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

Hakuba Iwatake Snow Field
Hakuba Village, Nagano
Submitted by MichaelKlaehn on 9th February 2015
The best snowboard experience I’ve ever had.
My snowboarding background is all mountain and have spent most of my snowboarding holiday experiences in Queenstown and Wanaka in New Zealand. I’m at an advanced level but really just out to have some nice runs. Hakuba was quite a surprise both in size, choices and quality.

I’d heard good comments about Iwatake even though everyone is always talking Cortina so I didn’t really have any expectations about the day. It was grey but snowing lightly. Once at the top of the gondola it was an absolute wonderland. Beautiful powdery surface with everything absolutely covered looking like a postcard.

Being a Friday it was pretty quiet so no traffic to avoid or navigate through and most of the time you had your own part of the run to yourself, nice. Quietly coming down the mountain with the trees on either side of the run, snow falling and nothing but your board slicing through was simply awesome. No crunching, no sand on cement sounds, just pure fun. By the time I got to the bottom you couldn’t wipe the smile off my face. But better was to be had.

I met a few people in the bus and we met some others at the top of the Gondola who recommended going off down to the 3rd Pair chairlift. Great surface, new tracks and even softer snow. We were so impressed we just all said “Doing that again!”. Going down the alternate runs just got better and better. Hardly anyone around and the place to yourself. After doing more of this it was time for lunch, oh and by the way it was still snowing.

After lunch which is a very hearty chicken and rice with miso soup, hot cocoa and a red bull (definitely wanted wings for the afternoon). The snow was now bucketing or as I heard someone say “puking?”. Anyway, it seemed as some people had left and the place was even more quiet. Visibility was still good but now with heavy snow, even better. Back over to the view lifts and it proved a great choice, basically fresh tracks again nearly up to the knees. Before anyone says “oh that’s nothing”, well great, it was still pretty great for me as a first timer in the stuff.

Spent the rest of the afternoon all over the mountain just enjoying the quiet, the clear runs and that new fresh snow. As a holiday snowboarder this was an awesome day and a completely new experience which I won’t forget. Yes there might be bigger and deeper but this was just perfect for a great day in the snow.

Yes I sound like I’m a convert to Hakuba and you’d be right. Keen to come back again and re-visit the old and try out the new. Don’t believe the snow whisperers you can’t go wrong at Iwatake and even though I didn’t get to witness the views in all their glory it didn’t matter. Go and enjoy!
Date visited: From 25 January, 2015 To 01 February, 2015
Snow condition on visit: Good visibilty, overcast but lightly snowing building into heavy snow in the afternoon. No wind just falling flakes. Snow at the top of the gondola silky smooth and a great surface all over the mountain. Groomed or not it didn't matter.
Things I liked: Quiet runs, no crowds, great snow and choice of runs. Every corner revealed another postcard.
Things I didn't like: Missed out on the view but otherwise nothing, all good. Didn't really hand around to see what apres was like as we were running for the bus. Benefit of the doubt.
Recommended for: Beginner riders
Intermediate riders
Advanced riders
Authentic Japan experience
General score: 90
Snow conditions: 100
Courses/Terrain: 90
Lift system: 100
Apres ski: 90

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