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Question Advice sought for where to stay in Hakuba

Discussion in 'Japan' started by southpaw, Jun 20, 2019.

  1. Shrike

    Shrike Hard Yards

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    Depending on Budget and availability @Lucky Pete has some great self contained options my group isn't big enough and one of us doesn't have the budget but based on my experience meeting Pete last trip if I had the right group would definitely stay with him for self contained option.

    Otherwise @TJ at Whitehorse does a full service stay (shuttle to the resorts etc) and he offers good rates for forum members if you PM him

    We went with Cottage Tomato for our next trip due to accessibility to what we want, I stayed at the Hakuba station Guest house last time which was a great budget option.

    Have looked into other self contained options as well but no experience staying. If you had been going during the Feb 2nd to 8th I would have potentially said you could jump into my booking with my partner and friend as we can have up to 7people (3 at this stage with a maybe on a 4th) as long as Tatumi matts aren't an issue, but I am guessing you want your own space as well :p

    Taxis are pretty well priced in Hakuba and I have walked from the Train station to Happo One, this time round I have mapped out all the buses times and pickup points for our next trip but not against walking/taxi if I have too.

    If you are renting/paying for lessons take advantage of the pickup service some places offer as well, I got my partner a private lesson last time and grabbed a lift to Hakuba Goryu when she got picked up :)


    I looked at getting a car for this trip and as only two of us can get an international license and we like to drink decided against it.

    http://hakubamap.com/taxi.html gives a rough taxi fare cost
     
    #51 Shrike, Jun 21, 2019
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2019
    Lucky Pete and LMB like this.
  2. southpaw

    southpaw One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    Thanks Shrike, some great leads and will definitely check in and see what they’ve got. If we were going to be there earlier in Jan we would have been open to sharing.
     
  3. 2ESki

    2ESki Addicted

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    Try Hotel De Laile, we stayed there last year, in Wandano, 3 min walk to slopes, shuttles 5 min walk to other resorts great onsen, was cheap but clean and warm , will def go back there, owner was lovely :thumbs:
     
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  4. southpaw

    southpaw One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    Thanks for the tip!
     
  5. Lucky Pete

    Lucky Pete One of Us

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    Let me know if I can help. No matter which way you go book ASAP as many of the better places already have very limited availability in Jan.
     
    southpaw likes this.
  6. southpaw

    southpaw One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    Thanks Pete, I’m waiting to hear from Justin at the Co-op but it’s been a couple of days and I haven’t heard back yet, if he doesn’t come through in the next day or two I might hit you up.
     
  7. Lucky Pete

    Lucky Pete One of Us

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    No worries :) Justin and his crew are great and at this time of year probably arent working weekends so it might take a few more days to get back to you.
     
  8. southpaw

    southpaw One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    Unfortunately Justin at the Coop couldn’t quite fit us in for our dates but he very kindly referred us to Double Black for our week and we are now booked in. Two lessons learned for the future:
    1. Book earlier next year
    2. Avoid sites like Booking.com etc better deals (and availability!) are often found dealing direct with the accommodation provider.
     
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  9. Sage Oya

    Sage Oya Like the herb, lover of Pabst, cup ramen devotee Ski Pass: Gold

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    Awesome, don’t forget to do a trip report when you’re there :D
     
    southpaw likes this.
  10. LDJ

    LDJ One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    That was a name of the place I was trying to think of. It’s awesome. A bit dated but Cheap, well located and excellent Onsen and you can ski back along goat track. Staff were lovely.
     
    2ESki likes this.
  11. Lucky Pete

    Lucky Pete One of Us

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    Glad you got it sorted. Jim et al at DB will look after you for sure!

