Snow

Top Tips on Different Wax Types for Different Slope Conditions.

04Aug

Tips on Different Wax Types for Different Slope Conditions.

Waxing is a maintenance activity that involves applying a lubricant to your ski’s to reduce friction mainly. Waxing works by providing a hydrophobic surface on your board, which resists water.

What’s the Importance of Ski Waxing?

With time, your board gets damaged by hitting rocks, rusting, friction or chemical damage from chemically treated snow.

The most obvious reason for waxing is to reduce friction, hence being able to move faster. Waxing also reduces the rate at which your ski’s wears out.

How Often Should I Wax My Skis?

There’s no given duration after which you should wax your ski’s. However, logic dictates that the more you use your board, the more you should wax it. Just looking at your board can tell you whether or not you need to wax it. If the bottom looks dull and gray, it’s time to wax. There is no such thing as too much waxing. In fact, the more you do it, the better.

Ski Tuning

Ski tuning is a general term for ski maintenance that aims to keep your ski’s sharp, clean and smooth.

Waxing in itself will not make much of a difference if you haven’t repaired your base and edges. In fact, waxing is the last tuning step, preceded by base repair and edge work.

Base repair involves cleaning out your board or ski using a cleaning cloth, which removes dirt, grease, and accumulated wax. Most tuning kits come with a specialized cleaning liquid, which brings out hidden dirt and dissolves wax. After cleaning the ski, apply this liquid, and then wipe it out with a clean towel after 10 minutes.

Next step is the p-tex filling, whereby you light your p-tex candle and wait until it is flames. Let the drops drip onto your ski’s/board, filling out all cuts and scrapes. Give the p-tex 10-15 minutes to cool then scrape it off with a metal scraper, to remove excess p-tex.

Edge tuning involves keeping the edges of your board or ski sharp. Blunt edges have a weak grip on snow, which slows you down. The first step is running a diamond stone, over the edges, giving you smooth edges

Next step is using a special file to sharpen your edges. Do this from tip to tail, taking care not to distort the shape of the edges.

 

Waxing

What Wax Should I Use?

  1. All temperature waxes- these waxes are designed to work in all temperature conditions. Sometimes you may find yourself skiing in different geographical areas, or unable to predict what the temperature will be. All temperature wax, in this case, will be your best bet.
  2. Temperature specific waxes- temperature specific waxes are usually identified as either red or yellow. They both work in a smaller range of temperatures than all temperature waxes.

Red waxes are designed for colder temperatures of between -4 and -10 degrees (25 and 18 degrees Fahrenheit). Red wax is the best when it comes to hot wax scrape cleaning. It is also the best for most skiing activities.

Yellow waxes are appropriate for warmer areas of between 0 and minus-4 degrees Celsius. (32 and 25 degrees Fahrenheit).

  1. Fluorocarbons- fluorocarbon waxes can either be low or high fluorocarbon. These waxes repel water more, adding speed to your ski boards. As a result, they cost significantly more than ordinary waxes and are most preferred by professional skiers. Low fluorocarbon waxes are particularly suitable for those training and intermediate skiers, while advanced skiers prefer high fluorocarbons. It’s however important to note that the higher the fluorocarbon content, the higher the cost.

Ironing

Wax, is usually applied using a special wax iron. You can use an old clothes iron box, but the wax won’t come out fast. Also, the temperature fluctuations in cloth irons are much higher than the wax iron.

Apply the wax on your skating board then use the iron to melt it and spread it evenly across the entire board, ensuring that the wax gets on the board. Zigzag motions are the best for covering the entire base. Take care not to overheat the wax. Overheated wax reacts by producing smoke.

Scraping and Brushing.

After ironing, you should give the board some time to cool. Say a minimum of thirty minutes. You could use a plastic scraper to scrape off the excess wax until only a thin layer of wax is visible.

After scraping, use waxing brushes to clean off excess wax. Start off with coarse brushes, finishing with the softer brushes.

 

 

 

 

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!

Madarao Kogen, Japan – Rise above Sea Level and Surf the Snow!

14Apr

Kicking up powder snowboardingSnowboarding has developed into a beloved and well-established winter sport, boasting its own unique culture, equipment and super-star athletes. The sports international competitions draw world-wide renown and have inspired adrenaline junkies to push themselves to great heights, immersing themselves in one of the most amazing natural thrills available.

There are many styles of snowboarding, each of which have naturally progressed and branched off into their own standalone tournaments – such styles include: alpine racing, freestyle, back country and free riding, though where did it all begin? At what point did man decide to rise above sea level and surf the mountains instead?

Well, one day, a young Surfing enthusiast by the name of Sherman Poppen was day dreaming about surfing the winter landscape of the Rockies. He decided to bolt his children’s skis together and turn his daydream into a reality! – Before long, all of the kids in the neighbourhood on his doorstep, begging for him to build them a “Snurfer”. By 1972 Dimitrije Milovich would produce the very first snowboards as we know them today.

