2017/18 Ski Season

Health Benefits of Skiing and Snowboarding

Health Benefits of Skiing and Snowboarding

31Jan

Are you a keen skier? For many people, there is nothing better than being on the piste and feeling the wind rush past you as you head down the slopes at speed. The thrill is what brings many people back to the slopes year after year, especially for those that prefer the more extreme elements of the sports. As enjoyable as it can be, though, pleasure is not the only benefit that it can bring, as it can also be very beneficial for your physical and mental well-being. Heres a look at some of the health benefits of skiing and snowboarding.

 

Good Mood

Skiing involves exercise, and this in turn helps to release endorphins. These endorphins are basically what make us feel good about everything, helping to put us in a good mood. While back in the rat race, life can be difficult, making it hard to enjoy life as we should. Get away from it for a while and head to the slopes, and you can get that rush that makes you feel human again.

Good Overall Mental Health

In addition to releasing endorphins for a short-medium term fix, exercise also helps to reduce blood pressure and generally get us into good physical condition. This, in turn, helps us to maintain stable mental health. In addition, being on the slope exposes us to sunlight, which is important for our mental health as it encourages the production of vitamin B. This helps our bodies to function as they should, keeping us energised and in positive mental health.

Good Cardiovascular Health

Skiing get the heart pumping, and this is a good thing for our cardiovascular health. Getting the heart pumping helps to make our heart stronger and also helps to prevent blockages of veins and arteries. In addition, exercising lungs will help to increase their effectiveness, making it easier for you to breathe in everyday life as well as when you are exercising. With good cardiovascular exercise you will feel fitter, more energised and better prepared for the day ahead.

Improved Muscle Strength

Skiing can be very demanding on our muscles, which helps to make them stronger. The legs in particular will get a heavy workout when skiing. While your legs may ache to begin with, depending on how used to exercise you are, the initial aches and pains will fade. Keep it up, and your legs muscles will continue to get stronger. You will feel the benefit in everyday life, and even walking to work will become less of a chore and more of a pleasure.

Burning Calories

When we consume more calories than we burn, the excess gets turned into fat. This fat is stored around our body and can lead to us becoming overweight, it gets particularly troublesome for people that have reached a certain point in life where their metabolisms slow down. Skiing, however, is an excellent opportunity to burn calories, helping to shift some of that extra weight. Studies have shown that skiing will burn around 450 calories per hour, while will really helping you to lose weight if you need to.

Flexibility and Coordination

Skiing requires the ability to maintain your balance even when going down the slopes. This can be difficult at first, but can be learned by anybody that is determined enough. This will help you to improve your flexibility and coordination overall and, eventually, being able to ski will almost come naturally to you. Improved flexibility and coordination can also help you in some other aspects of life.

Socialising

As social creatures, being around other people is very important for our well-being. Skiing allows for an excellent opportunity to socialise whether it is with friends, family, or even strangers. New friendships and partnerships can be formed that might last the rest of your life. Socialising with others could also help to form and strengthen bonds in your professional life, and help to create connections in business and work.

Overall, while skiing may be an opportunity to have a good time, the activity has so much more to offer. Book a skiing trip and you could be on your way a lifestyle that helps you to become happier, healthier and more successful. Regardless, there should be no excuses needed to take the opportunity to have some fun.

The Best Ski Resort

SureFire Tips to Choose the Best Ski Resort

21Dec

A family skiing holiday is a great idea for a lot of reasons. But, for it to be the fun you hope it will be, choosing the right ski resort is very crucial and your experience depends on it. There is no shortage of skiing resorts but being able to pick the best one in Madarao Japan will significantly improve your chances of having a great time.

There are many parameters that you should consider but, knowing the ones that will create the most significant impact during your trip will be essential.

What to keep in mind when choosing a resort

Before you can start vetting the different resorts of choice, there are a couple of things that you need to consider. This will help you automatically narrow down your choices and make it easier to make the right choice.

  • Skill level of skiers – you need to consider the skill level of skiers traveling with you. If you are all experts, then you need a resort located in a more difficult part of the mountain. For learners, a forgiving terrain would be more suitable.
  • Will you be coming with kids? – It is important for the children to have fun as well. If they are just learning to ski, you need to find a facility that offers ski training for children. If the children are too young to ski, then the facility needs to have a reliable and high-quality childcare center.
  • Amenities – under amenities, you need to consider your way of life and that of the group. If you love the nightlife, choose a location that has the accompanying facilities.

