This was my first visit to Hakuba after spending many years at Niseko and Rusutsu, on the island of Hokkaido. I was impressed! The terrain was better than I expected and more varied. We skied the resorts of Happo One, Goryu, Hakuba 47 and Tsugaike. We missed Cortina and Iwataki because of bad weather. My preference was Happo One, probably because on the days we skied there we had mostly good dry powder. I would have liked to have spent more time in the trees but the group I was skiing with weren't happy about this, so as a consequence most of our time was on open runs. It seems the ski patrol at most of the resorts do not like you going into areas off the main runs and I am told they will pull your ticket if you duck a rope! Even so I had enough powder to keep me amused but I would have preferred more off piste! Not so impressed with Tsugaike but in fairness on the day we were there half the mountain was closed because of wind and snow. Because of this we were only on the bottom runs and these were flat and boring. We kept hoping we would find something better, but alas not. I can only assume the top of the mountain would have been much better. Find out next time. The restaurants at Happo were good and the food varied, similarly Gory and Hakuba 47. Didn't find Tsugaike so good but I think we were put off by the terrain and the fact we were stuck at the bottom of the hill. We stayed at The Hotel DeLAille in Wadano Forest which is a short walk to the Happo Sakka ski lift. Very convenient and the Hotel was excellent! Family run and the hosts were terrific and went out of their way to be helpful. The in house, fixed menu Japanese evening meal was sensational!! and the indoor outdoor Onsen was just wonderful. Something else sitting up to your neck in hot water watching the snow falling Probably the only criticism I would have of Hakuba is the need to use shuttle buses to get to the other resorts. If you want freshies it meant skipping breakfast at the hotel to catch an early shuttle bus. Much easier to walk to Happo. Also, the village, as such, is spread out and where we were at Wadano it meant a shuttle to town and back at night, so we tended to eat either at the Hotel or one of the few restaurants near by. After a hard days skiing this was no big deal. I would happily return to Hakuba!
From 04 February, 2015 To 15 February, 2015
Snow condition on visit:
powder through to hard pack.
Things I liked:
Great snow, plenty of variety when you consider all the resorts available to you.