Report from January 15th, 2020 – Brought to you by Hakuba Valley
All things come to those who wait–especially snow. Hakuba Valley, and the Nation of Japan at large, has been eagerly awaiting arrival of winter in form to which it is accustomed. And a weather system indeed arrived, just in time for the opening salvo of international ski and snowboard showcase, Freeride World Tour.
Our crew has arrived to enjoy this very event, and the fact that it’s hosted by a destination iconic for snow as well as culture only fuels the fire to find the goods on the fine slopes of Happo-One Ski Resort. Japan’s largest snow resort region, former Olympic host site, and a member of EPIC pass, Hakuba Valley as well as Happo-One are a prime component to a dream shred trip. So we decided it was time to tick that box.
- Elevation – 5,900ft
- Vertical – 3,500ft
- Lifts – 22
- Longest Run – 5mi
Periodic gusts slowly nudged thick clouds over the ski area, unleashing a day-long snowfall event. Fortunately for us, two factors played to our benefit. Number 1: Happo-One boasts swaths of trees that not only pretty the place up but do very well to catch and accumulate that famous Ja-POW. Number 2: Skies cleared.
Big part of this day’s plan is to scout both the World Tour course as well as the ski area itself, which to our understanding means chasing the snow wherever it leads. Ripper freshies offset the starkly peaked or valleyed visibility, especially on south-facing aspects. And as the hours ticked on conditions only got more grip-able, even brighter, and more fun.
Happo-One sets the bar Japan-high. And, even during an atypically modest snow year, the shred experience did not disappoint.