A major lift ticketing system overhaul will see Hakuba Valley become Japan’s biggest ski area in winter 2016/17. In an arrangement similar to the one that unites Niseko United‘s four resorts, visitors to Hakuba will soon be able to access all 11 Hakuba Valley resorts on a single lift pass.
The new electronic tickets will be able to be purchased online or at participating resorts, with no queuing to exchange vouchers or buy daily passes when switching resorts – as has been the case in the past.
Ticket gates to accommodate the new passes will be installed Goryu, Iimori, Hakuba47, Happo One, Iwatake, Tsugaike and Norikura in the lead up to the 2016/17 season. Jigatake, Kashimayari, Yanaba, Sanosaka and Cortina will wait until the following 2017/18 season for the upgrade, however the new Hakuba Valley pass will be exchangeable for a standard ticket at each of these resorts in the meantime.
An inter-connecting shuttle bus will service the Hakaba Valley region in an effort to make the transition between resorts as seamless as possible.
Hakuba Valley resorts have been under pressure for some time to join forces, and the release of the new pass marks a huge step forward.
President of Hakuba Happo-One Ski Resort, Mr. Yasuo Kurata, explained that the focus was now on improving the experience for its customers.
“In the past the ski resorts of Hakuba Valley have been holding each other back in order to strike for individual benefits. The introduction of this new system is a significant milestone that finally allows the lift companies to cooperate with each other to aim for better customer service instead of business benefits only. We hope our change can bring more customers to Japan’s number one snow resort area to experience fun, quality of snow and course variety.”
Japan’s largest ski resorts
|Ski resort||Size (ha)||No of lifts||Longest run (m)||No of slopes|
|Shiga Kogen Ski Resort||400||52||5,000||84|
|Nozawa Onsen Ski Resort||297||20||10,000||36|
|Naeba & Kagura||396||33||6,000||45|
Source: Individual ski resort data
About Hakuba Valley
Hakuba Valley is formed by 11 ski resorts in Omachi, Hakuba and Otari in the Nagano Prefecture. The area was selected as the competition venue of Alpine skiing for the 1998 Winter Olympic because of its world famous powder snow, snow reliability and consistency.
Hakuba is also one of Japan’s most internationally recognisable ski resorts, thanks to its extensive resort services and infrastructure, world-class dining scene and relatively easy access from Tokyo.