The Backcountry in Hakuba is endless and is probably the reason why I ended falling in love with Hakuba. From cruisy long faces peppered with perfectly spaced glades of birch to big open alpine bowls. Narrow steep chutes with over a km of vertical to endless rolling natural fun parks with cornice drops, cliffs, natural half-pipes, rollers and hits galore. Alaskan style faces with steep spines to long cruisy valleys with frozen waterfalls. All of it buried in deep powder and lightly populated by Kamoshika or Japanese Serow (medium sized animals that resemble the cross between an antelope a deer and a pig – seriously!!).

The best thing about all of this backcountry is that most of it lies directly off the lift or only a short hike away. The snow pack is also conducive to relatively safe backcountry being deep and having a low temperature gradient through the snow pack. There is depth hoar to worry about but as it rarely gets extremely cold (below -20) it’s nowhere near as much of a worry as in continental ski areas such as the European Alps or Colorado or Alberta. Wind is also a factor with windslab generally in crossloaded ridges and south east faces in the alpine. Generally though the regime is one of rapid stabilising after a storm but you need to know what to look out for because the generally good conditions are punctuated occasionally be very dangerous spells that can catch the uneducated out.

Of course if you want to head into the backcountry you must always have at least a beacon, a shovel and a probe and also ride with friends who have these essential items and are experienced too. We can point you in the right direction as we have extensive experience riding backcountry in Hakuba.

Hakuba Goryu Deep Powder