Snowboarding

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Get Fit For the Ski Season

01Oct

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

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

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

Exercise for the Piste

Quadriceps

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

 

arobicThighs

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

 

Glutes and Hamstrings

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

 

Strengthening the Core

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

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

 

snow

 

Safety First

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

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

 

The slopes await you. Enjoy!

Snowboarding

Is Snowboarding or Skiing the Right Choice for Me?

27Sep

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

Pros and Cons

Getting on and getting up!

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

 

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

 

Which Sport is Easiest to Master?

Snowboarding 

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

 

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

Injuries

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

 

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 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.

 

 

 

 

Write Your Life – Become Who You Want To Be; No More Excuses

26Apr

Skiing lessons in JapanIn this modern internet age we have a wealth of awe-inspiring things at our fingertips and that can at times, be rather discouraging; particularly when it comes to pursuing our dreams.

You’ll find that it’s easier to sit and watch someone else achieve greatness, rather than go after it yourself so you don’t even bother trying at all. Ever watched the ‘people are awesome’ channel on YouTube? It’s an inspiring watch, but it is also a sore reminder of how uneventful your life really is…but does it have to be so? You are the commander of your life and it is time for the rest of you to fall in and follow orders.

You see, creating something average is a darn-sight more impressive than doing absolutely nothing at all and even if you don’t shake the very foundations of this planet in the process of trying; I guarantee that you’ll have an incredible amount of fun either way!

That is what life is all about, is it not? – Creation, activity and achievement. We have been blessed with the capacity to endure and aspire and yet the majority of us squander this on mere day dreams, when in actuality all we need to do is say yes. Say yes, as opposed to: “I’d love to be able to Ski like that one day!” – Never mind your half-arsed, speculative wishes and set a date. If you’d ‘love to be able to Ski like that one day’, then book your Ski Trip today!


We are at our happiest when we are expressing ourselves, sharing our passions and achieving our goals. Why aren’t you pursuing your goals? What is stopping you besides your own inaction and procrastination? Is it your age? Do you think that perhaps ‘your ship has sailed?’

Don’t let your age dictate what you can and cannot do! It is never too late to pick up an old guitar and strum your way toward a life full of music and harmony. Sure you’re likely no Bob Dylan, but if the times are changing then so should you be.

People tend to look at art as being very black and white; a dodgy painting slapped on a canvass by a   drunk with one ear. Well, it runs much deeper than that. Art is creation…and you don’t need a pen or a brush to do so, all you need is a little imagination and some will power. You may not be able to write, but you can sure as hell carve your name into the snow.

Whether you see yourself dragging your fingers through the inside of a barrel wave, baking the perfect cake, building a tree-house or sculpting a statue of yourself spearing a grizzly bear; you’ll never know what it is to be happy until you at least give it a try!

Dream, dare, explore and create! Always fancied a trip to Japan? Why not go one better and tie it in with some Skiing or Snowboarding at Madarao Ski Resort?

Life is to be lived. There are so many people who would give what little they have to be able to actualise their dreams. An estimated 46% of the people on this planet who have never seen snow, and likely never will, and yet you’re just a click away. What are you waiting for?

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.

Skiing is Always Better with a Beer Waiting for you at the Bottom

10Mar

If the Perfect Powder Isn’t Enough to Attract You This Season; Madarao Kogen’s Delicious, Local Craft Beer Certainly Will!

 

After a full day of skiing in the gorgeous Madarao Kogen, with the crisp Mountain air in your lungs, the fresh and fluffy powder beneath your feet and 360 degrees of breath-taking views as far as the eye can see; what better a way to wrap it all up than gulping down some refreshing craft beers?

If you can think of one then do let me know, because as far as I’m concerned; when you’re 1382 meters up; only the warming fuzzy-buzz of an expertly brewed pint could possibly raise you that little bit higher toward the heavens!

At the Active Life Madarao Resort you will discover arguably one of the finest beer bars on the entire Mountain: Tap That – It is here that you will be able to actualise this inviting imagery and sample some truly magnificent beer in what is one of the hottest skiing locations!

Be Active Bar

Why Active Life Madarao Ski Resort is the Place to be this Season

Life is all about the adventure!  At Active Life in Madarao, their priority is inspiring others to live life to the very fullest and having the freedom to enjoy everything that this beautiful world has to offer – which is why they’re such avid supporters and advocates of the local Japanese Breweries of course!Beactive Taps

After all, what’s a holiday without a few good beers right? Active Life Madarao prides itself on providing its valued guests with the opportunity to experience some of the finest skiing conditions in the world. They boast traditional Japanese Cuisine, mouth-watering locally brewed craft beers and an infinitely comfortable and relaxing environment in which you can recover from it all.

So pound those slopes and carve your name deep into the powder. Work up an appetite after a hard day of smashing one of the most exciting and fulfilling sports imaginable and then reward yourself with a soothingly smooth pint.

In Tap That you can comfortably kick back with your fellow travellers and locals like, cutting up those awesome Go-Pro clips and sharing your experiences with your new-found friends.

Take Skiing to a Whole New Level

When most people think about skiing, the first place that they picture in their heads will likely be the French Alps. Why not experience something a little different and veer off the beaten track? Life tastes much so much better when you broaden your palate and indulge in foreign flavours.

Madarao in Japan is perhaps one of the most underrated locations, when in actuality it not only offers some marvellous and unique skiing conditions; but is also fused with a delightfully refreshing breath of Japanese Culture.

Elevate your skiing to an entirely new level this season and experience Madarao Kogen. It doesn’t matter if you’re a seasoned professional, an aspiring amateur or a complete newbie; Madarao certainly has something to offer absolutely everyone.

Ski until you drop. Then roll on down to Tap That and allow your body time to recover with the gentle aid of a refreshing beer…then get out there the next day and do it all over again! Trust me…the fresh mountain air will cure the hangover in no time!

Powder Slopes Japan