounds of the forest. However, what if you want to spend your entire time here outdoors? With comforts and service that rival as the best hotels and the same fine dining as the best restaurants? All while being on the mountain and not just looking up at it? For you, there is glamping.

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lamping, short for “glamourous camping”, is a new movement that started in the UK in 2005. The concept is simple, take the comforts of a luxury hotel and shift them outside. The attentive staff, the big comfy beds, the furniture, the culinary delights, generously sized rooms, all of these recreated outside. The idea itself is not new. In the past, nobility would establish lavish camps for entertaining visiting royalty and dignitaries. In the 20th Century too, safari goers would be treated to extravagant meals washed down with champagne. The wonders of nature, without a hint of roughing it. On-mountain glamping has arrived in Hakuba at Field Suite Hakuba, a collaboration between Happo One Ski Resort and Snow Peak, Japan’s best-known manufacturer of high-end camping goods. Based in Sanjo, Niigata, Snow Peak was founded in 1958 by Yukio Yamai, to produce specialized mountaineering and hiking equipment that he wanted to use on his own adventures. In the 1980s, under Yukio’s son Tohru, the company branched out into the expanding auto-camping sector with family-oriented tents, cooking equipment, and accessories that embodied the company’s dedication to functionality, durability, and quality. Like other Japanese booms, the auto-camping craze was soon to subside, bringing hard times to manufacturers like Snow Peak. Crucially though, the company recognized that the way forward was to engage users and ensure they understood

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how to get the most out of the company’s products. Many will know the all-too-typical camping ordeal of dads putting tent poles in the wrong way and hanging tarps upside down. Through their outreach project, the Snow Peak Way, Snow Peak gave customers both the goods and the knowledge to enjoy their time outdoors. The company also hosts starter camps for would-be customers, giving them an easy and stress-free introduction. They have long offered bring-nothing camping at the vast campsite-cum-testing ground next to their Niigata HQ, where guests can turn up in a sports car and have everything provided. If you do take your own tent, they’ll even dry it for you before you pack it away. At Field Suite Hakuba, Snow Peak have gone one step further, using their expertise to design outdoor rooms that combine specially made tents with one-off, nature-inspired furnishings. Guests can enjoy the wonders of the outdoors while protected from the worst of the elements. Field Suite Hakuba is located at Kitaone, a gentle-sloping highland at the northern extreme of Happo One Ski Resort. At 1200m, the area enjoys sweeping views down and across Hakuba and upward to an alpine panorama that stretches from Kaerazu, the precipitous face ridden by snowboarder Jeremy Jones, right across to Hakuba’s three distinctive peaks. Gleaming white by day, the mountains become a fiery mix of oranges and pinks for those lucky enough to catch the Morgenrot, the first rays of the morning sun rising in the east. Kitaone has been separately developed as a summer retreat since 2014, when an onsen hot-spring and foot bath


You can venture into the world of glamping with an amazing al fresco dining experience at 1200m at Happo-one’s pristine Kitaone slope. were established, and a children’s play area was set up. In winter, the gentle gradient has proved ideal for familyoriented activities like fat biking, on-snow cycling on bikes with supersized tyres, and snow rafting, riding a raft pulled at speed by a weaving snowmobile. Field Suite has also teamed up with established local outdoor specialists to provide a full range of activities for everyone from thrill seekers to those who just want to take things slow. The knowledge and experience of this expanded network can ensure you make the most of your time in Hakuba. Overnight temperatures at 1200m in winter are below minus 10°C, shutting down the accommodation side of Field Suite’s operation, but you can still venture into the world of glamping by dining al fresco on the mountain. Field Suite’s Après-Ski evening program starts with pickup at your hotel at threethirty. They will take you up to Kitaone on the Sakka quad lift, where you will be welcomed with fireside aperitifs and mood music, sometimes jazz, sometimes classical, played live over the crackling of the fire. Both hot and cold drinks are served, though you may probably prefer a hot wine, and a large stack of blankets is on hand to keep you warm and toasty. From

five, a full-course dinner is served in a marquee-style tent on a long table decorated with silver birch logs and dry flower centerpieces. To this novel and intimate location, chef Shingo Suzuki brings sumptuous Italian-influenced cuisine that recreates the fine dining of Italy and Tokyo’s Ginza where he previously worked. Weather permitting, dessert is also served outside around the fire, with a backdrop of the cosmos, the glittering lights of Hakuba below, and the distant headlights of the groomers preparing the next day’s slopes. Diners at full moon will also see the high mountains in a stunning radiant blue. The evening closes with a snowcat ride down, with a final stop for stargazing. On-mountain accommodation at Field Suite will commence again in the spring.

Dinner plan include collection and drop off at your accommodation. Pick up 15:30 Après-ski dinner plan: Price available on application. Contact 0261-85-2271 fieldsuite-hakuba.com/index_en.html

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In the 1980s if you were Japanese you skied. It was a simple as that. This is the time when there were more than 700 ski resorts in Japan.

We were the second pension to open in Hakuba, what is now the The Pub in Wadano. During the bubble it was so busy at the ski areas, with huge lines of people winding back into town. Those skiers who lined up early at around 4am were given time passes like the fast-pass used at Disneyland enabling them to ski at certain times.

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Weekends and holidays were the worst or the best depending on which side of the counter you were at. It was the days before the Olympics and the transport infrastructure was not half as good as it is now. You had to walk to the ski areas from your accommodation and a simple drive from Hakuba Station to Happo-one could take 3 hours!

Echoland Street was like a fashion cat walk. Girls would walk up and down the street not only in winter clothes but also in the latest fashions. I remember seeing one young lady trying to walk up in 5-inch-high heels in the middle of snow storm, she had a hard time walking and must have been cold. She looked like she was walking along the Champs Elysees.


The ski boom peaked in the 1989–1990 season with over 2.5 million ski days registered by Hakuba Village. The stories that we have heard about that time are incredible to hear, some of our favorites are; Nowadays waiting a few minutes for a

lift is a long time but imagine waiting a few hours to ride the gondola and another hour or so to ride a 500m long lift. In the 1980s cash was king and with so much money coming into the resort, the cash had to be stuffed into cardboard boxes with staff standing on the

boxes to be able to close them before taking them down to the bank. At this time Echoland was so busy that it was virtually impossible to drive up the main road because of the overflow of people on the streets. We asked a few locals to add a few more......

All the gear but no idea comes to mind. You had to have the latest models of skis or snow wear even if you were a beginner. There were people learning to ski on long racing skis, they needed to have a wide stance to snowplough . A popular ski wear at that time was Formula One’s Alain Prost’s Ferrari replica racing suit.

The karaoke boom exploded in Japan during the bubble era, and no more so than here in Hakuba Valley. I was the manager of a Karaoke Bar in Tsugaike. In fact the main street of Tsugaike was full of Karaoke rooms. Most of the songs were sung in Japanese at that time. But I always remember Last Christmas by Wham being sung on most nights.

