Last Day of Japan Skiing …

We awoke to some fog around the hotel but it wasn’t until breakfast time that the fog lifted to reveal blue skies and some sunshine for our final day of skiing. Also as a bonus there was another earthquake at the same location as last nights two but we didn’t feel this mornings as it was only a 2.9 magnitude.

Everyone’s legs and joints are getting weary so the plan today was to head back to Hakuba47 / Goryu and get a morning ticket (Y3980 each), catch the shuttle bus back at 130pm, walk to the Hakuba Ski Jump and have a look then return the skis and enjoy the rest of the night.

Arriving at Goryu, it was bluebird conditions and even though the temperature was only 4C, it felt like 10C or more and we were working up sweats. At the gondola entrance the Ski Patrol were trying to discourage anyone that was not an expert skier from going to the summit due to icy conditions. We convinced him we were experts and headed up.

It didn’t look too bad at the top but we took it easy heading down looking for these icy conditions but all we found was groomed corduroy with some loose powder on the surface. This would be a good day in Australia and we figured if it wasn’t at least 3cm of powder then it must be considered icy. It was good for a while as there wasn’t a lot of people up here but the locals soon realised that conditions were not all that treacherous and headed up too.

We left the summit and Goryu and managed to jag a new slope just as the rope went down then headed over to Hakuba47 to ski the rest of the time we had on the lift ticket. Down and on the 130pm shuttle bus and we were back at the hotel in 10 minutes, well Jenny, Rachael and I were. Bradley was still somewhere at the ski field. Found out he was still skiing and missed the bus. He wasnt too interested in going to the ski jump anyway.

A quick shower and we started walking through some snow paths to the Hakuba Ski Jump. This was built for the 1998 Nagano Winter Olympics and is an impressive structure. It consists of 2 jumps, a small one and a large one. You catch a ski lift up to the start building, then an elevator to a number of floors.

The top floor is the main observation deck which overlooks the 2 runs. Going down one floor and you can then venture outside to the start position of the large jump. There are great views from here of the jump as well as the surrounding Hakuba Valley. Venture down a few more floors and you can go out to the start of smaller jump. The gantry going out is mesh and you are looking down over a big drop to the ground. Rachael was not impressed by this. The large jump hugs the topography so the distance to the ground underfoot is not that bad. The final floor you get to have a look at holds all the memorabilia including a set of the medals for the 1998 Nagano Olympic Games. If you are in town it is worth a visit, if not for the jumps and the history but for the views that are afforded from the top.

After walking back to the hotel, we grabbed our skis and commandeered a shuttle bus which had finished his run at our hotel. We asked if he was heading back to base camp and if he could take us and he said “sure”. Our ski rental place was opposite base camp. Another task off the list.

There were no buses heading up the hill so it was a 1.2 km walk back to the hotel. It wasn’t long before Bradley and I were soaking in the onsen. We had it to ourselves but as we were getting out after 35 minutes of soaking, others started to make their way in.

Tonight’s dinner would be our final so the choice was for Japanese Italian at Pension Syo Restaurant. It was like walking into someones home with a big eating area. The meals and service were great and the prices were reasonable. Just as we started walking back to the hotel, it started to rain but was only light.

A good final days skiing with 15 runs for 21.35km. A lot of walking today but feel good for it with 13579 steps for the day.

Tomorrow we catch the Snow Shuttle for a 6 hour bus ride back to Tokyo.

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