Hakuba’s backcountry is what makes it the truly unique destination that it is. The Hakuba resorts are great fun, the terrain parks are also very good, but the backcountry is mind-blowing and often virtually untouched.
The Hakuba backcountry isn’t what brought us to Hakuba, but it is what will keep us living here for a very long time.
Hakuba backcountry has something for everyone. Whether you are into:
- In Resort Off Piste: Is a great place to improve your off piste riding safely before entering the backcountry;
- Side Country: Easy access tree skiing, with diverse terrain; pillows, hits and natural half pipes. Many of these lines end on the Hakuba House front door step;
- Side Country: Easy access big mountain alpine terrain, with steep open faces, chutes and spines through to long, rolling and playful run outs. Up to 1200 meters of breathtaking heli-skiing-type vertical without the price tag; and
- Backcountry touring: For those who enjoy the ascent as much as the decent. Moving in remote and exceptionally scenic mountains, across varied terrain gaining access to mellow or challenging, deep untracked descents.
The Hakuba snowpack is usually deep with short avalanche cycles, however should be treated with extreme caution at all times. There is no organised avalanche control of the backcountry terrain in Hakuba.
Initially, we always recommend a guide when entering the backcountry in Hakuba. Mountainlife, Evergreen and The Tao of Pow are backcountry guiding operations in Hakuba offering customised guiding with fully qualified ski guides of an international standard. These guys provide a safe and memorable experience with a wealth of local knowledge.
Before entering the Hakuba backcountry it is essential to have at least a beacon, shovel, probe, at least one (and ideally a few) friend(s) you can trust with avalanche knowledge/experience and respect for the weather, snowpack and terrain. Fully equipped backcountry packs along with splitboards or climbing skins can be organized through CentralSnowSports or RythymSnowSports.
For those free riders who have the drive, experience and knowledge, we are happy to share our local experience of terrain choice, snow pack and previous weather conditions to point you in the right direction, although in no way is this a substitute for experienced guides and maximising your own knowledge.
Useful links and resources regarding backcountry conditions in Hakuba;
Nadare.jp – International standard avalanche bulletin, produced by the Japan Avalanche Network.
Steep Deep Japan – Independent Hakuba backcountry daily observation on weather and snowpack.
Snow-Forecast.com – General snow and weather forecast.
MountainLife – For customised backcountry guiding and AST1 avalanche courses.