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Skiing Japan - Hakuba - Happo One - Backcountry Question

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

While reading about skiing in Japan I came across this picture:

 

 

The resort you see is Happo One - Hakuba - Japan.  The only resort that has some steep (not really) lines.  What interests me more is what is behind the resort, and most importantly, can I climb these peaks behind the resort without getting locked up, or something of that nature.  Can I do unguided backcountry skiing there?  Any special rules, requirements?

 

I understand it's a though question, so any help is greatly appreciated in advance.

post #2 of 9

You certainly can.  I stayed in Hakuba for a few days in 2006 at the lodge linked below.  The owner of the lodge (Nick) is a Canadian - an avid backcountry skier - who married a Japanese lady (Hiroko) and settled in the valley to pursue his backcountry passion.  The lodge was full of backcountry types talking about their trips, comparing photos etc.  Apparently you can see all the way to the Sea of Japan from the top of the ridge on a clear day.

 

http://www.hakubapowderlodging.com/

 

Hmmm, the cottage is new - they must be doing well - AND they have another couple of children. When I was there their first child was just a few months old.

 

Not sure about any of the rules and/or requirements, but Nick would be happy to fill you in.  Check out the photos on the site to see what they get up to.

 

Nick posts regularly on the site snowjapan.com - look out for the handle "fattwins".

post #3 of 9

Yep... The areas go to 1650m... the mountains 3000m. It's all there for the hiking/skinning. Can happily say I've there and done that. I'll try to find an image of the Tateyama area as well... No ski area, but alpine huts spring through fall and many many lush lines!

post #4 of 9
Thread Starter 

^ Very good info guys.  You think February is the perfect month for that place?

post #5 of 9
post #6 of 9

We just returned from several weeks in Hakuba in early March. While we were there, several back country boarders from our lodge did exactly what you are considering, catching the lift to the the top of Happo and boot packing along the ridge lines to access untracked powder. They had a 4 hour walk to some pretty steep couloirs but said it was well worth it. The back country is large and popular although the avalanche danger when we were there was fairly high. February is definitely the best time to go, as the season was coming to a close as we left in early March.  

post #7 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gerathlete View Post

We just returned from several weeks in Hakuba in early March. While we were there, several back country boarders from our lodge did exactly what you are considering, catching the lift to the the top of Happo and boot packing along the ridge lines to access untracked powder. They had a 4 hour walk to some pretty steep couloirs but said it was well worth it. The back country is large and popular although the avalanche danger when we were there was fairly high. February is definitely the best time to go, as the season was coming to a close as we left in early March.  

 

Yep... but there's nice tree skiing above Hakuba 47 ski area to the lookers left of Happo One. Spring touring up there on Hakuba-dake and above Tsugaike ski area is really really nice. Much much corn to be harvested before rainy season sets in.

post #8 of 9
Thread Starter 

^ I don't see any trees there on my picture above the resort though.

 

Also, I'm nicely surprised it is easier to find out good info about Japan than US :)
 

post #9 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by awegrzyn View Post

^ I don't see any trees there on my picture above the resort though.

 

Also, I'm nicely surprised it is easier to find out good info about Japan than US :)
 

 

It's to the left, and unfortunately out of the frame of your picture. It's a good place to skin when the weather/vis/avy danger is crappy up top. Honestly, I never really like the ski areas in the Hakuba much, just the stuff above.

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