First timers to Advance (families ok)
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J F M A M J J A S O N D
Hakuba in the Japanese Alps near Nagano is a valley with a large number of ski resorts. The “Hakuba ski resort” is very popular with international tourists because it offers many aspects of a ski holiday that other Japan ski resorts can’t.
The Hakuba Valley incorporates 11 ski resorts that offer an expanse of terrain. The Hakuba ski resorts aren’t interconnected via the slopes (except for Hakuba 47 and Goryu, and Cortina and Norikura), but they can be accessed off a common lift ticket and there are free shuttle buses to get around to the different ski areas. The ski resorts from north to south are: Cortina, Norikura, Tsugaike Kogen, Iwatake, Happo-One, Hakuba 47, Goryu, Sanosaka, Kashimayari, Jigatake, and Minekata is on the opposite side of the valley from the town of Hakuba. Check out the Ski Hakuba page for an overview of each of the ski areas to help you decide which resorts you want to go to.
One major advantage of Hakuba is the terrain size on offer with 960 hectares of skiable terrain which equates to 137km of piste and 200+ courses, 135 lifts (5 gondolas) and at least 9 terrain parks.
The Hakuba skiing is varied across the resorts but it’s generally very well suited to beginners and intermediates with many long perfectly groomed runs and fantastic fall-line. Advanced skiers and snowboarders will also love the steep groomers at a few of the resorts, and if you’re into bumps you’ll be in heaven. You can join many of the Japanese who just adore moguls! Freestylers are also well catered for.
Expert riders and powder hounds may get a little frustrated with the uptight approach to tree skiing at many of the Hakuba ski resorts. Some of the resorts are old-school strict whereby off-piste skiing is completely banned and heavily policed, a couple of resorts may tolerate a little bit tree skiing, whilst at the other end of the spectrum, Cortina is a relaxed freeriding powder mecca.
On the plus side if you’re prepared to earn your turns, the Hakuba backcountry skiing and snowboarding can be phenomenal, and powder hounds should consider doing a backcountry tour.