Madarao - Reviews

Gaining Popularity

POWDERHOUNDS.COM
31/07/2016
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Skier
  • Rider Level
    Expert
  • Rider Age
    36-50
  • Month Visited:
    January
Sidecountry fun
When we last visited Madarao we tipped that it would grow in its popularity with westerners and we weren’t wrong. The most obvious change is the number of day trippers arriving at Madarao/Tangram to chase the powder; mostly with tour groups from Myoko Kogen and Yudanaka. So whilst it’s reasonably easy to find fresh powder at Tangram due to the partial ban on off-piste skiing, at Madarao the competition for the untouched powder has continued to grow, thanks in part due to their liberal approach to tree skiing. It’s not only the off-piste where the powder disappears reasonably quickly, but also the sidecountry and the backcountry. But of course it’s all relative. Compared to USA, Europe or Australia, the powder at Madarao still lasts a while and they continue to glade more areas each season, opening up more skiable tree terrain.

For multi-day visitors to Madarao, things haven’t changed too much and it doesn’t feel over-run with gaijin. Particularly for those who stay in one of the inexpensive pensions that are owned and hosted by the locals, you can still experience quintessential Japanese culture and affability.

For more on the pros and cons see the Madarao overview page, and also see the Japan ski resorts ratings to see how the resort compares against others in the land of the rising sun.

Nice little mountain with some strange bits

WSS
19/02/2016
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Snowboarder
  • Rider Level
    Advanced
  • Rider Age
    51-70
  • Month Visited:
    February
This was our first visit to Madarao and found it to be a nice but strange little mountain. If you are an advanced skier, maybe 2 ~ 3 days and then done. If you are a boarder, maybe 3 or 4 but depending on what you like to do and snow conditions.

We went during a holiday week plus Chinese New Year so it was packed with Japanese university students (mostly beginner boarders) and lots of foreigners. Our week was 90% boarders. As well, this has not been a good season for snowfall so that puts a damper on things. But mid week we got 35cm overnight with some drift area over 50cm, so that was definitely the highlight.

The top half of the mountain is not groomed so, moguls galore, which is fun for skiers but not necessarily fun for boarders, unless that is your thing. I don't understand this policy considering 90% of the people are boarders then they should groom from top to bottom. I guess this is one way to .... "enlarge" the mountain because yes, it can be fun to come down the soft pack moguls and it does give you a nice workout otherwise the runs will be just too boring.

The bottom half is pretty much full of learners so going up the lift is like watch a comedy show because the university students were pretty brave and enjoyed the wipe outs and face plants.

The lifts... well, aside from the 2 Quads, the others are... slooooooow.... I guess this is so you don't get a massive hit to the back of your knees when getting on.... The single lift, #13, is pretty cool, slow but cute.

Now, when it dumps, it is a lot of fun! But then all the locals come out from nowhere and the place is tracked pretty quickly, even the tree runs. There are quite a few tree runs, especially from lift #13 take a right and the left quad, take a left on exit. And you don't need a guide or anything, pretty much you can see where to go. But you can get a guide for the back side of the mountain and I was told it is quite fun and challenging, but be sure to wait for a nice snow fall first. The powder is a bit heavier than what you get up in Hokkaido, but fun when it dumps.

As for food.... I am sorry to report, compared to some other Japan ski resorts, the mountain restaurants here are a bit lacking.

For place to stay, there is the main hotel of course but that's not our thing. Fujio Pension is an excellent pension with great service! There are a few restaurants and Rudolf and Jazzy are both quite good but aside from that.... You can always drive to Iiyama which is 20 minutes down the hill by car or Nozawa Onsen which is another 20 minutes further.

If you are a beginner and together with family, this is a prefect place. Very relaxed.
If you are intermediate and with family and like to explore some tree runs, then this is also a good place.
If you come with the guys and like to bomb down the hill, going for steep and deep and chutes jumps and trees and all that stuff, this place can be fun... especially when it dumps... but one or two days and you're done, unless you get a guide and go off piste to the back side of the mountain.

Madarao

Ken
25/06/2015
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Snowboarder
  • Rider Level
    Advanced
  • Rider Age
    18-35
On a good pow day, Madarao is a lot of fun. The piste was usually crowded, but good thing most japanese don't really ride off-piste. Plenty of pow in the trees. Especially on the far skiers left (and right), you will find really nice tree runs. Deep, and steep enough to really appreciate the deepness. It is not easy to find, but once you find it...oh man. However, borders need to know how keep their speed up on flat terrain to get to and out of the good spots without walking.

