Happo One Ski Resort Snowboarding
The 17th most popular snowboarding destination in Japan.
Tuesday 7 February 2017 06:20 GMT
Northwest of Tokyo and Nagano in Hakuba Valley, the Happo One Ski Resort has 13 courses spread over 220 hectares that are accessed by 6 lifts with a maximum vertical descent of 1,070m. Happo One is the most popular of all the Hakuba valley ski areas and has the best freeriding. Compared to the other Hakuba Valley resorts, this ski area is lucky to have steeper and wider courses. Happo One has four base areas including Shirakaba, Kokusai, Nakiyaya and Sakka. Happo One is know for the best terrain park in the valley.
While known for a restrictive off-piste policy that was heavily enforced, the ski patrollers have relaxed just a bit over the past few years. Not that it matters really…the off-piste riding isn’t that great, though there is some good lines to the skiers left of the Alpen Chair. If you do plan to do some off-piste riding, make sure to have full avalanche gear -- they get a lot of snow here! If you do go off-piste, make sure you know where you are going to avoid cliffs and flat fields. Don’t duck ropes here since they are actually put up for a reason. If you were ever to use a guide, this is the place. Happo One Resort does provide access to the renowned Happo North Faces, which is a backcountry area with steep bowls and sick descents (it is avalanche prone though).
Happo One does have some nightlife worth checking out. Try stopping by the Velvet, the Wave Bar and the Unn Bar
In addition to Happo One Ski Resort, there are three other nearby ski areas that are worth snowboarding. First, the Habuka 47 ski area is located southwest of Hakuba village and is even linked with Goryu ski area. It has 23 course with 760m of vertical. While no off-piste riding is allowed, there is a huge superpipe for freestylers. Second, the Hakuba Cortina ski area is located north of Hakuba and west of Otari. While again, there is no off-piste allowed, it does have 14 courses with 600m of vertical. Lastly, the Hakuba Iwatake ski area is located northwest of Hakuba Village. This family-friendly ski area has no off-piste riding but has 15 courses with 540m of vertical.
To reach Happo One Ski Resort, fly into Tokyo Narita Airport and take the high-speed train to Nagano (90 minutes). There are hourly buses to Hakuba (50 minutes). Happo One is located 2.5km west of Hakuba and there are local shuttle buses. While in the large cities, make sure to use their ATM since they can be quite hard to find at the resorts (especially ones accepting international ATM cards) and credit cards are rarely accepted.
When snowboarding and freeriding internationally, it is important to get a travel insurance policy that covers emergency rescue, medical expense and evacuation. There are many destinations that will not initiate rescue or medical treatment without prior payment or proof of insurance. In many cases, the rescue fees, medical fees or evacuation to a reputable hospital can total tens of thousands of dollars. Plans such as GEOS SAR100 or IMG Patriot Travel Medical Insurance are well worth the per-trip cost of $130 to $200 USD.
Overall, Happo One Ski Resort is the 17th most popular snowboard & freeride destination of all 22 snowboarding resorts in Japan. Several of the better snowboarding resorts are nearby Happo One Ski Resort including Kagura Ski Resort, Myoko Kogen, Naeba Ski Resort, Nozawa Onsen and Shiga Kogen.