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Life in Nagano Prefecture

During my stay in Japan I have lived in Nagano Prefecture twice on separate occasions. I was placed to work as a gondola operator at a famous ski resort with in the Hakuba Village called 'Hakuba 47 Wintersports Park'. At first the job was tough, needing to wake up 5am in the morning, eat breakfast and make it to be before 6:30am. From there on all the lift and gondola operators will gather for a quick meeting before we set in to two teams. One team will work at the summit while the other will work at the base.

First of all the Team Leader at the base will decide who goes into the operator's room at the base to control the out going of the gondolas and constant relay of information with the summit operator as well as the members doing visual maintenance of the cable towers. The Team Leader will then push the few gondolas out before spacing the last few out so they will synchronize with the inputted time and ratio.

Members doing the visual check has a tough task ahead of them. They need to constantly check out for snow and ice build up in between the cable line and the wheels. After the check up, the members were to help push the gondolas out and help set up for opening. The base crew would return back after everything is finished and help with the setting up of the base.

Before the start of work rotation would be decided first and work will start. The members would rotate roles every half an hour so that people doing the gondola attendant job or ticket usher job would not freeze. For the base job there are 5 different roles: Operator, Ticket Usher, Lift Attendant (Ascending Line), Lift Attendant (Descending Line) and a person on break/watch out. As for the summit there are 3 different roles: Operator, Lift Attendant and a person on break/watch out.

The hardest thing about this job is being able to watch out for the wind while controlling the speed of the gondolas. You do not want the cars to shake that much because it might lead it to bump into the cable towers or cause derailment. The priority is always to deliver a safe ride for the customers and if in any case you feel that it is too dangerous you can just stop the running of the gondola for the time being.


Posted by Ohana_Matsumae 08:53 Archived in Japan Tagged snow mountain ski snowboard resort nagano gondola hakuba powder

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