We left straight from school Friday afternoon, headed to HK airport to fly to Tokyo (4 hours) and then a 4 hour transfer to the ski resort...I was so so excited!! I had heard a lot of amazing things about Japan skiing and I was NOT disappointed.
We stayed in the Hakuba Valley near Nagano where the 1998 Winter Olympics took place. The apartment was closest to Happo One resort and we could ski back home at the end of the day - which was dreamy as the hill was not ok to walk up in ski gear!! We stayed in Altitude apartments, in the upstairs one to start and then moved to the larger downstairs one with an Onsen part the way through the week (not by choice...but worth the move!) The people that own the 2 apartments were great at taking us down to the supermarket, booking restaurants, getting our luggage and ski hire to the apartment which was amazing to have. We managed to ski Saturday afternoon after arrival which was great to get out and test those ski legs after a year.
Sunday 11th Feb: Happo One
We bought a full day pass for Happo one and explored all over the mountain. It had snowed overnight so there was so much powder and we had such a great full day of ski! Matt had not skied since Y9 ski trip but you couldn't tell at all, he was picking it all up again amazingly well!
Monday 12th Feb: Happo One
Again, stayed around Happo One mountain and went right to the top and explored it all a lot more. It was pretty cold as it snowed all day but the conditions were not too bad for skiing which was good.
Tuesday 13th Feb: Tsugaike Kogen
A short shuttle bus ride to this mountain, which had a lot more easier slopes but did mean you could pick up a lot more speed and do the slopes many times. We went in the snow park here, although the jumps do scare me a little, I did manage a few (with minimal air time haha)!! We went to a lovely little Japanese cafe for lunch and enjoyed a warming Ramen and the owner was the sweetest old man... who was still snowboarding!
Wednesday 14th Feb: Goryu/Hakuba 47
A larger mountain today and a lot of ski-ing! We found some great routes around this mountain and an amazing Corona bar which we had a few pitstops at whilst we were here! I also did my first double diamond black which was VERY mogul-ly (that is now a word) and it was pretty tough and when I didn't think about it too much and scare myself I kept a good rhythm! I was very proud of myself for doing this :-) After a big day ski-ing we celebrated by heading into town to a few of the bars, The Rabbit Hole and down to The Pub which had turned into a club for the evening and it was great to have a dance!
Thursday 15th Feb: Happo One
Nursing our sore heads and tiredness we made it out for lunch and an afternoon of skiing at the resort closest to us! We had a complete white out as we were trying to come home from the mountain, so we somehow navigated our way back to the apartment without any injuries or getting lost!! Then headed down to the Gondola Bar on route down the dreaded (and now icy!) hill to dinner at a traditional Japanese restaurant.
Friday 16th Feb: Iwatake
For our last day of skiing we were recommended this mountain as it had some lovely views as well as a variety of runs that we could complete on our last day.
All in all the most incredible conditions for skiing and a vast array of runs and resort areas to choose from - and most importantly a fabulous bunch of friends to enjoy it all with on and off the slopes... Hakuba Valley, you have hooked us - see you next year!