Cortina Hakuba, Japan Report: Cuttin’ Tree Lines

Dropping! Photo: P.M. Fadden

Report from January 18th – Brought to you by Hakuba Valley

Facing fickle snow but still want the goods? Then lend an ear to the guys who can get you there. January in Japan continues to be summed up as lethargic, yet caches of white gold still await…

Setting and scene for this day of shredding. Photo: P.M. Fadden

Our crew was hungry and on the hunt for clean lines, a path which lead recently to Cortina Hakuba Ski Resort. Here beautifully arrayed mountainsides funnel to a prominent–as well as enormous–hotel. The landscape is heavily forested, ribboned by creeks, and famous for “perfect trees.”

A view to make the walk above Cortina worthwhile. Photo: P.M. Fadden

At first glance the options seem sparse, but Cortina hides an Ace up its sleeve in the form of an out of bounds gate. Marked, but by no means in your face, the narrow gap between this ski areas boundary fencing dropped into what seemed like endless trees hiding possibility. To traverse was the first call to action, what came next would be anyone’s guess.

Snow wanted; snow found–at Cortina. Photo: P.M. Fadden

Here the trunks are both spacious and surprising, alluring with zipper lines but pullin’ the rug out with sudden variance or obstacle. Groups of alders add spice to the line. But the main ingredient is the snow.

Padding the lanes in-between the trunks is a carpet of soft, super-dry powder. And before our crew even realizes it, we’ve out-distanced any presence of other riders.

Lookin’ down on the last lap after a great day at Cortina Hakuba. Photo: P.M. Fadden

It proved as grip-able as it did rip-able. Many turns later, the run outs are long, winding stretches between pillars under bridges and paralleling waters that will need to be crossed. The length of each descent dictates the day’s lap tally at Cotrina Hakuba is few, but each is a healthy breeze of fresh snow in Hakuba Valley.

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