2017/18 Ski Season

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

 

arobic

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!

 

Do’s and Don’ts of the Slope

28Aug

Before you hit the slopes, you might want to know a few basic things that are expected of you. Well, some are just obvious unspoken rules, but this doesn’t mean that people do not break them from time to time. Here at Madarao Ski Resort we don’t want you to look awkward and attract some giggles. So we thought we could mention a few do’s and don’ts for when you hit the slopes.

Training

Do: do get trained by a qualified instructor. The formality and professionalism that comes with someone unfamiliar allows you to focus and take the training seriously. Also this allows both of you to not get carried away by emotions.

Don’t: don’t get trained by a spouse, a friend or someone close to you. Both of you might be worked up and end up snapping at each other or worse. So as much as it sounds so appealing, please do not get trained by somebody close.

Gear

Do’s: always wear the right skiing gear. For starters, you can hire gear such as skiing boots and boards. Also wear well-fitting and comfortable gear.  Also remember that you are skiing in the slope, so always stay warm and dry. Layer a lot of light clothes as opposed to few heavy clothes. Also wear water proof jacket and trouser.

Ski Equipment

Don’t: don’t wear ill-fitting and uncomfortable gear. Trust me; this is neither the time nor place to flaunt your Italian suit. Avoid shopping for expensive gear, or shopping online, especially if it’s your first time hitting the slopes. As a rule of thumb, it’s always advisable to first hire skiing gear, and then you can shop later when you get familiar with the skiing ropes.

Caution

Do: exercise caution always. Always wear your helmets and goggles. Also stay in your limits, giving way to other skiers.

Don’t: get carried away by your prowess too fast. You might learn the basics on the first day and get tempted to hit the moguls. Please don’t. Take it one step at a time.

Posture

Do: practice the right stance. Always keep your knees bent and your eyes trained straight ahead. This gives you better control, and enables you to absorb shocks.

Don’t:  lean ahead or lean backwards (back seating), as you could fall forward or backwards. Avoid looking down at your skis as you will end up losing focus of what’s ahead.

Taking Care of Your Ski Board

Do: tune your skiing board as often as you can. This helps keep it in top shape, and you can smoothly glide over the slopes. For more tips on waxing your board, see  .

Don’t: neglect your ski board. Always keep the board dry to avoid rust and jagged edges that slow you down and damage the board too soon.

Exercise in Advance

Do: get your body in top shape before skiing. Make sure that you exercise and are flexible. Remember skiing requires a lot of bending and fast movements. Also learn a few skiing lingo. You don’t want to be looking blank or getting mad when somebody calls you a bunny. For more skiing lingo, see  

Don’t: get lazy. Keep your body and mind prepared for skiing well before you hit the slopes. We don’t want you getting frustrated if you get strains on your first day skiing.

Where to Stay

Do: get yourself booked in a comfortable hotel, resort or chalet. You need a place where you can relax and maybe enjoy a beer or two after a long day skiing. Take into consideration how much you are willing to spend, and for what. Ski resorts are particularly good since they offer the best when it comes to skiing. You can get a qualified instructor, the right gear and the right slopes. You can check out our offerings here.

Don’t: overlook your safety and comfort when you go skiing. Also avoid booking a hotel or resort during the last minute, since you could end up spending more or settling for less than what you deserve.

Loosen Up!

Do: by all means have fun. Loads of fun. Laugh at yourself when you fall. Then pick yourself up. Make new friends, and make great memories too.

Don’t: get worked up. Be patient with yourself and avoid dampening your mood as well as that of others.

The Fabulous New Active Life Shuttle Bus

24Aug

Here at active life Madarao we are crazy about skiing and offering the best when it comes to hitting the powder. We know that snow is good for your health and a great pass time for your holidays. We are dedicated to making skiing memorable for you. You can check out more on why snow is good for your health.

Our New Shuttle Bus.

We understand that after some skiing sessions at Madarao, you might feel the need to try skiing some new slopes. Worry no more. We got you. We are introducing a new complimentary shuttle to take you to Nozawa ski resort, where you can have a taste of new, different snow. What more? This is absolutely hassle-free. Take it as a gift from Active Life Madarao team, just for your love of snow.

The Active Life shuttle will be operating between Madarao and Nozawa from 25 December 2017 to 31 January 2018 on Tuesdays and Thursdays only. The shuttle will, however, run throughout the season (25 December 2017 to 31 March 2018) from Iiyama train station to Madarao and back.

For more information on the shuttle timetable and terms and conditions, you can see

Nozawa Onsen-Nagano

Located in the north of Nagano prefecture, Nozawa Onsen belongs to the Joshinetsu Park, about 50 kilometers from Nagano station.

The Nozawa Onsen has a rich skiing history, with alpine skiing having been introduced in 1930 by Hannes Schneider from Austria.  Since then, many people took an interest in skiing in the Nozawa Onsen. It also leads in skiing and snowboarding tournaments, as well as hosting biathlon competitions for the Nagano Olympics.

The village strives to maintain a traditional Japanese culture, which is ideal for international tourists.

The village also has several bars, restaurants, convenience and souvenir shops.

The Best of Nozawa

1. Nozawa Mountain

Nozawa Onsen Ski Resort is among the oldest skiing destinations in Japan, having been established over 70 years ago.  It is no doubt the largest ski resort with 297 hectares of skiing surface, and an elevation of 1650 meters, right at the base of Mount Kenashi-Yama.

Nozawa Onsen is a real skiing paradise, offering powdery, uncontaminated snow, which starts from December, extending well into May.

