Nozawa Onsen- skiing the Japanese Alps

We booked a ski trip this week, through the outdoor recreation program on base, to the town of Nozawa Onsen in Nagano prefecture. This town is in the Japanese Alps region of Japan, and also where some of the 1998 Winter Olympics events were held. Eva is all smiles, despite the 3am wake up we had!

After a 4 hour bus trip, we arrived at our hotel. Not exactly the lap of luxury, but adequate, and great proximity to the lifts.

This was a Japanese style hotel, and came with nightshirts to wear and slippers, of course!

No complaints about the view from the room.

We changed and headed right to the resort. You always pass a shrine of some sort in Japan!

We caught a quick shuttle over to ski school.

Luckily for the girls, all the ski school instructors were Australian, so they spoke English. In fact, the majority of patrons at the resort that day were also Australian, interesting.

Here are the girls at class.

We were able to do some skiing, while the girls were taking their lesson. The scenery reminded me of Park City, Utah.

Okay…..the lift ticket looked like this, it does not attach to your jacket here. Every time you ride the lift, you have to get it out and show the lift operator. Well, wouldn’t you know it, I lost my lift ticket on the first run of the first day. We purchased a pass for 1.5 days, so I was just out!!! I was so distraught, we retraced our steps to this horrible black diamond we ended up on, but no sign of the pass.

I decided to check lost and found to make sure it had not been turned in, fully expecting the worst. And MIRACLE of ALL MIRACLES, it had been turned in!! They even matched up the numbers to Matt’s pass to make sure it was in fact mine. I was back in business! ( I am beginning to think we have 9 lives, a few years ago Matt’s wedding band was lost, found, returned and mailed back to Wyoming- from SEA WORLD!)

The girls enjoyed their lesson and did very well. Ella had taken lessons last year, but this was Eva’s first ski school. She did great! We lucked out with the beautiful day, it was snowing hard the day before we arrived.

This was the awful black run we happened upon, where I may have lost my ticket. The problem is, when you are at the top of this, there is only one way down! (I don’t like moguls!)

At the end of the day we took the gondola up as a family to this very nice, wide, green run for the girls to practice on. They did very well and are getting very good at stopping.

Eva and I rode the gondola back down. What a view!

A few of the Olympic events were held at this ski resort.

The “rustic charm” of our hotel.

Onsen, or hot springs (heated from Mt. Fuji), is a very popular activity in Japan. The normal etiquette is to shower and scrub off in a shower and then soak in the onsen naked. (Men and women in separate baths). This guide was in the hotel room. It’s kind of funny.

Fortunately, we found a family onsen in the town where you could all sit in the onsen together- with bathing suits on! We did this after skiing and it felt great! It was also an outside onsen, so the cold night air and the hot water were especially nice. This is from the above guide. Haha!

The next day we skied half a day before heading back home. The kids hill had this moving sidewalk to get the kids to the top. Much better than the rope tow I learned on!

There was also outdoor play things for the little ones.

They had sleds you could use for free, so we spent the last hour or so sledding. The girls loved it!

We’ll be back soon!

1 Comment

  1. Amara
    January 17, 2014 / 11:49 pm

    Lovely –such great memories! I'm glad you didn't have to bathe nacked with other random women. I see way more old lady nakedness than I can ever forget in the locker room of the Springville pool (shudder).

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