Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Snowpocalypse Part 1 - Hakuba

We met Dave on the ferry. We managed to squeeze him in the back of the van for the 5 hours drive from Niigata to Hakuba. Dave has spent a few season in Hakuba and according to him and his connection in Hakuba, there wasn’t any sign of snow in Hakuba. Weirdly, it was dumping on the coast and the drive was nowhere relax.

As we dropped in at the Hakuba Powder Lodge, his friends added a layer of doubt to our concerns. They were saying that the forecast will be wrong and that the snow will all fall in the ocean.

We went to bed a bit concerned about the choice we made to leave Hokkaido!

Fortunately, the forecast was right and we woke up to a nice foot of fresh snow
We headed up to Hakuba 47 to check out the new delivery of white gold!

By looking at the right places, it was possible to find some nice deep pocket of snow!
Around 15-20cm of snow fell overnight!!
Weirdly, signs were still present about the thin cover!
I've seen some quite more marginal conditions in resort without any warning...
We were both pretty happy about this first day in Hakuba!
After a little drying session of about an hour in the day lodge, we caught up with Caroline, a friend of ours from Quebec that would be joining us for the coming week. The snow was falling heavily!
Here is what piled up on the car during our drying session!
As we woke up the following morning, we had an hard time to open the slide door of the van as the overnight snow had piled up about 15cm above the lowest part of the door! There was probably around 50-60cm of snow in the parking lot!!!
Needless to say that we were really excited!
One of the problem we face was the fact that two buses were blocking the nearby entrance and the second problem was that the parking lot wasn’t plowed at all!!

As Amelie was cleaning the van and installing the chain on our 2WD van, I shoveled a trail out of the far end of the parking lot!
We made it out of the parking lot on our first try but as we were driving to pick up Caro, one of the chains broke. We stop to quickly remove the broken chain and left the other one in place.

We manage to make it to the parking lot of Hakuba 47. Without any other breakdown. There were a lot of snow in the parking lot as some cars who were left there overnight were almost totally buried!

We were later than expected, but the resort was experiencing opening delay due to the amount of snow!
Word was out that some other resort in the Hakuba valley were already fully open and there was no confirmation about when Hakuba 47 was to open.

We stayed figuring it was already a bit late to change plan and to drive to the other end of the valley. That ended up being quite a good call since about 10 minutes after a lot of people left, the ticket office announced the opening delay would be only 30minutes!!
We lapped the resort all day.
As the snow was fairly heavy, the conditions deteriorated over the afternoon.
The backcountry policy of Hakuba 47 is not the most progressive one and a lot of the tree skiing is closed. Nevertheless, since a lot of people were already putting tracks in the closed area, we ducked the rope and made it there as the snow was still pretty awesome!
The following morning, we headed out to Hakuba Cortina.
With around 50cm of new snow overnight, the conditions promised to be quite awesome!
This tree skiing there is not restricted and the terrain is steeper than in Happo One or Hakuba 47.
It is also the resort with  one of the most open policy about backcountry in the Hakuba Valley
Those characteristics also made it one of the most prized resort for westerners who are looking for fresh powder!

Despite being there about 45 minutes before the opening, we were far from making first chair!

It kept on snowing heavily all day and probably around 25cm fell during the day.
By the end of the day, we got tempted by dropping on the backside of the resort.
From the top of the chairlift, you can easily traverse and drop in the backcountry which consist of some really nicely spaced trees.

Just follow the tracks and make your way back to Cortina chairlift no.7 for some really nice accessible slackcountry!

It was so good that we returned for more the following day.
With another 50cm of new snow, it seemed to be almost too good to be true!

We arrived a bit earlier than the preceding day, but the word must have been out that the conditions were pretty epic since there was a lot of people who showed up.
To line up in the morning, the people just lay their skis in the lift line.
Most of the people respect it and  we figured that the best thing to do is to show up early and put your skis in the line up....
We lapped again the resort and the slackcountry from opening to closure!
It is really a nice resort! Certainly the best one in the Hakuba valley for some storm skiing!

With solely 30cm overnight, we returned (again) to Cortina for more!!
With a better knowledge about how the resort is layed out and making almost first chair, we had some really great turns inbound!
In the afternoon, we skinned a bit further in the backcountry.
The scenery and the light was pretty awesome.
The snow was also quite magic....
After 5 quite awesome days, we left Hakuba for Nozawa Onsen where an equal part of snow has already fallen and where more snow is forecasted in the next 2 days.

Snowpocalypse to be continued!!


Jessica Williams said...

Thanks for the information,snow games are always fun to play.

Mae Garner said...

Thanks for sharing this information with us. Play with snow it really good, but you have maintained the way and platform where snow games are going on. To know emergency snow removal
you can contact any snow removal company near you.

Mary Adaline said...
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Fid"s said...