Hakuba ski instructor Chris Jones reveals the best parts of his job and shares some local tips for visitors.
Being able to share my passion for the sport I love and for being in the mountains is what inspired me to become an instructor. Combined with the love of travel and the search for new experiences, this was something I had to do.
I am fortunate to have taught skiing in some of the best resorts in America and Europe before making 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 was to come a season before returning to the European Alps. That changed quickly and I am fortunate to start my sixth season in Hakuba with Evergreen International Ski School.
“The look on a guest’s face when they first see the breathtaking peaks or connecting bends of Hakuba is something few people experience on a daily basis.”
When I look back at the end of each winter, I always feel like everyone was the best yet.
First, because there is so much to learn about skiing and the mountains. It is one of my biggest motivations for continually doing ski seasons and teaching, constant development and growth. There are so many ways to deepen your knowledge and skills and what better place to do it. Hakuba has allowed me to score many goals and keep setting new ones.
Second, the amazing people you meet on your trip. The look on a guest’s face when they first see the peaks or breathtaking bends of Hakuba is something few experience on a daily basis. Being part of a family’s vacation for a week or introducing new people to 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 to mention the locals who let us fall in love. Every winter wouldn’t be complete without the characters (say one or two eccentrics) who work through ski seasons and who certainly make it memorable.
Everyone in the industry knows about Hakuba’s epic snowfall, but what surprised me first was the variety of terrain. From tall trees to steep slopes, there is something to ski regardless of the snow conditions. We also have a fantastic teaching ground in the valley which makes my job so much easier. Each resort in the valley offers something different by giving you perfect days on groomed slopes, secret powder reserves or joining the Japanese love of mogul skiing.
I haven’t even started on food and onsen. It is a long story and something that you have to experience for yourselves.
“Everyone in the industry knows about Hakuba’s epic snowfall, but what surprised me at first was the variety of terrain. “
I am delighted to have another great season. Meet new clients and ski with returning families, ski powder, sculpt slopes and explore more of the Japanese Alps.
Chris’s tips for anyone visiting Hakuba
Favorite race: Central
First part of the mountain to visit on a powder day: Downhill Men
Favorite Hakuba Restaurant: Miyama
Favorite Hakuba Bar: Hakubar
Best thing to do in Hakuba other than skiing or snowboarding: Cycling
Local secret: On a powder day, discover some of the valley’s smaller resorts when everyone flocks to the bigger ones.