2017-2018 Far West Skier's Guide - 64-27
VALLEY SKI RESORTS
JAPAN: The 2019 FWSA International Ski Week
Hakuba Valley, Japan is the destination for the 2019 Far West Ski
Association International Ski Week. The trip is still being organized,
thus details will be announced as they become available. In the
meantime, pencil in March of 2019 for this exciting destination.
The group will fly into Tokyo. The Hakuba Valley - approximately three hours from downtown Tokyo - is Japan's largest ski area.
It is located in the heart of the Japanese Alps. The valley consists of
10 ski resorts, offering almost 2,400 acres of skiable terrain. This beautiful area receives an average of nearly 400 inches annually. The resorts also offer access to off piste and backcountry skiing and
boarding, thus there's an almost unlimited number of trails that one
can ski or board. You could be here all season and never ride the same
run twice. Because there's so many resorts in the one area, the crowds
easily disperse, with no one resort being busy or overcrowded, even
in peak season.
The resort bases are not all particularly centralized, with many
accommodations spread throughout the valley. However, there are free
shuttle buses which go past the major areas serving all of them. The
buses also run into the evening, so it's easy to hop on one after a day
on the slopes, get some dinner at one of the many restaurants in the
area and return to your lodge for the evening. If you desire to stay
out late, don't worry. There are plenty of taxis around to get you back
to your lodge after a few sakes.
Getting to Hakuba is relatively easy from either of the airports
in Tokyo. There are the famous bullet trains, but our group will be
taking a charter bus to and from our destination. Shinkansen, (or Bullet Train) is one of the more popular ways to travel, not just for the
novelty, but it's also quite direct. Once you get to the train station there
are buses and taxis available to take you to your accommodations.
No matter which accommodation you choose, there's likely to be a
free shuttle stop nearby to take you to the ski resorts.
The snow quality in Hakuba definitely lives up to the hype.
Japanese powder (JAPOW) is well known for its quality and its abundance. Because Hakuba is higher up than many other Japanese re-
sorts, the powder stays dryer longer. If it hasn't snowed in a while,
head into the back or side country, as the snow will still be there, and
will probably feel as good as the fresh powder.
As the Hakuba area is quite large, a guide is recommended if
you're heading off piste. If you're looking for the full powder experience, going into the backcountry is highly recommended. There are
quite a few guiding operations in the area, and you'll have no trouble
finding a suitable guide.
The Japanese macaque, also known as a snow monkey, is native to
Japan. They get their name "snow monkey" because they live in areas
where snow covers the ground for months. They love to romp in hot
springs and roll snowballs. They are so entertaining! They have browngrey fur, red faces, and short tails. photo / George Stewart
The famous snow monkeys are nearby, which is a highly recommended "day off" activity. The monkeys are very relaxed, and it's
one of the best photo opportunities around. We are also planning a
fantastic post trip. We'll be traveling to multiple cities and rural communities to experience the local cultures. We'll be able to take the
bullet train to several Temples, Shrines and various cultural activities.
For more information and to reserve your spot on this exciting
destination, contact Debbie Stewart, FWSA VP of International
Travel: 559.737.0882 / FWSAIntlTrvl@prodigy.net. Also check the
www.fwsa.org website for updates.
Note: Alister Buckingham from SkiJapan contributed to this article.
Far West Skier's Guide 2O17 - 2O18 / Digital Edition Insert
64 - 27