Last year we held a snow holiday giveaway competition – the Japan Winter Magic Travel Giveaway 2016-2017.
The grand prize of this competition included return flights to Japan for two and resort hotel accommodation in both Appi and Hakkoda, as well as other prizes like Pocket Wi-Fi by Japan Wireless and ski equpiment rentals!
The winner, Sophie has just recently returned from enjoying the snow in Appi and Hakkoda, and she has shared with us some of her most favourite experiences and photos.
Appi and Hakkoda are both located inland up in northeast Japan. Surrounded by rich farmlands and biodeverse environment with an abundance of quality snow. These areas are still relatively undiscovered by foreign skiiers and tourists, so there’s more than plenty of snow for everyone.
‘We really loved the parts of Japan that we visited, we felt like we got the true Japan experience without too many tourists and we met lots of friendly Japanese, which was really lovely. Appi was a fantastic place to ski – no lines, the hotel and their staff were great and had excellent conditions (snowy some days and sunny on others). We felt very welcomed. Our room had an incredible view of the slopes and was huge!! Couldn’t believe how long some of the runs were! Really loved it and the mountain guide was great on our first morning.’
– On some of their favourite runs in Appi and Hakkoda
In Appi we loved the tree runs on Mt Nishimori, particularly when we had fresh snow to play in. There were no crowds so we had the most amazing fresh powder tree runs all day long. We also loved the really long runs in the Second Slopes area which saw us get heaps of skiing in with minimal time on the lifts. There was so much terrain with stunning views as you can see from the photos!
At Hakkoda our favourite run was the Forest Course. The terrain was diverse, challenging, fun and takes you through the most stunning forest. The trees were dripping with snow, there was nobody else around us – it was simply magical. We had to keep pinching ourselves to make sure it wasn’t a dream…I can’t wait to go back and explore the backcountry Hakkoda has to offer – so much to explore!
– What level skiiers they’d recommend Appi and Hakkoda to.
I would recommend Appi to beginner skiers as there is a huge amount of very open and wide ski terrain with plenty of space and minimal crowds to enable you to get comfortable. There is also ample intermediate terrain for when you gain a little more confidence. Another plus (for beginners and everyone really) is the ski in / ski out accommodation. Being able to ski to the door of the hotel, go straight down to the locker room and kick off your boots/skis makes the end of a day on the slopes much more enjoyable, especially when the legs are getting a little tired and sore.
In my opinion Hakkoda is slightly better suited to intermediate / advanced level skier / snowboarders – conditions can be quite challenging on powder days up the top particularly if visibility is low. It’s important to be able to properly navigate with control in between the trees. There are however some good wide beginner/intermediate slopes at the bottom of the mountain where you can get more comfortable before exploring the mountain further.
– On the food they enjoyed during their stay
For lunch at Appi we loved the Indian curries at Nirvana – delicious and warmed us up on cold days! The breakfasts at the Appi Grand Hotel were also delicious with some of the most flavoursome eggs I’ve had in a long time! The Japanese BBQ was a highlight in the evening, and had a great view over the ski area.
At Hakkoda the dinner each night was absolutely delicious. I could go on forever, but the sashimi and fresh seafood was top quality, the seafood soup we had was also phenomenal. The food here was a highlight each night.
All in all, it seems like Sophie had a wonderful time in Appi and Hakkoda! And if you are planning on heading that way as well, be sure to have a read about our article on Appi right here!
We are also currently running another prizedraw – be sure to check it out on our home page!