My first visit to Happo-One was on Saturday, January 26, 2008 before the SJ Hakuba Party Gathering. We boarded the mountain from about 9am to 4pm.
Happo-One is a huge blank canvas of snow. Most of the runs are huge and wide without any type of trees to border the boundaries. This can be bad news given that there are many, many skiers that are extremely fast. The skiers on Happo-One are by far the fastest I have seen on the slopes in Japan. The trees along the edges and narrower runs would be a great regulator of the speed.
Happo-One seems to be two mountains split into a western half and an eastern half. If you end up on the eastern half you will need to take a couple of lifts up to get back over to the western half. You cannot skate or ski across the base, because of running water.
The snow conditions were not ideal at the time of our visit. We were told it had not really snowed in a few days. Also, that the top lifts had been closed on the day prior. We found out why when we reached the top. Snow dusted ice caps from the top lift all the way down to the next lift.
From 26 January, 2008
Snow condition on visit:
Had not snowed in a couple of days. Icy conditions at top and bottom of some runs.
Things I liked:
Wide open runs.
Things I didn't like:
Wide open runs. No controlled off-piste like Niseko.