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Gunma Boarder

Madarao and Tangram powder adventure (Feb. 16 and 17 2013)

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First of all I would like to thank Madarao and Snow Japan for the free lift tickets. I can honestly say I would have never gone here if it wasn't for this giveaway and it was a great trip. I left on Friday after work with my family and really enjoyed the beginning of the drive.

 

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This first pic is Mt. Myogi from our car. Any drivers coming from Tokyo will see it on a clear day awesome mountain.

 

When we got to our pension there wasn't much snow on the ground but I woke up to this.

 

 

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70 cm of snow made driving to the resort a problem. I spent about 10 minutes trying to get myself out and failed miserably. Luckily the Madarao was only a 7 or 8 minute walk away so I decided to go on foot.

 

Saturday's visibility was pretty bad, so I left the camera in the hotel hoping Saturday would be better (and it was). Over all it was a great day. Madarao has many tree courses which are patrolled and av controlled which makes it a lot of fun. The morning was full of fresh lines through the trees. I especially liked the Riverside course which is easily accessible from the covered quad. It's a nice easy tree course which makes a great warm-up.

 

As the morning wore on the snow started to get a little tracked out, so I headed up the just opened double lift that goes almost to the top. As I got off I noticed a single lift, which wasn't running, that goes even higher. I rode down the hill through the bottom of powder theater and not knowing what I was doing went all the way to the bottom. After coming back up I decided to walk up to the top of the singe chair. It was a groomed walk, but still tiring. As I was catching my breath at the top of the mountain in the freezing winds I definitly started wondering to my self if all the walking was worth it. It turned out to be one of my top two runs of the day! I dropped off a step cliff through easily 500 meters of fresh powder if not more. What a rush!

 

After this I headed over to the Tangram to try and get even more freshies. I headed up the highest Tangram lift and rode back into Madarao and the Powder Wave 2 course. It was probably pretty good while I was hiking, but by the time I got there it was getting a little tracked out. I headed back up and noticed ski patrol was just opening an expert course on the Tangram side. I asked if it was a powder run and he said it was, but warned me that I might get stuck. It turned out to be my other favorite run of the day. I was the first non ski patrol rider to hit the course and it was epic. First a little ridgeline ride followed by a huge face drop of pure untouched powder for me, it doesn't get much better.

 

The rest of the day was also good. Towards the end of the day I found a fun powder drop into the Usagi course which was pretty entertaining. After this it was back to the hotel for a couple Yona Yon Ales and some Echigo gold can beers from the local liquor shop.

 

It continued snowing late into the night but broke before morning making Sunday one of those perfect days. The view of Mt. Myoko as I strapped into my bindings was inspiring (sorry I was to ampted to get boarding to take a pic). I hit the Riverside and Powder Wave 1 courses a couple of times then waited for the double to the top to open. I actually hoped in line with an expat from America who I rode with a good bit of the day(only kind of cutting in line, right?). As we got to the top we noticed the single to the very top was running! The view from the top did not disappoint.

 

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After snapping some shots we dropped into Powder Theater 3 or 4 times the first 2 especially were spectacular. The trees are perfectly spaced to make it a challenge, but not too difficult. The snow was even better than the first day. Dry and fluffy heaven! Like riding a cloud to the land of fairies and elves :happyshades:

 

Here's a couple pics of the drop point.

 

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As the day went on this area was still good, but I wanted to do some exploring. I headed over to Tangram for some runs. Looking at the Tangram trees was tempting. They were still untouched and looked o so good, but I tried to resist. Madarao views trees as wonderful playgrounds full of sunshine and rainbows, but the Tangram trees have darker souls. If you dare enter their sacred realm they will awaken dragging your lift ticket to the depths of hell. In all seriousness there were signs everywhere saying ski patrol would take your lift ticket if they spot you in the trees.

 

During this part of the day I was riding single and another rider hoped on the lower Tangram lift with me. There were a few lines in the trees and he said they were his. Long story short he talked me into riding the trees with him. It was an amazing run probably a kilometer of untouched beautiful powder that left me wanting more, but sure enough while we were riding the lift up we noticed ski patrol waiting at the bottom of the trees. I decided to quit while I was ahead. I headed back into Madarao and called it a day.

 

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I just really liked this sign (and the view behind it). That's me with Mt. Myoko in the background.

 

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This is a pic from down the road, you can see the resort at the top.

 

It was a beautiful ride home. nice views of the surrounded mountains as well as the north alps. I snapped one more picture of Mt. Myogi during sunset. Really is my favorite mountain for hiking in Japan.

 

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Overall a great resort and a great trip!

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A plus dude! :) Fantastic report! Love that mountain at the bottom though, its pure D+D :)

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Great stuff.

 

Really fab views, I must get there on a bluebird day sometime.

 

Mt. Myogi looks cool too, that's the one near Karuizawa?

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Great stuff.

 

Really fab views, I must get there on a bluebird day sometime.

 

Mt. Myogi looks cool too, that's the one near Karuizawa?

 

Definitely recommend Madarao on a nice day. Yes, Mt. Myogi is near Karuizawa, but on the Gunma side of the mountain ridge. If you haven't seen it I highly recommend it. One of the craziest mountains I have ever hiked around. Lots of steep cliffs and chains though. The bottom is pretty safe but the ridge has some very sketchy areas.

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Great report! For some inexplicable reason I'd never heard about Madarao (or Tangram) before, so after reading this I read the other reviews and think I need to get myself up there next season, if not this. Thanks for posting! :thumbsup:

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