IN what is a first for Japan, Hanazono ski resort this season opened its covered magic carpet lifts in a bid to cater for families and beginner skiers and boarders.
With three belt lifts in total, ranging from 60m to 125m in length, the magic carpets are pretty hard to miss – long, tunnel-like conveyor belt lifts that link the lower ski runs with ‘308’, Hanazono’s centre and heart with a restaurant, shops, media systems, entertainment and more.
Niseko mostly caters to intermediate and advanced riders with deep powder cravings – and does so very well indeed.
However, Hanazono saw an opportunity to provide ‘the perfect learning environment for beginners’, said the resort’s marketing director, Nigel Abbott.
He said the magic carpets also serviced the snow tube and toboggan tracks at Hanazono, to create the ‘perfect snow play environment’.
“Whether you’re a snowboarder or skier, child or adult, our learner basin with these magic carpets, combined with obstacle courses to develop skills, and good-quality groomed snow, provides the perfect environment for anyone who is starting out in the snow,” Mr Abbott said.
“This makes the whole experience around learning very enjoyable.”
Hanazono also caters for kids, offering a fun full-day, indoor-outdoor package with an instructor, offering ‘pint-sized good times’.
“We also have an indoor facility for kids, with kids-size tables, toilets, toys and activities,” Mr Abbott said.
“Kids can go in and get some shelter from the snow and basically just have fun. Parents can drop their kids off, hand them over to a qualified instructor and pick them up at the end of the day, knowing they are safe and having a great time.”
Mr Abbott said that while the magic carpets were designed with novices, families and children in mind, they still helped out more experienced skiers and boarders who were simply exhausted.
“If you just can’t be bothered, and are burned out after a big day up the mountain, you can hop on the magic carpet and jump out at the top and relax at 308, sit around, and have something to eat or drink,” he said.
Mr Abbott said that this season marked the beginning of Hanazono achieving full day resort status, with plenty of plans in the pipeline for the future.
“This is the start of the first stage of the development of Hanazono as a resort,” he said.
“This is just a taste of what is to come. We are really gearing up for the future and want to bring more and more people to the area that want to learn to ski or snowboard, or simply indulge in some snow play.”