Hakuba Iwatake, one of the ten resorts that makes up Hakuba Valley, will introduce a VIP pass for the 2019/20 season that will allow holders priority access to all the resort’s lifts including the main gondola. There will even be a dedicated check-in counter at the resort base so that pass holders don’t have to wait to collect their ticket in the morning.

The “Hakuba S Class VIP Lounge and Priority Pass” will also deliver the holder a range of other benefits, including access to on-mountain VIP lounges, a hotel pick-up, priority parking, ski valet, and entry to the nearby Iwatake no Yu onsen. For an additional cost, guests can elect to add a “ski butler service” (i.e. private guide), ski rental or a night snow cat tour.

Hakuba Iwatake VIP lounges

The location of Hakuba Iwatake’s VIP lounges

Many will see the pass as a luxury, others will see it as a guaranteed way to score fresh tracks on a powder day – which is where it could be worth its weight in gold.

The pass is currently for sale on the Iwatake website, and is available for ¥15,000 (US$137) or ¥7,500 (US$68.50) for children ages 7–15. Children under seven years are free with an accompanying adult. Whether or not there will be a cap on the number of VIP tickets sold is unclear.

It is important to note that pass holders will still have to purchase an Iwatake or Hakuba Valley lift ticket to ski the resort. For the 2019/20 season, a standard single-day ticket at Iwatake will cost ¥4,600 (US$42) or ¥2,800 (US$25.50) for a children’s ticket. A single-day Hakuba Valley pass, which gives ticket-holders access to any of the 10 Hakuba Valley resorts (including Iwatake), will cost ¥6,100 (US$56) or ¥3,500 (US$32).

Hakuba Iwatake ski resort

Hakuba Iwatake boasts the lagest number of runs (26) in Hakuba Valley