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I will post pics after, but not at the moment too late and takes too long. Also conditions were not good for taking photos, but will get them up later this week, promise!


We left Kofu around 7am, and travelled around 190k before existing the motorway at Toyota Iiyama, followed the small road for about 10k before arriving at Madarao Kogen at 9:15am.

We actually parked in the car park right outside Madarao Kogen hotel, as it was empty.


The hotel is situated right at the resort and is basically a ski in/out hotel, which was great.

After dumping our stuff in the SORA NO IE (it’s the name of the rest house near the hotel)

We got our gear on, clipped on our skis and headed off down to the ticket both at the base of the main gelende to exchange our free tickets courtesy of Snow Japan, Thank you Snow Japan!!!

And off we went to adventure around Madarao Kogen.


The weather started off sunny with blue sky, which actually quickly changed to cloudy and light snow showers off and on until later in the afternoon when the weather cleared up then it kind of brightened up too.

Visibility ranged from clear at the bottom all day to not being able to see more than a few metres in front at the top and shorted visibility in the middle.


As a result we were not able to see Sado Island or the Japan sea, although in the afternoon we did manage to see Niigata side a bit through the breaks in the clouds from the top.


It made for some rather interesting skiing at times as this was the first time we had come to Madarao so we didn’t know the terrain.

We got of some of the main slopes and basically skied into the unknown albeit staying on the designated areas, but not being able to see more than a few metres in front of you going down slopes you have never been down before was interesting to say the least.

It was like this throughout the morning with times it being quite clear and easy to see and others not being able to see anything.

The afternoon was generally clearer throughout the resort.


The resort I would describe as being 3 sections with a left, middle and right section, and each section having various courses and terrains.

Compared to Nozawa or Shiga Kogen I would say it is a medium size resort by its self and I imagine with Tangram together would make it considerably bigger.

I like how half the mountain is in Nagano, Madarao part and the other half is in Niigata, Tangram part!

Tangram was not open or at least access from Madarao was not possible on this day.

I would say it was a cross between Hakuba 47/ Goryu and Myoko Suginohara.

The top forest courses and the cobble course reminds me of Myoko where as the open courses reminds me of Hakuba, a very good mix.

I also liked the way that as well as skiing down the main courses you could also ski around the outside edge of the mountain and then drop down over the edge and ski through the trees, but at the same time keep within the boundaries.


The left area consists of beginner slopes at the bottom, with intermediate and an advanced at the top.

The middle section consisted of beginner slopes at the bottom, intermediate/ beginner/ advanced mix in the middle parts of the middle with the windy outside course at the top, that connects to various other slops of varying difficulty all around the mountain.

And the right hand section consisted of mostly beginner and intermediate only courses.

Anywhere on the left side ended back at the bottom kind of in the middle with a choice of lifts, with one in the middle (the super quad) lift that was like a capsule lift. After you sit on the chair this roof thing automatically closes over you, which is handy during a blizzard, but of course blocks out your view.

This was the only lift to have it. I think it was because it was the longest lift out of all of them and the only one that went straight to the top area without needing a connecting lift, so during a storm would be a good to have some shelter.

Once you get up the top using this capsule lift you can go anywhere you want.

The other option to get to the top was to take 3 lifts 11/12 and 13 lifts each one to the left of the next one to get to the top, or you can just go explore at each point.

Once you are at the top if you head over towards the right side the resort at the top view spot where on a clear day you can see Sado Island, it is also where you can either ski down into Tangram or get another connecting lift which I presume will take you further up the mountain on the Tangram side, but as it was not open we couldn’t go there so not sure.


If you ski down to the bottom right hand corner of the resort you end up having to ski over a flat surface before coming to like a conveyor belt that you ski on to and wait for it to take you a short distance up to the next flat but slightly uphill area at the bottom that you need to ski across in order to get back to the main area of the resort, something that I think could be improved to save wasted time. All though it was not really an issue for us it would be a bit of a track for beginners to try and ski across a slightly inclining base.


