So, we get on the train, equipped with a woman coming down the isle with her food and drink cart every so often; Kate wanted the beef jerky - until she learned that it was beef tongue. I am glad the woman spoke a little English. Four hours later we arrived in Hakuba. The property manager (Australian guy) from our hotel picked us up at the station, sent our bags ahead to the Alpine Chalets, and took us to rent our skis and equipment, including a coat for me. I realized on the train that I left my new ski coat at home - a Christmas gift from Jack. And of course Jack tells me later, "You know Brigitte, renting this coat cost more than what I payed for yours."
So then Kevin, our guy, takes us to a place where we can eat and then shop for some basics to have back at our place. Nice service.
As most ski vacations go, they all probably don't differ that much. I do love that we can say that our kids not only learned to ski in Japan, but on Happo One, the slopes from the 98 Nagano Olympics. But, as with most Malone vacations someone got sick - Connor. He came down with a pretty good fever after our first full day and was out of commission for the remainder of the trip. After being stuck in our simple, tiny quarters with him for one day, downloading many itunes videos, we brought him to the hill and traded off hanging out with him in the lodge.
The lift passes were a new thing for us. Maybe it's not new to everyone else as we haven't been skiing since Kate was 4 months old. But here they give you this square plastic computer chip thing that the regulars put in a little pocket protector and strap it to their arm. Then you wave it at the lift entrace it lets you through. The beauty of this for us was that while Connor was sick, we just passed the chip back and forth. Always trying to save a buck - or some Yen. Speaking of Yen, MUCH cheaper here. That was nice.
I did find the town of Hakuba feeling more like a European town in terms of the buildings, inns and hotels. We really enjoyed getting out of the city, walking the quiet snow filled streets at night. We are hoping to go skiing again. We learned of a place that is less than an hour on the train and it takes you literally to the resort, an easy day trip. Well, maybe not with our family, but still a day trip.
The kids before their first ski lesson. They are in front of the Alpine Chalets
Me and my rental.
The only day Connor was out.
Nicholas was great out there - really enjoyed himself. Phew.