We went to Hakuba in Northern Japan. It is near Nagano and was the location for the Alpine Skiing and Ski Jumping 1998 Winter Olympic events. We stayed at this cute little pension (similar to a bed & breakfast) called Alpine Wind. The owners were very friendly and helpful and it had an onsen in the back, which was wonderful after being on the slopes all day. At night we gathered near the fireplace to enjoy card games and wine.
I am not sure if I have ever seen so much snow in one place. The week prior to our trip there was a storm that blew through and dropped 2 meters (almost 6.5 feet!) in 24 hours. Apparently there is crazy snowfall here every year.
The first day on the slopes was miserable. It was freezing cold and snowed like crazy. I haven't been on the slopes in 2 years, and even before then my experience is very limited, so the inability to see and the continuously falling snow was not a good combination. Needless to say, I was pretty much on the same baby slope all day. Sami really picked up skiing and was off to the more advanced slopes before lunch. Emily decided to try snowboarding instead of skiing and by the end of the weekend she was doing pretty good. And Chris and Matt... I swear they were born for the slopes. Off they went to the black diamond runs.
While I am still not a fan of snow, cold weather and skiing, views like this made the trip worthwhile.