The season in Hakuba lasts from the beginning of December until the beginning of May while reliable cold powder conditions last from mid December to mid March. With over 11 metres of annual average snow fall you are almost sure to have fresh snow at least once over a week stay in Hakuba during December to March and often daily snow can last for several days at a time. You can forget about riding ice and seeing rocks poke through on the groomers as Happo One will usually not open until they have a 2 metre base from top to bottom.
Considering the amount of snow we receive the temperature is not that cold in Hakuba compared to other international ski resorts. The temperature at the top of the mountains is usually between -7 and -14 and the bottom between -7 and -2.
November – if snow permits, the first ski day in resort can be in mid-November. Off peak prices and super quiet resorts mean you usually have the run to yourself. Great back-country access to the higher peaks.
December – usually resorts start to open during the first week of December. The resorts start to get busy from around the 20th December and peak during Christmas and New Year.
New Year is one of the biggest national holidays in Japan… so book early. Great atmosphere with festivals throughout the village and Fireworks on New Years Eve in Happo Village.
January – is the busiest month of the season but the resorts in Hakuba rarely feel crowded compared to other international ski resorts. Lift queues more than a few people long are rare and we have never waited more than 10 minutes to get on a lift in Hakuba. The Nozawa Fire Festival is a must see on January 15.
February – the terrain parks are fully operational and the bottomless powder days just keep coming with maximum snow depth usually reached in late February. Chinese New Years holiday falls on the first week of February which can be booked out very early. The village and mountain have a great alpine atmosphere.
March – our favourite time in Hakuba with sunny blue bird days, great snow and quiet off peak resort conditions make this time of year special. The backcountry really opens up around this time and with the Tsugaike cable car available it makes for easy access to some amazing terrain.
April – backcountry skiing is in full swing in April. Access to some of the higher peaks of Hakuba opens up making this time of season a ski tourer’s paradise.
May – most resorts offically close after the second week of May. And after a nearly 6 month long season it is incredible how much snow is still on the ground on top of the mountains.