Second stop of my Japan ski holiday was Hakuba. It’s main ski field Happo-One hosted alpine skiing events at the 1998 Nagano Winter Olympic Games. There are five ski fields in Hakuba but unlike Niseko, they are not connected so you have to take a shuttle bus to go between ski fields.

Tsuga’ike-kogen (栂池高原) ski field is best for beginners and intermediate skiers and snowboarders. Like Niseko, Hakuba gets a lot of snow and there is no shortage of powder. Unfortunately the wind was very strong during our stay and the upper gondola and chairlifts were closed.

Despite the record snowfall, the chairlifts were still open for business
Heavy snowfall closed the gondola to the top of the mountain and we had to get off at mid-station

One thing I really liked about skiing in Japan is that there is hardly any lineup for chairlifts and gondola at the base so you can maximise your time on the slopes.

The snow never stopped and at one point there was so much snow falling, I got stuck in about 25cm (10 inches) of powder snow at the top of a chairlift.

Am I the only skier?

The sun struggled to appear behind thick clouds. There was so much powder they didn’t need snow making machines!

I brought my own gear except the skis and poles.

Unlike our first leg in Niseko, we didn’t rent a car and took a bus from Nagano station to Hakuba station where we waited for our hotel shuttle bus.

Our hotel, Sierra Resort Hakuba, had everything we needed – there’s a ski rental shop next the hotel and private lockers to store your ski equipment. The staff were super friendly and helpful.

Panoramic photo of the front of our hotel - Sierra Resort Hakuba
The walkway from the lobby to our room was covered with snow

There is a public onsen and four private onsens that you can book for 45mins at a time.

Ready for a bath at the public onsen in our hotel after a day's skiing
Even the moat surrounding the resort was beginning to freeze
There is an private onsen where you're allowed to take photos

Everywhere we turned, there were complimentary food and drinks. At the hotel’s entrance where we waited for our shuttle bus, we could help ourselves to hot miso soup, green curry chicken and oden (Japanese one-pot winter dish).

Free Oden and Miso soup at the main entrance of the hotel
There is a foot bath at the front of the hotel for your tired feet after a day of skiing