2. A Ski Trail for Everybody

With 36 skiing trails, Nozawa Onsen Ski Resort has something for everyone. There are 14 trails for beginners and children which are gentle and expansive. The ice quality is also superb and safe for beginners.

Intermediate and advanced skiers can also challenge themselves in more difficult trails such as the Utopia, Challenge course, Schneider, Skyline and Yamabiko trails.

The Nozawa Onsen Ski Resort can be accessed using these three routes: the Nagasaki trail, Homage trail, and Kawasaki trail.

To ensure ease of access to the trails, Nozawa offers two gondolas, and 21 ski lifts spread all over the trails, to take you back to the top of the slope.

3. Family-Friendly Services

Nozawa ski resort offers safe and free rest areas for kids, called the “Naski,” where you can leave your kids as you go skiing on the slopes.  Outside the rest area, there is a park with safe playing equipment such as sled rides and inflatable bouncers. At the second floor is a day care for children, but this has its charges and terms.

4. The Soto-Yu (Hot Spring Baths)

The hot baths in Nozawa are a must see for anybody visiting Nozawa. There are thirteen public hot baths, which are locally maintained by the community. Each bath has its own unique story or medicinal value. The baths are clean, and sanitary, and perfect for relaxing and catching up after a long day of skiing. There is no charge for using the baths, but you can leave a donation for maintenance purposes. You are required to bring your towel and personal effects.

You can also enjoy Ashy no yu, which is a hot spring for a foot bath. There are several of these in the village.

You can enjoy Onsen Tamago (eggs boiled in the hot springs) too.

5. Asa Ichi (Market)

You probably want to carry some beautiful souvenirs from Nozawa. The early morning market which usually opens on designated days is ideal for collecting Japanese vegetables, crafts, and other local items.

 

The next time you are in Madarao resort be sure to take advantage of our new Active Life shuttle bus to Nozawa, to enjoy more Japanese snow and culture.

Top Tips for Taking Your Skiing to the Next Level

01Aug

Skiing is an exhilarating experience that if you once master, you never want to stop. The adrenaline rush from both the speed and pull of gravity as you slide through the snow is out of this world. The right trainer and the right skiing track are also imperative for your skiing. Check out the Madarao resort in Japan that offers the best when it comes to skiing. If you start right as a beginner, and if you master the right tricks, skiing could be added to your list of hobbies. That being said, let us delve right into some of the top tips for taking your skiing to the next level.

The Basics

To move to the next step, you need to master the basics. Some of the most important basic tips for skiing are:

  1. Clothing: Have your gloves, skiing socks, and water proof jacket and trousers. In short, keep warm.
  2. Equipment: have with yourself well-fitting ski boots, ski boards, and ski poles. I cannot overemphasize the importance of wearing a helmet, no matter how fast you’re learning.
  3. Practice with patience- when you fall, and you will fall, get up and keep at it.
  4. Get help from the right qualified people. Avoid friends and spouses, as you might all get worked up when things do not work out as you expect.

See more on what to expect as a beginner.

 

Advancing to the intermediate level

Stance:

Adopting the right position/posture not only helps you ski with utmost ease but also puts you at less risk of injuring yourself.

 

Tips for maintaining the proper stance include:

  1. Keeping all joints, especially the knees bent at the correct angle, to improve balance and control.
  2. Keep your eyes trained ahead, to get a view of what’s ahead, and to prepare for it.
  3. Avoid leaning backward for balance, otherwise known as back seating. A useful tip to avoid back seating is using your shins to apply pressure on your ski boots so that they bend at the ankles. You must, however, be careful not to bend forward too much as you don’t want to be falling over on your face.
  4. Strive to keep your body weight directly over the skis’ narrowest points, also known as the ‘sweet spot.’

 

Speed Control

Speeding downhill can be breathtaking up until you realize that you’re losing control of speed. Lack of control leads to panic which is equal to disaster. Here are a few techniques for speed control:

  1. Skidding: Skidding involves breaking the top layer of the snow with the ski boards, hence slowing you down.
  2. Turn shape: Turn shape is a smoother technique, whereby you get to turn your skis into clean arcs, which flattens the snow underneath, making you slow down.
  3. Checking: Checking is more useful when you need to stop instantaneously. It involves briefly setting your edge to a stop.

Turning Techniques

The easiest method is whereby you use your feet and shoulders to turn. To turn right, you drop your left shoulder towards your left ski and turn your feet to the right. To turn left, you drop your right shoulder towards your right ski and turn your feet to the left. This is best done when your feet are at the plough or V position. A useful tip is keeping your head, torso, and hips facing in the direction you want to turn. Your legs and skis will automatically turn to face the intended direction.

Parallel Skiing

Parallel skiing is a graceful skiing technique that involves keeping your skis parallel to each other at all times. This is unlike the snow plough position where your skis are positioned in a V shape. The key tip for parallel skiing is keeping your weight on the outer ski when turning. When you master turning, you can then move on to edging where you move your weight to the inside of each ski, creating perfect, effortless turns.

Skiing Moguls

Moguls are bumps/ lumps of snow that have been created by other skiers as they turn, pushing the snow aside. Skiing moguls can be tricky and require right instruction and practice.

Mogul skiing requires keen and fast calculations. It includes knowing how to control speed, knowing when to break, calculating the space needed to turn and break comfortably, and being able to select the best route for skiing moguls.

 

Just like any other thing in life, moving to the next level requires practice, practice and more practice.