Japan Ski Trip Jan 2015: Hakuba, Nagano, Japan

Ski Trip Jan 2015 D4: Jacky Parallel Skiing

Geek fail! I never noticed that WordPress doesn’t keep draft revisions after an entry is published (my blank placeholder in this case; which makes total sense now that I think about it), so I didn’t think to keep a backup and lost a whole typed up entry pending photo upload. Let’s try this again. In dot points this time, the entry for the third ski trip of my life at Hakuba (白馬), Nagano Prefecture (長野県), Japan!

10 Jan 2015 (Sat) Day 1: Arrival

  • This ski trip was a little different because Richard was travelling with me! We headed off for our trip straight after work. Having a pleasant travel companion during the long-haul flight made a huge difference.
  • It took us a long time to get to our destination from Tokyo. Bus (airport T2 to T1 to pick up Singapore team), train (to meet up with Hong Kong team), train, bus, bus… All that after the 10-hour flight.
  • It was already after 2:30 pm by the time we got to the hotel, and all shuttle bus out had already left for the day. No skiing today.
  • The hotel was ridiculously more modern and gorgeous compared to the two ryokans I stayed at in my previous trips. Richard you lucky fool.
  • I didn’t expect to see so many Australians here, either! It was 99% local Japanese for my last trips!

11 Jan 2015 (Sun) Day 2: Hakuba Goryu & Hakuba 47

  • Richard, the brother and I rented our gear from the shop in the hotel, while the others who didn’t already have their own went out to rent from other shops.
  • We took the shuttle bus out to ski field Hakuba Goryu (白馬五竜) and joined the others. We also skied at Hakuba47.
  • I actually remember how to ski?! surprised
  • This was also technically Richard’s first time skiing. He picked it up straight away. I lamented my lack of athletic abilities.
  • We took lifts up and skied down the long green trail, where one wrong turn could mean we end up on a double black diamond slope. It was hard to see too with the heavy snow. Shout out to Chee for scouting the route for us and leading the group all safely down.
  • There were also more hiking across fields than I’d like, but I still really enjoyed the day.
  • That was until it’s time to head back, and the queue for the bus was long and growing. People weren’t even really queueing at all and hopped on in random order. We had to stand on the small van, the last shuttle bus of the day.
  • At least I have Richard who earned a lot of boyfriend points by offering to carry my heavy skis for the entirety of this trip. heart
  • I actually remember how to ski!

12 Jan 2015 (Mon) Day 3: Hakuba Goryu

  • More Goryu today, this time for the whole day and with everyone.
  • It’s the last day of the long weekend in Japan, so the crowds for both the slopes and buses did seem to ease up a bit from the afternoon on. No standing on small vans again. Phew.
  • It also meant Chee was heading back home today. It was good to see you again — even though you told everyone else you were happy to see them and/or congratulated them on their progress, but only thanked me for bringing Richard. tongue

13 Jan 2015 (Tue) Day 4: Happo-One

  • Two went out to take professional ski classes before they joined us at Happo-One (八方尾根).
  • We skied down a very lovely green trail. Not many had been there yet so the slope was extra pleasant.
  • I then ditched Richard and spent time skiing with my brother down that trail two more times, until lunch where we regrouped with everyone.
  • Got my most favourite shot of the trip: my brother parallel skiing! Yep, I’m still just relearning, and he’s already moved on to parallel.
  • Did Richard seriously successfully attempt a red slope on his first trip as well? I should just quit skiing forever.
  • As the evening drew close, the group contemplated night skiing, but decided against it in the end. I wasn’t very keen myself because it would mostly be skiing down the same slope that we just went down, but at night.
  • The crowd at the bus stop at the end of the day worried me at first, but thankfully most got on different buses.
  • Another fun day I particularly enjoyed!

14 Jan 2015 (Tue) Day 5: Tsugaike Kogen

  • We taxied out to Tsugaike Kogen (栂池高原), which was further away from our hotel than the rest of the fields.
  • It’s quite sunny and warm today, so some of the more popular slopes were really icy and scratchy. Otherwise, these would make the perfect slopes for practice.
  • I discovered first hand that it’s impossible to ski on true powder unless there’s enough speed. That fluffiness, though!

15 Jan 2015 (Wed) Day 6: Tsugaike Kogen

  • There were still many slopes to cover so we returned to Tsugaike. We tried the connecting bus out. It took so much longer.
  • Richard and I split up with the group and let the more experienced try the harder slopes. We took it easy and enjoyed ourselves on the nice green ones.
  • Very heavy snow for our last day of skiing today!
  • Following our positive experience on the first few days, we decided to try the green forest trail here. It was a huge mistake, because the slope was very annoyingly flat. Back to gentle but not annoyingly flat greens!
  • It snowed, and snowed, and snowed. And snowed. I was quite cold at the end.
  • Richard and I missed the bus while we took refuge in a cafe to have coffee and crepes. We had to wait to order a taxi back, which turned out to be a blessing in disguise because we were still back far earlier than the other guys.
  • We had yakiniku out in town together as a farewell dinner. Yum!
  • Absolutely no boyfriend suggested, before the trip, for me to bring my hiking shoes so it’s easier to walk on ice and snow. I absolutely didn’t have to walk very slowly back to the hotel, requiring both said boyfriend and the brother to escort me. It never happened. rolleyes

16 Jan 2015 (Thu) Day 7: Last Day

  • The ski fields weren’t accessible by just walking out and there were also the reversed bus-bus-train-train trips back, so we didn’t have enough time for more skiing. We packed up and checked out of the hotel, and made our way to the airport with the Hong Kong team.
  • Sadly, the Hong Kong team were flying out from another terminal, unlike previous times where their boarding gate was directly across mine. We said goodbye on the train. sad
  • But happy to report that I have no bum bruises this time. Yay!

Epilogue

Sydney was hot. It took me a while to adjust back to real life, and for the next few days, I still woke up and expected to eat a big breakfast and head out to the snow for a full day of skiing.

Ski Trip Jan 2015 D2:

Group shot minus one

It was another absolutely wonderful trip. Thank you all once again! See you all in the next trip soon!

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