The big Myoko/Madarao thread - 2016/17

Tonester

Lift Line Nazi
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Is it this??
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Tonester

Lift Line Nazi
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yeah, looks like.... maybe

Where is that located?
Ummm...either top of Tangram or Madarao. Can't quite remember. There's a chair lift behind the camera. We had no idea what it said. It wasn't roped off, so decided to "have a look". Steepish and some fun was had,
 

RunDLC

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Nov 20, 2012
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Thought it would be worth passing on a few things expressed in a chat with Akakura Kanko ski patrol today. I was asking how everything is going with the resort, how they are finding the increased numbers of foreign visitors and backcoutnry skiers (Japanese and foreign).

They are super happy that people are visiting and enjoying the great snow in a respectable, safe way. Obviously resort user numbers were down for years, so the influx of business is welcome :)

One frustrating point has been people trying to ski without lift tickets. Not just foreigners, but generally people who figure they can get away with it due to non strict checking. I've seen this a few times myself so I think it's pretty common. It's definitely not cool though.

Other point was just about general awareness if skiing off the marked runs. Skiing under the lifts is not ok, and passes are being taken / clipped for this. They also asked that people respect ropes. Obvious place for this is when you get off the top lift and head left. Don't duck it! They also noted that on days of high snow volume, they put up signs noting the heightened risk for skiing off piste. Please pay attention if you see such warnings.

On top of that the below is just my thoughts on skiing the local resorts. I'm not a business owner so no reason to sell the place! I do however ski backcountry most days and see a lot of people out exploring. This area has very fun tree skiing. I've skied things when younger that I think were stupid/unsafe, so I'm not here to outline rules. Please understand though that this area gets loads of snow, and that on occasion there will be avalanches. Think about where you ski, particularly terrain traps. Ski with friends, use avalanche equipment if exploring, and ask knowledgeable people if you don't know! This is almost definitely not the owner of the lodge you are staying in, but someone like Bill Ross who has a guide centre just below the Akakan Gondola.

Turned into a bit of an essay, but hopefully some thoughts there that will help someone enjoy the area in a respectful and safe way. Have fun out there :)
 
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M_G

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Good advice RunDLC.

That said, there ARE some pretty knowledgeable hosts/business owners out there such Yamanouchi-san at Yodel, Ogasawara-san at Yours Inn, Inagawa-san at Senke & Sekine-san at Park Lodge to name just a few. Yes, don't trust Joe Bloggs who has been at the El Sleazo Motor Inn for 3 weeks on a holiday visa. But to say Bill is just about the only game in town is a bit disrespectful to the lodge/business owners who also double up on safety and/or rescue patrols.
 
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RunDLC

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Nothing disrespectful in what I said as I wasnt saying Bill is just about the only game in town. I know plenty of knowledgeable locals, it's just that most people don't come in to contact with them and even if they do there may well be a language barrier.
 

M_G

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This is almost definitely not the foreign lodge owner/manager or the foreign staff of the place where you are staying.

This would ring more true then?
 

mannyk

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Hi all. Been in Myoko for 4 days now. Had all sorts of weather from very wet snow to lovely soft stuff. My wife and i just enjoy the groomed runs nothing hard core about us. Its a great way to spend a few weeks. I just wish they would set the exits off the lifts so you didnt have to go up hill each time.
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. Often having to un clip. Other than that having a ball on our.3rd year in a row. 8 days to go.
 

Paradox

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Sep 21, 2016
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Which area do you mean when you say "Apricot"? There's no designated area at Tangram with that name.... or do you mean around Jackdownhill?

Actually the first ungroomed run to the left of the lifts (ie the first LH cleared run off the green ridge line about 300m from the lift) is definitely named Apricot. At least that is what the sign there says. Perhaps a new name? Jacks is the first gated tree run along that ridge line isn't it?
 

smackies

A Local
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A friend currently in Myoko has clean snapped his board in half.

Any recommendations for a good hire/purchase place? He's 6'4'' though...
 

Paradox

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A friend currently in Myoko has clean snapped his board in half.

Any recommendations for a good hire/purchase place? He's 6'4'' though...

Lots of options on the main street of Akakura, I was surprised at the increase in number of hire shops this year.......
 

