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  1. Akakura Kanko, Myoko. – April 5th, 2013. Thanks Snow Japan for sending me these 2 tickets for anywhere in Myoko in your last giveaway of the season! Also, congratulations on the new site. Layout is great and easy to navigate. So here is my review for Akakura Kanko in Myoko. I waited to use the tickets until April, so I could take my brother who was visiting from England. It was his first time visiting Japan and his first time snowboarding in almost 3 years. Living in southern Nagano city, I almost always ride in Hakuba and Otari. I have done a fair few days in Suginohara over the last five seasons, plus a few days ‘snorkelling’ in Seki, but other than those two resorts I haven’t ridden much in Myoko at all. It was my first ever visit to Akakan, and I chose to go there as it was basically the only resort still operating on weekdays in April. I took the day off from school on Friday, April 5th and drove from Nagano city to Myoko on the highway. A reasonable 850 yen with the ETC. Pulled up to Akakan mid-morning and it was already 15 degrees. Basically t-shirt weather, but opted for a shell over the t-shirt just to be safe. Being greeted with blue skies and an almost empty car park was nice. Much nicer than being at school! As it was a weekday and the resort was on spring operations, there were only two lifts running. That was more than enough to provide us with plenty of giggles for the day. The gondola and the quad serving the park were our only options, so we lapped them from 11 am until around 3:45 pm, only stopping for a light lunch around 1 pm. My first impressions of the place were good. The massive parking lot is right at the resort base area, so no need to walk for miles to get to the ticket window or gondola station. My brother needed to rent some boots, but the kind guy at the rental shop next to the ticket counter gave him some for half-day rates. A bargain at only 1000 yen! I exchanged my free passes at the counter for the Akakan paper lift tickets. The staff all seemed really friendly and keen to make small talk and hook us up. Maybe they were just happy we were there, as the base area was basically empty. The gondola is a six-seater and was moving at full speed, as there was no wind. The quad was moving quickly too, and I love the ‘bubble’ cover to keep you cosy on windy days. It was hot and sunny so we didn’t need it though. I would say that in total, there were less than 30 people (including us) on the mountain all day. It was really empty and the guys running the lifts didn’t check our tickets once all day! I guess they are a bit more on it during peak season. We did a couple of top to bottom cruisers on the gondola to get the legs in. Nice slushy spring conditions for the top two thirds of the course, but the last stretch was more like glue, so had to b-line it from the mid-run hotel to the base area to avoid unstrapping. Still good fun though. Spent pretty much the rest of the day lapping the park quad. My brother isn’t much of a park rider, but he did well considering he hadn’t ridden in three years and was out there with one of my boards and some rental boots! The park at Akakan is really good, and spring conditions with slushy landings make for the best park days. There is basically one long line through the park, consisting of small to mid-sized kickers, which were well shaped and well maintained. Towards the end of this line there were a few box and rail items, but nothing too full on. About half way down the park, before the rail section, you can veer left to finish the line with two bigger kickers. They seemed nice but the landings seemed a little short for their size. We didn’t ride them at all. I am not sure if the park layout is different during peak season, but I wouldn’t be riding it then anyway. If you are into riding powder lines and tree lines then it looks like Akakan may have some nice terrain above the top chair during peak season. That chair wasn’t running so hard to tell for sure, but it looks like you can hike along a ridge curving around above the top chair. If I go back to Akakan next season I will check it out for sure. As with most of the resorts in Myoko though, almost everything seems to be south facing. Solar radiation would take it’s toll on these lines I’m sure. We had lunch at the restaurant just below the top of the gondola. It was the only place open on the mountain and the food was cheap and pretty good. I got a sukiyaki type bowl for 850 yen. It was nice and we ate lunch out on the balcony terrace. Nice views of the mountains to the south and a perfect place to take in some rays. We spent a good 30 minutes at this restaurant and left very satisfied. My overall impression of Akakan is that it is great if you are a park rider. We couldn’t really get a proper feel for the resort, as we basically rode the same two runs all day, but I would say the groomed runs would suit mainly beginner to intermediate riders and skiers. The lifts are modern and the staff friendly. I would recommend this resort due to its proximity to the highway exit and massive parking area alone. I would definitely consider going back next season, but would rather go during peak season with someone who knows the terrain to show me some of the side country and powder lines. Thanks for the tickets Snow Japan. We had a great day! Neck.
  2. I've got an invitation this week to go to either sugadaira resort in Nagano or Myoko kogen in Niigata. I'll have to drive to both so transportantion isn't important. I'm wondering which is your preference?
