Snowboarding in Hakuba

I’ve never snowboarded before. In fact I wasn’t even planning to go to Hakuba. I was planning to go to snowboarding in Madarao in February with a colleague from Melbourne, but that didn’t quite work out, mainly because it meant I would have to travel for a month and then double back to the Northern end of Honshu (Japans main island) so it was going to be a bit inconvenient, and a little more expensive than Hakuba. For these reasons I made a last minute decision to go to Hakuba for 6 nights from the 13th January.

There was only a handful of us that got the bus from Shinjuku Station. It took about 6 hours to get to Hakuba (Happo Area). I had booked ‘The Lab’ Hostel, which I’d heard had a fairly lively atmosphere, and this turned out to be true. Like Happo overall, it was about 95% Australians staying there, and the beers (and Chu-Hai) were reasonably priced with happy hour from 4pm to 6pm. I had to rent all my gear (and buy some), and also booked a half day lesson as I didn’t have a clue how to snowboard. The lesson definitely helped, and I picked up the basics pretty quickly, It was similar enough to surfing.

I managed to have myself turning from heelside to toeside on an intermediate slope by about 2pm on day one, which I was stoked with, even though I was falling over a lot, and making some pretty wide arcs.Over the following few days I managed to tighten up the turns a bit and almost start fish-tailing down the slopes. The ‘cat tracks’ on Happo I realy enjoyed trying to do some small jumps off the banks, practice tight changes from toeside to heelside and doing the hairpin bends at a bit of speed.

In total I spent 3 days snowboarding at Happo and one at Hakuba 47 (better known as a sports park for jumps, rails, etc). The last day I was keen to go back to Happo but the mountain was closed so I had a quiet day. Most of my nights in Hakuba were quiet as well, The first night I had a semi-big night and it took its toll the next day, so I backed off a bit to focus on the snowboarding. I never felt like I got good enough to take the Sony Cam out on the slopes or the cat-tracks, but me and a couple of guys from the hostel (Tom and Jason) did take a few shots of some tiny jumps at 47.

Snowboarding in Hakuba!

Snowboarding in Hakuba!

Snowboarding in Hakuba!

Snowboarding in Hakuba!

One of the 'bigger' nights in Happo town

One of the ‘bigger’ nights in Happo town


2 responses to “Snowboarding in Hakuba

    • 6 hours by bus from Tokyo. It’s quicker but more expensive to get the Shinkansen bullet train (unless you have a JR pass) to Nagano city and then transfer to Hakuba from there.

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