You haven't experienced powder until you have ridden Cortina
Cortina is a name that only a handful of people recognised a couple of years ago. Even some riders who had been to Hakuba didn't realise it was there. However, even the best kept secrets get out. This is largely the result of a decision in the 2009/10 season to open up the resort's off-piste terrain and allow freeriders to enter (at their own risk). When free thinking is combined with the highest snowfall and steepest gradient in the Hakuba Valley then you have an off-piste powder Mecca. Not only is Cortina home to arguably some of Japan's best lift-accessed free riding, the off-snow activities are just as much of a treat. There is also the 'make your own pizza' that has become famous amongst Hakubians and an in-house onsen with views over the resort. The most amazing fact is that this 'Cortina Experience' will only set you back 3,500 JPY (AU$47) which includes a 1,000 JPY lunch voucher. I challenge you to find a resort that is as good as Cortina for the same price!
The above video sums up the riding to be had at Cortina nicely. There are semi off-piste areas called 'self responsibility' areas that are easily accessed and have endless powder turns on offer. Numerous gullies, lips, trees and drop-offs create a multitude of natural features that allow everyone to push their riding to the limit each day. A high proportion of the footage shown on this page is taken on Cortina's 'south face', the famous run accessed off the resort's number 4 lift. This slope is the favourite amongst advanced skiers and boarders at the resort, with the natural face of the hill ensuring the snow is deepest and lightest here. This is a backcountry run that requires a traverse through Norikura (the adjacent ski resort) to return back to the base of Cortina, turning the run into an awesome adventure.
To provide our powder-hungry clients with the easiest access to Heaven (Cortina) Liquid Snow Tours have implemented a DIRECT, PRIVATE transfer for our clients staying in our preferred properties (The Lab Hakuba, Phoenix Hotel and Hakuba Springs Hotel) that will only pick up guests from these three locations and then drive them to Cortina (and back) 3 times a week during the 2012/13 season. This will allow you plenty of time for an onsen without the threat of missing the last bus home, which will lead to the dreaded 6,000JPY taxi ride back to Hakuba.
Liquid Snow Tours have also created a couple of new products for the Hakuba region in the 2012/13 season which are a 2 night Cortina Powder Escape and a month long package that includes a season ticket to Cortina central along with daily transfers.