Snow must go on

By on January 30, 2010
Winter has made its definite arrival in Japan after a few months of uncertainty. And with it, it brings snow – lots and lots of it! It’s a period of joy for snow lovers everywhere, and in this freezing climate, the slopes are the hottest spots to hit. Looking for a quick getaway? Pack up your snowboard and ski gears and go!

Canyons Adventure Centre
Nestled in the Minakami mountains, just a short hop from Tokyo is Canyons’ welcoming, family-orientated Alpine Lodge and Adventure Centre.

It’s a one-stop base for a family’s winter needs, whether it be a cosy stay, a snowshoe adventure for all or ski/snowboard lessons. Their professional snow sports instructors excel at introducing youngsters to new challenges; first steps on snow or developing a new trick. It’s all about enjoyment, and this is obvious from the laughter throughout the day. Close enough for a day trip or with plenty to keep you occupied for a longer stay, there is limitless amounts of fun to be had at Canyons.

Tel: 0278-72-2811

Sierra Resort Hotel Hakuba
Set in the midst of Hakuba’s majestic landscape, the spacious Sierra Resort guarantees a luxurious holiday. It offers daily shuttle services to three nearby ski areas, each with varied terrain to suit all levels of skiers; the slopes are also perfect for snow shoeing, ice climbing, and even heli-skiing. Not sure where to go? Sierra’s multi-lingual, snow-savvy concierge can help out. After hitting the slopes, tour the town or warm up at Sierra’s pure hot springs.

For February, children under ten can stay for free if sharing a bed with a parent; children under 12 are treated to one free pizza or pasta per night; and after the 20th, stays of three nights or more get 20% discounts.

Sierra Resort Hotel Hakuba
Tel: 0261-72-3250

Evergreen Outdoor Center
Fun awaits the family at Evergreen Outdoor Center in Hakuba. Established in Nagano’s snowy peaks, Evergreen offers countless tours for kids and adults alike. Engage in quality family time by taking the crew to snowshoe or ski cross-country amid the scenic natural backdrops, day or night. Alternatively, go on backcountry, off-piste, and on-mountain gliding tours, as well as more relaxed cultural tours to local hotspots. Take ski and snowboard lessons from professional English-speaking instructors, and learn to surf the famed Nagano powder snow. Evergreen’s daycare also grants parents a worry-free day.

Take advantage of Evergreen’s winter specials: book five people in a tour, and a sixth can come free; book 5 full day lessons, and get the 5th day free!

Evergreen Outdoor Center
Tel: 0261-72-5150

Villa Alpen
Enjoy a relaxed winter escape at Villa Alpen in Shiga-Koen, one of Asia’s biggest ski capitals. The cozy family-run lodge is only meters away from the ski lifts; and ski lessons taught in English are offered by the Captain and his son. And after a long day, return to a warm atmosphere with home-cooked meals and friendly faces. Also, do go sightseeing; visit the nearby Monkey Park, where local monkeys famously take a dip at the onsen. Bring a camera!

Villa Alpen has special discount rates for March visits: ¥8,400 per night for groups of more than two people, including two meals. Other options are four-night (¥31,900) and five-night (¥39,500) plans.

Villa Alpen
Tel: 0296-34-2731

Morino Lodge
If a warm, laid-back atmosphere is the site of your ideal holiday, Morino Lodge delivers. This quaint lodge is within the convenient Wadano area of Hakuba, with toasty rooms complete with all the necessities for a comfy family stay. It is a mere five-minute walk from the nearest slopes, and free shuttle buses take you to further areas. The friendly staff can assist in making the most of trips, helping arrange rentals, tours, lessons, and discount lift tickets. Bellies will stay full too, with an eclectic array of in-lodge food selections and nearby restaurants. Morino Lodge offers discounts for children under 16 and bigger discounts for kids under 6. Lower season rates from March 14 to May 6.

Morino Lodge
Tel: 0261-85-9098

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