What to consider when choosing your resort of choice

  • Infrastructure – to have fun, you need more than a pair of skis and a steep snow-filled mountainside. Vital support systems like means of getting to the skiing zones and restaurants take the pinch out of working your way to the mountaintop and allow you to have more fun. The infrastructure is more critical if you intend to stay for a while.
  • Proximity to the airport and other forms of transport – it is not going to be easy to find resorts that are too close to the airport but the closer it is, the better. It is going to be much easier for you to move from one spot to the next. The shorter transfer time also means that you stay at your destination longer.
  • Classes – if you’re looking to pick up some lessons or you are traveling with people who need the lessons, having a resort that offers training on skiing becomes essential. If the children need some lessons, opting for a resort that provides classes for children will improve the experience.
  • Size – when it comes to picking the size, it can be bittersweet. Resorts that have extensive skiing areas are usually packed with more people but offer better experiences regarding skiing. Smaller ones don’t receive as many guests. However, the service is often much better and more personal which makes for better value for money. When considering the size, you have to identify the factors that mean more to you and your trip.
  • Chalets – after your day on the slopes, you need a comfortable place to lay your head and reminisce about all the action that went throughout the day. Luxury Chalets are one of the leading marketing points for most resorts, and they are quite the catch. You don’t always have to choose a chalet in the same location as the resort, but the proximity makes your trips more bearable and gives you more time to ski.
  • Other activities – you are here to ski, but there is nothing wrong with checking around and seeing what else is on offer. You never know what is going to catch your eyes. Other activities like hot water bathing can be quite a treat especially after the long chilly days on the slopes. As resorts continue to evolve, the range of services being offered continues to expand. It is essential to carefully consider what array of such services you will be able to enjoy.

Just as important as it is to find the best air tickets, picking the best ski resort is very important. There are many factors that you have to consider which could take a lot of time. Being able to know what matters most will help you cut down the time without affecting your experience.

Keep in mind that while striking out the different options, you need to consider the people you will be traveling with if any. If you’re alone, then the choice becomes easier.

Active Life Ski resortMadarao, located in Madarao Kogen Ski Resort, is among the few ski hotels that have been able to combine the most impressive Madapow tree runs, light powdery snow filled slopes, kids’ ski classes and state of the art hotels with friendly staff where guests can enjoy world-class hospitality. If you’re looking for a serene fun-filled at a skiers approved resort Active Life offers you this and much more.

Christmas skiing

Thinking of an Active Christmas Season? Think Madarao Japan

18Dec

For a family looking to spend the Christmas season outdoors, the powdery slopes of Madarao offer the perfect destination. Snow has been synonymous with Christmas for many years, and you can decide to take the fun a notch higher with skiing.

Madarao offers the perfect skiing destination during the Christmas season for many reasons. It receives up to 13 meters of snow annually, and most of the areas are ungroomed allowing for a picturesque view and splendid skiing session. If you are a powder hunter looking to make the best of the Christmas season, Madarao is a perfect choice.

Better access

Getting to the best skiing spots is usually a pain. Most ski resorts have tried different ways to counter this, but in Madarao, the experience of getting to your preferred place is going to be much easier. There are bus shuttle services that take the visitors to and from the different resort centers. All you have to do is be aware of the time of departure. Active Life Madarao and Hakken also offers complimentary shuttle for the hotel guests. The Active Life Shuttle runs on a timetable between Madarao Ski Resort – Iiyama train station – Nozawa Onsen. Check Active Life Shuttle Timetable at www.beactive.life/transport

Different Ski Runs

Not being on the same skiing level should not keep you from having fun. With the various ski runs in Madarao, you can choose an option that best suits you and the group. The backcountry powder bowls are great for the more experienced skiers while the crystal area is better suited for everyone to share in the joy and excitement.

Seeing that this is family time, you should be able to spend time together. Whether you have learners in the family or you’re all in the same skill level in skiing, you can rely on the different runs and pick one that everyone will enjoy.

Dining

Skiing is never fun on an empty stomach. The high-intensity nature of the activity will have you feeling hungry in no time. You need to have a place where you can have a drink or a meal as a family.

In case you and your team need to re-energize in the middle of your skiing expedition, there are plenty of spots where you can stop over for some hot cocoa or a fully-fledged midday meal. The quick stops and cafés are very affordable and uniquely positioned so you can get jump right back to the fun immediately you’re done with your meal.

