Hakuba Happo One and the 2017 IVSI Congressツイート
While the slopes are relatively quiet during late March, the Hakuba area welcomed delegations of ski instructors from around the world during the 2017 IVSI Congress (International Federation of Snowsport Instructors) for a week of skiing workshops, demonstrations, and lectures. Held every four years, this was the 13th congress and the second one to be held in Japan (Shigakogen in 1989).
My coworker and I visited Hakuba Happo One on the last day of the congress. The weather was perfect as instructors competed in slalom and showed their respective countries’ ski demonstrations. Some highlights included Hakuba’s mascot, Victoire Cheval Blanc Murao III, racing on skis; several Austrian team members donning ski equipment from the early 1900s; and skiers flying through the air on parachutes. Everyone cheered exuberantly for the demonstrators as they made their way down the course.
After the closing ceremony finished, some headed straight to nearby lodges to begin their après-ski evenings while others hurried back up the hill for a few more runs. I headed to the top of the mountain to enjoy the scenery of the Hakuba Sanzan: Mt. Shirouma, Mt. Shakushi, and Mt. Yari. From the top of the ski resort, the snow-capped mountains felt incredibly close.
As I skied down the mountain, the Hakuba valley opened up before me. On skier’s right were Hakuba Goryu and Hakuba 47, cutting swaths through the woods at the base of Mt. Goryu. On the left were the Hakuba Sanzan Mountains and Iwatake Ski Resort. There was another great spot for photos and relaxing: Usagidaira terrace, equipped with comfortable sofas, a fire pit, and plenty of beer. The cafeteria next door had great views as well.
Overall, I was impressed by the speed of the lifts and how easy it was to reach the top of the mountain no matter where I happened to be. I managed to do several top-to-bottom runs in no time at all! I mainly followed the Reisen slalom course and some of the forest trails that branched from it, but there were also numerous mogul courses, steep advanced courses and some tree runs as well. Another course that I didn’t get to try was Happo Banks, a playground of smooth banked edges for freestyle skiers and snowboarders to enjoy.
Even so, the clear weather and beautiful views were satisfying enough, and I could easily see why the IVSI chose Hakuba, and Hakuba Happo One, as their destination for the 2017 IVSI Congress. I hope they enjoyed their last day on the slopes as much as I enjoyed mine!
Originally from Maryland, USA, I’ve been living and working in Nagano since 2012. After teaching English for a few years I moved onto the Nagano Prefecture Tourism department to help introduce more of Nagano to the world. I love the mountains here and enjoy skiing, hiking, and bouldering in my free time. There’s nothing quite like a day in the mountains followed by a relaxing dip in the hot spring with friends! （アメリカのメリーランド出身で、２０１２年長野県に引っ越しました。数年英語の先生として働いたけど、去年から長野県庁観光部に入って、より多くの人々に長野の良さを知って頂けるように努めています。長野県の山々が大好きで、暇な時はスキー、ボルダリング、登山などをやっています。山で遊んだ後の、友達と入る温泉はまた格別です。） 【長野県在住/20代/男】