Growing up boarding on the west coast of the USA, I have experienced similar snow but NOTHING compares to Hakkoda. Nothing.
This place was amazing. I was fortunate to go on a bright blue day (I hear it's notorious for bad weather). The place was like nothing I've seen before.
As an upper intermediate boarder (blues and blacks) I was initially nervous coming here with two beginners especially after reading the reviews. However, I was assured our group would be fine on the beginner lift and if we stuck to the "trails" once of the gondola.
The 2-person lift was fairly slow and the run is short. It's perfect for someone learning how to ski or snowboard though. After just one run on the beginner slope, we headed up the gondola.
Despite getting there 3-4 days after a storm, the snow was still virtually untouched even near the trails and was light and powdery. There was so much powder everywhere that you didn't really need to go in between trees to find the stuff. The whole way down is pretty much in between large, snow-covered evergreens anyway.
The beginners in the group did well and slowly but surely got down the mountain just fine (it was only the 2nd time boarding for one of them). The newbie wasn't convinced he liked boarding after his first day but since Hakkoda, he's hooked for life now.
All in all, this is THE place to go. It's pretty deserted. You could spend a whole day not running into another person even on the front side of the mountain. I'm spoiled for life now that I've been here. Every time I get dragged to another resort, I think, "why bother when there's Hakkoda?"
Hakkoda is Heaven on Earth.
I have yet to try the backcountry, but I hear it's amazing. I'm just waiting for a day when I can go with more advanced boarders.
From 05 January, 2011
Snow condition on visit:
Things I liked:
POWDER, incredible scenery, unlimited runs, not crowded
Things I didn't like:
Beginner slope is short, need lots of equipment and guide to go backcountry