The valley was so busy with skiers. It was many years before the internet, so visitors didn’t know what to expect. Many would arrive without pre-booking accommodation. With most places fully booked, it put the owners in a dilemma, they couldn’t leave them out in the cold, so many of them had make room for visitors in the corridors of the their hotels or lodges. www.hakubaconnect.com

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Hakuba Connect met up with Yoko Sasagawa who always seems to be partaking in any event that the valley holds. We discussed her busy schedule.

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You seem to particpate in many Hakuba events... Many of the events are fun but hard. But if I had to choose I would say Happo Super Vertical Race. This type of SKIMO is new to me. It is very challenging that instead of racing down Happo-one you have to climb up with skis on. My challenge is to be the fastest! In summer there are many more events, one of my favorites is the FIS Summer Ski Jumping. It is an event where I can just watch and enjoy a drink or two relaxing on the grass. Tell us more about Riesen Slalom Race... This is the top amateur ski race in Japan. The over 80 year old competitors are so fun to watch. It is amazing how fast and strong they are. It starts from the top of Happo-one Adam Gondola and finishes at the bottom of Nakiayama slope. I always finish in the middle of the pack. I recommend anyone who likes to ski fast to take part. Hi Yoko, tell us a little about yourself and your family. I grew up in Hakuba, and I am raising four children of my own, ages 17, 14, 13, and 9! My father is originally from Seki Onsen, Myoko and my mother from Matsumoto. My parents met while skiing on the slopes of Happo-one and started an accommodation business in Hakuba, Wadano together in 1966. My father was busy designing and developing ski areas throughout Hakuba Valley and other places in Nagano. The course that you skied or snowboarded on today, could have been made by my father. I went to Resort Management College in Colorada, USA to follow in my family’s ski way of life. Did you know, that like my parents, I met my husband skiing at Happo-one too! We took over running the family lodge in 2006. What is an average day for you in winter? Hard! I have to get up early to prepare my children’s lunch boxes and get them off to school This is followed by or at the same time, getting guests ready to hit the slopes, cleaning the lodge..etc. I sometimes seem to find time for a little ski when nobody is looking! How do you balance everything? With difficulty. I really try to balance running the lodge and my family needs. I always try to do things that make me happy and at the same time let my children know that they can challenge anything. Hopefully they will find value to live in Hakuba. We are so lucky to be surrounded by so much nature.

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Piste or powder? Both! A snowy day is a powder day, a sunny day is for going fast! Summer or winter? Both! In summer there are so many activities to do, mountain biking, hiking, climbing, rafting, fishing…. Everyone who comes in winter should also visit in summer too.

Tell us one more thing interesting about your In fact, writing this down, family I have realized that I join My great uncle was the first one event every month! person to ski and One of my favorites is climb all the way from Myoko to Hakuba International the highest peak Trail Run. It is 54km of in Hakuba in pain, running up and 1921!

down the ski resorts.



Who needs lifts when you can drive up!

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ou have no choice really. Unless you want to walk up the slopes to “earn your turns,” you have to either take a chairlift or gondola. Thankfully, there are no T-bars! But what if you could sit in a car and get driven up the mountain by a professional racing test driver? Well, that is what happened to my wife and I one day last season at Tsugaike Kogen. Most winter sport enthusiasts in the Hakuba Valley are adventurous types. They ski or snowboard during the cold winter months and either mountain bike, hike, climb, canoe or swim in the warmer green season. And what car promotes an adventurous lifestyle better than a SUBARU! We meet up with our Subaru driver, Yoshi. As we put our skis onto the rack, the sweet-talking Yoshi with a cheeky grin asks us if we are dating. Uh? We have been married for 21 years.

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We are strapped into bucket-style seats and away we go, or maybe I should say away we fly. I have been on rollercoasters throughout the world, including the Fujiyama rollercoaster—one of the world’s highest and fastest—but this was so much better as instead of being in mechanical control, we are now under Yoshi’s control who thinks “slow down” means “go faster.” At the top of the slope, Yoshi, with the help of the handbrake, spins on a sixpence and goes even faster than an Olympic skier down the slopes, coming to a halt at the lifts. “Sorry, this was a return journey,” Yoshi explains. I glance at my wife, who has turned a whiter shade of pale and exclaims that she prefers the lifts. I give Yoshi a high five, whereas he makes one more weak joke, “I am not only a driver but also a diver, I go diving in my SCUBADO” SW



Every year, the Hakuba Valley attracts thousands of travelers to visit the beautiful mountains. We asked a few visitors what they wished the had known before venturing here.

WE WERE SURPRISED AT THE QUALITY OF THE FOOD ON THE MOUNTAIN

MAKE SURE YOU VISIT EVERY SKI RESORT IN THE VALLEY Variety is the spice of life, or so the saying goes. Well, it certainly was for us in Hakuba. To be honest, I should have done more homework as we were flying halfway around the world to visit Hakuba. I just took it for granted that all the valley ski resorts would be lift-connected just like most are in Europe where my family usually skis. We bought the Hakuba Valley pass that lets you ski in different resorts throughout your stay, even allowing a person to ski in more than one place on the same day. If you plan it right with the weather, you can enjoy the fast slopes of Hakuba Goryu and Happo-one on clear days and as the snow comes, head over to the northern slopes of Tsugaike Kogen and Hakuba Cortina/Norikura. Our favorite of the week was Hakuba Iwatake. It ticked all the boxes for us, with powder, trees, a park and wide open groomed slope. 46

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We have been to Hakuba many times over the years. In fact, my husband has been every year since he was 10! What has surprised us the most in recent years is the influx of many international skiers and snowboarders and the quality of the food offered on the mountain. If you plan it right and book ahead, you can eat first-class lunches on the slopes. Our favorite is Pilar on Hakuba Happo-one where you can enjoy a 3-course lunch with one of the best views in Hakuba!

BOOK YOURSELF ON A POWDER CLINIC I heard about the amazing powder of Hakuba before I came, but having only skied in Australia and New Zealand, I had never experienced deep powder. The first day was deep, about waist deep, and even though I consider myself a competent intermediate skier, I fell after a few turns. Getting frustrated, I headed over to Evergreen Ski School and booked a powder clinic. The instructor went through my weaknesses, which included turning my shoulders and looking down at my skis too see if they were floating. After a couple of hours, I was not falling and enjoying myself letting out howls. After all, I was now a powderhound!




SMOOTH OPERATOR When you roll off your last ski run and soak in that hot onsen bath, when the chairlifts and gondolas have come to their quiet halts and sunset leaves behind a magical pink hue. It is time for the Hakuba Valleys armies of workers to climb into their big metal beasts. By morning these “piste-groomers” have pushed and tilled the snow on dozens of ski runs into perfect corduroy stripes. It is not only about the powder in the Hakuba Valley, the thrill of carving a fresh groomed slope is one of the most fantastic feelings on snow. Responsible for this are the resorts highly skilled grooming team. And without them we would all be skiing and boarding on powder and bumps on the beginner and intermediate slopes as big as they are on the expert runs.

ing reserves of drifted snow onto thin patches and much more besides. Poor snow cover can be unavoidable in more exposed areas, where prevailing winds can blow the fresh snow away as fast as it falls, so the piste groomers get to know where to find the reserves of snow, whether drifted of nudged into sheltered spots for later use by the teams themselves.

