Madarao

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.

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

 

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.

Why Snow, Snow-sports and Japan are good for your Health

14Jul

Here at Active Life Madarao, we know what’s good for you. And we even have the science to prove it!

All this nature will make you smile. And maybe even smarter.

Studies have shown that spending time outdoors in nature will drastically decrease your anxiety levels, and stop you ruminating over problems, aka being ‘stuck in your own head’. It both relieves existing stresses, and helps cushion the impact from future stresses. Rather than focusing on the negatives, and anything that is stressing you out, you’re concentrating on the beauty around you. And there’s nothing more beautiful than a blissful, snowy covered mountain!

It’s also been proven that nature can help improve your memory, concentration, and helps you think more clearly, so what better way to help prepare for upcoming exams than by hitting the slopes during the holidays! (Although, we do also recommend revising…)

Catch some Zzz’s

After a long, exhilarating day of skiing or snowboarding, there is nothing better than hitting the hay. Especially in one of our cozy and luxurious beds.

A good night’s sleep has been linked to better overall health, an improved mood, and even a better sex life! It can also help lessen general aches and pains, improve your memory, and help with weight loss.

So after a day on the slopes we highly recommend a nice long soak in the bath, followed by a good night’s rest. After a visit to the restaurant, and Tap That bar, of course.

Get your blood pumping

There’s nothing quite like the fresh, crisp air at the top of the mountainside. As well as the excitement brought on by participating in the exhilarating sport that is skiing, there is actually a scientific reason for why you’ll feel just so damn good.

Firstly, the air at the top of mountains contains more oxygen, giving you that fresh, deep breath sensation of fully filling your lungs. This, combined with the bright sun-lit snow, helps to increase the oxygen content in your red blood cells.

Also, the changes between using your muscles whilst skiing, and the rest periods in-between runs, improves the body’s blood circulation.

In layman’s terms, this means a more energetic, and healthy body, ready to do more snow sports!

Keeping fit, and burning calories

This one probably won’t come as a surprise, but skiing is a great workout! Keeping your balance works your core muscles, which helps stomach muscles get toned. The squatting position used for skiing helps tone, and strengthen lower body muscles. Holding and steering with the poles works your upper arm muscles.

A steady, moderate skiing burns around 400 calories an hour. And as if that wasn’t enough alone, cold weather can also help speed up your metabolism! Hooray!

Tastes Good, Does Good

A 2016 study by The British Medical Journal, showed that a traditional Japanese diet can reduce the risk of stroke, heart disease, and decrease the risk of early death. This is due to all the super healthy grains, and yummy vegetables.

Our accomplished chef at Active Life Madarao knows all about yummy, and loves providing our guests with hearty breakfasts packed full of ski-ready-energy, and exquisite dinners perfect to unwind over.

We’ve known all along that what we have is the perfect package, and now we’ve got the science to back us up.

A stunning setting, and thrilling sports which will relieve stress, get you fit, and help keep you healthy? This is why we love Active Life.

 

Skiing lessons in Japan

Groomed vs. Ungroomed Skiing, and Other Such Lingo.

07Jul

Here at Active Life Madarao, we like to spoil you. And that means giving you the best of everything. So when it comes to your choice of ski slope, we make no exception.

If you are an experienced skier, you probably already have your favourite type of ski slope. With over 30 ski runs, we bet by the end of your stay with us, you’ll have your favourite run here too.

If you are a beginner, or have never even set a ski-donned foot on a slope before, then you probably don’t know what we’re talking about when we say ‘groomed’ and ‘ungroomed’ ski runs.

Don’t panic, it has nothing to do with your personal upkeep. We don’t send our guests rocking the bedhead look after a late night at our bar Tap That, to the ungroomed slope. There’s no judgement here.

A groomed slope is simply a slope we’ve taken our snow-groomer to. We send one of our lovely staff members out in the snow-groomer to drive down the slopes, which packs all the snow down and makes it nice and tightly compressed.

We don’t just do this because we love having a ride down the slopes on the snow-groomer (although we really do), but because it makes it an easier surface to ski down.

This makes it perfect for people who are learning to ski, as well as seasoned skiers.

An ungroomed slope is simply a slope that hasn’t been groomed by our snow-groomer! Try saying that sentence after a few of our craft beers.

Many skiers prefer this type of slope as it has a slightly wilder yet softer feel. It can be slighter harder on the joints as you need to use a lot more physical power to break through the trails. However, some people prefer this type of slope, and it really just comes down to a matter of preference.

Words

Different words from different language in the background there is a moutain.

