Report from January 17th – Brought to you by Hakuba Valley
Great days on the mountains don’t end with sundown at the snow-mecca that is Hakuba Valley, Japan. Two locations from among the troop of resorts to be found in the valley offer after hours ski operations nightly during peak season months.
Hakuba Goryu Ski Resort lights the mountain’s lower portion with two lines of large flood lamps and services the zone with one quad chairlift. Laps are fast and pitch is mellow, but fun is in abundance–especially when it’s nuking snow.
The lights illuminating Goryu’s ski-able area use bulbs that are tinted technicolor blue, pink, green, and purple, and beautiful monuments as well as charming homes line the ski-able area. The entire scene is certainly pleasant enough, but it becomes downright magical when wrapped in heavy snow.
The evening hour lap time is popular among local Japanese families and groups of young friends, lending a strong feeling of community to the night’s ski experience. And underscoring that, the cluster of shops and homes comprising the mountain’s base area feel more like a quaint village than a bustling snowsport destination.
By no means is a night shred an access to the most extreme terrain, but it is a unique window on a special aspect of winter at Hakuba Valley.