Hakuba (Nagano) Ski Resort  

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Overview by Nathan Borchelt

Nagano City served as the central hub for the 1998 Winter Olympics, but the majority of the alpine events were held in the small towns scattered in the surrounding, snow-choked mountains of the Japanese Alps. And of those many enclaves, Hakuba is one of the best.

Less a town and more a sprawling maze of one-way streets lined by massive snow banks populated with small restaurants and hotels, Hakuba boasts at total of 12 independent ski resorts—and each demand a day's attention. Here, we profile three, the latter two accessible by the same lift ticket.

Hakuba Happo Resort is the region's largest mountain, with several base stations and terrain that consists mostly of wide-open cruisers with the occasional smattering of moguls sprawled across several valleys and peaks. Leg-burners start above the tree line, while the beginner runs are anchored by patches of foliage that protect the newbies from harsh winds that can hit the mountain during a white-out blizzard. The resort boasts over 3,500 feet of vertical, accessible via 33 lifts.

To the skier's right of Happo rise the combined resorts of Hakuba 47 and Hakuba Goryu. At publication, the former resort embraced a local, mom-and-pop vibe, which may change in the coming seasons (it was recently purchased by company based in New York). A central gondola at the mountain base leads to a quick run that funnels you to a quad, which then accesses the rest of the mountain (snowboarders, meanwhile, typically congregate at the top of the gondola to run the resort terrain park and half pipe). From the top of that high-speed quad, a maze of shorter mid-mountain lifts stretch out in all directions,

(+) More
Vertical Drop
3514 feet
35% beginner, 40% intermediate, 25% advanced
Mid-November to March
Closest Airport

Weather for Hakuba (Nagano)

Current Conditions:
Mostly Cloudy, 50 F
Fri - Rain. High: 48 Low: 44
Sat - Rain. High: 50 Low: 42
Sun - Partly Cloudy. High: 52 Low: 40
Mon - Partly Cloudy. High: 57 Low: 45
Tue - AM Showers. High: 50 Low: 38

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