Every good ski resort has one zone or line that is plain view, and everyone dreams about riding. For Happo-One, Kaerazu is that line. Kaerazu no ken translates to "the mountain of no return," and the skiable zone on it is often referred to as the Kat Face. It is the obvious steep, scary looking face that is opposite the Happo ridge, and easily visible from anywhere above the resort Kaerazu No Ken | The Mountain of no Return | Hakuba, Japan | Unofficial Networks

Kaerazu No Ken | The Mountain of no Return | Hakuba, Japan

Kaerazu No Ken | The Mountain of no Return | Hakuba, Japan

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Kaerazu No Ken | The Mountain of no Return | Hakuba, Japan

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 Daisuke Honda (?) putting forth a strong effort on Kaerazu.

Every good ski resort has one zone or line that is plain view, and everyone dreams about riding. For Happo-One, Kaerazu is that line. Kaerazu no ken translates to “the mountain of no return,” and the skiable zone on it is often referred to as the Kat Face. It is the obvious steep, scary looking face that is opposite the Happo ridge, and easily visible from anywhere above the resort. Once you’ve seen this face, there is no doubt why it is one of Happo’s most coveted lines. Exposure and steep spines, cliffs and couloirs – this zone has it all.

 Tetsuya Ishikawa and Shoji Matsumoto of Colorsport ride different lines on Kaerazu.

Kaerazu is an extremely difficult zone to ski, and not just because of the obviously challenging terrain. It is about 3 to 4 hours hiking from the top of the lifts. Its southeast facing, and it is a race to get to it before the sun makes it too dangerous to ski. Indeed, this is a race that you will usually lose, unless you camp on the ridge, or get an unusually cold day. It also has a big convexity right at the top before entering steep chokes with exposure below, which makes sluff a major obstacle. If you don’t believe me, ask Forrest Shearer (see 1:51  of the Further trailer posted below). There may only be a couple days a season where conditions are right to ski Kaerazu, and an attempt at it should be undertaken with extreme caution.

 Forrest Shearer getting taken out by sluff in the looker’s right couloir on Kaerazu at 1:51, Jeremy Jones ripping the main face at 2:05.

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