If you can tell how the economy is doing by the number of new businesses popping up, Hakuba must be doing OK. Here are three of places owned and operated by “international locals” in the Hakuba area. They’ve been busy all spring, summer and autumn, getting ready so you can have a great time this winter.
Morino Lodge (Happo-One area)
Owners: Matt Dunn and Craig Oldring
With more than 14 combined years experience snowboarding in Japan, friends Matt Dunn and Craig Oldring found a cozy place in Hakuba after looking for three years. “We wanted to find the right place with good access and good facilities, and I think we’ve found that here at the Morino.” Matt says.
Having been in Japan for the last seven years each, they now live year ’round in their favorite North Alps playground. The Morino Lodge is conveniently located just a five-minute walk from the Happo-One gondola in Wadano.
Matt hails from Scotland and Craig from Whistler, Canada. Having extensively snowboarded in the European Alps, Matt confesses, “Hakuba gets the best snow and has the best terrain.” Having the reputation as two of the best snowboarders in the valley, they have a plethora of knowledge about the mountains in Hakuba.
W: www.morinolodge.com, T: 090-9380-8817 (Matt); 080-3127-1878 (Craig)
Hakuba Powder Lodging (Hakuba 47 area)
Owners: Nick and Hiroko Kowal
Until last year, Nick Kowal and his wife Hiroko had been living in Kyoto and driving to ski resorts in Hakuba on weekends and holidays. When opportunity knocked, they not only opened the door, they bought the place and have been living in Hakuba since summer. Nick has been in Japan since 1995 and “could imagine retiring in Hakuba.” The certified ski instructor (Canada, Level 1) says, “The Hakuba area offers more than any other in Japan. Not only do we have views, but also the ski terrain is incredible as well. I can’t think of anywhere else that I’d rather live.”
Hiroko agrees. “We wanted to get out of the city and educate our daughter somewhere more ‘homey.’ Living in Hakuba lets us enjoy life doing the things we love to do,” she said. Hakuba Powder Lodging is a backpackers-style accommodation with a warm and friendly atmosphere.
W: www.hakubapowderlodging.com, T: 090-1147-8741
WHITE HORSE HAKUBA (Hakuba 47 area)
Owners: Tony Anderson, Tim and Lesley Heuchan and Ed Clark
After taking numerous yearly trips from Australia to Hakuba, Tony Anderson, a successful manufacturing business owner, dared to dream of purchasing a hotel – and then it became reality. He says he aims to run his business in a way that encourages others to pursue their dreams. “The ski change has given me a new challenge in life but more importantly it has given me the inner peace for which I have been yearning. I have been working my life away; now it’s time to live.”
Tony runs the White Horse Hotel, located on the main street in Echoland, together with Tim and Lesley Heuchan and the fourth co-owner, Ed Clark who is based in Melbourne, Australia. Their boutique hotel’s opening is planned for Dec. 1.
W: www.whitehorse-hakuba.com, T: (0261) 72-5644
Note: You can also make free online bookings for these great places and more at Outdoor Japan Online (www.outdoorjapan.com)