Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Hakuba, Japan

Leaving Tokyo, by bullet train on Christmas day, we made the first leg of the trip to Hakuba, via bullet train. I asked the conductor about the transfer to the next train. I knew our next train was a local train, but I didn't know that it was really local. The bullet train made a brief stop in the station and we looked across the platform at a one car locomotive from the 60's or 70's. We were at first suprised and unshure if we had borded the correct train, but indeed after asking the two other individuals on board, we were assured it was correct.

The diesel engine was fired up and we chugged away from the station and crawled into the mountians. I felt like we had boarded a mining car. We went through tunnels and narrow passes with snow piled high on each side. Occasionally, we made stops at one man stations buried in snow. It really put us in the mood for what was coming.

We arrived at our cozy little cottage, warmed oursleves by the potbelly stove, and then got a good nights sleep. The next day began cloudy but cleared up giving us a great first day on the slopes of Japan. Hakuba 47 was the first on the list.

Wearing our ski boots, the local shuttle picked us up right in front of our cottage and in ten minutes we were at the bottom of the lift.

We were delighted to find that it was not a crowded as the Korean slopes. The lift lines were very short or non-existent.

We really enjoyed ourselves the first day.

Our cozy accommodation with wonderful staff and a great location. Being hostel style, we had a private room, shared a bathroom, kitchen, and living room. The little stove in the living kept the whole place really toasty.

The town was filled with cozy buildings and Japanese restaurants.

A delicious traditional meal at a local joint.

The next day, Happo One called our names. Having well researched the ski areas in the valley, we were sure to hit this one up. It was the location of the 1998 winter Olympics. Although the powder wasn't as deep as Wolf Creek in Colorado. We had a fantastic time.

With mountains surrounding us we thoroughly enjoyed the scenery. We watched some boarders hike to a clean ridge to get into some fresh powder.

Chelsie greatly improved on her ski skills. We are both trying to tackle the mogul trick. Someday maybe we will be able to ski those tricky bumps.

Three nights and two days didn't seem like enough, but historic Japan was yet to be seen. Yudanaka was our next stop.


Jeff said...

Great trip. I had fun once, too. I remember it being nice.

P.S. Love the older train. Is that Chewbacca sitting a few seats behind Chelsie?

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