A Weekend at Hanazono

There are some really exciting ski and snowboard events and competitions taking place this weekend at Niseko’s Hanazono resort.

Today was the training day for the FIS Snowboard Japan Cup 2011 Halfpipe event. Tomorrow, 29th January, will see the main event and there will be some top riders in action. The competition begins at 09:20 and we recommend getting there early to avoid missing out on a good view point.

Then on Sunday Hanazono will be hosting Bagjump Mania 2011. The Bagjump is an innovative tool used to practice freestyle jumps safely (see image below). So you can expect to see a whole host of skiers and snowboarders going all out to see who can throw the biggest tricks. It’s a great spectacle and not to be missed if you’re anywhere near the area. The competition begins at 11:00.

Head to Hanazono this weekend and you’ll find a lot going on with enough excitement for everyone!

Bikes & Wakeboards

Although better known for incredible snow conditions, the Japanese resort of Niseko has long been a popular summer destination for those in the know. Niseko’s reputation as a summer resort is set to receive a big boost thanks to increased development in the area and the addition of some fantastic new outdoor activities.

70 Truckloads of dirt and a payload of hard work by a talented team of enthusiastic locals has brought the Hanazono Bike Park to life.

The bike park is one of the exciting new components of the Hanazono Activity Centre which is opened on June 26 and coincided with the first Niseko Hanazono MTB Competition, a Japan Cycling Federation-certified event.

As well as the mountain biking facilities, the new activity centre boasts a ‘Bag Jump’ air bag for landing aerial tricks on mountain bikes as well as skis and snowboards off a dry ramp.

The final touches are being put on the MTB skills park which is designed as a training ground to hone skills like jumping, braking, cornering and balancing for the real mountain bike trails.

Starting from behind the Hanazono 308 Day Centre, 3km of trails have been built through forests and down the main ski slopes of the Hanazono resort. There’s also a kids mini-downhill course in the Hanazono bowl just below Hanazono 308. Click here to read more.

In addition to the Bike Park, Hanazono has also introduced Hokkaido’s first cable wakeboard/waterski park.

Set on a small lake surrounded by dense green forest, the Wakeboard Park runs off a “System 2.0” straight line cable about 200m long.

Towards the end of each run the rider can use their inertia to swing wide before being pulled back in the opposite direction, allowing a continuous ride backward and forward.

In the middle of the straight there is a rail and jump box with more to come, and plans for another cable allowing a beginners and advanced cables next year.

Any trick that can be done behind a boat or in any cable ski park around the world can theoretically be done in Hanazono’s Wakeboard Park. Read more about this here.