M_G

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Depends on what he's after. For top shelf stuff head to the Powder Recon shop, although I think they mostly have skis. For reasonable gear at a good price head to Aoyama on the main street. Tell them Nic from Red Warehouse said to get in touch and hopefully they'll give them a further 20% off. Spicy and Myoko Snowsports are the other options. For best buying deals they should catch the train down to Kasugayama and check out the nearby shopping area (about 10 mins walk) in particular Xebio, Victoria Sports and Second Street.
 
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M_G

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Someone lost yesterday. Someone lost today. Fortunately both ended up being found but people need to be a bit more careful out there. One today in particular could have gone very badly but luckily someone saw the person involved before they got lost so they were able to post something up on Facebook which was a big help in locating them.
 
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Nozawaman

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Someone lost yesterday. Someone lost today. Fortunately both ended up being found but people need to be a bit more careful out there. One today in particular could have gone very badly but luckily someone saw the person involved before they got lost so they were able to post something up on Facebook which was a big help in locating them.
We have just had an amazing week of skiing , and I have watched people go into areas that they really shouldn't be in for their ability . I understand everyone wants the stoke , but FFS skiing on fat skis in the backseat through tight trees into terrain traps with 5 of your mates in tow wears a little thin , and I don't work in ski patrol .
 
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Hunter

Part of the Furniture
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It is an interesting dilemma this.

I personally and many I know steer clear of businesses run by Australian expats in the Japan resorts, dilutes the experience and idea of visiting a different culture if you stay with Aussies running the accommodation / other businesses in my opinion

Own it but stay deep behind the scenes with japanese front of house would be the best option I think, I am sure there is a market for some Australians who like the idea of staying in accom run by Aussies, but I find that weird to be honest
 
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M_G

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Fair call @Hunter I would be very unlikely to stay with a foreign owned enterprise if I was travelling in Japan, or probably elsewhere too.

However, little bit different for us as we are not blow ins. My wife is a local girl and I have been skiing the area since 1996. Our guests appreciate that they can get a local perspective and advice without the communication difficulties.

Thanks for pointing out @ojisan
 

Hunter

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Fair call @Hunter I would be very unlikely to stay with a foreign owned enterprise if I was travelling in Japan, or probably elsewhere too.

However, little bit different for us as we are not blow ins. My wife is a local girl

Understandable for sure.

But I am guessing you are not the norm and most are just Aussies epats like the early Hotham crew that started up in Niseko.............
 
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M_G

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Understandable for sure.

But I am guessing you are not the norm and most are just Aussies epats like the early Hotham crew that started up in Niseko.............

Absolutely. There are people who do and will come in with a very different perspective. Some people think that all they need to do as lodge owners is get the guests out from breakfast then go skiing for the day. Then there are other owners who set out to compete with and undercut locally owned hotels. Not against competition but you're not going to win any friends that way. Then of course there are the ones who seem to deny that they are in Japan at all and get upset when things are done differently. Not that things behind the scenes can't be improved but there's no value in coming in like a bull at a gate that doesn't give a toss.
 

M_G

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True. Like any place on earth there are those who will be gouging you, or be incompetent (or both!). One just has to be discerning between these and cultural differences/expectations. Sometimes you just have to suck things up because it's the less difficult choice. My comment was just pertaining to those who seem to have difficulty accepting any difference outside their cultural norm.
 
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Zimboo

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Wow.. So that's what the car park looks like LOL
With the windows up!!!!! LOL
That was a funny story!!!!!!!
P.S. better result than leaving food in the back seat and the window half open for raccoons to run riot in the US!!!! LOL
 
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Paradox

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An experience based question for boarders who know Akakura well.... This year I took an Itadaki Tour and they took us across the top of the old Champion C run and over the edge down into the Subame Onsen valley. Easily one of the best runs I did the whole trip...and easily the worst traverse of the whole trip, with the shallow cross slope run to the tunnel onto Akakura Onsen. Google maps tells me it is a 600m traverse with an 8% fall on the traverse line, but somewhat undulating across a steepish slope..