Speaking of breaking trails…

Even if you’ve never been skiing before, we want you to feel completely at home at Active Life Madarao. We understand that it can be slightly intimating to take your first venture into the wonderful world of skiing, and that all the lingo you may hear flying around might be confusing.

Just like always, we’re here to help by breaking down some of the key jargon you might hear:

Run

The run is the path that you ski down. We always have these clearly marked at Active Life Madarao, and this is for both your safety, and so you have the best possible experience on the best maintained runs.

Breaking trail

This means skiing down a run with fresh snow that hasn’t been skied down yet. In other words, no previous ski trails.

Groomed vs. ungroomed trail

Er, we just did this. If you’ve forgotten already, you may want to re-read this blog post!

Active Life Madarao

Two amazing hotels –Active Life Madarao Hotel, and Hakken By Active Life Madarao Hotel in Madarao, Japan! Skiing in Japan at its finest!

Après-Ski

Literally translated from French, this means ‘after-ski‘. At Active Life Madarao, we translate it to mean ‘exquisite dinners, beers in the bar, bubble baths, and general relaxation’. Luckily for you, we can provide all of that in our hotel accommodation.

Bunny

This is a term sometimes used for a beginner. You may also hear ‘bunny slope/hill’, referring to the slopes used for beginners. It’s not meant as an insult, we were all beginners once. In fact, we think bunnies are very cute.

Shredder

A shredder is someone who is a very experienced, and talented skier. One or two of our staff members are shredders, according to them anyway…

Wipeout

A wipeout is when you fall over, and crash into the snow. Don’t worry, it happens to all of us!

Powder

Just another word for snow. You may also hear ‘pow’, or ‘pow-pow’. Yes, we are obsessed with snow.

These is just a few of the more common lingo you may hear. There is plenty more where that came from, and if you overhear anything you’re confused about, please do feel free to ask any of our lovely English-speaking staff members for a translation.

See you on the pow-pow!

Experience ‘Hakken’ by Active-Life Madarao

09Jun

Finding the right accommodation isn’t always as easy as you’d think, especially given the sheer volume of options that come up with every search. After a while it can begin to get rather stressful, as when you’re spoilt for choice it gets harder to make a definitive decision. Well, before you make any snap decisions you should ask yourself the following question:

What are your intentions when you book a skiing holiday? To pursue your passions; breathe in the crisp mountain air; push yourself to new heights and most important of all: to discover! Well, Active Life is proud to introduce to you the ultimate discovery: Hakken – a relaxed snow lodge with a unique Japanese experience – the perfect place to rejuvenate after an immense day on the slopes.

‘Hakken’ (Japanese for Discovery) is a newly renovated, quaint and relaxing snow lodge that lay quietly in the heart of  . Less than 5 minute walk from the Madarao resort chairlifts, you’ll find Hakken to be pleasantly convenient. What truly sets Hakken apart from the rest is its unique experience, blending western style amenities with a gorgeous, traditional Japanese twist – (The Tatami floors feel incredible under-foot too, offering a truly authentic experience)

Hakken also boasts a friendly team of Japanese, Kiwi and Australian staff who all breathe an open air of passionate hospitality throughout, waiting patiently to oblige your every need with a warm and receptive smile. You can rest assured that you will be well taken care of, with your best interests at the very epicentre of our priorities.

Recover with a perfect nights’ sleep

After a long and hard day on the slopes, when you’re feeling exhausted and ready for a deep sleep, you’ll feel wonderful in the thought of returning to one of the following room:

  • Family Room for 4 people
  • Deluxe Room for 3 people
  • Standard Room for 2 people

All of the rooms in Hakken are equipped with all of the essentials and amenities needed to make your stay as comfortable and convenient as possible; from FREE Wifi, private bathrooms, an LCD TV, a safety deposit box, refrigerator and the most comfortable and dreamy, western style beds. Why would you want to lay your head to rest anywhere else?

Getting from A to B

Hakken is located in the Madarao Ski Resort, (also known as the renowned ‘Madarao Kogen’) in the northern region of Nagano Prefecture, between Nozawa Onsen and Myoko Kogen. There is a nearby train station named Iiyama, which is easy highly accessible and easy to reach. More importantly, Hakken offers a complimentary shuttle service to all guests, taking you from Iiyama train station, as well as to and from the Nozawa Onsen. Check shuttle timetable here: https://beactive.life/transport

Snow-Lodge Amenities

  • Baggage storage
  • Free WIFI
  • Drying Room
  • Ski and Board Hire
  • Vending Machine (Drinks)
  • Luggage Storage
  • Restaurant
  • Bar
  • Onsen

Hakken hotel operates based on the Japanese Ski Season, from 16 December through until 31 March. Keep an eye out for any up-coming deals and get ready to