Skiing in the Trees

29th August, 2013

The tree skiing in Hakuba is world class and absolutely magnificent but has always been forbidden for supposed safety concerns. However, of late, happily this policy is slowly starting to change.  

Cortina ski resort, after a couple of experiments with it as well as an open minded management, opened up all their trees just a few of years ago now. After a couple of big foreign ski magazines did features about the amazing powder and open tree areas at the resort it's become common knowledge both here and abroad. It’s very common now to hear arriving guests ask “Where is Cortina?” “And how do I get there?”

This popularity has created a bit of a domino effect. The buses that leave Happo bus terminal to go to Cortina depart from right outside the Happo management office in the centre of Hakuba and the Happo bosses couldn’t work out why so many of "their" customers were going to a smaller resort 30 minutes bus ride away. We've only been telling them for 15 plus years to open the tree's but what do we know?!? However having said that while the official line in Happo and other resorts hasn’t really changed, the attitude of management and resort staff has softened considerably to riding the powder beside or off the piste.    

Money talks as they say and word on the street is that Happo as well as Iwatake, Tsugaike and Norikura are even going as far as pruning the bushes between trees to make access better!!! It remains to be seen how good a job they do but as of late, they have been open to advice from the foreign community here and even asking questions. We’ve even been asked to form a foreign locals committee and elect a member to represent us on the Hakuba Tourism Commission which is really a great step forward compared to how it was just a few years ago. Looks like it's going to be a great season in the trees this year!!!

For our first YouTube clips see: 

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