ACE Club Snow Camp 2017
The time finally arrived, it was December 26th…YES DECEMBER 26th. For most westerners it is boxing day but for ACE Club it was the first day of our Snow Camp in Hakuba. We met the kids in Shinjuku and took the bus to Otari, which is just outside of Hakuba. As we were getting closer their was no snow, but as we got closer and closer it started to build up. Once we got to Otari it was a winter wonderland with over 1 meter of snow and another meter of snow coming over the next couple of days.
Once we arrived and settled into the lodge the kids were in their snowsuits immediately ready to go out for their first snow experience. We started with some sledding and snow man making. The kids were in paradise. It was snowing a lot so their was so much fresh snow for the kids to play in. After our first snow session we went back in to the lodge to dry off. Once we got a warm meal in our stomach, it was time to get the snow suits on and back outside in the snow. We teamed up with Otari Nature School for this trip and had a wonderful surprise waiting for them. A wonderful outdoor snow cafe with a campfire and pots of chocolate sauce cooking on the stovetop. It was a first for us the staff and the kids. The kids got to have a chocolate fondue campfire in the snow and ate marshmallows, strawberries and bananas. It was unbelievable. Once it finished we packed up and were ready for an Onsen and bed time.
The kids were up first thing in the morning and looked out the window to another fresh 50 cm of snow…WOW! The kids ate and got dressed quickly. We met up with Obi from Otari Nature School again and he took us to the snowfield to build our igloo. It was all powder so we weren’t able to build a traditional igloo so we had to make a kamakura. It was still amazing and lots of fun. The kids had to work together to build up the base and let it settle till later in the day. After lunch it was back outside for more snow adventure. We had our kanjiki snow shoe hike out in the snowfields of Tsugaike. The kids had to trek through over a meter of fresh snow through the forest and around the area. It was very challenging, but very fun and the kids could’ve gone on for hours. We finished our long trek in the snow with some hot lemon tea and snacks. We finished up in the snow field and made our way back to the kamakura which was ready to form. We cut out the door on the base and were ready to play inside it and warm up. The kids also got to decorate the kamakura with our own water color based paints. It was very cold and the visibility was a little hard at the moment but we got in our time with it. After it was time to go inside for another hot meal, bath and finish up with some story time.
On the last day we took a more slower approach since the first two days were action packed. We did our traditional graffiti party in which the kids write special messages on a blank shirt and share memories with their friends. Once we finished that we continued to share memories with each other, but this time we did it with some journal time. The kids were able to write and draw about their memories from the camp. Also the kids made their own oyaki buns, which they made them with pumpkin. It was a great gift to take home with them. Last but not least the kids wanted one more chance to play with the snow so we had them go out for their own final time with their friends and take some pictures with the polaroid camera. They all got pictures and took them home with them to remember about how awesome this camp was.
This was our first camp in Hakuba and we had great hospitality from Go San and his wife at Daiju Lodge. Also Obi from his nature school, Otari Nature School was amazing and helped up create a special experience for all the kids that joined us. We are going back to Hakuba in the Summer so we are very excited to spend some more time with Obi and his crew.
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