Okay, so full disclosure, this was supposed to be a nice little blog post about the snow in Myoko over the 2018-19 season. But, 17 metres of snow dumped in Myoko this season - that’s just not something you can write a little ditty on and move on with your day! 17 metres!!!! That’s about 10 Australians stacked on top of each other or a five storey house... It’s a big deal.
Myoko was once a well-kept secret, but with this amount of snow a normal occurrence year on year, the word is well and truly is out. The joy of Myoko is the unshakeable feeling that you've ventured out to the backcountry... the place is lit with endless powder runs lined by rusty red-barked Dakekamba birches. To describe it as a Winter Wonderland doesn’t really do it justice.
We reached out to Tania from Myoko Ski Lodge to get some insight on one of the most epics seasons of Pow in recent memory.
“Over 17m of snow fell on Mount Myoko in the 2018/19 season, placing the region comfortably at the top of Japan's snowfall table.” Tania said.
With such an abundance of snow in the area, you’d think wildlife would be something of a rarity. But Myoko Ski Lodge got some much needed off-piste action and startled a deer, then had to help it find its way.
“Whilst skiing off-piste within the resort boundary we startled a deer into a gully, his head bobbing just above the waist snow as he tried to jump out on tiny hooves definitely not evolved adequately for powder. Feeling guilty, we helped him out by boot packing an egress track nearby.” Tania said.
With the seasons transitioning in April, the locals are celebrating the change with the Cherry Blossom festival at Takada Castle. It’s a beautiful time to visit Japan.
“Ski season morphed into cherry blossom season on April 1st when the nearby Takada Castle Cherry Blossom festival kicked off. This annual, two-week event attracts one million visitors to the Myoko region and is a great reason to add an extra day to a late March ski trip.” Tania said.
If you’re chasing some inspiration from the Cherry Blossom season - click here.
Myoko isn’t all off-piste and ‘back country-esk’ runs. It’s also home to the longest groomed run in Japan... a whopping 8.5km... enough to make anyone's legs start to tremble. Myoko also lays claim to the biggest vertical drop in the country. A not insignificant 1,124 metres. So, if over 8km’s of skiing doesn’t make your legs shakey, peering over that edge certainly will.
Eating like a local for years now Tania passed on the inside scoop on what ‘dishes,’ will fulfil all the ‘wishes’.
“The traditional village of Akakura Onsen is the centre of Myoko's dining and bar scene and at the entrance to town you will find a tiny kebab hut known as "Kebab 501". Here the sole owner-operator works non-stop with a smile from lunchtime in an attempt to keep up with the usual queue of hungry customers eager to devour one of his sought after kebabs.”
We touched on the Onsen Experience in another article and we really can’t emphasise how much you should be throwing yourself wholeheartedly into the experience. Tania passed on the low-down on which onsens in Myoko are worth your time.
“Most hotels and lodges in Akakura Onsen village have their own onsen baths plumbed directly from a natural mountain hot spring and some welcome visitors for a small fee such as the Taiko Hotel where their open air, traditional onsen baths enjoy lovely views over the valley.”
More information on Taiko Spa - https://www.h-taiko.net/spa.html
A season in Myoko will definitely fill you in on which runs are the best. Tania and the Myoko Ski Lodge crew are certainly in the know. Tania served up some solid advice for all levels of ski experience. The team themselves, prefer an untracked run.
“Our favourite ski run is anything untracked, but Mount Myoko consists of five main resorts with something to suit everyone, and we normally recommend beginners to the Akakura Onsen ski area, Intermediates to Akakura Onsen, Akakura Kanko, Suginohara or Ikenotaira ski areas, Advanced to Akakura Kanko or Suginohara ski areas and Powder Hounds to Akakura Kanko or Seki Onsen ski areas, all of which are within a 10 to 25 minute shuttle bus from the central village of Akakura Onsen.”
Myoko is well known for its very laid back lifestyle where boarding and skiing is the priority. So, if a ski trip which plenty of skiing/boarding on some of the best snow (17 METRES of the stuff) ranks high on your list, then this is the right trip for you.
Make sure you get in touch with World Snowfaris to lock in your Japan ski trip for the 2019/20 season - Reach Out.