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JohnPaulIII posted a topic in Snow talk, trip reports, Japan avalanche & backcountryI'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?
JohnPaulIII posted a topic in Snow talk, trip reports, Japan avalanche & backcountryTHANK 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.
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