Skiing and snowboarding in Japan is the hottest winter sports ticket in the world at the moment, and why wouldn’t it be: it consistently records the lightest and driest snow on earth, and it falls in quantities that’ll make your head spin – every time!
Let’s be clear – Japan is no longer a secret. Every year, thousands of Aussies head to Japan in search of powder, good food and a good time; in fact too much of a good time, a trend which has turned some resorts into something akin of Bali on ice. However, suffice to say, there are many more resorts in Japan than some might believe, and certainly more than the half dozen or so frequented by Aussies. In fact, Japan is home to 600 odd ski resorts and some of the very best (and lesser known) are in Honshu, with many in the Nagano prefecture; including Madarao Kogen.
Madarao Kogen Mountain Resort
Nestled comfortably between the historic Nozawa Onsen Ski Resort and the popular Myoko Kogen Ski Resort is Madarao Kogen. Madarao Mountain Resort ticks all the boxes: family friendly; powder galore, a good variety of terrain, uncrowded, and authentically Japanese, but without trying to be Japanese; it just is…just check out these videos.
If it’s piste skiing you’re looking for, Madarao has 30 ski runs with an even mix of beginner, intermediate, and advanced. However, beyond that, Madarao offers so much more than this – beyond the piste skiing is literally hectare upon hectare of off-piste skiing, including some of the best tree skiing in the world.
“I’ve skied Madarao Kogen 4 times in the last 5 years, and I can say the resort and the trees skiing are simply mind-blowing” Regan Yan, Sydney.
At Madarao, they don’t just allow tree skiing; they encourage it. Yes, many resorts in Japan have truly great tree skiing potential, but the beech trees and bamboo all too often get in the way. Not in Madarao; here the resort maintains a program of “glading” or forest thinning, resulting in a series of totally unimpeded tree-skiing, often full of knee to waste deep powder.
Active Life Madarao
Accommodation options in Madarao are numerous, but this month Snowriders WA is proudly supporting Active Life Madarao, a newly refurbished Australian-owned lodge in the heart of the Madarao resort. Active Life Madarao provides a ski in ski out sanctuary, complete with your choice of a variety of spacious western style rooms with an ensuite bathroom; wifi and your choice of three styles of bed: hard, firm, or ‘dream’ – the three bears would be right at home!
Upon arrival, you’ll be greeted at the accommodation by English speaking staff, who’ll show you to your rooms and help you settle in. The lodge is serviced with free wifi, a resident masseuse and spa, laundry facilities and a generous drying room. There are two different styles of rooms: the Standard room accommodating up to 3 people, or the Family room, which comfortably accommodates 4 people.
Active Life Madarao is also well known for its food, coffee and local craft beers. In the morning, power up on an espresso and a hearty breakfast; and in the evening, enjoy an exquisite French-Japanese fusion dinner, followed by a glass of your favorite wine or craft beer in Active Life’s in-house bar.
Active Life offers three different package combinations for visitors to choose from: Powder Fun, Powder Extreme and Powder Ultimate. Each package rate includes your bed, ski pass and daily bed and breakfast. Prices start from 56,000 yen pp (~$AUD737 AUD*), which gets you 5 nights, a 4 day lift pass, breakfast and dinner; longer stays of up to 10 nights start at 112,000 yen pp (~$AUD 1,500*). Be the one of the first 50 to book, and enjoy a further 30% off. It doesn’t get much better than this folks.
*Price based on a minimum of 2 guests for Standard Room type; or a minimum of 4 guests for Family Room type. Price shown above is per guest and exclusive of tax.
Cover image courtesy of Lesscroft https://www.youtube.com/user/lesscroft/videos