There are also some restaurants that double-up as great dating spots if you are thinking of a romantic night out with a loved one. Fresh interiors, jazz music, Japanese soul food all rounded up with a nice bottle of red wine offer the perfect experience of date night during Christmas. This season, Active Life Madarao Hotel opens an exciting BBQ restaurant where you can cook and grill your own meats and sides to perfection. If you’re after something a little more warm and comforting, why not try some ramen from Slurp It! ramen bar where you can slurp away the cold winter nights.

Activities

Depending on your length of your stay, having different events will make the period more eventful. Even with skiing being such a great sport, having other options can make the visit even more interesting.

Most people come to Madarao looking for some skiing action. There is a good chance that you’re also looking for a similar experience. While the slopes are well known for the tree turns, during your Christmas visit, you should know that there are plenty of other activities like snowmobile rides and other non-skiing activities like onsen that will kick your adrenalin and then help you to calm down and unwind after an eventful day.

You can also try other bonding activities like paper-making workshops and soba cooking classes. If you’re in the mood for a more challenging experience, you can join in the peak runs offered by most resorts. It is an excellent opportunity to have a picturesque aerial view of some of Japan’s most stunning views.

The Jigdokudani snow monkeys are also a must-see for every animal lover as they take a dip in the hot springs with the same enjoyment as you are probably going to have.

Gifts

Christmas is never complete without gifts. If you did not get any from back home, there are plenty of gift shops around where you can buy gifts for your loved ones. The most popular are the paper sculptures from the local artists.

You can make this Christmas the most explosive and family time intensive time you have ever had. Madarao offers you the perfect mix of beauty and adventure for you and your family complete with the Christmas spirit.

Skiing on the mountain slopes with all the amenities needed for a great time within reach provides you with that wilderness experience and a touch of homely service. What’s more, after a chilly day out in the tree runs, you can also enjoy the tradition hot healing water bath from a couple of different options available.

While going for skiing during Christmas is a wonderful idea, to have a good time, you need to choose a comprehensive resort with all the amenities. Pick a resort with expansive skiing areas, offers classes for beginners, available transport and great hotels. Active Life the highest ranked hotel in Madarao offers these and other features to make your stay during Christmas the best and allow you make memories that you will never forget.

5 Days in Madarao

05Dec

Small crowds, a ‘local’ feel, a variety of friendly lodges, lift tickets and food priced the way it should be and tonnes of snow, translates into epic powder days centred around a true Japanese cultural experience that visitors crave – all without those regretful stares from lift-queue’s, back up to quickly-disappearing fresh tracks.

Standing 1,382 metres and perfectly positioned for those colossal Siberian storms coming off the Sea of Japan, Madarao is a bowl-shaped, hidden snow-treasure north west of Tokyo, literally on the border of snowy prefectures Nagano and Niigata. Madarao Mountain Resort has 15 lifts, receives over 14 metres of pure, unadulterated, dry snowfall every winter and is easily accessible via the city of Iiyama, which is directly connected to Tokyo on the Shinkansen (bullet train) network. Too good eh? Too right!

It’s highly likely that you’ll be blessed with plenty of the world-famous MadaPOW days! Here is our take on ‘5 days in Madarao’:

 

Day 1 

Grab your lift-passes from Hakken reception, tuck into the complimentary continental breakfast offered for Hakken guests, then get some MadaPOW!

Head to Powder Wave or Powder Theatre in the upper mountain – Madarao Resort intentionally thins out the trees so powder-hounds like you can enjoy tree riding at its finest!

Ride straight down to your lodge, defrost and share your day’s stories during your post-pow wind down at the Hakken bar. Our bar will serve our favourite Japanese beers on tap as well as providing exclusive access to classic cocktails with oozing colours and flavours directly from our friends from East Indian Trade Co in Bronte, Sydney.

The Hakken bar also serves a super-fine list of blended and single malt Japanese Whiskeys and delicious light meals to help you regain your energy but light enough as to not ruin your appetite for dinner.

We can’t speak highly enough of any of the neighbouring restaurants, but our dinner pick would have to be Jazzy’s, a memorabilia-riddled restaurant offering traditional Japanese food and western-style steaks run by a friendly, old school, Jazz loving, cool-cat local man and community leader. Make sure you reserve a table earlier in the day – it’s very popular during peak season.

