Having skied throughout Europe I was entering the unknown of skiing in Japan.
All I have to say now is that it is beyond outstanding!!
Staying in the beautiful Sierra Resort Hakuba, we were shuttled daily to different points to start our skiing.
On arrival I headed straight to the slopes of Nakiyama for some night skiing which was great to dust off the cobwebs. The slope would be appropriate for beginners up wards and even for children to do sledging at the bottom, with restaurants and the pub open too. As I became more knowledgeable of the area, I found night skiing elsewhere in Tsugiake where the pistes are far longer and more options.
The second day brought glorious weather as we skied and explored Happo starting in Sakka. What I was interested to see was there were no blue runs as in Europe and thus with a wife just learning to ski some of the green runs were testing. However, the snow was immaculate, with beautiful wide slopes allowing for beginners to ski. What I liked about Sakka was that you could go all the way to the top even if you were a beginner as there are two forest, scenic routes down, again at times quite challenging for a beginner, but nonetheless excellent. As an advanced skier there were some awesome reds to open up on and several blacks which all tested at certain points. Here you also have tree runs and the Snow park which again caters for the advanced skiers.
The third day we explored Tsugiake which really is the place to go as a beginner. The base of the mountain is gentle and wide. Again beginners can get further up with viable options down for them. At the top there are some enjoyable runs for intermediate skiers...and there is a KFC at the top!! We were glad to knead there as it was only 5minutes from our hotel and the wind kicked up a bit in the afternoon, forcing us to chill and have an onsen...shame!
Fourth day...fantastic. Similar weather to the first. Glorious sun, crisp air and snow was ace.we started in Sakka, skied across to Kokusai then got lifts up where there are some excellent pistes for the advanced, notably 3 black runs, 2 of which are the olympic courses. From there we skied down to the gondola in shirakaba which took us up to a similar point where we had lunch. The reds from the top of the gondola and excellent for intermediates as they are wide and allow the more advanced to really open up. After lunch we skied down to Nakiyama before cutting back across to Kokusai, returning to the too before taking a beginner friendly panorama piste all the way down and across back to Sakka...a class day.
The bus services are great and service all of Happo and also link up Goyru and Hakuba 47 of which we didn't get to.
In terms of après ski, don't expect it to be Europe style. It's very much beers in lovely lodges or a little more lively by Happo Bus Terminal in places such as Jacks Sports Bar, Uncle Stevens and Cross Bar. Hotel came to fetch us each time after we had finished dinner or drinks, which was perfect.
From 04 January, 2015 To 10 January, 2015
Snow condition on visit:
Excellent for the majority. Black runs a bit icy on top
Things I liked:
Range of pistes and quality of snow, accessibility, the way the resorts linked, excellent rentals quality, the amount of restaurants and bars on the mountain,