  3. THANK YOU SNOWJAPAN for the free lift ticket!!! Here is my review of Myokokogen's suginohara from the perspective of a lower intermediate level boarder on a wednesday. Finding the place was quite easy as the toll booth attendant from the highway gave us a map and told us how to get there. The parking for this place is convenient, better than a lot of other places since there is really only one massive lot. Of course, it was a weekday so it was at about 5% capacity, a MAJOR plus. Myoko in general doesn't get nearly as many foreigners as Hakuba so there seemed to be more excitement than usual at our presence. There are also some ski lodges ON the mountain, as in you can stay in a cabin or lodge, strap on your board and ride down to a lift from your room. Very cool On to the snow... There is still PLENTY of it Suginohara was running their gondola, two double lifts and one quad. So four lifts doesn't sound like much but let me tell you, it takes a solid 30 minutes of nonstop riding to get from the top of the quad down to the bottom of the gondola. This place is LONG! If you are looking for a little exercise with your riding this place is great. Park riders: The snow park on the far left side of the park is quite good. It has at least 15 jumps one after the other with probably 5 sets of rails 4-5 boxes a couple rainbow rails including one that is about a meter up from the edge of the lip. If you know what you are doing, this park could be quite good. There was no halfpipe but plenty of quarter edges that people were launching off of. For intermediates (like myself): The area to the far right side of the gondola (take a right when you exit the gondola) was filled with sets of small jumps. The kind that you can really build confidence on. I definitely learned a thing or two about how to handle jumps by cruising around this side. There are probably 4 sets of 5 jumps randomly placed along the path going down along the gondola. For beginners: For true beginners, I really wouldn't recommend this place. There are a few beginner runs but if you are learning then this is not the place for you. There is really only one or two bunny slopes, in comparison to ikenotaira which has about 6. On the other hand if you can turn and want to build confidence by forcing yourself to ride for a long time the runs are long enough that you will definitely get a hang of it by the end of one or two runs. Off piste: The signs are strict, but the people were not. That may have been because it was a weekday though. All in all I had an amazing time. Although the sand blew in in the morning and rain did fall in the afternoon, our spirits were not dampened. Probably the highlight of the trip was racing to the bottom of the gondola at 4:01. The gate was closed and the sign said closed but we called out for one more time and believe it or not they opened the gate for us and let us on!!! This kind of rule breaking is quite rare in Japan so I couldn't believe their kindness. They say you can see mount fuji from here when the weather cooperates. It was hazy for us but still you can see a few other mountains, a lake and the valley below. Not a bad view at all. Anyway I highly recommend this place especially for people who want to learn to do jumps or challenge your skills in the park.
  4. Was speaking with an Aussie girl at Seki Onsen today that told me yesterday her boyfriend and his mate set off an avie at Kanko when riding an area near those barriers under the 2nd quad if I understood correctly, with pillows and it came down the slope and buried her to knee height. I didnt glean any additional info from her re size, type etc. They had no avie gear and no awareness of what could have happened and was flppant about the whole thing. Im thinking that's why patrol were so active in that area yesterday.
  5. Hey all, We're heading up to Myoko for the first time this weekend and was hoping to tap into some of the enormous amount of knowledge here on the forum. We're planning on visiting Suginohara and Akakan Resort. Im not expecting you to reveal any of your hidden gems just some helpful pointers of where the good tree runs are. Ive heard theyre are lots but any advice would be very much appreciated. Cheers!
  6. Some photos from around Myoko over the past few days - mostly Akakura area so far. There's a lot of snow here! Buried lifts and 4m+ snow walls around town, I've never seen so much snow before. Enjoy!
  7. Friday 13th January 2012 until Thursday 19th January 2012 The prizes: This week we have 50 one-day lift ticket vouchers - each one can be exchanged for a one-day lift ticket. We have 10 lift tickets for each of the following resorts: - Happo-one (Hakuba, Nagano) - Nozawa Onsen (Nagano) - Akakura Onsen (Myoko, Niigata) - Kusatsu Kokusai (Gunma) - Zao Onsen (Yamagata) Tickets courtesy of the Mount Six group. You can choose up to 3 resorts on the form. Please write any specific preferences in the comments when you submit the form. Who can enter? Any active, logged in members of SnowJapanForums can enter this Giveaway. (You need to have made at least a few posts on the Forums, and join in - not just simply register). >> If you are logged in, click here to enter. >> If you need to register, please do so here. The winners: 25 people will be chosen - each to receive 2 vouchers to one resort - and notified within four days of the Giveaway period closing. Information on Mount Six: http://www.snowjapan.com/e/spotlight/mt-6.html We would like to thank the kind people at Mount Six for taking part in this Giveaway. Please do take a few moments to post some comments on the form when you enter... each year your comments help us try to improve SnowJapan. Thank you.
  8. Friday 30th December 2011 until Thursday 5th January 2012 The prizes: 30 one-day lift ticket vouchers - each one can be exchanged for a one-day lift ticket at any one of the open resorts in Myoko: - Akakura Onsen; - Akakura Kanko Resort; - Ikenotaira; - Myoko Suginohara; - Myoko Ski Park; - Madarao Kogen; - Tangram Ski Circus The vouchers are valid for this season Who can enter? Any active, logged in members of SnowJapanForums can enter this Giveaway. (You need to have made at least a few posts on the Forums, and join in - not just simply register). >> If you are logged in, click here to enter. >> If you need to register, please do so here. The winners: 15 people will be chosen - each to receive 2 vouchers - and notified within four days of the Giveaway period closing. For more information on Myoko, please see the official site: http://www.myoko.tv/foreign/english/ We would like to thank the kind people at Myoko Tourism Association for taking part in this Giveaway. Please do take a few moments to post some comments on the form when you enter... each year your comments help us try to improve SnowJapan. Thank you.
  9. Loving the new site and just experimenting with pics and video embeds - hope it works A rare glimpse of yours truly - out from behind the camera for a change
  10. Some Videos at Myoko Kogen. The first time I have used a helmet cam.


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