 

Day 2

Don’t forget to check out Tangram – the resort attached to Madarao. There are some fine tree runs off the back of the number 15 lift heading into the base of Tangram. You can purchase your all-mountain tickets for a small additional fee, giving you access to both resorts.

For dinner, visit our sister lodge Active Life Madarao (ALM) about, a 5 mins walk from Hakken. ALM are introducing a delicious BBQ grill and Ramen Station this season and you don’t want to miss this!

 

Day 3

Madarao is one of the few resorts in Japan that actively encourages tree riding! Speak to Aki, from Aki’s Pub and Café for hidden powder stashes while ordering your barista coffee! Go straight back to Aki’s for lunch because we guarantee Aki’s pizza’s will hit the spot.

Alternatively, if it’s time for a back-country tour, Aki, who you’re now familiar with, runs tours for experienced riders and skiers. They are awesome people, safety conscious and excellent at what they do!

 

Day 4

For your rest-day, the Jigokudani Snow Monkey park in Yamanouchi is only an hour from Madarao and can’t be missed. It’s an easy and comfortable bus ride and we’ll let you know the most cost and time efficient way to get there from Hakken upon your arrival.

Finish the day with a couple of hours of night skiing at Madarao before heading to ‘Tap That’ at ALM. ALM have gained a remarkable reputation for serving a mouth-watering selection of locally brewed IPA’s and APA’s!

Dinner and drinks at the Shaggy Yak, our friends down the road, is an absolute must! They’ve just opened a warm and quirky Yakitory bar/restaurant in an insulated outdoor Yurt! Sounds cool eh? It looks even cooler! Apparently, their selection of Nippon Whisky is good too!

 

Day 5

Devour your continental breakfast at Hakken, grab a barista-made coffee from our sister lodge ALM and head to the slopes, 2 mins away.

For lunch go to Banff! Grab a Japanese curry on rice, sit back and enjoy a fresh can of Asahi. Banff restaurant is located at the base of Chair 11 and ‘Crystal’, a mellow but long consistent slope, perfect for perfecting your carves or learning on.

For dinner, hop across the road to Rudolph’s in the main Madarao village for western style food like pizza, Bolognese and pasta complimented by a crisp, mouth-watering biru!

 

Day 6

Sayonara! When you are ready to say goodbye to Madarao, head off to Myoko Kogen. Myoko is a quick bus ride away. While you are there, stay with our friends at Red Warehouse!

 

Note:

As an alternative for one of your days, take the Active Life complimentary shuttle to Nozawa Onsen, dedicated for guests across our lodges. You will arrive before the first chair, return home after the last chair saving you on accommodation while maximising your day there.

Tips on Teaching Your Little Ones How to Ski

29Nov

With winter approaching, you’re probably excited to hit the slopes with your family. Make this year’s skiing trip a memorable one by sharing your love of the snow with your kids. Many kids start learning how to ski at 4 years old. If you think your little one is ready to learn how to ski, you can teach them yourself without having to spend an arm and a leg on lessons. Although teaching your kids how to ski is a fun experience, it also takes patience. Learning how to ski isn’t easy at any age. Use these tips and tricks to make your experience positive for both you and your kids.

Time and Patience is Key

When it comes to teaching little ones how to ski, it’s important that you start out slow. Think back to the first time you went skiing. How long did it take you to feel comfortable on the board? Skiing can be scary at first, so keep that in mind. Your kids will fall down a lot at first, but they will get back up. Try to have patience with them as they get comfortable having the skis on and doing the basics.

Start Out Small

If you go into this expecting your child to catch on immediately, you’re setting you both up for failure from the beginning. It’s important that you teach your kids the basics and make sure they have them down before moving forward. Get ready to spend a lot of time on the bunny hill, because these basic maneuvers will take some practice. Make sure you work on one step at a time, so they don’t get overwhelmed.

  • Stopping – This one might seem obvious, but before you teach your kids anything else, make sure you teach them how to stop. The best stopping technique for kids and beginners is a wedge. Show them how to move the tips of their skis together and then apart and let them practice it on flat ground until they get the hang of it. Once they seem comfortable with it, let them try it on the hill until they’re able to stop
  • Turning – Once they have stopping down, it’s time to teach your kids how to turn. For many kids, the side-to-side movement needed for turning comes easier than stopping. ‘S’ turns are the best for kids and beginners. If your kid is nervous, try skiing in front to make it easier to follow your motions.

