News and Events

Mt Hutt ‘all systems go’ for 40th season opening (13-Jun-13)
Immaculately groomed slopes and a genuinely warm welcome await avid skiers and snowboarders.....

Queenstown’s Coronet Peak ski area first to open in Australasia (10-Jun-13)
Queenstown’s Coronet Peak ski area today (June 8) celebrated in style as the first Australasian ski field to open for winter....

Coronet Peak first ski area in Australasia to open on Saturday (05-Jun-13)
Queenstown is officially open for winter as the 2013 season kicks off at Coronet Peak on Saturday (June 8).

Ski Areas Go Out With A Bang! (27-Sep-12)
Season extension and half price passes

Nozawa Onsen (02-Mar-10)

Simon Madden, Japan, March 2, 2010 - Our Ground Crew Member Simon Madden explores traditional Nozawa

Nozawa, NozaWOW!  This place is definitely worthy of a turbo pun.

After a fairly hectic night trying to assimilate into the local culture in Tokyo by jumping straight into the cliché that is karaoke, Nozawa Onsen has been wonderful. Just slinking through the tight streets on arrival was super calming and that was long before we had got anywhere near to dipping our bodies into the onsens that give the town its name.  Hot springs – if there is a better way to close down a day of skiing I don’t know what it is. They are so good that we went from the beautiful wooden communal bathhouse directly to the street-side, feet only onsen-lite. I’m not sure if this kind of double up is the done thing but it was totally irresistible.

So the first day of the trip established what I can only hope will be the pattern for the rest.  Japan’s all about the light, the dry and the deep and on our first morning we lucked into some freshies through the trees off the top and by some great brush stroke of design Nozawa’s gladed runs take up the best of the terrain. We were probably too fresh to fully appreciate how good the first morning’s turns were but surely this was just a taster.

Nozawa

Everything in the village of Nozawa has been easy so far.  It’s compact and pedestrian friendly so getting about is super easy. The best thing is the feeling that it is a town that has skiing, not a ski area that has a town-like construction. It feels like it has history and heart and is filled with people who are going about their lives.

The slopes rise up right out of the town making the booted hike in the morning pretty easy but for some reason there is an escalator that you have to take to the gondola. An escalator?  More a travelator maybe as it’s not stepped.  Strangely enough this is a bit of a bizarre experience and not altogether comfortable.  It is a travelator though and when else will you ride one to the lifts?? Check it off.

The food is outstanding.  It’s a traditional little joint is Nozawa and so the local fare is bountiful and beautiful. No pizzas and burgers here.  For lunch on the go up on the hill it was impossible to go past a hot soup and tea but it was the plethora of choice for dinner where the offerings shone.  Robartas where moma sun did the lot – taking orders, cooking it up, bringing it to the table and taking the cash – was probably the pick.  The only worrying part was that one of choices felt the need to advertise that they had no connection with the Yakuza. Does that mean by default that all the other eateries do?  Am I in danger of having to chop off my little finger to atone for insulting someone’s honour?  And while food is the subject, steamed apple and cinnamon buns from street vendors are the best. The best.

Freedom in Nozawa

Two days down and we’re making the dash to Hakuba, the valley with a ton of ski hills to take on and rumours of a storm on the way.  So far the body is holding up well - hopes remain high – but Barny and Luce are calling for the tape already.  I may have to piggy back them over the line in the end (famous last words).

The small streets demand small cars but it’s hard to see how their teenie wheels could handle all the snow that this joint gets.  I guess they do, though we did have to try to push one poor stuck local.  Despite the fact that we failed this should have given us some karma with the Snow Gods as we were trying to push him back up into one of the town’s many temples. Here’s hoping.

Check out more of Simon here

 
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