    This! We pay big commissions to booking.com 13%+ in some instances. Hotels are more than happy to discount from the published rates on those site as both the guest and hotel benefit. Use them to find the place then email direct.
     
    southpaw likes this.
  12. skivet

    skivet Addicted

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    I always check price direct website compared to booking.com. In quite a few instances booking .com is cheaper than the hotel’s booking site price and more recently the booking.com price was cheaper than the hotels discounted early bird price by a few hundred dollars. Maybe due to me being a genius member which discounts hotel price? But goes to show booking direct is not always the cheapest. I know I could have emailed and haggled but I never feel comfortable doing this.
     
  13. southpaw

    southpaw One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    As I understand it sites like booking.com often have price parity clauses in their contracts which prevents the accommodation provider from advertising a price lower than the price on the aggregator site. However the accommodation provider can offer a better deal if they are approached directly by phone or email. This is ok because the better price isn’t advertised.
     
  14. Sandy

    Sandy Dark Sith Lord of the Pool Room Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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    Some of the larger hotels are cheaper on booking.com
    e.g. Naeba Prince Hotel was cheaper last January, than the price I could get as a Seibu Prince EMI member.
     
  15. nezumi

    nezumi One of Us

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    One caveat there - booking.com etc can make it easier to do the initial research and narrow down the search field. *Then* you go direct to the operator.
     
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  16. TJ

    TJ One of Us

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    One more on that. We are pretty established now with 90% return and referrals so thankfully we don't need to use the booking engines except for low season. As we don't release any rooms to them they will tell the world we are full for your dates. Get the info you want and hit up the hotel direct even if it says they are full on those sites.
     
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  17. southpaw

    southpaw One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    That’s exactly what I found on aggregator sites: either no availability or extremely high prices compared to approaching the accommodation provider directly. I’ve learned not to assume what the booking engines tell is correct re availability and to nevertheless check with the property.
     
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  18. blutek

    blutek One of Us

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    Suggestions for accomodation (double) near the Happo bus station, preferably somewhere well maintained. Hakuba Springs Hotel seems in need of a refresh (from reviews). Thinking of bus to Tsugaike most days.
     
  19. Crispy013

    Crispy013 One of Us

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    http://backcountry-hakuba.com/english.html
    About 5 mins from Tsugaike. We’ve always had a car, but Eric the lodge owner is very helpful and may be able to do resort drop off’s if you ask.
     
  20. Sandy

    Sandy Dark Sith Lord of the Pool Room Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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    Just a question.... What's the appeal of Tsugaike most days, instead of a spread across all resorts?

    #Edit
     
    #70 Sandy, Jul 30, 2019
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2019
  21. chairmanmeow

    chairmanmeow Early Days

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    Can't answer for everyone but for my group, Tsugaike is just ultra beginner friendly. As wide as you'd like and slopes so gentle you actually come to a stop sometimes. Perfect place for a wide range of beginner-intermediates to build confidence and technique imho. I've heard directly from some absolute beginner/less athletic friends that Happo for example can be quite intimidating. Both the narrow, cliff-edge runs up top and the slightly steep-for-beginner blues at Sakka.
     
  22. Donzah

    Donzah Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    Happo is the last place a beginner, intermediate should be going IMO.
    Not because it's steep. It's just inappropriate.
     
  23. Donzah

    Donzah Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    I think you need to emphasise the "most days"
    Ie every day is a different option in Hakuba.
     
  24. Sandy

    Sandy Dark Sith Lord of the Pool Room Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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    Sakka is very beginner, not slightly steep for beginners. However the "beginners" slopes at the southern end of Happo are too steep for first time beginners.
    Some of the cat tracks on Happo (down from the bottom of Skyline) are very intimidating for beginners.
     
  25. Zimbooo

    Zimbooo One of Us

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    Geez, be pissed off if born & raised at the base of Happo
     
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  26. southpaw

    southpaw One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    Keen to better understand this as were going next season - if not steepness why is Happo not appropriate for beginners and intermediates?
     
