After a very tasty main course in Hakuba filled with vitamin P we are ready for our desert in Happo One (the steepest resort of Hakuba). Jeremy Jones filmed a part of his movie “Further” in the Happo Alpine.
Photography: Caroline van 't Hoff
This time we are on assignment in Happo as we have been asked to shoot new marketing photos for the resort. Together with the ski patrol we are in the first gondola at 6:40 am. It is the first blue bird day after the heavy snowfall of the past days, so the conditions couldn't have been better!
After my first turns, with the rising sun in the background, I hear Caroline shout: “GTS”, which means ‘got the shoot'!
The day just keeps improving after we hear we can sleep in a hut at the top of the highest chairlift. After a short night, our alarm rings at 5:00. We quickly eat some rice and 30 minutes later we on our way up. It is a clear night with many stars and hardly any wind. Slowly the first morning light appears and the spectacular mountains start to color.
The next two hours Mother Nature treats us to a mesmerizing and colorful show. Luckily Caroline has captured all the different colors with her camera so we can keep enjoying this memorable moment in the country of the rising sun.
At 8 am we meet Robbie, our Evergreen guide and the rest of our group, 9 ski patrollers from Telluride, Colorado. In record speed we skin up the ridge to drop into the North Bowl of Happo!
We end the day on a high note with some karaoke and sing along to “Aint no mountain high enough!”
Madarao & Tenjindake
After a tip from three Americans, we spend a day in Madarao. This resort is located only 30 minutes outside Myoko (100 kilometers northeast of Hakuba). In the morning we ski the backcountry of Madarao with our guide Aki. After lunch we meet up with our American friends and ski the resort on the other side of the mountain, Tangram Ski Circus. Although it is strictly forbidden to ski off-piste here, you can easily ski all the trees! They are perfectly spaced; however make sure to drop in out of sight of patrol. They will chase you and pull your pass.
Another tip we received was to ski at Tenjindake. Unfortunately the backcountry is closed once we arrived. We even see a recent avalanche of the same morning that reaches across the groomer. The terrain is steep and in some places very exposed. Some people even call Tenjin “avalanche alley” because lots of the lines that you ski end up in the same valley. We would therefore recommend you to ski off-piste with a guide. Although the terrain seems pretty extreme, we can definitely see the potential when the conditions are right.
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Evergreen Outdoor Tours: Ski with a guide in a group of 2-6 people. Everyday Evergreen decides where to ski, depending on the snow conditions. Lunch and lift passes are not included in the price. You can choose between a:
-Backcountry tour (ski touring/ split boarding): 75 euro pp (includes a guide and transportation)
-Off-piste tour (lift accessed powder): 80 euro or 105 euro if you have to rent safety gear (includes a guide and transportation)
Happo One day ticket: 35 euro / season pass: 477 euro
Madarao day ticket 34 euro, day ticket for Madarao & Tangram: 50 euro
Madarao is a 30-minute drive from Myoko. A cab costs about 50 euro (with a maximum of 5 people per cab)
A guide in Madarao costs 90 euro per person for a full time. You pay 50 euro for half a day.
Tenjindake/ Minikami: day ticket 16 euro
Tenjin lodge: Prices for a room start at 38 euro per person, including breakfast.
Find more accommodation around Hakuba via Ski Japan Holidays.