Peering at from your hotel room in the dead of the night you’ll probably glimpse their headlight patterns in the far distance, among a swirl of snow-flurries. The piste-grommers are nocturnal working dusk to dawn shifts. While you are sleeping soundly under your duvet you can bet the that they will be out there somewhere very lonely in the darkness performing tasks such as restoring tired pistes, nudg-

It can get very lonely up on the mountains. Even in daylight when the visibility suddenly drops, skiers and boarders can lose their bearings in seconds, but the groomer drivers must know their mountains intimately even at night and in blizzard conditions. This ski area knowledge can take a couple of seasons to acquire. Even then, the unexpected can occur, so the drivers keep in constant contact with their

control center and each other with GPS and of course mobile phones. And just to keep spirits up they also have hi-fi systems and formidable cab heaters. A home from home really! Not that life is a picnic, it is hard work fighting fatigue in poor or no visibility, strong winds and white outs. Driving a groomer or snowcat as they are sometimes called is a delicate art. Riding on the wide, metal-bladed tracks means that progress, even on soft snow, tends to feel nerve-jangling firm – not ideal when the controls are light and amazingly sensitive. Wondering why you ski pass is becoming pricier? Well the groomers aren’t cheap. Each vehicle costs about $300,000. And with such big engines they can consume at the rate of 250 liters of fuel per vehicle per shift.

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What’s better than a top-to-bottom Chinese downhill race between you and your friends? Try adding 400 other people all jacked up on energy drinks into the mix. The uniquely awe-inspiring Red Bull Snow Charge takes place at Hakuba Iwatake Snow Field.

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he concept is easy: Sprint for your skis or your snowboard, throw yourself down the marked course that you have studied until you know it like the back of your hand! And the fastest wins 100,000 yen! Last year, I had the opportunity to enter my first Red Bull Snow Charge with my 15-year-old son. “Wake up, Dad,” my son shouts. “We have to get there early.” I take a look at the clock; it’s early, 5:30 am early. After clearing the snow from the car and drinking coffee, we make our way in the dark to Iwatake Snow Field to find that we are actually quite late and are in the 20th row in the run……Run? I thought we were skiing! It seems that there is a 100-yard dash in ski or snowboard boots to find your skis or snowboard, clip-in

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before the skiing as already started. We are treated to a mouth-watering sunrise, which was worth the entry fee itself. First to go are the snowboarders, and they are running fast. I should mention the snowboards have been mixed up and turned upside down, and as it is snowing lightly and the boards are covered in snow, they seem to know where to look and scoop up their snowboards in one fluid movement. This should be easy, I think to myself. I have an obligatory Red Bull drink to get the adrenaline flowing, and 30 mins later, it the skiers’ turn. I know I need to run fast, as I need to get bragging rights in our household for


a year. Away we go, and the ski boots are slowing me down, though I do pass one or two, while getting passed myself. I reach the skis, but the skis have been split up and I can only find one. I frantically search for the other, find it, clip in and away I go. The course takes you from the top of Iwatake to the base area. With the extra weight I am carrying, I manage to pass a few skiers but not enough to make up the lost time. As I pass through the Red Bull banner, my son pipes up with a “What took you so long, Dad?” I guess I have to suffer against his bragging for another 365 days. SW

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HAKUBA Q&A

Hakuba Valley is branded as the largest ski resort in Japan with over 100 lifts and 130 trails to choose from. But to answer the question, no, the ski areas are not actually connected physically but they are connected by shuttle buses. The shuttle buses ply between the resorts so theoretically, the resorts are connected, because getting on a bus is just like getting on a gondola; you have to take your skis or board off to do both. If you have the ALL MOUNTAIN PASS, then moving between the ski areas makes sense if one of the ski areas is having difficulty in running the lifts due to adverse weather. Just hop on one of the Hakuba Valley shuttle buses to the next resort.

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I love to snowboard powder like most, but I dont have the confidence to go off-piste or back country, which areas should i look at going while in Hakuba whislt staying inbounds? Here in the Hakuba Valley, a powder day is as good as gold. It’s the reason many alarms are set before dawn, it is why skis are tuned tirelessly, and it is why Gortex is considered a best friend. Your usual best friends are now your enemies who are trying to get to the powder first. Remember, there are no friends on powder days. It goes without saying, but the absolute best day of skiing in bounds is after a fresh coat of the good stuff is covering the mountain. Silently gliding through a field of untracked snow can remind you all over again why you love skiing or boarding. Unfortunately, the feeling is mutual among you and a few hundred others on the slopes that day. We prefer a more mellow approach. If you know where to go on a powder day, you can relax during the mad rush of the morning and rest assured you will be able to find fresh tracks long after the main lines are gone. The ski patrol on Happo-one checks the safety of Ura-Kuro slope after the other slopes have been open. Keep your eyes open for when they open the gate. First come first served. Iwatake Snow Field’s back bowl is wide and the trees fill a large part of the slopes. The lifts here don’t turn until about 9:00am, sometimes later. Enjoy the view at the new Mountain Harbor before dropping in. Hakuba Cortina, being steep and deep, is a mad rush on powder day. There are a lot of different lines to take when the lifts open, so it seems you are getting freshies on every run. Skiers left of the mountain is the No.4 chair lift. This has a delayed opening until 10:00am….just don’t tell you friends.


Agonizing ski-boot-related ankle pain can interfere with your enjoyment of your time in Hakuba. Determining the cause of your discomfort may be a complicated process. Contributing factors may include boot choice, boot fit, foot or ankle irregularities or a combination of all the above. In some cases, your skiing technique may be the culprit. If this is the case, head over to Boot Solutions inside the Rhythm Japan store or over to Bootfitters in

the Central Sports store. These are the professionals who can perform extensive modifications to your boots. They are equipped with the proper tools and knowledge to help you achieve the best possible fit. Custom footbeds stabilize and balance the foot and are designed to fit your foot perfectly, while modifying the shell with heat or grinding allows it to take the shape of your foot and eliminates “hot spots” or pressure points.

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Hakuba’s ski, snowboard, and outdoor lifestyle shops offer a special type of mountain expertise. From the knowledgeable and experienced staff who live and breathe the mountains, to the range of high performance and specialty items - the focus in the shops is to provide you with a shopping experience that you won’t find back home or in the urban jungle.

