Endless Snow in Japan
18th March, 2014
The Japanese knew they had one of the best places to ski in the world but it took a while for the rest of the world to find out.
This writer, after telling a prominent Melbourne travel agent some 12 years ago that "Hakuba averages 10-11 metres of snow a year, never has lift lines or crowds and a daily lift pass is only AUD$50" was told; "You don't go to Japan to ski, you go to Canada" Imagine my surprise! What had I been doing in all that powder for the previous five years!?!
The Japanese didn’t need to promote their mountains to the rest of the world before they went in to what seems to be a never ending recession as they had a population that didn’t need the tourist dollar like other places. When they went into recession in the 80’s though things dramatically changed and once hugely populated skiing villages became ghost towns.
In the last 15 years though slowly but surely the world has caught on to the magic of Japans endless powder.
It does sound too good to be true but its not; cheap, but with uncrowded, world class ski conditions, in the same time zone as eastern Australia and only half as far as the traditional skiing destinations of Northern America and Europe.
Those who were in the know set up companies knowing they were on to a good thing so despite lacklustre interest from agents they persevered with selling Japan as a ski destination. As their few but growing numbers of customers returned home with amazing stories and photos of incredible untouched snow it started catching on. Year by year more people came to see if the rumours were true. By around 2005 there were thousands of skiers and snowboarders converted to the Japan snow experience. The legend was born and is continuing to grow. Don’t worry about crowds though there are more mountains in Japan than you would know and plenty of places to explore. Hakuba for example has 9 resorts all on the one all mountain lift pass and all within easy access of the village.