Madarao is a powder-lovers paradise and family favorite close to Myoko Kogen, Shiga Kogen, and Nozawa Onsen resort areas. About 60 percent of the runs are un-groomed (a trait that has resulted in the resort being nicknamed madapow) so if you’re looking to improve your deep snow technique, especially in the trees, this is the place. It is connected at the summit to Tangram Ski Circus, skiable on the same ticket.
Madarao village has plenty of ski-in ski-out accommodation and an unpretentious resort atmosphere. About 30 minutes away by bus is Iiyama, a city of about 20,000 people and a wonderful place to experience ‘ancient’ Japan with many entrenched cultures, traditions, and crafts. Here you will find all sorts of handcrafted local souvenirs and specialties of the region along with excellent dining.
The ski slopes of Madarao are compact and easy to navigate, Advanced skiers and boarders can find plenty to challenge them while novices, families, and children need not venture far to find places they can ski too. This is the sort of resort where all abilities can ride the lift together, then find a run from the top that suits their level of skiing or boarding.
Madarao is also quirky: make sure you visit the ski-jump toilet, decorated in such a way that the view from the ‘throne’ involves staring straight down the barrel of a competition ski jump. Even a pair of skis are printed on the floor.