Burton Store The name says it all. Located inside Goryu’s Escal Plaza 2F

Garage902

Snowboard store with clothing and hardware. Pick up Hakuba’s best selling T-shirts

Central Snow Sports

Spicy

(Goryu)

Look out for the tax free logo when you are shopping to save 8% on purchases over 5,000yen. Don’t forget to bring your passport! O LY

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The Big

Hakuba’s largest and busiest supermarket with the freshest produce in town. 100yen store inside.

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Boot Solutions Feet hurting in your boots then head over to the boot specialists

Rhythm Japan

Central Snow Sports

First class store selling first class goods. Lots of items including gear for the BC

Great service as aways at Central, for rental, retail and boot fitting

Spicy

Woody

(Happo & Echoland) The largest ski and snowboard rentals in the Hakuba Valley. 6 locations!

Central Snow Sports

Three Peaks

Home to Pret, Liberty & Obermeyer brands

NBS

Rental & reatail snowsports solution now in Hakuba

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Spicy

(Wadano)

Spicy’s largest and newest store. Rental & retail

Hakuba Mtn Lounge

O LY M P I C R O A D

Woody 2 locations in Happo for rental & retail. Store you rentals at their store overnight

Kojitu Sanso A wide range of outdoor brand gear. Head upstairs to the outlet for discounted wear. Climbing wall available.

Located next to Happo Information Center, relax and pick up some unqiue items

Montbell Japanese outdoor company foucsing on high quality wear and shoes. 2F of Happo Information Center

The North Face

Not only shopping but equipped with one of Hakuba’s best cafes!

The Boarding Co. Need a board for the powder, then look no further. Lots of items on sale

Hakuba Yamatoya The Boarding Co.

Hakuba’s ski specialists. Boot fitting, waxes, helmets...you name they will probably have it

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BRING IN YOUR SKIS AND SNOWBOARDS FOR SOME LOVE BEFORE YOU HIT THE MOUNTAIN SAME DAY TURNAROUND! DROP OFF BEFORE 6PM* WAX | EDGE | GRIND | SKI AND BOARD REPAIRS | BINDING MOUNTS CAN’T GET TO THE STORE? TAKE ADVANTAGE OF OUR COURIER SERVICE! Located in the old Wadano Visitor Centre +81 (0)261 72 3288 | OPEN 7:30AM-8PM 7 DAYS

WWW.RHYTHMJAPAN.COM

MENTION THIS AD FOR 10% OFF *MINIMUM SPEND ¥3,000

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SHOPPING

BCA TRACKERS Part of BCA’s revamped line-up of beacons, the new BCA TrackerS has the same, slimline aesthetics as the existing Tracker 3, which makes it comfortable and easy to wear. It comes with all the features you need like real time LED display, triple antenna technology, multiple burial indicator, close proximity indicator, big picture mode and signal suppression mode. Some features have been left out like motion sensing and upgradable software (used by guiding professionals) to bring the BCA TrackerS down to an affordable price point. RHYTHM JAPAN

FUSE BRIGANDINE JACKET Answer the mountain’s call in this hyper technical, weatherproof Gore-Tex® shell that features an engineered FuseForm™ construction to reduce seams and the heat that escapes through them. A pack-friendly design increases comfort during long treks to the top. The alpine-specific ergonomic design supports dynamic movement while you ride, hike and climb THE NORTH FACE

TECNICA MACH 1 130. Powerful skiers looking to up their performance will appreciate the combination of direct transfer of power, optimal control and comfort the Mach 130 MV provides. Built on a Mid Volume 100 mm wide last, the MV version is the ideal choice for people with “regular” shaped feet and has outstanding out of the box fit. The shell and liner offer more fit solutions for extra fine tuning. HAKUBA BOOTFITTERS @HAKUBA CENTRAL SNOWSPORTS

SMITH I/O MAG AUSTIN SMITH X TNF(+BO Designed for optimized performance and perfected fit: two locking mechanisms for lens security, Air Evac™ ventilation for fog-free integration with Smith helmets, and a frame designed around one of Smith’s largest spherical lenses, providing a maximized field of view. HAKUBA MOUNTAIN LOUNGE

PRIOR SNOWBOARDS:HAKUPOW Suitable for big open bowls and trees. This is a board built to function and can handle those ugly days when you drop into a bowl only to find its 2 cms deep on bullet proof ice. Try that on some of these fashionable sticks floating around now and you will be lucky to come home in one piece. The “Hakupow “ prototype features a full top sheet of 300 year old Japanese timber recycled from an old homestead in Niigata. Actual appearance will feature the timber inside the Hakupow logo THE BOARDING Co.

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17/18 LIB LOGO SHEET- SNOWBOARD/SKI KRAFTSMEN LIB TECH LOGOS:

LIQUID CLASSIC LIB LOGOS:


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LENZ HEATED SOCK 5.0 + RCB 1200 BATTERY The Lenz Heated Sock 5.0 is the most advanced heated sock on the market, and the most comfortable and efficient way to add a heating system to your ski or snowboard boots. Featuring a high-quality merino blend sock with a slimline, flexible heat element that wraps around the toe cap of the sock,. BOOTSOLUTIONS

MAMMUT ANDALO HS THERMO HOODED JACKET MEN On your skis, get set, go: with the Andalo HS Thermo Hooded Jacket Men, you’re ready to go downhill. The jacket is made of an elastic hard shell material, which is completely waterproof thanks to its PFC-free DWR treatment. KOJITUSANSO

MEN’S BURTON FAMILY TREE STUN GUN SNOWBOARD Ride the mountain like a terrain park and the terrain park like a mountain on this board. The Stun Gun is packed with an arsenal of every all-terrain ripper’s favorite attributes: snappy flex, aggressive sidecut, 12mm of taper and a shape that means business. Balanced Freeride Geometry combines with directional camber to ensure that this board can party hard both in powder and across the entire mountain. BURTON STORE


These lightweight winter boots can be folded up and brought with you in a bag or a suitcase.Upper: Snow has a hard time sticking to this supple fabric. *All parts above the E.V.A. foam are not waterproof. Insulation: Extremely thin and warm Thinsulateâ„¢.Bottom: E.V.A. foam is lightweight yet an exceptional insulator. MONTBELL

VOLCOM BL STRETCH GORE-TEX JACKET. With plenty of adjustments and mesh lined vents for warmer weather, the Volcom BL Stretch GORE-TEX Jacket will serve dedicated riders looking for performance and style well. GARAGE 902

THIRTY TWO X HAKUBA T-SHIRT A collaboration with snowboard wear maker Thirty Two and Hakuba Valley, these unique T-shirts available in blue or white are the hottest new items for this season! SPICY RENTALS

SHOPPING

POWDER BOOTS ICE GRIPPER

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OUTLET CORNER 40% ~ 50% OFF

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ICELANTIC SKIS “NATURAL 101” The Nomad 125 is a fully rockered POW slayer! Designed with a full rockered profile that matches the radius of the sidecut. Perfect for hitting pillow lines and bounding through untouched pow but transforms into a carving machine when rolled on edge. Feel more “JAPOW” with this fat monster. All Icelantic Skis are handmade in Denver, CO and backed by a 3-Year “No Questions Asked” Warranty. WOODY RENTALS

