Hakuba ski instructor Chris Jones unpacks the best parts of his job and shares a few local tips for visitors.
Being able to share my passion for the sport that I love and for being in the mountains is what inspired me to become an instructor. Combined with a love of travelling and seeking new experiences it was something I had to do.
I am fortunate to have taught skiing in some of the best resorts in America and Europe before taking the decision to do a season in Japan. It had always been a country I wanted to visit and the opportunity to work in Hakuba seemed too good to miss. The plan had been to come for one season before heading back to the European Alps. This changed quickly and I am lucky enough to be starting my sixth season in Hakuba with Evergreen International Ski School.
“The look on a guest’s face when they first get to see Hakuba’s stunning peaks or link turns for the first time is something not many people get to experience every day.”
When I look back at the end of each winter, it always feels as though each was the best yet.
Firstly, this is because there is so much to learn about skiing, the mountains. This is one of my biggest motivators for continually doing ski seasons and instructing, the constant development and growth. There are so many avenues to further your knowledge and skills and what better place to do it. Hakuba has enabled me to tick off plenty of goals and keep setting new ones.
Secondly, the amazing people you meet on your journey. The look on a guest’s face when they first get to see Hakuba’s stunning peaks or link turns for the first time is something not many people get to experience every day. Being a part of a family’s holiday for a week or introducing new people to each other in a group program is a privilege – creating experiences with people that last a lifetime.
Then there’s the amazing team, who share your passions – not forgetting the locals in the community who let us gate-crash. Each winter wouldn’t be complete without the (let’s just say one or two eccentric) characters who work ski seasons who certainly make it memorable.
Everyone in the industry knows about Hakuba’s epic snow but what surprised me at first was the variety of terrain. From great trees to steep pistes, there’s something to ski no matter what the snow conditions are. We also have fantastic teaching terrain in the valley which makes my job much easier. Each resort in the valley offers something different giving you perfect groomer days, secret powder stashes or joining in with the Japanese love of skiing moguls.
I haven’t even started on the food and the onsens. That’s a long story and something you need to experience for yourselves.
“Everyone in the industry knows about Hakuba’s epic snow but what surprised me at first was the variety of terrain.”
I’m excited to have another great season. Meeting new guests and skiing with returning families, skiing some great powder, carving up the groomers and exploring more of the Japanese Alps.
Chris’s tips for anyone visiting Hakuba
Favourite run: Central
First part of the mountain to visit on a powder day: Men’s Downhill
Favourite Hakuba restaurant: Miyama
Favourite Hakuba bar: Hakubar
Best thing to do in Hakuba that isn’t skiing or snowboarding: Cycling
Local secret: On a powder day check out some of the smaller resorts in the valley when everyone else flocks to the bigger ones.
From Niseko to Nozawa, ski-in ski-out penthouses to a chalet in the woods, find your dream winter home with Uchi.