Resort Review - Hakuba Iwatake
When you are visiting a country renowned for snow and world class skiing, add to that having 10 resorts available on the same lift pass, and you are left with a predicament…. Where should you spend your time? The Hakuba Valley presents you with just this scenario but do not worry this is a great problem to have.
When it comes to the Hakuba Valley some resorts are just more popular then others. You always here about Happo One and Cortina which seem to be the reason why people visit Hakuba, but a short bus ride from the Happo Bus terminal and you will find yourself at Hakuba Iwatake, a mid sized ski resort that has the ability to stand alone as a viable ski or snowboard destination.
Arriving at Iwatake by the free ski bus you will be dropped at the base of the gondola lift. This area is where you will buy lift tickets, grab some food or be able to pick up any items you have forgotten from the snowsports shop inside. It may also be your first stop of refuge, with the base at 677m Iwatake is one of the lowest resorts in the valley and as you can tell from the video above, this may mean that you are met with rain at the base.
Once up the gondola, the first thing you notice about Iwatake is the width of the runs. No wonder this place is known as an intermediates paradise. Added to the empty slopes this really is a great resort for you to start adjusting your turn shape and size and I think Iwatake is perfectly suited to the family ski trip.
15 pisted runs may not sound like a lot but this is a theme throughout the Hakuba Valley and a real benefit to getting the Valley Pass. Iwatake does however have enough terrain to keep you occupied for a few days. The DC terrain park offers a range of features from ride on boxes to large jump features but if it is freestyle you are looking for then check out Hakuba 47 instead.
Where Iwatake gets really interesting is its four open tree areas known as views. View 1 probably offers the most challenge but I really enjoyed weaving through the trees in View 2 and 3. As Iwatake is mostly known as a beginner and intermediate ski resort a lot of the tree riding can be left untouched so you can often find yourself riding fresh lines the day after a fresh dump of snow.
What we love about Iwatake…
Those wide open groomers are the perfect place to get your carve on. Aim to arrive at Iwatake early whilst the corduroy is still fresh. If they are open be sure to check out the View tree runs which are often quieter than at Cortina.
What we dislike about Iwatake…
It’s low base and summit of 677m and 1289m respectively mean that it can receive more rain than other resorts in the valley. Don’t get us wrong, Iwatake gets pounded with its fair amount of snow as well. 18.5 inches per week in January according to Snow-Forecast.com
Travel to resort
Getting to Iwatake is really easy regardless of where you are staying in the Valley. Iwatake is on the free shuttle bus route and has regular connections to the other resorts. The popular Tsugaike and Cortina route passes by Iwatake.
We would recommend this place for…
Great for families with good amenities and runs suitable for all abilities. A short journey from the centre of Happo with plenty of access means that it’s easy to get the whole family on the bus.