Monday, 8 March 2010

Hakuba Trip 2

In the first weekend of March before all of the snow disappeared we decided to make another trip to Hakuba for some Spring snow sports. We left on Thursday evening for the four and a half hour bus ride, and arrived around 8pm at Hakuba.

Unfortunately the lodge we stayed at last time, Hakuba House, was not available so we settled for what sounded like another nice lodge which was in a different area to the previous, but was similar in layout and services. We were located about five min on foot from the hotels and restaurants of Echoland, the night spot of Hakuba, something we were sure would come in handy.

The lodge itself was quite cool, well equipped with a communal kitchen, two common hang out areas (one complete with a wii), and a beer vending machine! What more could we ask for?

Well we soon found out that the host himself was a bit, errr odd. Let's say socially maladroit (PM: Sorry, he was so odd I had to discover a new word to describe him). He was Canadian and has lived in Japan for the past 11 years and true to form of a large proportion of foreign people we have met who live here, he was weird. His oddness was offset by his lovely Japanese wife.

However, the presence of their 3 kids in the lodge caught us by surprise, all under pre-school age (a pair of twins), and behaving as kids do at home. Having fun, running around screaming and being, well loud in the early hours of the morning. Why they thought that sort of behaviour wouldn't effect the guests is beyond us! Sure we appreciate kid friendly accommodation, but at least they could have provided a warning on their website. It could have gone something like: 'Beware kids on premises, those wishing to sleep later than 6am should bring earplugs (good ones)'. Anyway, although the situation was a bit odd it was more than ample for what we needed and did provide us with a few giggles - the place just seemed to attract random people.

(PM: One of them a drunk and barely legible Finnish guy who reminded me of a very drunk dwarf: big red sunburnt nose, glasses, long hair and the beanie to suit, an apt name would be boozey).

Friday we were greeted with a fantastic sunny day, and we hit the slopes for a long and very successful day boarding/skiing. We both started off the day and weekend with a private lesson, which was totally worthwhile.

A perfect day for skiing, t-shirts and a jacket is all that was needed.
Just look at that backdrop.

Looking back up the slope

Joss in action.

Not really action shots, but hey what about that view?

On the Friday whilst enjoying the snow sports, we met a fellow traveller from Aus, Su, who recommended we go along to a bar in the White Horse Hotel which was frequented by travelers, mostly Aussies. We thought why the heck not, especially seeing as the lodge we were staying did not have the same appeal as our previous trip. What was supposed to be a quiet couple turned into quite a night. We met some great people, one of whom, Ben, was just about to begin a trans-Siberian adventure, so of course we had a lot in common!

At the bar with Ben, Jeni, Joss, Su (background) and the Aussie bar manager Clint.

Everyone at the bar

Well, Saturday provided a bit of rain on the slopes, and even though we were feeling a little weary from our previous nights entertainment, we still hit the slopes for a half day.

Saturday night snowed non-stop, as it did all day Sunday, which meant a good morning of skiing on about 15cm of fresh snow! Unfortunately it seemed word got out in Tokyo about this and the slopes were packed! However we still got some good runs in the morning.

After lunch we packed up our things, made our way to the bus terminal and had an onsen (PM: my first!) before a longer than usual trip home due to the traffic!

On the chair ready for the first run on Sunday.


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