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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 to walk down a little passage to the second car park, but there was a bus waiting there.


It took roughly 40 mins to get from Echigo-Yuzawa to Maiko, as it goes first to the Maiko resort/hotel, before coming back and going to the main gondola area. But fortunately the bus was free (unlike the Kagura/Naeba bus). Upon getting inside, I was greeted with the sight of snow bunnies. We had come on a Wednesday, which is girls day, so the slopes were packed with girls, a lot of whom were learners. This meant one of the noobs with my got the 1000Y off the normal ticket price. We set ourselves up and got ready to head up the main quad, as the gondola had closed due to wind.


I wasn't expecting to have to skate to start with, but there is probably a 30 metre skate from the lift to where the basic slope starts. This was a little slushy due to the traffic and conditions, but we just got on with it. The first run down the bunny slope took 40mins because of the 2 noobs, the other guy got bored and went exploring, so we hopped on the lift again to do it again. This run only took 20mins, but at the end of it, the girl landed awkwardly and jarred her shoulders (common beginner injury) so we headed in for a beer and crepe.


This helped ease the pain, so after getting ourselves braced for the cold, we went up again. This was a little more awkward, as even though they had done better, they had starting losing stamina, so whilst coming down, the girl fell and got her thumb trapped under her board, bruising it heavily. This was the end for her day, and her husband who was also learning piked out because of knee and back stiffness. We headed in for a bit of lunch, before meeting up with the guys that were also with us. They had criss-crossed the mountain, but were unimpressed, and just wanted to call it a day as well (and it was only 1pm). So even though I still had energy, I didn't have anyone to continue boarding with.


While we were waiting for the bus to get back, it started raining/sleeting lightly, then as soon as we left the shelter of the lodge, it started pelting down with wet snow. Within a minute of boarding, cars had a thin layer of slush on them which would have slightly improved conditions.


My pros and cons:



Free bus from E-Y

Crepes and a good selection of food at the lodge (both japanese and western)

a good beginner slope for teaching on



Only 1 linking run between the 2 halves.

A lot of terrain inaccessible if Gondola is closed

Courses could have better signage.



I would go here again, simply because I don't think I was in the right frame of mind when going to give it an in depth, fair review. I will upload photos when I get my camera.


Thanks again to the SJ crew and Minamiuonuma resorts for the ticket.

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Hi there Sciclone thanks for that, sorry you didn't see it at it's/your best.


About your cone of "A lot of terrain inaccessible if Gondola is closed". It's incredibly rare that the gondola is closed. And I never use the Gondola at Maiko anyway, I take the 2 quad lifts up to the top. But if you can't get up to the bowl area, then to me it's as good as closed as the bowl is the best area.


Maiko is probably my favourite resort in the local area.

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hahaha! unlucky dude. Sorry your mates are a bunch of moaners. Only once have i had to deal with a dude whining all the day (he sat out the second day thank the gods leaving me to ride in peace). Its not an easy mission. Ah tell a lie, theres a girl i know who REFUSES to do more than side slide down the hill before departing to a restaurant for a hot chocolate. Thankfully though she didnt want us around her (possibly because she wanted to sneak off the resort unseen for some peace to read a book or something), so it all worked out fine. :) But yeah, 4 moaning beginners... ive an ocean of patience, but i reckon id be tearing my hair out at that one. Well done on making it through unscathed.

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Unfortunately, I didn't get to go off the rice slope. No bowl, no second quad and the two top-left (on the piste map) lifts were also closed as well as the gondola.


There was plenty of powder in the nearby town and fields though, so if I had gone under better circumstances, i think I would have enjoyed it a lot more.

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Well in that case it would have been absolutely awful!!


The only time I ever ski that is to get back to the gondola. Other than that it is worthless.


You can't really say you've skied at Maiko if that's the only bit you saw, it's like opening the front door and standing there and not going in.




You would probably have been better going over to the Maiko side, though that as well isn't 'the main bit'.


Shame you have that impression, it's a really nice place.

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