Skied in Hakuba for 5th time. We were lucky that prior to our arrival in mid-Jan heavy snow has been falling for few days, such that all slopes were opened.
D0 – Entering the snow country from Nagano
as usual, took Shinkansen to arrive at Nagano and change to express bus to Hakuba Happo.
D1 – Hakuba Goryu+Hakuba47
Heavy snow was falling while the gondola was operating on and off intermittently. Fresh pow was everywhere !! The top lifts for both were closed due to strong wind and poor visibility, thus we were confined to ski in Goryu.
D2-4 in Hakuba Happo-one
Skied in Happo-One for the rest of our trip. We had a rare sunny day on D3 with all clouds and mists dispersed in the morning. Went to the mt top @1850m to take great shots of the 3 summits of Shirouma-dake – the featured image. 1st time in deep blue sky !!
Time in Tokyo and in Hakuba Happo
as usual, we met up with local friends in Tokyo for reunion. Enjoyed in cosy izakayas in Happo. Returned to Tokyo and visited museum in Ueno Park.
5th time skiing in Hakuba in late dec before X’mas. Brought a friend whom was very keen to learn skiing. Unfortunately, due to severe El-Nino snow was terrible on the slopes downhill – the worst I’ve ever seen. In Happo-one, slopes from Olympic courses and below were closed.
As a result, we skied in some of the upper slopes opened in Hakuba Goryu and Hakuba Happo-One, around 1400-1600m.
3rd visit. In previous visits did not complete the full loop due to poor visibility.
Timing – early Oct.
Took gondola to top station @1900m and started hiking. There were facilities before the mountain gate like cafeteria, washroom, visitor info. But once inside, there were only two makeshift toilets about midway uphill. Clouds were covering the mountain tops while fall foliage was past peak. Took about 2hrs to reach the top observation deck @2100m. The deck was fully filled with many hikers. On clear days the Mt Shirouma-dake could be seen. On the return trail, spotted the Tsugaike downhill in deep blue. Took nearly 5hrs back to the mountain gate, including photo time and a break on the deck.
2nd visit. Last visit was in Aug 2001, but the Mt Shirouma-dake was shrouded by clouds.
Took gondola and changed ski lifts to top @1800m and started hiking. It looked cloudy downhill but up there the sky cleared up due to strong wind. There were many hikers along the way. Took about 1hr+ to reach Happo-ike @2000m+. So glad that finally the 3 summits of Mt Shirouma-dake of nearly 3000m revealed themselves from fast-moving clouds across the horizon of Happo-ike. Took a break and chatted with 2 locals who were from Yokohama. Returned back downhill and visited a Jinja with 2 huge Sugi of 1000 years old.