K2 RECON 130 MENS Brand new for this season, K2 have introduced an innovative new Powerlight shell. Using 4 different densities of TPU plastic, the new shell offers excellent response and power, in a lightweight, comfortable package. Available in a range of shell shapes and flexes, we’re expecting these to be best sellers! BOOT SOLUTIONS

PRET THE REFUGE X, T The perfect all-mountain helmet. Fully loaded with the best technologies and features. Low profile and completely adaptable to all conditions.. The lightest and strongest helmet possible. THREE PEAKS

XTM PODIUM GLOVE The Rolls Royce of the XTM glove range, style meets beauty meets function. Beautiful soft goat skin leather, GoreTex active technology, Primaloft insulation & classic colours. Goat skin leather gloves become plyable with use and will mould to the shape of your hands. Want warm cosy hands for your Hakuba holiday? Make sure you get yourself a pair of these bad boys NBS

SOREL CARIBOU Often imitated but never equaled, the original Sorel boot features a nubuck leather upper with waterproof construction, seam-sealing and a removable ThermoPlus™ felt inner boot for warmth, comfort and protection in cold and wet winter weather. YAMTATOYA

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MORE DAY TOURS ARE AVAILABLE!


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 the 902 store in Echoland; they have Murao in some great positions.

Without a doubt, the hottest character in Japan is Hello Kitty. She 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!

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 when said in Japanese sounds a lot like Hakuba!

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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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.

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

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. Keychains are a fun and typical souvenir to buy in Hakuba!



How does tax free shopping work in Japan? In Japan, displaying your passport at any store that offers tax exemption will allow you to purchase goods without the 8% consumption tax.

What can I buy? Commodities (non-consumable items), such as consumer electronics, bags, ornaments, clothing, shoes, etc. are tax-exempt on purchases above 10,001 yen. Consumables, such as foodstuffs, beverages, tobacco, medicine, cosmetics, etc. to the list of tax-exempt goods, on purchases above 5,001 yen.

Do I need my passport? Yes, the store will place a proof of purchase in your passport, your document will be collected by a customs officer at the airport. You must take all the products out of Japan. For food, sake and cosmetics, the package must be kept sealed.

How much can I save? All items can be purchased at stores exclusive of the 8% consumption (VAT, GST) tax.

Who is able to shop tax free? All temporary visitors (less than six months stay in Japan) such as foreign tourists. Japanese nationals who live overseas and plan to do so for two years or more may benefit if they are visiting Japan temporarily.

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How to Enjoy a Japanese Onsen 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.

Birthday Suits Only!

No bathing suits or clothing is permitted in the hot springs. You must disrobe before entering. Put your belongings into one of the lockers provided

Rinse Well REMEMBER Refrain from taking an onsen immediately after eating or drinking alcohol Remember no drinking or eating in the onsen, save that for after bathing.

Wash First To the Japanese, the Western practice of washing yourself in the bath is, well‌ pretty gross actually! Every onsen has a row of showers around the outside of the bath. Soap, shampoo and conditioner are usually provided Wash yourself with soap and rinse before entering the baths. Use the stools provide to sit upon and be careful not to splash those around you when showering.

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To keep the water as clean as possible. remember to rinse thoroughly so as not to get any soap in the onsen water.

Bathing Time Enter the water slowly to allow your body to adjust to the temperature which can be hot Do not put your towel in the bath. Set you towel on your head or the side of the bath

Dry Off Dry o as much as you can before returning to the change room with your modesty towel. Keep the change room as dry as possible.


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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 Snow Field 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?

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There are a few excellent businesses in the resort that maybe 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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Information Center

Ski Shuttle Buses

Evening Bus

Taxis

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 sta are on hand to help out with various inquires, including sending luggage onwards. They also have an international ATM and large ski lockers. It is open daily from 06:00 - 21:00.

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 the number or letter bus you catch in the morning so you can get the same one back to your accommodation. Please note, though a little confusing, the Hakuba Valley buses that run from resort to resort are 500 each way, unless you have an All Mountain Pass. Other buses from accommodation areas to individual resorts are free.

Hakuba is served by local taxi companies. Drivers are usually parked up at the main Hakuba station. Expect to pay about 1,800 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 around 1:00am. After that, you are on your own. Book early at peak times!

Getting around in the evening is cheap and convenient with the Genki-go evening shuttle bus services. The buses circulate the resort from about 5pm to about 11pm. There are two routes this year: red, and blue. 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 age six ride free. The service runs from December 22nd through to March 10th.

Happo Information Center 0261-72-3066

Alps Daichi Koutsu Service 0261-72-2221 Hakuba Kanko Taxi 0261-72-2144

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


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Communications

Post Offices

Money

Clinics

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. The green public telephones are for domestic use and the grey ones for international. Telephone cards can be purchased at convenience stores and at some hotels.

Hakuba has two post offices: one is located near the Hakuba main train station and the other is near the Goryu train station. Both have international ATMs that accept most international-issued cards. The post offices are open Monday to Friday 9am – 5pm. The ATMs are open 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.

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 it 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 rentals, and ski schools will take credit cards.

Hakuba doesn’t have a hospital; the nearest is Omachi, which is about 30 minutes away. Most 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 an ambulance service to nearby hospitals. Basic medicine can be bought over the counter at Ohta Pharmacy. The staff speak English.

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Airport Shuttles

Luggage Delivery

Car Rental

Shinkansen

Nagano Snow Shuttle (026175-5360) offers a reliable direct bus to Tokyo City, Haneda and Narita Airports. Buses leave daily from Happo Information Center/Bus Terminal and from Hakuba Goryu four times daily. Bookings can be made online, through your accommodation, by phone. See back page for more information. Alpico Narita Airport Bus and Nagano Liner also have airport services.

Travelling on after visiting Hakuba but don’t want to carry your heavy luggage around, including your skis and snowboards? Why not use the cheap and efficient courier service called Takkyubin in Japanese. You can 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. Kuroneko 0261- 72-3811

If you are confident about driving on the snow and ice, renting a car is a great way of getting first tracks in the powder or going on a day trip. All rental cars are 4wd and come fitted with snow tires. Customers wishing to rent will need either a Japanese driver’s license or an international license with their passport. Without these, cars cannot be rented.

Buses leaving from Happo, Hakuba Train Station and Goryu Station can be taken to Nagano Train Station where you can connect with Shinkansen, Bullet Train services to Tokyo and around Japan. Shinkansens are frequent from Nagano Station. The express trains take about 75 minutes to Tokyo. Buses from Hakuba to Nagano take about 75 minutes and cost 1,800 yen one way.

Windy Car Rental 0261-72-5382 Hakuba Car Rental 0261-85-0097

Check out www.hyperdia.com/en/ for shinakensen and other train times within the Japanese rail network.

