Skiiiiiing! in Hakuba (Zoom!)

Trip Start Dec 15, 2009
Trip End Jan 29, 2010

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Where I stayed
wadano lodge

Flag of Japan  , Nagano,
Saturday, January 16, 2010

Sorry about the Mega-post below. Be warned!

We had to wake up very early the next morning after Nozawa... getting about 3.5 to 4 hours sleep. I had a ski lesson starting at 9am, but we had to have breakfast then go to the ski hire place to get our skis and clothes.

Evergreen Outdoor Centre (The Ski School)

When we got to the ski lesson place however, we found they had mysteriously 'lost' my bookings. This was rather annoying as I've only skiied once before, for a weekend in Thredbo roughly 6 years ago (barring fighting for survival on one icy slope in China with 500 other Chinese people). I barely even remembered how to put on my skis let alone how to ski down any sort of incline! So Ash went off exploring the mountain of Happo-One and I practised getting my ski boots into and out of my skis and hiking with skis over my shoulder for the morning! However, the ski school madeit up to me by giving me a free afternoon lesson, which turned out to be a private lesson since no one else had signed on for that afternoon. Awesome!

We soon discovered the ski school wasn't very organised though, and blunders were a recurring theme. I booked another full day lesson for the following day and they were supposed to pick me up from my accommodation, between 8:30 and 9:00am. However, about 9:25, they had still not arrived and we were driven to the guesthouse by our lodge. Another full day free lesson!

The next morning while having breakfast, I got a call from the ski school, asking if I wanted a pick up for my lesson that afternoon! After informing them that I hadn't booked a lesson for that day, they said they would cancel the pick up. However, sitting at the lodge at 12:30pm, someone came to pick me up! Ah.. silly Evergreen Outdoor Centre.. how are you ever going to make money?

Eric and Kayoko at Wadano Lodge

The place we stayed at in Hakuba was called Wadano Lodge, and was run by an expat Candian (Eric) and his Japanese wife (Kayoko), who had cycled from Lhasa in China to Nepal in Kathmandu (across Tibet). I'm currently reading Eric's account of this, and they are crazies!. Eric is an ultimate outdoor enthusiast and has been almost everywhere in the world! He works as a guide for canyoning and goes backcountry (that is, off-piste) skiing every day!

They were really cool and invited us to have Nabewith them - a type of Japanese hot pot. They also introduced us to Sumo, explaining the rules and ettiquette of sumo, and all the different characters.

The skiing

The skiing was great for the first two days. Ash says there was powder powder powder up in the mountains, and the skiing was the best he's ever done - better than in Austria. Prior to our arrival in Hakuba, there had been giant dumps of snow - snowing continuously for 3 weeks. However, we had beautiful sunny days for almost the whole time we were there - sadly that drove away the snow, so the snow, especially on the beginner slopes began to pack down into ice.

The mountains we went to were Happo-One, Hakuba 47/Goryu and Tsugaike. We wanted to go to Iwatake on the last day, but unfortunately it was raining, so we skipped skiing :(.

Being such a magnet for westerners, Hakuba has a weird mix of western and Japanese food. The only thing of note that we ate was horsh sashimi - yes that right, RAW HORSE - called bashasi.

We had expected the meat to have a strong gamey taste, but it was actually quite mild in flavour and quite nice! We liked it.

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Andrew on

Not surprised to hear the difficulty you had with Evergreen, they constantly do this thing. We don't send our guests there anymore because of this.

If you're back again, go to Ski Instructors Japan. Smaller operation, but very good and keen to look after you.

Emily on

Iwatake is pretty ordinary so you didn't miss out on much.

You ate horse? How could you? NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

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