Make Skiing Fun

Skiing is a blast already, but kids have short attention spans. One key tip to keeping your kids interested in skiing is to make it fun. If it feels like a chore or something they have to do, they won’t be as excited to learn. For example, kids love games! Choose a game your kid loves like tag, and let them play while wearing their skis. This will get them used to simple movements without even realizing it. If your kid is scared of skiing, this can help them overcome their fear.

Stock Up on Equipment

The biggest mistake you could make is not being equipped. For starters, you want to bring a few changes of clothes. There’s no doubt that there’s going to be lots of falling and wipeouts. Make sure your kids have a few changes of socks, pants, and sweaters. Gloves and headgear are also important. Kids get colder than adults do, so you can never have enough dry clothes on you when hitting the slopes. There’s nothing worse than trying to ski when your clothes are soaking wet.

Take a Break

You could probably spend the whole trip on the slopes, but that doesn’t mean your kids want to. Even if they’re having a blast learning how to ski, take a little time to explore. Reward them with a big mug of hot cocoa or visit one of the nearby attractions. From delicious food and unique cultures to animals and historic locations, there’s a little something for everyone! The best part is, many of these famous attractions are just a short shuttle ride away from Madarao Ski Resort.

Teaching your kids how to ski and truly appreciate the snow can be tedious and stressful, but it’s absolutely worth it in the end. Just remember that kids need time and patience to get comfortable with their skis, so don’t rush things. Try your best to make learning fun and keep safety at the forefront of your mind. If you follow these tips, you’re sure to have an amazing trip with your family!

How to Stay Warm and Comfortable During Your Ski Trip

28Nov

Nothing ruins a day on the slopes like getting too cold. It’s already cold during ski season. Pair the cold temperatures with freezing wind hitting your face when you’re going downhill and then sitting on a frozen lift, and you’re likely to freeze if you’re not prepared. With the right equipment and gear, you can keep yourself warm even in below freezing temperatures. Follow these tips to make sure you stay warm and comfortable during your ski trip.

Check the Forecast

When deciding what to wear and what gear to bring with you on your skiing trip, make sure you check the weather. You want to check the forecast for the Madarao Ski Resort area for the exact day you plan on going. It’s important to check the forecast for the right area because the weather in one place, even if it’s just a few miles down the road, might not be relevant to where you’ll be skiing. Along with checking the temperature for the area, you should check the wind and sun forecast as well.

Eat Enough the Day of Your Trip

Have you ever gone a long time without eating and realized you felt colder than normal? If you’re not consuming enough calories, your body won’t be able to stay warm. It’s obviously important that you eat enough every day, but especially make sure you’re eating enough when you plan to be out in the cold. If you go skiing on an empty stomach, not only are you going to low on energy, but also your body temperature will be much lower than normal.

Don’t Get Cold Feet

When choosing your clothes for a day of skiing, start at the bottom. Having cold toes is never fun, so you want to take every step necessary to keep them warm. Start with a pair of perfect-fitting boots. You don’t want them to be too loose or too tight. The best pair of boots for skiing is one with insulated liners. Perhaps even more important than your boots is the right pair of socks. If you go out wearing an everyday pair of cotton socks, be prepared to have freezing cold feet. Instead, you want to wear socks that are just for skiing. These will usually be knee-high to add warmth to your legs. Don’t make the mistake of getting socks that are too thick either. Sweating when it’s freezing outside will have you shivering in your boots before even get off the lift.

Keep Those Fingers Warm

If you’ve ever had a snowball fight without gloves, you probably remember that stinging cold feeling you get almost instantly when touching the snow. Cold hands is a common problem among skiers, but can be alleviated by wearing the right hand gear. First, buy a good pair of mittens. They keep your hands much warmer than normal gloves thanks to your natural body heat. Don’t buy just any pair of mittens though. A $5 pair at your local shop isn’t going to cut it. You might have to spend a pretty penny on a quality pair of mittens or gloves, but it’s worth it. A few brands that hold up well in below freezing temperatures include Marmot, The North Face, and Dakine.

Choose the Right Base and Outer Layers

A base layer isn’t required, but is extremely helpful on those super cold days. You want to choose a base layer made from synthetic fabric rather than plain old cotton, to keep your skin dry. The outer layer is perhaps the most important part of your skiing outfit. You don’t want to skimp on this part of your outfit. Remember that you’re going to be in extremely cold temperatures and chances are, you’re going to fall a few times. Make sure your outer layer is waterproof and insulated to ensure the best warming action. You also want a jacket that fits tight, rather than one that hangs loose.

