Iwatake Ski Resort | SamuraiSnow
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E.g., 30/06/22
E.g., 30/06/22
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Iwatake Ski Resort

Iwatake has a slightly strange and confusing layout and is made up of two ski areas joined by a green run at the top running between the two. The resort is medium sized with a relatively short vertical (550m) for a resort in the Hakuba Valley.

This ski area offer tremendous views. From the top of the mountain, there are spectacular 360 degree views over to Happo One, the rest of the Hakuba Valley and peaks of the Japan Alps on the horizon.

Iwatake is much busiers on weekends as it is popular with weekend visitors from Tokyo. Snowboarders flock here for Iwatake’s terrain park and halfpipe.

Hakuba Iwatake Trail Map


Snow & Weather

Like the other resorts in the Hakuba Valley, plenty of high quality snow falls here. The Iwatake peak is at a lower elevation than some of the other ski areas in the Hakuba Valley. It enjoys warmer conditions, which is great for fair weather skiers but can mean the snow doesn’t stay in great condition for as long.


Lifts

Iwatake is served by 15 lifts - 13 lifts serving the front side and 2 lifts serving the back side. The fastest way to the peak is the Noah Gondola. From the peak there is the wonderful 360 degree view of the Hakuba Valley. In addition, there is a good quality high speed Quad and also a Triple chair lift with the remaining lifts being pair lifts. Generally speaking the lift system and resort layout is a little confusing with some runs running only to the bottom of lift that you just rode. Although the ski area is not so big that you can really get lost or not find your way around before long.


Terrain

Iwatake has a slightly strange and confusing layout and is made up of two ski areas – the village facing area and the main mountain area, joined by a green run at the top running between the two.

The main mountain area has runs of varying length in each direction with lifts connecting back to the top of the mountain.

The mountain has a medium pitch, steeper than Tsugaike by not as steep as Happo One or Hakuba 47. This is ideal for intermediate ability skiers and snowboarders.


On Piste

The official trail stats are 25% beginner, 55% intermediate and 20% advanced. There aren’t any really long runs here.

Beginner

Beginners are well catered for with a number of steeper green runs, although there is better terrain for First Timers at other areas of the Hakuba Valley such as at Tsugaike or the Sakka slopes in Happo One.

Intermediates

Iwatake is ideal for intermediate skiers and snowboarders, offering a good variety of cruisy green runs for those practising their turns and some red runs for advanced intermediates looking to push themselves.

Advanced & Experts

Whilst there are a few un-groomed runs that are powdery in parts and moguls in other parts, there is nothing too serious here to keep advanced or expert skiers on their toes. There are other ski areas in the valley, such as Hakuba 47, Happo One or Cortina, that will better suit.


Off Piste Sidecountry

Whilst some of the tree lined faces that you can access from the top of the Main Mountain Area looks good, Off Piste skiing is prohibited and ski patrol will issue a telling off and may confiscate your lift pass.


Backcountry

The terrain here does not lend itself to Backcountry Skiing. The “Climber’s Routes” at Happo One and Goryu as well as Cortina offer much better options for those looking to get out into the backcountry.


Access

Iwatake Village is located at the base of the mountain and is much more popular with Japanese than non-Japanese tourists and English is not as widely spoken as elsewhere in the Valley. There are few accommodation options suitable for Westerners but there is not much in way of English menus in the restaurants.

Iwatake can be easily reached for a day trip from Echoland, Happo, Wadano, Tsugaike or Cortina via the frequent shuttle bus services.


All information is correct to the best of our knowledge at the time of writing.

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