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  1. Having won a free ticket from the kind people at both Snow Japan and Maiko Korakuen resort in Niigata, I happily roped in a driving friend and his son and we had a day out from Kanagawa. Right from the off, the stars seemed to be aligned against us as my mate got lost on the way to my house to pick me up!! The weather report was for light snow but the previous 2 or 3 days had been significantly warmer and there was some rain so I wasn't expecting there to be stellar conditions. An early start for a drive from Shonan, picked up and on the road for 4.45am....not bad. we had to make stop in T
  2. Ok, before I start this trip report I must confess that I wasn't in the best frame of mind when I came to Maiko to use my free ticket. My snowboarding partner (my brother) was sick and couldn't get out of bed/onsen, I was teaching two noobs who lacked drive and the other 2 who came with us were complaining heavily. Add to that some warmer conditions and wind affecting lift/gondola operation, flat camera battery and you have the makings of a bad starting point. After getting to Echigo-Yuzawa around 9am, we made our way to the east exit, before asking where the Maiko bus left from. We had
  3. My first day on the snow. And a good one to pick as well. Stormy conditions yesterday make for very nice snow today and the sun was out shining with blue skies over Minamiouonuma this morning. Mt Granview not being open yet, Maiko Snow Resort here in Minamiuonuma was the choice. Not busy at all, the whole place open and lovely snow conditions. Great first day. When the lovely new snowjapan site goes up, I'll write a resort review for Maiko, and the other places I know, with some more words rather than just pictures.
  4. Very strange day today weather wise. Started off snowing, then around 8am it was bright blue skies, then it quickly clouded over again. Back to sun after 9am and as I hadn't been skiing since Hakuba last week I thought I would go out and have a half day. Lovely blue skies for an hour or so and then it got all grey and clouding over once again around lunchtime. Lots of different shades of blue, then grey. It was almost like it was different days looking in different directions. I was really pleasantly surprised at the snow - it was really decent out there today. Actually it was easi
  5. I was going to wait and hit up here next Wednesday for some uncrowded weekday action but I couldn't stand looking at all the snowfilled webcams for another weekend, so off I went. Its an early start for me, get the 5.04am train from Fujisawa station to Tokyo, jump on the 6.08am Shinkansen to Echigo Yuzawa and powder heaven. When we were spit out of the HUGE tunnel between Gunma and Niigata, we weren't disappointed to see that the Pow tap was left on and there was loads of snow around and the sky was full of it. Maiko puts on a free shuttle bus from Echigo Yuzawa station to the resort so thats
  6. It was supposed to be snowing again this morning, but we woke up to some clearing skies and by 10 o'clock it was bright and sunny. Time to get out! Went to one of my locals - Centleisure Maiko Snow Resort in Minamiuonuma - 10-15 minutes drive for me and just to the north of Yuzawa. After all the heavy snow, snow conditions were just great. And as is often the case, tons of places to find untouched snow. Let's Maiko, I reckon. It was sunny and clear skies when I got there, but clouds quickly moved in and just 30 minutes later it was really clouding over quickly. Very grey skies later
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