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Call Manu 080-4689-2007

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SKI NAGANO JAPAN! Nozawa, Hakuba & Madarao’s Full Service Accommodation and Self-contained Properties

Discover Altitude Nozawa, Hakuba & Madarao, Deluxe accommodation in convenient locations at amazing ski resorts. Altitude has every comfort of home and much more and all the services you need to make for an amazing ski holiday!

altitudehakuba.com | altitudenozawa.com | altitudemadarao.com | www.wadanogateway.com

café - brasserie - salon www.electrique.social | Ph: +81 (0) 70 2815 7973 electrique

electriquehakuba

électrique is located in the new Wadano Gateway complex just up from the Happo bus terminal and right by the Olympic sign at the entry to Wadano

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asian

bar

& grill

The Best Of East Asia Boasting a large dining area with the ability to handle large groups with ease, Lantern Asian Bar and Grill offers a great and affordable dining experience and a fun night out for all.

Stay And Relax Lantern Bar, nestled in a Japanese Tea House, offers a comprehensive range of Sake and Whisky from across Japan as well as all the old favourites.

The Taste Of The Region Traditional Hakka Pork Belly, Shinshu Steak, Rice Sake Chicken, Sizzling Azumino Tofu and a large range of Nabe/Hotpots is just some of the amazing food on offer at Lantern Bar and Grill. Located in the new Wadano Gateway Entertainment Precinct, up the road from the Happo Bus Terminal & right next to the Olympic sign at the entry to Wadano

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MATSUMOTO 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 67

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

About 2.5 hours from Hakuba, Kanazawa, often called Little Kyoto with its large castle, Samurai quarters, Geisha area as well as the stunning Kenrokuen Gardens is one of the most beautiful cities to visit in Japan. Combine this with super local fresh seafood, then no doubt Kanazawa will be on everyone’s list of the place to visit for a day trip or even longer! If you need somewhere to stay, check out the Kanazawa Tokyu Hotel Pg 130

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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

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 have a top speed of around 60km per hour. Once the snowmobiling has finished and you’ve made your way back to the base area, it 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 92


©Shoji Maruyama

year round, 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 transfor-

mation. 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! SKI JAPAN HOLIDAYS Pg 2-3 Tel: 0261-85-8009 SANROKU TOURS Pg 66-67 Tel: 0261-72-6900 HAPPY TOURS Pg .91 Tel: 0261-75-5175

ZENKOJI TEMPLE 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

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! Pg. 85

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Make the most of your winter vacation to Hakuba Valley by trying something new: snowmobiling. The tour is a great introduction to the sport, making it perfect for first-time riders who want to start at a slower pace before opening the throttle. Your guides will lead you on the Hirakawa River in front of Hakuba47. Keep your eyes peeled for any wildlife that may appear. Lion Adventure Page 92

There is no better way to engage in the unique Japanese culture than by dressing up in a stunning traditional kimono. The friendly staff will help you put on the kimono, which is not an easy task, and then show you how to tie the important obi belts, which by itself can change the kimono’s appearance Sanroku Tours Page 66-67

Immersing yourself in an onsen (Japanese hot spring) is an experience not to be missed whilst visiting Hakuba. Naturally-occurring volcanic hot water springs are a source of welcome relief from tired muscles and joints after a long day skiing or riding on the mountain. But not everyone wants to get naked in front of strangers; if this is you, then you must try out a private onsen all to yourself, family or even friends. See onsen listings Page 73, 74

Cross-country skiing is unquestionably the more traditional way to ski. In days gone by, it was for getting from point A to point B, as you can ski pretty much anywhere there is snow. It is also the cheaper of the two. Once you have your skis, you are free to explore around at your own pace enjoy the fresh mountain air, the solitude, the quiet snowy forests and friendly camaraderie of fellow skiers. The systems of man-made ski trails in the Hakuba area usually get going once there is a good base of snow to work with and they can drive the groomers on the courses to set the tracks. Since the 1998 Olympic Nordic events were hosted at the “Snow Harp Stadium” they maintain the trails in winter. To make the most of your time and to experience the best sights and hidden gems of the Hakuba area, it is recommended to sign up for a guided tour with Evergreen’s cross-country guides. With safe and professional guides to give you tips on your skiing technique on the trails, teaching you about the local wildlife and showing you the beauty of the winter mountains you’ll have some great photos as well as some wonderful winter holiday memories. Evergreen Backcountry Guides Page 93

Do you want to try something you can experience only in Japan? Every Thursday, you can take part in a Taiko Drum Tour. After listening to the beat of the professional instructors, it’s your turn to have a try. The instructors will advise you how to hit the drum by bouncing the sticks with outstretched elbows and shouting out a loud “ha!” It is a good workout and you will feel not only awed but also breathless. Not too worry about being out of breath; the tour includes a free drink! Sanroku Tours Page 66-67 www.hakubaconnect.com

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Snowshoeing entails getting the right boots and sizing up snowshoes and then heading off with guides who regularly point out animal tracks in the snow along the way. After a while, sit down on a handmade snow-couch and table and partake of the yummy dessert the guides prepare, such as chocolate fondue with fruits, accompanied by hot spiced wine! Evergreen Backcountry Guides Page 93

Hakuba maybe famous for its outdoor adventures, but in between all those fun activities, you will also find ways to relax and rejuvenate. The Tokyu Hotel has an aroma therapy course that will help you disconnect from the chaos of the real world. Soak in the onsen before the professional masseuses get to work on your tired body. Tokyu Hotel Aromatherapy page 74

Learn not only how to cook delicious Japanese food but also the basics of Japanese seasonings at a cooking class this winter in Hakuba. The classes are well-suited for those who enjoy meals cooked in an actual Japanese home, which is an entirely different experience from a studio-type cooking class. Learn the techniques that make Japanese food the best in the world!

A leisurely activity where one can really venture off the beaten paths is snowshoeing. Nothing compares to walking through deep fresh snow in a winter forest with snowshoes on. Without too much work, snowshoers can get into magnificent old growth forests and sub-alpine plateaus with fantastic panoramic views of the Hakuba mountains. Snowshoeing is great for families, couples and people all ages and is a nice change from the busy resorts. Evergreen Backcountry Guides Page 93

If you have ever wanted to shoot a pistol, machine gun or sniper rifle, then you are in luck. Top Target located in Echoland has a wide selection of modern replica weapons. The weapons are gas B.B. guns which fire small plastic pellets. The sniper rifles come with a scope and rests, allowing you to pause for a breath, take aim and hit the target with superior accuracy. Children are welcome in Top Target and can fire the weapons, though Top Target recommends they come with an adult. Top Target Page 77

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Yoga is continuing to become increasingly popular worldwide, and in Hakuba Valley it’s no different with new classes springing up in both summer and winter. In fact in winter yoaga classes are available with yoga master Manu. The classes are located in the Goryukan Hotel about a 10 minute walk from the information center and about a 15minute walk from Echoland. The classes are 75minutes in length and suitable for beginners. Manu’s Yoga & Massage Page 80

Enjoy fine dining outdoors in a luxurious tent on a ski resort in the middle of winter..sounds crazy, but this is what you can do this season in Hakuba Happo-one. Pick-up at your accommodation at 3.30pm where you will be whisked up the mountain for a memorable evening. http://fieldsuite-hakuba.com/index_en.html

New for this year is a chance to participate in the Japanese tea ceremony, learning how to whip green tea with a bamboo whisk, and savoring hot matcha with traditional Japanese sweets. Sanroku tours Page 66-67

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How to Ride a Bus to the Ski Areas

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njoy being chauffeured to the slopes in the morning and back to your accommodation in the afternoon. The Hakuba Valley ski bus service make it possible to do a bit of après ski. To travel on the buses, simply arrive at one of the specified ski bus stops prior to the scheduled departure time. Take your ski or snowboard equipment with you and let your ski day begin.

