Madarao Mountain Resort


Madarao has had a fascinating history...

It was a purpose built ski resort in the 70's and as such became the most popular ski resort in Japan especially as the royal family enjoyed skiing here. When the Japanese ski bubble burst Madarao's fortunes changed just like all ski resorts in Japan and it entered a quiet phase. In 2015 the Shinkansen (bullet train) opened at the bottom of Mount Madarao and the resort was instantly attractive to both Western and Japanese guests. It meant you could be on slopes within just 2 hours from Ueno station in the heart of Tokyo.

From 2016 the first phase of development in Madarao began with old ski lodges being bought and renovated, mostly by a few intrepid Westerners who saw the huge potential of the resort and were willing to take the risk on a forgotten mountain with all the right ingredients. In just 5 short years 50% of the village changed hands with the best of the locations being bought. Properties were renovated and marketing of them and the resort improved. Madarao went from a sleepy resort to the next big thing.

Why is the skiing and snowboarding so good?

The Resort owners have a very liberal policy to tree skiing. The resort looks small on paper but there is more than enough terrain for skiers to explore over a two week period. The resort has become known as a perfect family skiing resort with something for all levels of skiers and boarders. The begginer terrain is excellent with good variability and wide open runs. It is easy to learn to ride in Madarao as crowds aren't an issue at all as the beginner area is totally separated from the main part of the mountain. Intermediate skiers love the middle of the mountain with perfectly pitched open groomers and access to intermediate tree runs that are the ideal learning environment to ride Japan's famous powder snow. Of course the advanced terrain is excellent and unusually large. Pretty much every area between the groomed runs across both Madarao and Tangram Ski Circus (the connected ski resort) are open to advanced riders, an enormous amount of excellent fall line pitchy tree skiing full of fresh powder. There are also vast amounts of back and side country much of which is lift accessible. It really is powder heaven. 

A magic location

Madarao is located in the perfect position for the perfect storms. Freezing air from Siberia races over the Sea of Japan and slams into the Madarao mountain range making it one of the snowiest places in Japan. The snow is dry and light and falls often, keeping Madarao covered in white all winter long. Madarao literally sits righjt smack bang in the middle of the Goldilocks Zone. Yep it is perfect.

The new bullet train stops right at the base of Mount Madarao so even though it is over 450 kilometers from Tokyo it takes less than 2 hours to get to Snowman Apartments. You can leave Tokyo on the first bullet train and be on snow by 9:30am. So good.

Madaro receives an average of 12 meters of snow per year...

It is not unusual to have more than a meter in a single day making it one of the snowiest places on the planet. Typically it gets less snow than Myoko Kogen, as much snow as Niseko during December January and February, more than Nozawa Onsen and significantly more than Hakuba. The best of the snow season is late December through to late February but early December, March and even April can often produce perfect skiing as well.

Madarao's geographical location is also special as it sits right in the middle of a number of ski resorts, well known and diamonds in the rough. Nozawa Onsen, Myoko Kogen, Kijimadaira, Ryuoo Snow Park, Kurohime, Shiga Kogen and Lotte Arai ski resorts are the best of them making Madarao the perfect base in Japan to access myriad ski resorts within easy striking distance. Both Nozawa Onsen and Myoko Kogen are approaching capacity and Madarao has benefited enormously from this.

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