Team Powder Bible have rolled in to Hakuba with exquisite timing, hitting Cortina in the midst of an epic snow cycle.
While we had great fun in Niseko with excellent company the snow gods didn’t deliver, yet in true ski holiday fashion it started dumping as we were due to leave. It went against all my principles not to reschedule our exit but this was due to the forecast for Hakuba showing strong snowfall for the coming week. I had faith, stuck firm and we were well rewarded. We hooked up with Sandy from the ski.com.au forums who was most kind in picking us up from the airport and having us at his home, and also showing us around Tokyo for the day and driving us up to Hakuba, it is most appreciated!
Once we made our way up to Hakuba we settled in at the White Horse Hotel. Our first day was a little bit of a misfire, we read the early report for Cortina and they had not yet decided to open the top lifts. Not wanting to take the risk we headed to Happo One but after the first couple of early runs the place was pretty solidly tracked as the upper lifts were delayed opening for avalanche control. It was due to a stroke of good luck that we were in the right place at the right time when one of the upper lifts opened and we were able to have half a dozen epic runs with face shots every turn. It wasn’t pleasant however when we got home and realised that Cortina did indeed open one of their top lifts and the day there was being called ‘best ever’ by people who really do know their powder snow.
So all we could do was go there today. Another 40cm fell overnight making the total around 2m of fresh snow in the last 4-5 days, and we were also rewarded with the opening of the other top lift, which had not yet opened during the storm cycle and yielded snow that was bordering on too deep. (I know what you are thinking but it’s true!) – We ran in to Mark102 and paedde from the ski.com.au forums in the line for the first lift and Mark was extremely generous in showing us around for the day, he and Patrick also got the cameras out and took the great pics you see below.
It’s hard to describe the day, it was basically a continuous face shot with multiple episodes of choking. I have never had to stop so much during powder runs due to inhaling snow and complete disorientation due to my goggles being caked in snow. Only once have I skied snow this deep before but never so much of it during a day. Every run yielded amazing blower powder and thanks to Cortina’s policies which are far less regressive than other Hakuba areas we were able to enjoy it in nice steep tree glades.