Know Your Own Body

It all comes down to your own body. If you’re natural hot natured, you might not need all the extra layers. If you’re one of those people who stay cold all the time, you probably want to layer up. If you get hot a lot, consider clothes with zippers so you can regulate your body temperature if you get overheated. Remember, you can always shed a layer if you get too hot. It’s better to have too many layers than not enough.

Now that you know how to stay warm, you’re ready to hit the snow. Make sure you take breaks to thaw by the fire or enjoy a big mug of hot cocoa.

 

 

 

Travel to Madarao This Season for an Amazing Winter and an Even More Amazing Skiing Experience

08Nov

This upcoming ski season in Japan (mid Dec 2017 – end March 2018) is expected to be one of the best seasons with high snowfall – thanks to La Niña. If you’ve been waiting for the perfect time to plan a skiing trip to Japan, this is it.

What is La Niña?

You might be wondering what this has to do with your travel plans. Well, El Niño and La Niña can either make or break your plans. An ocean-atmosphere phenomenon causes both patterns, but they affect the weather in two very different ways. Since warming ocean surface temperatures are the cause of it, El Niño brings warm temperatures to Japan.

This year we are looking at 70% chance that La Niña will visit us this autumn, we’re looking at amazing winter weather including powder snow and cool temperatures, which makes a great time to hit the slopes whether you’re an avid skier or are just learning.

Why Choose Active Life Madarao?

With such an optimistic forecast for late-November through the New Year, you might want to start making your travel plans now. Since the new renovation in 2016, Active Life Madarao is one of the best, top-rated hotels in the area. We strive to provide the best skiing experience for you and your family by offering extremely competitive rates along with many amazing features.

The rooms are extremely spacious and include an ensuite bathroom and a bed you can curate for maximum comfort. There are various rooms available to suit your unique needs including a Standard Room, Deluxe Room, and Family Room. Each room has free Wi-Fi, more than enough storage space for all your travel and ski gear, and other amenities you won’t find anywhere else.

After a long day on the slopes, you’ll love relaxing in our beer bar or grabbing a delicious dinner from our new BBQ restaurant opening where you can cook and grill your own meats and sides to perfection. After something a little more warm and comforting? Try some ramen from our ramen bar. We also have a freshly ground coffee you won’t find anywhere else in the area. We’ll keep you warm and cozy during the cold temperatures La Niña is sure to bring.

No matter where you’re coming from, you’ll feel comfortable in one of our two hotels, Active Life Madarao and Hakken by Active Life Madarao. Our staff speaks English, Japanese, Chinese, and Thai.

Have a Skiing Trip to Remember

People visit this area from all over the world, thanks to the gorgeous scenery and terrain unlike any other. There are 30 runs located here and if you’re looking for more, the Tangram Ski Circus Resort is located nearby where you’ll find an additional 15 runs. The majority of our runs are ungroomed, resulting in that amazing fluffy madapow you know and love. You’ll find 15 lifts to help you get around the huge 1382-foot mountain.

There are so many reasons to ski in Japan. From delicious food and unique culture to soft and consistent powder snow, you have everything you could possibly want. Don’t forget that we have an awesome winter on the way thanks to La Niña that will make this perhaps the best skiing trip of your life!

Fun for the Entire Family

Whether you’re bringing your family along with you or you simply want to make the best out of your trip, there are things for the whole family to enjoy. We have a kid’s park, free ride park, tree run course, waves course, and even a free ride park that guests of all ages will love.

If you’re able to pull yourself away from the stunning snow, check out some of the famous tourist attractions located near Madarao. These include:

  • Snow Monkeys at Jigokudani hot springs
  • Iiyama town
  • Togakushi-Soba Museum “Tonkururin”
  • Zenkoji Temple

With perfect skiing weather on the way, what are you waiting for? You should be planning your next ski trip right now. If you’re worried about the money, be on the lookout for awesome deals on our site to help with your travel costs. Don’t be stuck at home wishing you were hitting the slopes in beautiful Japan. Make it a reality! While you’re here, don’t forget to take advantage of our complimentary shuttle that will make exploring neighboring areas and Nozawa a lot easier.

