“Hakuba Ski Jumping Stadium”:http://www.vill.hakuba.lg.jp/public_facilities/jumping_studium/jumping_studium.pdf is a 15 minute walk from the centre of town and was used during the winter Olympics in 1998 when the Japanese team won the gold medal. Having paid ¥460 (£3) we took a two-man chair lift half way up. Whilst it wasn’t a long way, there was no safety bar which made it a little disconcerting.
We then took a lift up five floors – the lift ceiling had to be made especially high to accommodate the special jumping skis. There were two ski jumps: the normal hill, used for Olympic competitions, where jumpers can reach distances over 110 metres (360 ft) and the large hill where distances over 150 metres (490 ft) can be reached. This is used in the World Cup.
We decided to be brave and explore the large hill where we walked along a mesh open walkway and climbed around 60 steps to reach the point at 59.1m high where the ski-jumpers launch themselves. It was pretty terrifying and we couldn’t imagine jumping off. However, we did get good views of Hakuba’s ski area.
We then walked down the stairs, rather than take the lift, as each floor contained a display. There was a video about the techniques used, racing suits and Olympic medals and other memorabilia on display. There was a great set of colourful posters one from each of the 22 winter Olympic games.
Our visit coincides well with the forthcoming release of the film Eddie the Eagle which we now cannot wait to see.