Snow Season Japan owner Sarah was really excited and honoured to receive an invitation to guide a filming trip for Classic Resorts Japan, comprising of Hakuba, Shiga Kogen, Nozawa Onsen and Myoko ski resorts, located in the Nagano and Niigata regions of Japan. Follow our blog, as we ski deep powder and soak up Japanese culture at each location during the last two weeks of January!
The beauty of these four resorts is their location – all of them can be reached via a swift trip (roughly 1 hour 30 mins) onboard the Shinkansen bullet train from Tokyo to Nagano city, followed by a connecting bus or train direct to each resort. Nowhere does travel like Japan, for precise, smooth and super fast service. From the moment you step off the plane, it’s a truly incredible and awe-inspiring experience… and that’s just the efficiency of the transport system. Just wait until we talk about the powder snow and culture!
Our talented film and ski crew flew in from New Zealand, starting their trip in Tokyo with an evening at the famous Ninja Bar, before zipping over to the Japanese Alps by bullet train the following morning. First stop, Hakuba. Host to various events at the 1998 winter Olympic games, the village of Hakuba stretches along a the foot of the Northern Alps, Japan’s biggest mountain range. Ten individual ski resorts line the valley – the high alpine scenery (3000m peaks that you would never imagine in Japan provide the backdrop) and variety of terrain available here is just mind blowing.
We checked into the beautiful Hakuba Tokyu Hotel in the Wadano area of Hakuba, conveniently located very close to the lifts of Hakuba’s largest ski area, Happo One.
The skiing got off to an epic start with our first day spent riding beautiful steep tree terrain through deep snow at Cortina ski resort, located at the northern most end of the Hakuba valley.
Filmer Jase Hancox
The group enjoy a lunch stop at Zen restaurant, where the specialty is Soba Noodles and Tempura. Delicious!
Zen restaurant in Hakuba
The following day, some members of the crew headed out into Hakuba’s extensive backcountry terrain, guided by Dave Enright from Evergreen Outdoor Center. Everyone was stoked on the big mountain terrain, huge vertical drop and amazing snow, accessed by hiking along the ridge which extends from Happo One resort. And the weather was just perfect – bluebird sunshine, awesome powder and incredible views of the Japanese Northern Alps mountain range.
The rest of the team went to check out Hakuba’s Olympic Ski Jumping Stadium. Julia and Amelia looking back over the Hakuba valley.
A visit to the very top of the Olympic Ski Jumps confirmed our suspicions that we definitely don’t have any ambitions to become professional ski jumpers! Yikes, scary stuff!
Our day was complete with a soothing dip on one of Hakuba’s many Onsen hot springs. The one we visited, called Mimizuku, has great views of the Japanese Alps from the outdoor bath. A perfect way to finish off the day!
For some of the most breathtaking images you’ll ever see, check out our photographer Camilla Stoddart’s first blog post from the trip here. Stunning stuff, don’t miss it!
Stay tuned… updates from Shiga Kogen, Nozawa Onsen and Myoko coming soon!