Ski Hakkoda

     Today my wife and kid went to the Hakkoda ski area with Shep and his family.  Getting there and back was more time-consuming than normal, one of the roads up the mountain was closed, and all of them were snowy (fortunately not icy).  The Sheps are snowboarders, so it was my first time both at Hakkoda and skiing with a ‘boarder.

     Once there, Shep and I hit the slopes while the ladies took care of the babies together; we switched after about an hour and they skiied/boarded for an hour and a half, then we picked up the last forty minutes. 

     Hakkoda has a chair lift and a gondola.  We didn’t ride the gondola, just the chair lift.  We figured we weren’t going to be skiing enough to justify the more expensive and limited gondola ticket.  As we rode the chair lift, we noticed it flattened out considerably for three legs and then dropped us off.  This meant the first 200 meters or so were relatively flat.  I almost don’t know why they bothered adding the length to the chair lift (maybe the chair lifts only come in certain lengths, and that slope just wasn’t high enough but plateaued instead?  

     There were two basic ways to go off the chair lift, left or right.  No surprises there.  The left was pretty easy, although there was one section of it for about 100 meters that might be loosely considered a black.  It was decently groomed but heavily travelled.  The slope to the right was substantially more fun and had more powder.  For our last run, just before we started down the black section of the right slope, we noticed a trail off to the right.  We took that trail and after me sinking thigh-deep in the snow twice, we made it over to what must’ve been one of the gondola slopes.  That one was a blast! There was some fairly fresh powder and it was a great (but fast and over too quickly) run all the way to the bottom!

     Of course, what would any day skiing in Japan be without curry for lunch!? I tried the chicken special.  The meat wasn’t quite as tasty as I’d hoped, it seemed about 40% gristle.  The curry was fabulously hot, though! I had to drink an entire bottle of water with the plate in bite-pant-drink-repeat fashion. 

     My wife, who is a much better skier than I am, said the powder was world class.  She also pointed out that she went through some fresh powder on one run, and by the time she finished down, then back up the chair lift, then back to the slope, her trail was covered with new snow.  It may have been snowy, but that has its’ advantages.

     While we were eating dinner, we ran into this guy.  If you happen to be in Japan and want to take a hiking tour of the Hakkodas, you may want to get in touch with him. 

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