Hakuba Ski Resorts
19th September, 2013
Japan is home to many hundreds of ski resorts spread throughout the mountainous interior of the country and all located on 2 islands; the main Japanese island of Honshu and the northern island of Hokkaido. Although many of these resorts are quite small there are also quite a number of world class ones as well that have been receiving some international renown of late. One of the best of these is Hakuba, located an hour west of the 1998 Olympic host city Nagano and 350kms from the Japanese capital Tokyo. Hakuba was where the big mountain events of the Olympics like the Downhill and Giant Slalom were staged. Though the village is some 600 years old the first skiing business was founded in 1928. Though there are many resorts with separate managements that all call themselves “Hakuba” resorts until recently they were all on separate lift passes. That has changed and we now have 9 resorts making up 7 ski areas that are all on one multi day pass.
These resorts and areas are;
Hakuba 47, Goryu Toomi and Imori, 3 resorts making one ski area
Cortina and Norikura, 2 more resorts making one ski area
All these ski areas are serviced by free shuttles that go to all the various areas that make up the town.
There are 2 more resorts that are separate passes but still with 20 minutes drive of Hakuba station, these are Kashimayari and Yanaba. These though have no shuttle system but are well worth the extra effort to get to!
Together all this amounts to 137 lifts, 3200 hectares of inbound terrain encompassing over 200 runs as well as many half pipes and terrain parks. Add that to the 10 metres average annual snowfall in the village, 2.5 metres average depth of snow as well as some of the gnarliest backcountry you’ll find anywhere in the world a relatively short hike away and you’ve got the best, most diverse ski resort in Japan, with something for everyone!