Share The Stoke with Spring Park Laps

After a season of record breaking dumps, it’s all starting to come to an end. But when the pow starts to disappear, that can only mean one thing… it’s park season baby! Spring laps in hoodies, dropping into lines after a few chu-hi’s, and a whole lot of bruises– that’s what park’s all about–having fun with your mates, trying something new, and going home with a few battle scars to show for it. 

For those of you reading and thinking, ‘Japan’s not really known for their parks’, you clearly haven’t seen the J-crew shred. While powder is undoubtedly their bread and butter (emphasis on the butter), park is still a favourite amongst Japanese crowds and seasonal foreigners alike. As a result, most resorts have added terrain parks over the years to offer riders the best of both worlds–pow and parks.

If you’re looking to come lap park in Japan this spring, here’s a comprehensive list of Hakuba and Niseko’s main terrain park options. 

Niseko Parks

“The park scene in Niseko is super rad. It’s a really cool place where the barrier between languages almost doesn’t matter because everyone’s just hyped on riding the park and everyone ends up being homies.” – Rhythm Rides Instructor, Jeff Stein.

While Hakuba has the reputation for being the terrain parks mecca of Japan, Niseko also has a whole lot to offer for those looking to take a break from groomers to practise their jibs.

Check out our list of Niseko’s best park options here:

HANAZONO

Hanazono caters to riders of all abilities by offering up three different park options. From Hano 2, which caters to freestyle first timers, to the main park, which is designed for advanced riders with a collection of large kickers and a selection of rails, Hanazono has park rats covered when it comes to spring laps.

Hanazono Main Park

Hanazono Main Park is the go-to option for more experienced riders. Featuring kickers ranging from 8 – 15 metres and a selection of rails, Hano Main Park makes it easy for riders to connect lines and advance their abilities. The best part? The features in Main Park are constantly changing, giving riders different options throughout the season.

Hano 2

While advertised as a terrain park, more advanced riders may find Hano 2 slightly limited due to the fact that it only hosts a pump track. Although for beginners, it’s the perfect option to get used to pumping and practise some small jumps.

Gondola Park (Night Park)

Who doesn’t love night riding, let alone park night riding? Hanazono’s Gondola Park offers riders the opportunity to shred during the twilight hours, and hosts a selection of small kickers and boxes, making it the perfect option for those looking to pump some laps during the warm spring nights.

HIRAFU

King Park

It’s pretty fair to assume that if something has ‘king’ in the name, it’s going to be a big deal. King Park lives up to its title. Located in Hirafu, King Area Freeride Park has a little bit of everything; boxes, rails, table-tops, stepdowns, kickers – the options are endless, making it a favourite amongst Niseko’s local park crew. 

Hakuba

“The parks here are unique, super homely and cater for progression, as there is something for every level.” – Hakuba Board Tech, Mel Browne.

When it comes to riding park in Japan, Hakuba is the be-all and end-all. With 10 different resorts located within the Hakuba Valley, there are numerous options for park rats looking to ditch the powder to cut a few laps between resorts. 

47

Out of all of the park options in Hakuba, 47 is without a doubt the biggest and most extensive. Offering a large, well maintained half pipe, a series of 10 different kickers and a bunch of jib rails, boxes and berms, ‘47 Parks’ ensures experts and amateurs alike will have something to suit their level.

Tsugaike Oakley Park

Even outside of the park, Tsugaike is one of the best options for riding in Hakuba. Offering a large selection of terrain, some sick tree runs and a fully fledged park which showcases over 40 feature options, riders will find themselves in awe of Tsugaike’s Oakley Park. Whether they’re looking to practise their jibbing, banked slalom or shred in the exclusive surf-ride course.

Iwatake DC Park

While slightly smaller than Tsugaike and 47’s park options, Iwatake offers an extensive snow park that was created with the intention that everyone can enjoy it. Boasting kickers, waves, rails and boxes, Iwatake’s park will have riders of all levels entertained for hours. Plus, the resort offers some of the best views of the entire region, making the high altitude location of their park the perfect spot for some photo opportunities while springtime riding.

Goryu

Goryu offers two different options for park laps; Goryu Park and Goryu Waves. While Goryu Park focuses on jibbing and hosts all of the usual park features you’d expect, Goryu Waves offers up something a bit more specialist, giving riders the opportunity to carve waves of snow for an on-snow experience like no other.

Happo

Historically, Happo was one of the only main resorts within the Hakuba Valley to not offer any form of park, however over recent years they have started to introduce the Happo Snow Park, offering riders the opportunity to hit a park of entirely snow features. No boxes or rails, just kickers, banks and good times.

Don’t believe us when we say Hakuba’s park scene is top-tier? Take it from Mel instead. Having done multiple seasons in both Hakuba and Australia, Mel is a veteran of the park, making her take on the best spots around Hakuba vital info for any travellers coming to the valley for their spring break. 

smile

Name: Mel Browne

Position: Snowboard Technician, Rhythm Wadano 

Pow or Park?

“Very weather dependent but usually park.”

Favourite park rider?

“Jill Perkins for sure! 

Favourite park in Hakuba?

“Iwatake forever!”

Favourite features?

“I love a pole jam or a flat uprail.”

Weapon of choice?

“I’m currently riding a Burton Good Company, Union Trilogy bindings, and I’ve always got my dragon goggles.”

What makes you love the park scene in Hakuba?

“The local riders here are so sick to watch, I really appreciate their style, and everyone who enters the park is really non-judgmental and it always feels like they are on your team.”

How does J-crew differ from the Aussie park scene?

“I’d say the crew here are more welcoming and encouraging. They have really fun non-serious rail jams to encourage people to get out there and have fun no matter of their ability.”

Gnarliest stack?

“Last season I clipped my nose on the up-ride of a feature and flipped over it but luckily I could ride out.”

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