Madarao Kogen & Nozawa Onsen Nagano Japan

Todd Brewer
16/03/2015
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Snowboarder
  • Rider Level
    Advanced
  • Rider Age
    36-50
Yeah mate went to Madarao Kogen & Nozawa Onsen great little spots on the main island of Honshu in Nagano prefecture. I look at Powderhounds quite often with good info & video links this trip was done through a friend of my wife but i think powderhounds is a top site & will no doubt look into them on next trips.

These resorts are a great change up from the mainstream in Japan althou Nozawa is getting popular nevertheless awesome japanese experience with unique town & great mountain to cater for all levels. Madarao kogen is a gem only 20mins from Nozawa not much of a town at all just ski in ski out accommodation with a top ski area with awesome tree runs, Back country access & friendly vibe did i mention no crowds..

A new Shinkinsen bullet train line is now up and running so tokyo to these areas in 75mins.

Overall top places good change up, top riding & sweet Pow..

Give em a crack 4 sure..

Great skiing. Love it.

Andrew Henderson
22/06/2014
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Skier
  • Rider Level
    N/A
  • Rider Age
    36-50
This is a great place to ski. Definitely my favourite field in the area. This is one of the fields offered by Powder Recon, and definitely a top choice for their skiers on a powder day. I have had some amazing days skiing really deep powder at this place. I have always skied there with a combined ticket for Tangram and Madarao and I have not stayed at Madarao, but know people who have.

This field is on the Aussie map now and inevitably things will change. It is still pretty quiet on weekdays, when a lot of the skiers are Japanese families having a week in the snow. During the weekend the easy pickings are gone pretty quickly, particularly on the Madarao side, but usually there is still fresh snow to play in til the afternoon. Even when it is skied out “Powder Waves” is a fantastic run.

There is no alpine here, but wide open tree skiing on the Madarao side. Skiing in the trees is forbidden on the Tangram side and they are pretty strict on enforcing this. It’s a strange policy and a shame, because there is clearly some good stuff to be had on this side! The pitch is good and there is really a large amount of terrain to be had for what never amounts to a large number of skiers. The lifts are good too, I have never had to queue for more than a few minutes and the base lifts are mostly high speed.

I think what will save this place from the hordes will be the lack of real après ski and interesting accommodation. I have visited the main hotel on the Madarao side and it is pretty nice. The staff are helpful. The other guests will be almost all Japanese and I am sure you would meet a lot of peole here, but the options for eating and enjoying Japanese village life are limited. Personally, much though I love this field, I would not organise a ski holiday around it! The Tangram side is even more sterile. There is a massive and very well organised base station resort, with one huge dining area, a massage place, onsen (of course) and shops, but the resort is all there is. It is about 30 minutes to drive to Madarao by taxi, and probably about 40 minutes to get to Myoko Kogen. The road down to Myoko can get closed by snow or accidents too…

This will probably remain a field that people make a pilgrimage to from Nozawa or Myoko, or spend a few days at as part of a longer ski holiday. It is definitely a field to put on the list though, just please don’t come and steal my lines when I am there. 

Surprise Package

POWDERHOUNDS.COM
11/05/2014
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Skier
  • Rider Level
    Expert
  • Rider Age
    36-50
Madarao Mountain Resort has so many great things going for it (see our pros on the overview page) including great value for money, so it’s no surprise that it’s quickly growing in popularity with westerners. You might want to get there soon before it becomes westernised and more expensive.

Madarao is great for a multi-day stay of about 4-5 days for powder hounds or up to a week for families. We visited at the busiest time of the year, so the powder on the obvious tree runs didn’t last long (even beginner Japanese skiers were in there having a crack!) but there was still plenty of pow off-piste and in the backcountry (definitely do a backcountry tour).

We also visited Madarao/Tangram for a day trip from Myoko Kogen in about mid-Jan when the crowds had dissipated. There was powder galore and it almost seemed like a completely different resort!

Madarao

Greg
09/10/2012
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Rider Type
    Snowboarder
  • Rider Level
    Intermediate
  • Rider Age
    36-50
We spent one week in Madarao on a hunch which paid off. No crowds until the arrival of the school group midweek who mainly stayed on the beginners runs leaving the rest of the hill to us. We had 3 dumps of 50 to 70 cm of snow in one week and no one to share it with.

Madarao Kogen hotel was deserted but other than smoky rooms was very comfy. Great food, lift ticket and brekky and dinner included in tariff of about $180 per day.

We never even ventured to Tangram as too busy cutting tracks. Great option for 4 nite stay if your priority is no crowds. Powder somewhat heavier than elsewhere but still a blast when it is still untracked at 1600. Oh, and they groom minimally, god bless them.