Active Life adds its 3rd hotel in 15 months

06Nov

On October 24th Active Life Japan completed the purchase of Hillside Madarao.  This is the 3rd property purchased in the Madarao Ski Resort by Active Life since August 2017 and is a sign of our confidence in Madarao’s growing popularity for its deep powder (Madapow) and thrilling tree runs.  We also favour Madarao because it’s geographically central to both Nozawa Onsen and Myoko ski resorts, which means you can stay in Madarao and do a day trip to either resort in under 45 minutes.  Over the past 18 months, there has been a surge in investment in Madarao from Australians with over 13 properties purchased since the beginning of 2016.

 

When Hillside Madarao became available, we moved quickly to take the opportunity to purchase Hillside because of its incredible location – only 200m from the Madarao ski lifts and the wonderful opportunity to restore the property to its former glory.  We are keen to participate in the development and discovery of Madarao as a Japanese ski destination for foreign guests but we also want to ensure that Madarao becomes an example of the best of foreign skiers.

 

Between now and the opening in 2018, we will make many upgrades to the property to make it more suitable to western guests.  When it reopens for the 2018 season, Active life will have a total capacity of 114 rooms and guest capacity of over 250 in Madarao.

 

About Active Life

Life is about exploring, experiencing and being free. Active Life was founded with a purpose to offer an awesome curated experience to sports enthusiasts like yourself.

Active Life Group currently owns and manages 3 hotels in Madarao Ski Resort; Active Life Madarao hotel , Hakken by Active Life Madarao , and we recently added the 3rd property to our hotel portfolio in Madarao.

Madarao Ski Resort is situated in the northern area of Nagano Prefecture, where weather conditions are consistently ideal for creating an endless supply of high-quality snow throughout our December-to-April season. Skiers and snowboarders return here again and again to experience the spectacular scenery, varied terrain and incredible selection of 30 groomed and ungroomed runs, which jumps to 45 runs if you take on the extra 15 runs at the Tangram Ski Circus Resort, easily accessible from Madarao.

For more information, please visit www.beactive.life or email us at activelife.booking@beactive.life

 

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Get Fit For the Ski Season

01Oct

What does December to April mean to you? For some it’s winter festivals; cuddling up in front of a log fire and long snowy walks in the countryside.  For others though, it means only one thing: skiing.

Yes, it’s time to get out the winter resort brochures and get that hotel booked! But isn’t there something else to do first? Get fit for the season ahead!

You may think you’re in good shape, but skiers and snowboarders use a different set of muscles when out on the slopes. On their own, exercise regimes that look after your cardiovascular system may not be up to the job.  Injuries can occur when snowboarding and skiing because you haven’t prepared properly, especially if your job demands you sit behind a desk all day. So whilst you’re deciding where to go this season, follow a simple exercise plan especially designed for getting the most out of those winter sports muscles.

Exercise for the Piste

Quadriceps

Let’s begin with most important muscle group for skiing.  Strength in these muscles is vital for skiers and snowboarders. These muscles do the work of keeping you in the right position and also protect your knees. Leg strengthening exercises should be at the top of your exercise plan. For people who take to the slopes for the first time, quad strain can be the first thing they experience and this can stop them from fully enjoying the sport. Simple exercises for strengthening quads are step-ups, squats and lunges.

 

arobicThighs

Both inner and outer thighs play a very important role for skiers. They are the muscles that are used to keep your skis in the correct position. We have all seen those hilarious images of first time skiers who legs are moving farther and farther away from each other as they slip and slide down the slope. Skiers use their thighs to keep their legs together as they ski. Simple exercises for strengthening this group of muscles are front lunges and squeeze balls (squeezing the ball between the legs as hard as you can). For inner thighs, side lunges, and squeeze balls can be used to good effect too.

 

Glutes and Hamstrings

These exercises are all about flexibility. When skiing and snowboarding your body needs to be able to flex, particularly when moving downhill at speed. You need to lean your body to control your direction, speed and stability. This puts tremendous strain on your glutes and hamstrings. Simple exercises for strengthening these muscles can range from simple lunges to more strenuous exercises using weights, sports equipment and discs.

 

Strengthening the Core

This is so important for skiers and snowboarders. As important as these muscles are for improving the quality of your days on the slopes, exercises to strengthen the core can be amazingly simple to do and require no gym equipment. The last thing you want when enjoying the snow is bad pain. Push-ups help strengthen the core. The plank position is also easy to achieve with results showing in a short time. Lie on your stomach in a straight position and extend your arms to the front of you, then raise your arms and legs as if you intend to take flight. Hold this position for a short time then repeat. Core exercises are incredibly powerful so don’t overdo these exercises. Start with just a few repeats and as your back gets more flexible you can turn on your side and attempt to raise yourself up on one arm. Again these power exercises can show significant results if you stick with them.

