Akakura Kanko, Myoko, Niigata. Saturday, January 31st.
I was lucky enough to win a ticket from SnowJapan to use at any of the Myoko resorts. Thanks SJ! I received the ticket in the mail and decided to use it that coming Saturday to ride at Akakan with my buddy 'Bushiman', and another friend who was visiting from Tokyo.
I would generally take the highway to Myoko from Nagano city, but on this particular day we decided to use the back roads toward Nojiriko from the city. I like these roads a lot and we got to Akakan in about an hour and fifteen minutes. Not too bad as it takes over an hour on the highway from my house!
We arrived at the huge parking lot at around 8:15 and got ready to shred. It was a powder day and still coming down pretty hard. The parking lot was about half full when we arrived and everyone looked pretty hyped to be there, includung us! I have only been visiting Akakan for the last couple of seasons, as I always used to opt for Suginohara over any of the other Myoko resorts. Now I know the resort better, I almost always opt for Akakan if I am making the journey over to Myoko to ride. The worm has turned! In fact, the review I wrote on my first visit to Akakan can be viewed here:
We got to the top of the gondola by around 8:40, expecting to have to wait in line for the 'Lift 20' chair to start turning and take us up to the top. Not the case however, as the lift was already running and we got straight on it to get to the goods. Score!! Skiers left of that top lift is the gate served section of loose trees and all kinds of nice terrain features. We lapped this section for a good couple of hours until it was well and truely tracked out. 30cm of fresh on the ground in there I'd say. Fun while it lasted and ear to ear grins all round. Time to move on to the next nugget.
Just down from this area is the 'Lift 16', right on the boundary where Akakan meets the far inferior Akakaura Onsen resort. This lift serves some of the more gnarly terrain in the resort if you know where to look, and we could see that a fair few others had been in there enjoying it too. This area has it all: Bumps, tree rides, cliffs, pillows, hittable avi barriers, steep chutes..... The lines are pretty short but definitely fun! Of course it can be very sketchy in there so definitely not a place to go unless you know what you are doing.
We stopped for lunch in the main spot just down from the top gondola station. I think it is called 'Meipuru'. It was pretty busy in there and we were lucky to get a table. The food is cheaper than most places I'd say and not too bad really. No heaters by the tables to dry out your googles and stuff though.
It had been snowing so hard all morning and it was only coming down harder by the time we had finished lunch. We were confident that the morning lines would have reset with all the snow, so we went back to 'Lift 20' to go get more of what we rode in the morning. Pretty much empty in there and the tracks were all but gone! We lapped it again pretty much solidly until we left at 3:45. There was a good 20-30cm accumulation on my car by the time we were ready to leave.
Another good day at Akakan courtesy of the awesome folks here at SnowJapan. Thanks :-)
From 31 January, 2015
Snow condition on visit:
Powder and more powder.
Things I liked:
Fast lifts with wind shields, big enough to handle the relative crowds, huge parking lot right next to the gondola base station, easy access.