The snow conditions were totally crap, but then it is end of March and of course we were expecting crappy snow conditions, especially after the barbecue March we had been having until recently, so we were not disappointed at all.


Oddly enough the snow was better in the afternoon than the morning, I think that mainly because although it kept quite cold throughout the day with intermittent snow showers it warmed enough to soften the ice underneath and make it generally better.

In the morning especially on the world cup mogul course that we went on it was like skiing on broken rocks with sand on them, quite a challenge and not being able to see anything made it even more fun, it sure gave our legs a good work out.

We did several runs on the Usagi, Powder Theatre, Powder Wave courses which were great fun and a good leg workout, especially on the edges where you could still hit some pow.


However we found there were a lot of pot holes around with icy and soft bits, so making the turns sticky and easy to have you on your arse if you turned too fast, and I really love turning fast and deep when I ski.

In the afternoon as it warmed a bit and the snow softened so did the ice and then it became much better especially around the top areas and the middle section of the middle area where the snow was actually quite good and the best of the resort on that day.

It was possible to find some powder stashes at the top especially around the trees or if you drop off and went through the trees which we did on a number of occasions as well.


Facility wise it had a number of rest houses and restaurants, although we didn’t eat in it as we brought our own and instead ate in the SORA NO IE, which we had all to ourselves.


(For those who have been) yes we know it says no eating or drinking there, but seriously their was not a sole around in there.


I guess you could hire anything you need, but didn’t check that point, as we have all our own stuff and would assume a resort that size would certainly have.


We were among the last on the ski resort as all the lifts had stopped running except the short one at the bottom which runs until 5pm and takes you back to the hotel.

We got on that at around 4:45pm after skiing our last part of the bottom part with one of the ski patrol guys, who we had a good chat with about the resort. He told us that this year at been very low in terms of people, with really only early march seeing a lot of people, which might explain why it was so dead. Good for us though as the top slopes especially the black courses didn’t have a single person on them most of the time.

Except for a one hour lunch break, the four of us spent the whole day skiing the resort from around 9:30am to 4:45pm. Although our kids did rest a bit here and there, they also skied most of the time.


And we thought what could be better than to finish the day off then to take a well deserved rest in Madarao Kogen hotel, which is exactly what we did.

You can see the resort and the slopes from the onsen if you stand up. It is your typical indoor and outdoor bath hotel onsen.

Very relaxing water, with the inside bath being a little hotter than the outside one.


After finishing the onsen, we headed back, and was back in Kofu around 9:30pm and that was with stopping to eat on the way, so for us coming from Yamanashi it was an easy day trip as it only takes about 2 hours by car with 190 out of the 200k's being motorway.


All in all a very good day had by all, and we all agreed that we certainly will visit there again very soon.

I think Madarao has something to offer everyone, no matter what your level or taste in resorts are.

It is big enough to keep even the best from getting bored.

It the sort of resort that you can have a bit of an adventure on, while at the same time being compact enough to be able to do most if not all of it in a day without to much sweat, unless you want to.


This resort will go at the top of my must ski again resort list along with Myoko, Kusastu and Yuzawa.

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I like how half the mountain is in Nagano, Madarao part and the other half is in Niigata, Tangram part!


Actually they are both officially in Nagano.

I think Tangram is close to 100% in Nagano, but a large part of Madarao is actually in Niigata.

The borderline weaves in and out of that area like silly.... signs on the road are funny - Niigata, no... Nagano, no... Niigata, no... Nagano, no... Niigata.



Thought that was interesting so...


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I stand corrected.

I noticed this on the way up because when I got near the resort my cars navi told me that I had entered Niigata pref only to 10 seconds later tell me I was back in Nagano.

Also from the road outside Madarao Kogem hotel you can see a sign showing Niigata pref.

First time for me to ski on a resort that is so on the prefectural border.


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