I was on a Jones Stormchaser, which was perfect for the run, but being goofy with a wide short directional board I had enormous problems on the traverse, being forced to go heelside, with deep snow above and below the narrow path others had made...enough problems that eventually I gave up and walked through the thigh deep snow.....not sure but it probably took me over an hour. To make matters worse I was so fatigued at the end I snagged my backpack on the top of the tunnel as I entered (only about a meter left of the entrance)...those who have done it know what happens when you lose it at the top of that entrance....

Anyway...my question is: how do other Goofy directional boarders tackle that traverse? should I work on my heelside flat traversing or is that just an impossible task and should I have bit the bullet and switched my bindings to a natural stance? The other boarders in my group were natural and while they struggled, could at least hold the edge and crouch forward to push on the slope to move.....didn't occur to me switch the bindings until later unfortunately.
 

RunDLC

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It's doable provided there is a line already in (have done that traverse as a goofy rider countless times over the years). It's really just a combination of techniques and practice.

Maintain your speed (carry some in)
Pump for speed where you can. All the little up/downs need to be worked.
Only stop at high points.
Use poles for balance and to push.

Sometimes it's going to be tricky, but using the above will generally make it a pretty easy traverse provided you aren't trailbreaking.
 

Paradox

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I think practice on the technique would help, although generally I am pretty good with traverse edging, but maybe not with the back foot loose and skating. No one could keep speed up long enough to have both feet strapped in. Even the guides were skating, but had good technique to not break through the crust too much when pushing.

Speed was certainly an issue. Not sure you could have carried any in as we dropped down onto a road next to the pension and the first 200m is dead flat or slightly uphill. The last 200m had better slope but I was too wrecked by then to strap in. I really didn't get up any speed at any time. The stormchaser is a bloody hard board to edge at low speed too due to the width, especially across 600m with one foot out.
 
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RunDLC

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Will definitely be specific to board and conditions. Poles will help for sure though. Even on heel side you will be able to get enough balance to jump your way up the small hills. Poling across the flats will also allow you to build up speed. Even one pole will help!
 

oreo

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Went to Myoko for the first time the other day (3rd April) and hiked to the summit. Pretty easy hike up there from AKR, even with the Sky Gondola being the only lift open. Descended back through the obvious drainage down to Tsubame onsen and back through the tunnel. Unless a track is really, really well set in, I don't think it's ever going to be snowboarder friendly. Take a pole and just accept the pain.

Here is how much of the tunnel entrance is currently showing...


I was solo, so not many good photos of the trip, but you can click through on the above photo and see the route and a couple of photos.

Did a quick thread search and saw some people in last year's thread talking about not being able to easily climb to the summit, having to ski down and back up from the crater rim. While it's not the most straight forward, get on the ridge and continue climbing mountain because of the crater rim... It's pretty close to that. It's not rocket science.
 
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libbster

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Apr 12, 2017
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Hi,
Question about Powder Recon tours?
I posted something in the general Japan section already but noticed a couple of times powder recon was mentioned in this thread as well so I thought i'd post here too.
I'm an experienced snowboarder thinking about returning to Japan next January. I have had some backcountry experience but always with guides.

I will contact the company directly to ask these questions but thought I'd get some info here too.
I was wondering if these guys are reputable? I've heard they are experienced but not qualified back country guides.
What are their safety credentials like?
When you go out of resort bounds is everyone required to wear beacons?
Do the guides have avalanche training?
Any other info about this company?

Thank you.
 

Rabid K9

A Local
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Went to Myoko for the first time the other day (3rd April) and hiked to the summit. Pretty easy hike up there from AKR, even with the Sky Gondola being the only lift open. Descended back through the obvious drainage down to Tsubame onsen and back through the tunnel. Unless a track is really, really well set in, I don't think it's ever going to be snowboarder friendly. Take a pole and just accept the pain.

Here is how much of the tunnel entrance is currently showing...


I was solo, so not many good photos of the trip, but you can click through on the above photo and see the route and a couple of photos.

Did a quick thread search and saw some people in last year's thread talking about not being able to easily climb to the summit, having to ski down and back up from the crater rim. While it's not the most straight forward, get on the ridge and continue climbing mountain because of the crater rim... It's pretty close to that. It's not rocket science.

Nice effort on Rausu. Atmospheric Shiretoko.
 
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