Madarao Tangram offers you a double dose of classic Japowder, especially their fantastic tree courses. Madarao has got hugely popular over the past few years for the famous tree skiing, helped by one of the original & best executed pro-powder policies in Japan. Now the neighbours at Tangram have come to the party, after ditching their old school no trees attitude.
Together the new Madarao Tangram combination has never looked better. There’s a wider choice to stay and more to do.
Madarao has been punching way above it’s perceived weight for a few years now. While not a huge resort, it has always skied bigger ever since their young Marketing Manager Aki Kitamura persuaded his boss, and the local elder sceptics, to open up their killer tree skiing zones.
That started the ball rolling, and like a mini Nozawa, the much larger resort nearby that’s right up there with Hakuba as Australians #2 favourite in Japan after Niseko, Madarao started attracting skiers and boarders lured by both the great tree skiing and the even better way they prepared it.
Not content with opening things up Aki set out to create a giant natural terrain/fun park, heaping up summer clearings to make hits, rollers and pillows in prime places so you, and he, can have even more fun in the 14m plus annual snowfall.
Yes, this minor league resort gets major league snow. Now that neighbouring inter-connected Tangram has gone pro-pow as well the combination has a lot more on offer.
Madarao Tangram claim the most official ‘Tree Ski Course’ in Japan, 13 to date. These range from the Rabbit ‘Family Adventure’ course to Sawa ‘Natural Pipe’, which follows a watercourse line. There are 9 tree zones at Madarao and 5 on the Tangram side. Overall they leave 60% of the courses ungroomed, with some perfect learner/progression areas at both sides.
If you want more, extensive short back and side country offerings are easily accessed, from signposted simpler routes to harder to find ones where local knowledge is key. Enter Aki’s Guiding and Snow Sports School outfit, Nagano Outdoor Snowsports, who can show you the best and improve your skiing/riding as you go.
“We have easy access to the backcountry area, it’s just a 20-30 minute hike up to the summit” says Aki. “Our staff has local knowledge for Madarao Mountain. We bring you to good fresh line!”
You can bet on that. Aki’s enthusiasm is infectious, and having grown up in the resort he knows it better than anyone. They can access numerous different ski areas within an hour’s drive for more variety. For example, Nozawa and Myoko are both just 40 minutes away. All the more reason you can now spend longer here rather than the few days we used to recommend as optimum.
Peter Hillman’s Action Snowsports, known for their roving improvement program tours over several years to Japan, opened an International Snow Sports School there last season. Snow Action has run into Peter and his improvement groups a few times over the years in Japan, and everyone has always been having a great time. They cater for all levels and ages with group lessons, private lessons and progression trips to nearby areas for the powder chasers.
After a great debut season they are back with more for 2017-18.
“Our skier improvement clinics are going off already this season with lots of bookings already” Peter reports. “So if you feel you’ve hit the intermediate wall and don’t know what to do, our clinics will give you the breakthrough you have been searching for.”
This season Action Snowsports will be offering some new programs such as
• 2 hr Group lesson for adults and kids
• Multi day group lessons
• All day kids programs
• POW Day Trips we will be offering these day trips to numerous local resorts possibly every other day, but if popular this may change.
Also new is an executive range of Kastle ski as Demo Rentals at very affordable prices. Order a pair to buy and the rental will be taken off the cost of your purchase. Check out all details at www.actionsnowsports.com
Tangram might have come to the party late, but like any latecomer to a party they have bought renewed energy – they are fired up to open terrain for us tree loving international powder fiends – with 5 Tree Courses on their half of the mountain.
The Tangram side has the most vertical, a respectable 520m, and nice fall-line pitches in that, especially curving high round skier’s left and dropping in off that ridge line.
Or bomb down the dividing line between the two sides and instead of hanging a right to Madarao’s Sawa natural pipe course drop left into a choice of two short but sweet tree courses on the Tangram side. This is a good one to do if you’ve got cruisier skiers along with you – they can continue on the green groomed run and you hook up at the bottom.
Madarao Tangram village and accommodation
As the area’s popularity has surged the little Madarao village has sprung to life with new businesses and new winter residents, including various western staff/owners, giving it a relatively much livelier atmosphere – it used to be very quiet apart from at the main Madarao Kogen Hotel at the top of the easy side of the slopes.
Among the new businesses guess who has opened a pub & cafe? Yep, the Akster, he knows all the buttons to push for our market (doing a season on exchange in Mt Buller helped). His Aki’s Pub & Cafe is a cozy space for everybody.
“There’s good pizza, curry with rice, chicken wings and good espresso coffee” says the proud owner. “And of course we have beer! It’s located at side of slope for easy access when you take lunch. We open dinner also.”
Happy customers, including families, were making it popular already last season. Also new last season, the Drop Off Bar does great coffees and breakfasts in the morning, then drinks, bar food and okonomiyaki until 10.30pm.
There’s no real town, or village centre it’s just a few funky little places scattered in the trees near the main hotel, that’s easy and very friendly to be part of. Iiyama City is just a 30 minute bus ride away, with last bus back up around 9pm, which opens up affordable and fun izakaya and other dining options.
Rentals have improved also, Shirakaba offering decent fat skis and some classic swallowtail pow boards.
Accommodation options are improving, with over a dozen lodges apart from the Madarao Kogen or Mon Aile Hotels, both ski in/ski out, at Madarao.
The Tokyu Resort Hotel Tangram at the base has full facilities including a decent size indoor swimming pool (see following spread), and makes as super convenient base, especially for families with smaller kids. Lots of fun stuff to do, including adult and kid’s snowmobiles.
A complete resort hotel snow holiday experience awaits guests at the Tokyu Resort Hotel Tangram, perfectly located at the base of the Tangram side of the famous powder ski area. It’s ideal for families, couples, or friends, after skiing relax and enjoy the facilities, like the large, sunny swimming pool and indoor/outdoor onsen.
Activities include snowmobiles for adults and kids, snow rafting, and a kids park all out front of the hotel. English language ski lessons are available.
A sumptuous buffet banquet features 50 dishes of delicious Japanese, Chinese and Western favourites. Or dine in the Japanese or French cuisine restaurants, then have some après fun in the karaoke bar.
There are 245 rooms, all a spacious 40m².
Enjoy the amazing snow and relaxed style of Madarao Tangram at the resort’s best address.
bookings/more info at www.tangram.jp/eng/
Getting to Madarao Tangram
Take the Hokuriku shinkansen to Iiyama City, just 110 minutes from Tokyo on the fastest service. Then it’s only 30 minutes bus or taxi ride to Madarao, or 45 minutes to Tangram.
Madarao Resort/Madarao Kogen Hotel www.madarao.jp/ski/
Tangram Resort/Tokyu Resort Hotel Tangram www.tangram.jp
Multi resort tours, Snow Sports School, lodge www.naganooutdoorsports.net
Snow Sports School www.actionsnowsports.com
Packages www.deeppowdertours.com www.skijapan.com www.japansnowaccommodation.com
Madarao Tangram Mountain Stats
• Summit 1350m, max vertical 520m Tangram/440m Madarao
• 14m plus snowfall
• 44 courses longest 2.5km; 13 Tree Courses; terrain 30% beginner, 40% intermediate, 30% advanced/expert
• 2 Parks, 2 kids parks, 2 snowmobile lands
• 21 lifts including 4 express quads
• Lift pass rates 2017-18 Joint Mountain Pass Day ad ¥5500, child ¥3000