Nagano’s international powder playground
Eleven powder-rich resorts. One pass. And in 2016-2017, a new tap-and-go ticket gate system.
The Hakuba Valley just keeps getting better. One of the leading snow resort areas in the Northern Japanese Alps, its international credentials were firmly established when it featured as a stage for the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano.
Powder dumps average above ten metres a season across the valley, which encompasses the villages and towns of Omachi, Hakuba and Otari. Warm and welcoming with country charm, they are surrounded by the valley’s eleven resorts of Hakuba Goryu, Hakuba 47, Hakuba Happo-one, Hakuba Iwatake, Tsugaike Kogen, Hakuba Norikura Onsen, Cortina, Jiigatake, Hakuba Sanosaka, Kashimayari and Yanaba.
All are connected via shuttle bus, and with a Hakuba Valley All Mountain lift pass, become one massive all-you-can-ride playground. Passes for adults start at just ¥5,700 for one day, and thanks to the new ticket gate system, riders will be able to just tap and go to access the valley’s 956 hectares of terrain.
The system will be introduced in stages, starting with Hakuba Goryu, Hakuba 47, Hakuba Happo-one, Hakuba Iwatake, Tsugaike Kogen, Hakuba Norikura Onsen and Cortina in 2016-2017; the following season, it will expand to include Kashimayari, Jiigatake, Yanaba and Hakuba Sanosaka.
One of the advantages of the new ticket gates will be the convenience for regulars and long-stayers in the Hakuba Valley. Backcountry skiing trips into even deeper powder territory with local guides, skiing and snowboarding lessons with experienced English-speaking instructors, traditional Japanese culture workshops, and a great nightlife are just a few of the reasons to stay longer.
For Hakuba Valley fans in the resort for an extended period, the ultimate is the All Area Season Pass. For the 2016-2017 season, passes to all eleven resorts are ¥130,000 for adults, and ¥70,000 for children under 12; with a one-day adult pass typically priced at ¥5,000, this pass offers great value for long-stayers in the valley.
The Hakuba Valley’s magnetic appeal in winter is not only thanks to powder snow: naturally abundant in hot springs and surrounded by some of Japan’s best farmland, it maintains the authenticity of a vintage Japanese inn and farming community, providing guests with beautifully prepared local produce and sublime baths, alongside modern ski-in, ski-out luxury hotels, hostels, and bed and breakfasts.
With as much to enjoy for first-timers as there is for veterans, the Hakuba Valley is a truly awesome resort area that always calls you back for more.
Travelling times to the Hakuba Valley
Tokyo: 2 hrs 30 min; Nagano: 1 hr