  27. Donzah

    Donzah Old n' Crusty Ski Pass: Gold

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    So many reasons.
    I'll write a detailed reply tomorrow. On my laptop.
    BTW even if you stay near Happo. You don't have to ride there exclusively
     
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  28. Sandy

    Sandy Dark Sith Lord of the Pool Room Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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    You and your family are all intermediate, so you should be ok at Happo.
    I always avoid Happo on a weekend, however, because it gets crowded. It bottle necks up the top (there are 4 areas that converge up there), and the snow gets well tracked and ends up with small bumps. Much better on week days.
    You're all skiers, and the cat tracks would be worse for snowboarders.
    I've spent maybe 25-30 days total on Happo, and 120 around Hakuba.

    The best intermediate skiing is at the southern end on Nakiyama, first thing in the morning, but be aware that there's lots of fast cruising Japanese skiers on there later.
     
    #78 Sandy, Jul 30, 2019
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2019
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  29. chairmanmeow

    chairmanmeow Early Days

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    Yeah my group is probably lower down on the skiing ability scale, just sharing our experience as total beginners. Half of us took to skiing decently well and had fun no matter where we went but the other half not so much; they did not really enjoy the Sakka runs, picked up a bit of speed and couldn't control well, just got scared I guess. Though maybe slightly icy conditions in March played a part. On the other hand, they loved Karamatsu/Oyanohara in Tsugaike where IIRC the average slope there was in the single digits, something like 7 or 8 degrees. Super forgiving and confidence building. I know many would find it boring and slow but it can be quite positive learning there for casual/cautious skiers.

    Would be interested to hear your thoughts on this as well.
     
  30. Sandy

    Sandy Dark Sith Lord of the Pool Room Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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    Have you taken lessons?
    Icy slopes don't help, and March tends to be warmer & the mornings icy.
    You'd be better off in a place that has beginner's slope up the mountain where it stays cold and ice doesn't become an issue.
    e.g. Nozawa Onsen.
    (or a place that is higher, like Naeba)
     
  31. Lucky Pete

    Lucky Pete One of Us

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    Tsugaike and Iimori are hands down the best beginner areas in the valley. Wide open low angle slopes with great progression areas adjacent. We never suggest Happo in those instances, in fact we actively steer our beginner guests away from there as the ski school at Iimori is the best run of its type in the valley (Spolier, yes the owners are friends but I only recommend great businesses) and as Chairmanmeow mentioned Tsugaike is epic for beginners to build skills and confidence. Sanosaka is another favourite once people can link turns etc. Happo on the other hand only has Saka which is less than ideal as a learner area due to pitch, size and crowding with the rest of the mountain being intermediate and above so easy progression there is much harder than it needs to be and can be overwhelming for most. On the very few times I go there I often see the ski school running lessons on cat tracks, with terrified guests due to percieved exposure going off the edges (As Sandy mentioned) and having crew having to ride through them.
     
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  32. chairmanmeow

    chairmanmeow Early Days

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    Yup, we had a full day of lessons with Evergreen (who were great), which we were advised is enough to start running blues. Sakka was definitely doable with the basics we learnt but it was also a rather significant step-up from the kid's park. Tsugaike was much more fun because everyone felt much more in control and it was not 'scary' in the slightest (falls were basically in slo-mo). The following trip I re-visited Sakka and I found it so much better. However, if we had only gone to Sakka/Happo (and not Tsugaike) in our first trip, I think quite a few of my mates would not have come back.
     
  33. Neoh JH

    Neoh JH First Runs

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    Because the beginner slopes in Happo tend to be long windy courses that have a 50 foot cliff on one side. It's quite scary for real beginners, and tiring as they have to snowplough all the way down.

    Tsugaike is epic for beginners as it's over a kilometer wide and they have all the time and space in the world to practice their S turns.
     
  34. blutek

    blutek One of Us

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    safer offpiste trees/sidecountry.

    thanks looks good.
     
    #84 blutek, Jul 31, 2019
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2019