Fast forward to now and here you are sat reading this, day dreaming about the very same thing; carving up the soft powder and embracing the winter chill while you experience the pinnacle of adrenaline rushes. So what are you waiting for? It doesn’t matter if you’re a complete stranger to snowboarding; if you’ve any experience in surfing, then you may just find that you’ll pick it up naturally, but there’s only one way to find out right?

Why choose Madarao Kogen for your next Snowboarding destination?

ALM 20170213

Madarao Kogen is one of the hottest Ski and Snowboarding resorts in the World right now and is definitely worth a look. This stunning location is no longer the undiscovered powder prize of the past!

Although Western tourists have long favoured the likes of the Alps; Japan is definitely on the rise. OK, so it’s quite small in comparison, though it packs one hell of a punch when it comes to top quality skiing and snowboarding. You could put it down to the estimated 11 meters of snow that it receives each season, though I’d argue that there is certain mysticism in the mountain air. Japan is a fascinating place, and from the moment you step off the airplane you are immersed in a truly captivating culture that fills your soul with magic and inspiration.

On top of that, Madarao Kogen is a largely “undiscovered” location. There’s nothing worse than turning up to a beautiful location that is absolutely swamped with tourists. Isn’t the whole point of snowboarding being able to get away from it all? – High up on the mountain, looking down on the world as you carve your cares into powder. Madarao Kogen will provide you with this calm; it offers a certain peace that simply cannot be found elsewhere.

Beat the crowds and make the most of this truly exceptional destination before masses jump on the band-wagon.

There’s No Time like Now Time – Book Your Next 2017/18 Ski Season Today!

07Apr

ski japan

If you’re thinking about potentially booking your Ski season for either 2017 or 18 (or both) and you’re dragging your feet a little bit, then here’s a little bit of advice for you: get your rear in gear! There really is no time like the present and as the tide changes like the wind, so too does the cost of flights and late bookings!

If you leave it too late, the prices will rise as gaps are filled and desirability increases. In which case you’ll either not be able to afford it, or you’ll have procrastinated so much that you’ll lose interest all together and promise yourself that you’ll “definitely get round to doing it eventually”.

Learn from the Mountains and be bold and stand firm. Here at Active Life Madarao we are all about grabbing life by the horns and making the most of every given opportunity. Whether you’re an experienced Skier or Snowboarder or you’re an absolute new-comer to the slopes looking to give it a try; get yourself booked in and give yourself something to look forward to!

Not only are the weather projections for 2017 and 2018 going to make the skiing conditions on Madarao Kogen Ski Resort (Nagano Prefecture, Japan), absolutely incredible; but having something for you to look forward to, is actually beneficial for your overall happiness mental well-being as well.

The Psychology behind Early Bookings and how they benefit your mental well-being

Happy Skiing coupel skiing

Want to know how having something to look forward to can make you happier?

There are four key stages for enjoying an event in your life:

– Anticipation – This is one of the key stages of a holiday, or an event in your life. By booking something in advance you not only afford yourself a sense of achievement, but also calm. Instead of having the need to eventually arrange your Ski season looming over you, you will have one less thing to worry about and one more, incredibly exciting event to look forward to.

– Savouring – You’ve finally arrived. It’s been months and months of anticipation and finally you have reached the top of the slope with the fresh mountain air in your lungs and an endless bed of soft powder before you waiting to be carved up. Savour these moments, as they are the memories that you will cherish forever – that is what makes it all worthwhile!

– Expression & Reflection – Sharing your passion and pleasure with others is the key to heightening an already incredible experience, and in the same breath having something to look back on makes it all the more special and memorable for you. While you’re there tearing up the mountain, document it on social media and share your excitement with other enthusiasts.

There are where you can kick back and mix with other like-minded people, whilst cutting up your GoPro footage and putting together some truly stunning video memories for you and yours to cherish and adore.

 

So what are you waiting for? Time is ticking, the snow is setting and the spaces are beginning to fill. Your life will pass you by faster than you can say: “I’ll get round to it”, if you don’t throw your procrastination out of the window and do what you want to do today. Be active.

Grab Your Gear and Head to Japan’s Madarao Kogen This Season!

03Mar

Skiing is much more than just a hobby, but a way of life. It’s certainly not the kind of sport that you can simply pick up now and again when you fancy it. It’s in your blood. Once you get a taste of the crisp mountain air and the soft, powdery snow, there’s no turning back!

If you’re a seasoned professional, an aspiring amateur who loves a good challenge or even a fresh newbie; Madarao Kogen is the hottest spot to check out this season – it has something to offer absolutely everyone!

So Why Choose Madarao Kogen Ski Resort For Your Next Adventure?

