Stef's adventures in craftiness

Skiing Hakuba

In March this year, we visited Japan. The first week we spent in Hakuba in the Japanese Alps on the main island, Honshu. It is about 5 hours by bus from Tokyo airport, but you can take a shinkansen to nearby Nagano and a bus from there (the local train line is a bit slower). We skied for five days, three in Happo-one resort where we stayed (Rosenheim Hotel) and two in Iwatake resort. Hakuba is great, because you can stay walking distance or a short bus ride from the slopes, and another seriously short bus ride to six or so other resorts so you can take your pick!

When we arrived it hadn’t snowed for a while, but we got a brief spattering on our first day, then rain on the next, then later on we got a fresh dump of snow! So all sorts of conditions from icy to powdery.

These photos I took on my phone, I didn’t take a bag with me skiing so I had no space for my ‘proper’ camera, but I didn’t need anything fancy in these surrounds. I froze my fingers with the few shots I took anyway.

Dan is new to skiing, here he is not having crashed much yet.

From Phone Images

This was my favourite run for much of the time, as you can see I had it pretty much to myself. It got a bit busier on the weekend, but it seemed visitor numbers were low and it was getting to the end of the season.

From Phone Images

I loved these little snow boulders still left in the tree.

From Phone Images
From Phone Images

The start of the white out, I stacked it at one point when a ridge took me by surprise.

From Phone Images

I can’t imagine getting sick of looking at snow frosted trees.

From Phone Images

Here you can see part of Hakuba village:

From Phone Images

I have never skiied powder before. I had no idea what I was doing and it was the weirdest sensation for someone used to ice to be skiing underneath the snow! At least falling over didn’t hurt much.

From Phone Images

I fell over a lot down this chunky moguly but soft black run. Never looks as bad in a photo as in real life though.

From Phone Images

Up near the summit of Iwatake, was popular with new snowboarders. They had a jump run too that was empty enough for us to go slowpoke down.

From Phone Images

The top of my favourite run in Iwatake, the downhill racer. I raced down many times, and felt like queen of the hill! Dan even had a go!

From Phone Images

We even found a cozy vegan cafe at the bottom of Kokusai lift in Happo-one, a completely unexpected suprise. (Especially since, even in the cities later on, we struggled to locate vegetarian places we knew about!) Needless to say, we hung out there a lot.

From Phone Images

Every day I skiied until my legs could no longer hold me up, then headed straight to the outdoor onsen in the hotel for a hot soak, followed by udon or soba for dinner. I can’t wait to go back.


3 responses

  1. Those … those hills!!!
    Second-to-last photo!

    July 3, 2012 at 16:04

    • Beautiful, eh? Nothing like Alps to turn on the scenery.

      July 5, 2012 at 12:00

    • I second that!

      July 8, 2012 at 23:20

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