Hakuba Iwatake Snow Field resort review (Hakuba Village, Nagano)

Hakuba Iwatake Snow Field
Hakuba Village, Nagano
Submitted by foofighter1981 on 11th March 2014
Well-designed resort
The resort got an overnight dump before our early morning arrival, so that may cloud my review a bit, but I liked this place way more than Goryu / 47 for one simple reason: design.

Unlike many resorts that only use one face of the mountain, Iwatake seems to make use of all sides of the mountain, which means that most courses start off from one central area that can be accessed via gondola. You'd think this would lead to overcrowding, but it didn't feel so as the central area seemed big enough to accomodate all the traffic. I spent a lot of my day on intermediate runs, and they were generally nice and wide. Most of the lifts also feed right back into the central area, so there wasn't much need to skate between areas (unlike the abovementioned resorts).

The tree runs are another big selling point... and with the way runs are designed, off-piste is definitely encouraged if not outright. There were a couple areas closed off due to avalanche danger, so that kinda says something in itself.

As many have mentioned, the gezan course that goes all the way down the mountain has its bottleneck points, but I imagine that if you went on a weekday this wouldn't be problem. If you spent your entire day on this course alone, like Marunuma in Gunma you could go the whole time without ever having to ride a lift due to straight shot up via gondola. Then again you wouldn't get to experience some of the better areas.

Per the norm, the conditions did seem to worsen exponentially after lunch, so get there early.
Date visited: From 08 March, 2014 To 09 March, 2014
Snow condition on visit: Powder all across the mountain, ice and slush down toward base
Things I liked: Course layout
Things I didn't like: Lunch crowd
Recommended for: Beginner riders
Intermediate riders
Advanced riders
Families & children
Off-piste opportunities
Ungroomed courses
General score: 90
Snow conditions: 90
Courses/Terrain: 90
Lift system: 90
Apres ski: 80

Hakuba Iwatake Snow Field

Hakuba Village, Nagano
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Average Rankings

General score: 75
Snow conditions: 79
Courses/Terrain: 76
Lift system: 71
Apres ski: 60

Basic Resort Statistics

Max. elevation: 1289m
Min. elevation: 750m
Vertical: 539m
Steepest slope: 35°
Longest course: 3800m
Number of lifts: 12

Location of Hakuba Iwatake Snow Field