Kogen is the Japanese word for “Heights”, or “Plateau”, and Madarao certainly does tower above the rest! Here’s why:

In Madarao, you will find that 60% of the courses are ungroomed, so you’ll definitely be able to tear up some delightfully fluffy and deep powder when you ski. There are many who prefer not to ski on powder as there certainly is a knack to it, though if you’re up to the challenge and keen to truly master the art of skiing then Madaroa will present you with the perfect opportunity to do so (that, and there is rarely a huge amount of competition on these particular slopes)

That being said, Madarao does have a lot to offer, particularly if you’re new to skiing and would rather play it safe and stick to the groomed courses. There is even a Kid’s park, a Tree Run Course, a Free Ride Park and some Wave Courses, so you can rest assured that there is certainly no shortage of things to see and do.

Madarao Slopes

The mountain itself stands 1382 meter tall, boasting a whopping 30 separate courses. Don’t let that put you off though, as getting around is easy too, with 15 lifts to take you from A through to Z.

Madarao is incredibly popular amongst the Japanese nationals, so not only can you guarantee that it’s a great spot, but it also offers a unique experience as opposed to its neighbouring Ski Resorts which are swamped with Westerners. The food is incredible and the craft beers are insane! Immerse yourself in the beautiful Japanese culture and enjoy one of the most incredible skiing adventures that you could possibly imagine.

Where is Madarao Kogen?

Madarao Kogen is located 38km northeast of the city of Nagano in the north eastern part of the Nagano Prefecture, close to the Niigata Prefecture, laid between Myoko Kogen and Nozawa Onsen.  Madarao is situated 11km west of the town of Iiyama.  Everybody is raving about this awesome spot due to its natural aesthetic beauty and perfect skiing conditions.

There are a number of options for accommodation if you’re keen to explore this skiing hotspot and find out what all of the fuss is about.

Check out Active Life Ski Resort if you’re an avid outdoors person with a hunger for the good life! Don’t miss out on a new and exciting experience that you will surely remember for the rest of your days. Book your flights, grab your ski’s and hit the powder hard!

TOP 5 REASONS WHY YOU NEED TO EXPERIENCE SKIING IN JAPAN

19Jan

 

If you are looking for somewhere new and exciting to Ski, Japan is the place for you. It has never really been the obvious choice for those who are looking to experience skiing, especially for those who have never tried it before. Most would presume that the Alps would be your best bet, or perhaps a trek over to Canada, though below you will find 5 reasons why skiing in Japan is definitely your best option this winter.

1: The Food

Wherever you decide to travel this year for your skiing holiday, I am sure the food will be alright – but Japanese Sushilet’s face it: the Japanese really do know their way around a kitchen. After a long day on the slopes, you can recharge your batteries with some of the most delicious sushi of your life. However, Japan’s menu is of course, far more comprehensive than some rolls of rice and fish. Get stuck into a large and piping bowl of traditional noodle soup bowls, followed by some crispy Gyoza dumplings and a refreshing bottle of iced cold Asahi. Ahhh, perfect!

2: No Jetlag

The trouble with living in Australia is that whenever you want to venture out of the country on holiday, you tend to have an incredibly long journey ahead of you. This renders you suffering from jetlag which can take days of adjustment and can sometimes have a very negative impact on your holiday. Fortunately, when travelling to Japan you are only looking at a 2 hour time difference (between Japan and the East coast of Australia) This keeps the jetlag down and means that you can get straight out onto the slopes and enjoy skiing in Japan instantly.

3: The Culture

This is a rather broad point, though represents one of the fundamental reasons why you should want to experience a country like Japan. The Japanese boast one of the most unique and wonderful cultures in the entire world, particularly fascinating for those who have been brought up in western culture. The Japanese are wonderfully respectful people and are incredibly punctual and thorough in every aspect of their lives. This is reflected in the evident synchronicity, cleanliness and organisation of their ski resorts, airports, restaurants and other establishments that you may encounter. If you truly want the best ski packages, Japan offers some very well put-together options.

4: The Nomihodai

To put it bluntly, for a terribly quiet and respectful people; the Japanese love to tear it up and party hard. The term: “Nomihodai” is used to describe a dinner routine that is essentially all you can eat and drink. It is never overly expensive and it is always tonnes of fun. Eat as much delicious food as you can in an hour and half, and wash it all down with gallons of refreshing booze and beverages.

5: The Snow

You have seen the photos and I am sure you have heard all of the stories, they’re all true. You will irrefutably come home after a skiing trip to Japan, boasting that it had the best snow that you have ever skied. It is light and safe, and impeccably consistent. And what’s more, if the weather patterns in the forecast are correct then Japan is in for one hell of a winter season, so you can rest assured that you will experience the best skiing in Japan this year if you visit Madarao Kogen. Just take a look…