How Much Snow Can You Get In Myoko?

How much snow can you get in Myoko and Madarao?

Enough to make a roof glacier if no one is home to clear it last season, which was one for the books. So much snow and we couldn’t go!

"Roof Glacier" sliding off a lodge in Myoko
If you’re not home to clear it off, watch the roof glacier develop at Myoko © Michael Bullock

Myoko & Madarao are famous for always getting a lot of snow. But when it really turns on it gets crazy: crazy fun to ski, crazy hard work keeping up with the rising tide for local business owners.

It’s been a tough 2 years for expat business owners who either got stuck in Japan, or couldn’t get back. Everyone is looking forward to normal service finally resuming for the 2022-2023 winter. We caught up with some of both categories in Myoko & Madarao for how it’s been, especially the incredible winter last season.

A lot of snow clearing for the stayers for starters.

“I spent over 165 hours on my snow blower and at times the snow was overwhelming” says Michael Bullock from Myoko Mountain Lodge, “We have been here for 7 years and that had to be the big one!”

“The lodge was surprisingly busy with many returning Japanese guests, but not busy enough to stop us skiing every day and venturing further on XC  ski’s & snowshoes” he adds.

With his Japanese wife (31 years and counting) Tamami he’s happy to stay anyway.

raBuried chair at Akakura © Myoko Snowsports

Those stuck outside the country could only watch and hope their places were OK, and rely on friends and neighbours to help out.

At Akakakura some chairs just stayed buried. They passed the season average of 13m on February 7, while over at Lotte Arai they had 21m by February 24.

Myoko Chalet looking good last winter – we’ll take a bit less snow for being allowed to go this winter! © Michael Bullock

“We left in March 2020 and were planning on returning late April 2020 to do work on the lodge” says Nora Buckley from Chalet Myoko/Chalet Madarao. 

“Two years later and we will finally be returning. My neighbor and my translator have kept me updated, paid my bills and sorted out any issues. They arranged to have the gas and water turned off. My neighbor has kindly moved my snow blower a few times in the unfulfilled anticipation of my arrival.”

Buying a ski lodge in Japan is a dream many have made reality, usually attracted by the bargain prices available at the more unknown resorts. Get in at the right time, pick the right place and it can still all go pear shape. Toss in the worst pandemic for a century on top and it’s not surprising there are some needing to sell the dream in a hurry.

Not Bullock or Buckley though.

For the former, as a long term resident with a Japanese wife, local business has seen them through a tough couple of year.

For the latter,  she can’t wait to reopen.

“We have had a couple of chances to sell Chalet Myoko. The answer will always be no unless someone offered us a ridiculous amount of money. Mt Myoko is special and somewhere we will want to ski for a long time.”

Chalet Myoko has an Early Bird Special from $A60 per person, per night, plus discounted lift tickets & rentals available.

Bring a shovel if you want a drink at the Drop Off Bar in Madarao .. © Peter Hillman

In Madarao Peter Hillman who runs Action Snowsports ski school & the popular Drop Off Bar pub & restaurant, the season reached peak crazy on Feb 6 – the latest storm dumped so much snow it took 3 days to clear out the entrance and get fired up again.

Pete got stuck in Japan during lockdown, but has seen through the tough times and is looking forward to normality returning this season, along with international guests.

After the very sad passing of one of the Aussie snow industry’s all round nicest guys, David ‘Harro’ Harrison from Harro’s Snowsports Crackenback, Niseko & Furano in January, Pete and Nora organised to get Harro’s Furano rental ski gear and deliver it to Madarao.

With it they launch the new Imoh’s Sports there for the 2022-23 season. Snow Action often used Harro’s great Kastle skis on our Japow research missions, getting them sent to our start point and then sending them black-cat back.

Note Harro’s Snowsports Crackenback is back in the very capable hands of Harro’s son Mitch and the team. Drop in and support them this season – try the new Kastle FX106 Ti we say!

Chalet Madarao claims the best coffee in the village, and their return will be also welcome.  Early Bird deals at the ski in/ski out chalet start from $90pp per night with breakfast.

Japan has been Australia’s 2nd season, or indeed 1st season for those living too far away to drive to the local snow, for over a decade, so it will be great to have it back on the menu. Myoko & Madarao are hands down among the best options.

Law of averages says it’s unlikely to be such a huge season again next winter there. But that doesn’t matter.

“The base of the mountain is higher at Madarao than many other places so in a rare poor season there is still top to bottom snow” says Nora.

We won’t argue. But we would love to bump into this, as long as don’t have to do shovel duty..

Tamami Bullock digging out the van at Myoko Mountain Lodge © Michael Bullock

So far Japan has re-opened to package accompanied tour groups only. A lot is riding on the government there continuing for a more unrestricted opening up.

Check the latest Japan entry requirements on their official site here