Getting fit for your winter sports adventure is a good investment of your time. There will be few days when you are laid up with aching muscles.

 

snow

 

Safety First

Any discussion about planning an exercise regime need to include safety tips.  As keen as you are to show off your prowess on the slopes always take care when exercising and follow some simple rules

  • Never exercise before doing some simple warm up exercises
  • Do exercises correctly. Go to a gym or study the correct exercises from an instructor or a good online source
  • Allow yourself to cool down between sets of exercises
  • Go at your own pace
  • Do not repeat the same exercise too many time as you could strain your muscles
  • Drink plenty of water when doing strenuous exercise
  • Don’t put your body through exercises it can’t manage
  • If you feel unwell or overly stiff do not exercise that day.

 

The slopes await you. Enjoy!

Snowboarding

Is Snowboarding or Skiing the Right Choice for Me?

27Sep

Every year more and more people are joining the slopes as winter travel gets less expensive and tourists get more adventurous, some travelling around the world to find the very best powder. Added to the growing numbers of skiers, the snowboarding community has expanded rapidly and now shares the same slopes with more traditional users. Once thought of as a foolhardy sport, snowboarding has gained in popularity across the globe. If you are new to winter sports you may be wondering whether snowboarding or skiing is the right choice. There are some differences that you should know about before you make your final decision. But of course when you are proficient enough there’s no reason why you can’t do both. Most resorts now cater for skiing and snowboarding. So let’s look at the pros and cons.

Pros and Cons

Getting on and getting up!

  • Initially skiing may be easier to learn than snowboarding because your legs are independent of each other. You may feel more able to control your movements and stick a leg out to balance yourself if you get into trouble.  Also your whole body faces in the direction you are travelling. Snowboarding on the other hand requires that you twist your body and have both feet firmly anchored to the board, which can be disconcerting for a beginner and takes a while to get accustomed to it. It’s rather like a cyclist getting used to fixed pedals, which can feel awkward at first and if you begin to fall there is little you can do to stop the inevitable.

 

  • Then there are the chair lifts to consider. They certainly look easy to negotiate when watching experts get on and off them, but for the beginner they are challenging. For skiers there is all the gear to negotiate upon boarding the lift and that’s after you’ve struggled in the snow to reach it. But once you’ve mastered how to negotiate different kinds of chair lifts (for example, basket lifts don’t slow down when you board or exit) you will have little trouble using them. For snowboarders it is quite a different matter. Whist snowboarders have the advantage of only carrying their boards, using a basket lift, which does not slow down, poses particular problems because boarders have to have one foot strapped onto their boards. More experienced boarders learn how to snowboard on one foot which solves this problem to a degree. Poma lifts are used quite often by snowboarders (they are button like seats that the snowboarder sits on, which is then dragged up the piste by a cable, but even these lifts take some practice to use competently.

 

Which Sport is Easiest to Master?

Snowboarding 

  • Mastering the art of skiing and snowboarding is a major factor when deciding which sport to choose. On the plus side skiing is easier to learn because you are standing in direction you will be travelling, you have a degree of control because you have two legs and the basic techniques can be broken down so you can get the hang of it pretty quickly. For snowboarders the picture is different because it’s just you and your two feet strapped to a board. This can be pretty daunting for a beginner. Getting up after a fall is bad enough for a newbie skier, but for a beginner snowboarder, finding themselves face down in the snow with their feet tied can be off-putting to say the least.

 

  • But, when it comes to mastering the art, snowboarding wins hands down. Whilst it may take some time to find your balance and your nerve, once you know the basics such as actually moving on the board and how to deal with falls, you are on your way. If you can meet the initial challenges of steering a board that is tied to your feet, you can reach an intermediate level very quickly. Skiers on the other hand, may learn the basics quickly but may take a long time to actually master the sport.

Injuries

  • Leg injuries are more common in skiers, particularly knee injuries. Collisions on busy slopes are quite common too, which can result in head injuries. Snowboarders are just as prone to injuries as skiers but they are more likely to sustain injuries to their upper bodies. Injuries to wrists and collarbones are more common in snowboarders. But thrills and spills don’t always result in injuries. With proper instruction, plenty of snow, and lots of relaxation whether snowboarding or skiing, this coming season could be your best ever!