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Riding the ski shuttle buses in the Hakuba Valley has gotten easier over the last view years, but it is still a little complicated for first-timers. We have tried to simplify it as best we can.

HAKUBA VALLEY BUSES Hakuba Valley buses run between the 10 different resorts split into HV-1 ,HV-2 and HV-3. Hakuba Valley buses are free for those who have the Hakbua Valley lift passes. Your ticket will be activated for the day when you board a bus, so if you are not go skiing or riding, it won’t be worth validating your ticket.


Individual resort tickets are for only one ski area. With this ticket, you can still ride the bus, but you will be charged accordingly. Strange as it seems, another point worth noting is that if you re-charge your pass online, it will only be activated when you pass through your first ski ticket gate, therefore incurring the appropriate fare HV1 (Omachi Line). It services Kashimayari and Jigatake and picks up at Happo Bus Terminal and Echoland Base Camp and is free. HV-2 (Konayuki Line) services Tsugaike Kogen , Hakuba Norkiura and Hakuba Cortina for 500 yen to ride and 250 yen for kids. HV-3 (Goryu-Happo-Tsugaike Line) has numerous pick-up points and runs from Goryu to Tsugaike, stopping at all ski resorts and main accommodation areas in-between. This is

also 500 yen to ride, 250 for kids under 12.

INDIVIDUAL SKI RESORT BUSES Individual ski resorts also run their own buses from most of the main accommodation areas. The buses are free if you are skiing or riding at that particular resort. Instances of customers being refused have occurred with those not in snow wear for a day on the slopes

EVENING SHUTTLE BUSES In the evening, the GENKI-GO shuttle buses ply the streets between the main après ski areas. These finish at about 10pm, whereas you are on your own or in a taxi.

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JAMES ROBB, EVEREGREEN ALPINE ACADEMY

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iginally 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

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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.

“Be safe, be respectful of the mountains and others and happy sliding!” 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.

www.hakubapowdertours.com

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080-4151-0220


Skiers 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 suffi-

ciently skilled and confident to tackle the steepest this resort can throw at me? 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. Corduroy lovers need not apply.

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Pic Patrick Fux

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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 Snow Field 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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CAN YOU TEACH AN OLD DOG NEW TRICKS?

I had a moment of self reflection last season following a decent ski day. I realized considering the amount of ski days under my belt, I kind of sucked if I had to get out of my comfort zone.

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Now, I am not that old, but when I donned my first alpine ski gear, Michael Jackson had yet to go solo, the US dollar was pegged at 380 Japanese yen and Lillie and Thomo were terrorizing the English batters! (Those were great days.) As a skier, I wasn’t incompetent. I could cruise the groomers all day and be perfectly in my comfort zone, but when I did find myself in the moguls or in the late afternoon, when the slopes were mashed up, my technique changed from a budding Bode Miller to a blundering Clark Kent. I had been skiing the same advanced-intermediate level for years. It was time to teach an old dog some new tricks. For a while, I considered taking a lesson, and after one frustrating afternoon in the Happo-one bumps, I decided not to put it off any longer. I booked a private lesson with Evergreen International Ski School, my first ski lesson since the USSR broke up. There are a lot of great ski schools in Hakuba Valley, but I chose Evergreen for a couple reasons. First, they had transformed my son and daughter from absolute beginners to confident all-mountain skiers. Secondly, Evergreen Ski School is located in the same building as Roots Café, one of the only places in the valley I know of that serves organic beer as well as great tasting coffee. On the morning of my lesson, I made my way to the Kokusai Base area and the short walk to the Evergreen office. It is a great place to meet with your instructors, a short hop to the nearest lift. My instructor turned out to be a Brit called Nick, who I was pleased to learn shared my passions for cycling and good beer. We spent the first few runs on the wide Panorama Slope, were Nick analyzed my carving technique. He told me I was rotating or skidding my skis to commence the turn. He got me doing some drills on correcting this and not rushing the turn, and with his tips on alignment, I felt great but still in my comfort zone. Time for that to change, Nick explained. It was now time to tackle the dreaded moguls. Every season, I make an attempt to ski them, somehow hoping it will all click into place. Every year, I fail miserably and sulk back onto the safety of the groomers and catch my breath.

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Try to look a couple of bumps ahead, and not to look at the turn you are on or you will be too late for the next one! On the lift over the bumps, Nick pointed out the line to take. These were small bumps, he said. I thought they looked like mini Mt. Fujis; they were big. A good separation between upper and lower body is essential so as to be like a coiled spring at the end of every turn. We practiced this slowly and low, and behold, it was working. I was skiing the moguls, and unlike previous years, I was in control, though I guess it wasn’t pretty. As my skills were improving, my legs were beginning to get tired, so on our last mogul run, I concentrated on looking ahead and carrying a tray of beers down the bumps. Nick said if you can get down the slope without spilling a drop, then you deserve one in the Roots Café. I made it down and was comfortable with my technique. I was finally in total control. Time for that beer! MA



FAST FACTS

40% BEGINNER

45% INTERMEDIATE

15% ADVANCED COURSES 22 including tree courses

LIFTS 8

including high speed quads

LONGEST 5000m

ELEVATION 720m

NIGHT SKIING YES 29 Dec ~ 6 Jan 12 Jan ~ 14 Jan 2 Feb 9 Feb ~ 11 Feb

SKI SCHOOLS Kashimayari Ski School 0261-23-1411

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KASHIMAYARI The area is serviced Intermediates by eight lifts with a A favorite run is to take respectable vertical the 1 Quad lift followed by the 10 Pair lift to the top of of 720m. The Cen- the resort. After taking the tral-Plaza itself is a obligatory photographs, put great area to base the camera away and head down the Route 1 or Route yourself and meet 15 courses. These are fast up for lunch with a groomed courses that will Baskin Robbins ice make you feel like a ski racer. cream parlor. From Advanced here you can ski in For powder lovers, turn left outside the mid-station every direction. Beginners For beginners, head skiers right for the long cat track down to the mid station. Kids can spend hours on a magic carpet with hoops and slides. For the older kids, there is a good intermediate park at the Nakatsuna base area.

