FREERIDE WORLD TOUR: AN ATHLETE’S GUIDE TO HAKUBA

JAPANUARY – IT’S A THING

So much so, that Japan is the destination for the first ever Asian stop of the Freeride World Tour.  The Hakuba Valley FWT event is dropping this weekend and our athletes couldn’t be happier about it.

Mons Shredders Conor Pelton, George Rodney and Arianna Tricomi flew out there early to take in the lay of the land, get Ja-pitted in Ja-POW and let us in on a few secrets. Read on for our FWT Athlete’s Guide to Hakuba.

1. WHERE TO STAY – KAMOSHIKA VIEWS

For those of us who require constant entertainment, look no further than the giant, ginger custodian of Kamoshika Views.

Russ Buxton is a good sort, and he will sort you out with the good things that you need for your Hakuba trip.

His beautiful lodge is set amongst the trees of Iwatake.  Here you will sleep comfortably in a ski lodge style set up with cosy rooms and super relaxed communal living area.

In addition to your typical host services, Russ will tell you where to put your lefts and rights on the mountain and off.

He can tell you a few good tales about living and skiing in Japan and will set you on your way to having a rich and unique Japanese experience.

Brigit Erlt in the Hakuba trees. Credit: Hiroya Nakata.

2. WHERE TO SKI – CORTINA DAM LAPS

That fabled Japan POW is no secret any longer – you’ve got to know where to go for “Overheados”

A trip to Hakuba Cortina will astound you for a multitude of reasons, including the SNOW.

Cortina often boasts the biggest snowfall in the Hakuba area, so make sure you go with a guide who can manage your backcountry safety.

Cortina’s Green Plaza Hotel been modeled on an Italian ski resort, complete with Tudor gothic style architecture.

Don’t let the Hotel’s shiny brass elevators and grand piano fool you.

There is ample opportunity to get Japanese AF in this hotel with a post-shred onsen after you’ve run at LEAST 10 laps through trees to the dam off the back of the resort.

Geroge Rodney Stunts in the trees. Credit: Conor Pelton.

3. WHERE TO APRES – THE BEACH BAR

This recommendation comes with a caution: THE BIDET HAS VERY COLD WATER.

We’ve crowdsourced thoughts and feelings regarding the Beach Bar cold water experience.  The results were overwhelmingly positive, but none-the-less, you have been warned.

While you might have a chilly (but fun) bum, you can warm your insides with all manner of Japanese sakes and plum wines.  Of course, there are also tasty beers to suit all taste buds.

For everyone to enjoy is the awesome staff, good vibes and hilariously kitsch beach decorations everywhere.

Hakuba Freeride World Qualifier event. Credit: Jeremy Bernard.

4. WHERE TO SUSHI – KIKYO YA

Taylor Swift has been there and so should you.

Still rolling out the best sushi in Hakuba, Kikyo ya is where you need to get your sushi and sashimi fix.

Stretch your hip flexors out in preparation for some traditional floor-seated dining or battle the skied-stiff round eyes for the western chairs.

5. WHERE TO ONSEN

Because one onsen is not enough, we present to you: two marvelous onsen options.

Kurashita Onsen. This place looks legit, it smells VERY authentic and it feels amazing.  The stinky natural spring water is supposed to do wonders for your body.  Unsurprisingly, soaking in a natural onsen feels vastly superior to poaching in a chlorinated hot tub.  Get in.

Hotel Green Plaza. This is where you need to be after you’ve skied yourself into a daze running tree laps in Hakuba Cortina ski resort.

Steamy. Credit: Anna Smoothy.

6. WHERE TO SHOP & TUNE SKIS – RHYTHM

For those holiday blow-outs when you forget your gloves, your boots or your merino base layers – Rhythm Hakuba have not only all gear, but some excellent ideas on how to fix up your situation.

The knowledgeable staff that can advise you on what you on layering systems, hardware and even which resort to hit on any given powder day.  And if you manage to get a core shot in all that pow, these guys (and gals) will buff it right out in their workshop.

If your boots are not cutting it, the crew at Boot Solutions (within Rhythm) have the knowledge and technology to change the game for you.

Top Tip: The best thing about getting your skis fixed at Rhythm Hakuba, is grabbing a Bacon & Egg Muffin at Dukes while you wait!

Doug at Rhythm Japan getting it done! Credit: Anna Smoothy.

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