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.

DID YOU KNOW

?

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 area.


• Hakuba Valley’s Best Views • Great on mountain Dining • Panorama Lake View • Tree Run Courses • Powder TEL:0261-23-1231 www.kashimayari.net


FAST FACTS

35% BEGINNER

40% INTERMEDIATE

25% ADVANCED COURSES 23 including Champions, Cosmos & Adventure

LIFTS 19

including 2 x gondolas

LONGEST 6400m

ELEVATION 926m

NIGHT SKIING YES (Goryu)

SKI SCHOOLS Hakuba Snow Sports 080-5357-6420 Hakuba47 Ski Academy International 0261-75-3533 Hakuba Ski Concierge 080-6933-5691 Snow Dragon Int’l Ski School 080-4151-0220

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GORYU & 47 The linked resorts of Hakuba Goryu and Hakuba47 form Hakuba’s most popular hill in terms of visitor numbers. Both resorts can be ridden using the same lift ticket. 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 s t e a d y 2 0 - 2 5 d e g re e pitch. Due to its overall northeasternly orientation, this course is usually rideable to the base even at the resort’s closing in May! Goryu has a wide intermediate slope at the top of the gondola with great snow and three lifts to keep you moving.

Advanced

Routes 2 and 3 off the quad at 47 both 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.

DID YOU KNOW

?

Hakuba47 is home to the best park featuring the only half-pipe in the valley. Hakuba Goryu has the best night skiing options with groomed slopes opening at 6:00pm



FAST FACTS

35% BEGINNER

40% INTERMEDIATE

25% ADVANCED COURSES 13 including Champions, Cosmos & Adventure

LIFTS 23

including one gondola

LONGEST 8000m

ELEVATION 1071m

NIGHT SKIING YES

SKI SCHOOLS Evergreen Int Ski School 0261-72-3200 Happo-one Ski School 0261-72-2126

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HAPPO-ONE 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 o f Ha k u b a’s t h re e symbolic peaks. Host to th e m e n’s a n d 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 yo u li nk i n g tu r n s in n o time at all. There is the

Sakka Kids Park area with a magic carpet for skiing and tobaganning.

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. 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.

DID YOU KNOW

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Happo-one was host to the men’s and women’s blue ribbon downhill and super giant slalom events at the 1998 Nagano Olympics,



FAST FACTS

30% BEGINNER

50% INTERMEDIATE

20% ADVANCED COURSES 26 including White Ribbon & View A

LIFTS 15 including Noah Gondola

LONGEST 3800m

IWATAKE Hakuba Iwatake stands on its own mountain in front of the extended Japan Alps range. Unlike the other Hakuba resorts, the snowfield, literally drops over the back side Beginners

ELEVATION 539m

NIGHT SKIING NO

SKI SCHOOLS Evergreen Int Ski School 0261-72-3200

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 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.

DID YOU KNOW

?

A ride on the gondola gets you to Iwatake’s summit, from which courses radiate out in all directions of the compass. 120

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FAST FACTS

35%

BEGINNER

40% INTERMEDIATE

25% ADVANCED COURSES 13 including Champions & Hi-no-ki

LIFTS 23 including Eve Gondola and high speed quads

LONGEST 4630m

ELEVATION 904m

NIGHT SKIING YES

SKI SCHOOLS Evergreen Int Ski School 0261-72-3200

TSUGAIKE Tsugaike’s biggest draw is the expansive beginner area at the bottom where ten lifts ser vice Hakuba’s widest piste. When not buried in powder, this area offers a nice easy introduction to sliding on snow. Beginners Tsugaike’s biggest draw is the expansive beginner area at the bottom where ten lifts service Hakuba’s widest piste. When not b u r i e d i n p owd e r, th i s 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 provides smooth respite to those who struggle in the bumps. You can really open it up and let the scenery fly by.

Advanced

HIT park further down the slopes has some big jumps and natural banks. For the trees at the top of the resort, you must sign in and register on the second floor of Jacky’s Kitchen restaurant opposite the top of the gondola.

DID YOU KNOW

?

Almost all of Tsugaike’s pistes are groomed, which may disappoint powder hounds, but means hardly any of the moguls that develop on other resorts’ ungroomed areas between storms. 122

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FAST FACTS

30% BEGINNER

50% INTERMEDIATE

20% ADVANCED COURSES 14 including Expert & Sky View Courses

LIFTS 10

including Alps 10 to link with Hakuba Cortina

LONGEST 2500m

ELEVATION 600m

NIGHT SKIING NO

SKI SCHOOLS Frontier 080-7005-5717

NORIKURA H a k u b a N o r i k u ra Intermediates i s l i n k e d t o i t s Hakuba Norikura is a neighbouring resort, weekend warrior kind of H a k u b a C o r t i n a , pl a c e , t h u s m a k i n g t h e which can be ridden c o m b i n a t i o n o f l o t s o f u s i n g t h e s a m e space, lots of snow, and the pass if you buy the lack of crowds that can be c o m b i n e d r e s o r t found at the larger resorts t i c k e t . We t h i n k providing a great stage for this is a must as it building up confidence. doubles the terrain that you can enjoy. Advanced Make sure you ask Norikura shares Cortina’s for the combined m i g h t y s n o w f a l l a n d t i c k e t w h e n extends for a very respectable 600 meters 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.

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.

DID YOU KNOW

?

Hakuba Valley’s most underrated resort. When combined with Cortina, it certainly offers a lot of different and deep powder options.

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Connected to Hakuba Cortina


FAST FACTS

40% BEGINNER

30% INTERMEDIATE

30% ADVANCED COURSES 16 including Itadaira & Snake Courses

LIFTS 7 including 2 x quad lifts

LONGEST 3500m

ELEVATION 530m

NIGHT SKIING YES

SKI SCHOOLS Evergreen Int Ski School 0261-72-3200

CORTINA Hakuba Cortina Ski the No. 4 Lift to the top of resort rises behind the resort. After taking the t h e i m p o s i n g obligatory photographs, put Bavarian-style Green the camera away and head P l a z a H o t e l w i t h down the route 1 or route i t s c r i s s - c r o s s e d 15 courses. These are fast b l a c k b e a m w o r k groomed courses that will and large red roof. make you feel like a true ski You will never lose racer. your bearings while Advanced skiing here! Beginners Above the hotel itself e x t e n d s a l o n g c e n t ra l 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

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! We u r g e a l l r e a d e r s t o respect the few rules they have. If they mark an area as out-of-bounds or closed, it will be for a reason.

DID YOU KNOW

?

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. 126

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TSUGAIKE KOGEN

Available for rental from the 2018–19 Winter Season A Superbly Appointed Four Bedroom Luxury Chalet Close to EchoLand and Major Amenities

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