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Nagano Beginner Packages - Reviews

Snowboarding and High Quality AIBIYA Hostel Best Short Break

Ben Williams
08/06/2017
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Customer Age
    18-35
  • Rider Level
    Beginner
  • Rider Type
    Snowboarder
  • Month Visited:
    December
While I was already planning to go to Japan for my second time for three weeks, I wanted to try something different and I'm soo glad I choose snowboarding with Jason and Co.It was actually first time in the snow and even I learnt to snowboard on dry slope in the UK,snow is certainly a mix of harder and easier to move around on.

After a few emails and chased up a few prices and found the package from Powderhounds looked to be the best value for money. Jason from Epic Ski Adventures, sent me an information package that was clear and concise and answered most of my questions straight away. After some thinking a decided to choose the 5 day package at High Quality AIBIYA Hostel and for a hostel it is very high quality the Owners Yoshi and Seongmi are great hosts. They don't check you in and forget you. We had many long conversations about traditional Japanese life and we shared some city-brewed sake which I would also recommend. and even watched some classic japanese TV shows while enjoying some snacks, The free breakfast is very good and the rooms are nice with comfortable beds.

As for the actual snowboarding, I was very very lucky and had 1to1 lessons as I booked right at the start of the snow session and was the only person who booked for that time. Jason certainly didn't have to do this but I'm glad he decided to hit the slopes with me. The slopes were just great and not too busy with the numerous school skiers and even some slope we tried had very few people. Jason was incredibly patient and put up with all of my clumsiness and slight mind blanks.

I cannot recommend the Shiga Kogen package enough, the price is great, the hotel was great and the people were great. And the scenery...WOW!

Powder Founds

Roger Simons
02/03/2017
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Customer Age
    18-35
  • Rider Level
    Beginner
  • Rider Type
    Snowboarder
  • Month Visited:
    January
Madarao More Powder than Colombia Snow Monkey The Van
Jason and his crew are gregarious, no nonsense Kiwis who take pride in their expertise in this little pocket of the world. I had a fantastic 3 days sampling a number of resorts, they are well kitted up and can offer terrain for all expertise. The group dynamic was great, sharing meals with families and the pros as well as powder noobs like me. The Ryokan was super too, fabulous views and nothing beats a private onsen with the snow falling on your head after a day on the slopes.

Shrugs Kogan Beginners

Pat and Lottie
27/02/2017
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Customer Age
    18-35
  • Rider Level
    Beginner
  • Rider Type
    Snowboarder
  • Month Visited:
    February
Jason was a fantastic instructor who made sure we had a great time and was highly professional when it comes to safety. Yudanaka is beautiful, with great restaurants and accomodation. Aibiya hostel was first rate.

Thank you very much we had a lovely time.

Epic Ski Adventures - Shiga Kogen Beginner Package

E Chan
24/02/2017
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Customer Age
    36-50
  • Rider Level
    Beginner
  • Rider Type
    Skier
  • Month Visited:
    February
The trip was nothing short of awesome. Snow was superb and we all felt we made some improvements on our ability level by the end of the trip. We signed up for 3 full days of ski with Jason and his team. On the 3rd day, all of the lifts around the area were shut. Quick arrangements were made to bring the group out to a different spot some 50mins away (something we would not have been able to figure out if on our own). You’re in good hands with Jason; no spoilers for what else he has in store for you! I would suggest staying at the ryokan to get the full Jap experience. Definitely hope to be back again!

Had a pleasant time

Alison
24/02/2017
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Customer Age
    18-35
  • Rider Level
    Intermediate
  • Rider Type
    Snowboarder
  • Month Visited:
    February
Positives:
1. My friend and I were the only ones in the group, so we received private instruction, which we were really happy with
2. It was our first time in Shiga Kogen. Given we were in this package, Jason organised all transport to and from the ski field from our accommodation. My friend was also sorted for his rental gear. Without Jason, we would be lost as to what ski lift to take as well as how to properly navigate the mountain.
3. Jason was professional in the sense that he recognised our ability on Day 1 and was able to take us to terrain that suited us.
4. On Day 2, I was pleasantly surprised to be taken for a powder day. I had ridden powder before and it wasn't fun. I was expecting to be exhausted because powder is tiring to dig yourself out of when you fall. I thought we were also not good enough yet to ride powder, but I was surprised that I could. I was happy that I was receiving private instruction on how to ride powder, something I could take home and brag to my friends! My friend on the other hand really struggled and preferred to spend the second day on groomed runs.
5. Jason gave a lot of encouragement on our last day, and I felt a lot better about my heel turns. My toe turns were still sloppy but my S turns were turning out well.
6. Every time we fell, Jason picked us back up so we didn't waste too much effort digging ourselves out of the powder.
7. When we reached flat terrain and ran out of steam, Jason would come along on his skis and pull us along with his pole. Normally, I would have to take my boots out of the bindings and walk until the slope went down again.

Negatives:
1. My friend complained that on our second day, Jason focused more on instructing me as I was the one appearing to be "getting it." Honestly though, I don't think this is Jason's fault -- my friend had little control and would race down the mountain and then wait for us at the bottom, so it made sense for Jason to stay back and help me.
2. On our first day, we struggled a bit with our technique in completing S turns. I think because Jason knew this was not our first time snowboarding, he was harder on us. I had always struggled with bending my knees sufficiently on my toe turns, and I was called "lazy" for not bending them enough (even though I thought I was). Jason made me feel foolish on our first day, telling me that my friend (who had only snowboarded once before) was better than me at toe turns (and this was my 5th time on a board) and then told me that I needed to catch up to him or I would look stupid. I think on Day 1, Jason commenced our package with rough instruction and crude humour. In another case, he asked my friend if he wore high heels when he failed to scrape the snow off the bottom of his binding. I think Jason realised at the end of the day that we didn't respond well to his taunts (I also don't think Jason realised he was being offensive, this is just how he normally acts). But on our second day, his demeanour was very different and became more encouraging. Suddenly I wasn't lazy when I didn't bend my knees enough on toe turns, and "everyone learns at their own pace", so I didn't need to worry about how well my friend was doing. Jason understood suddenly that I just needed more time to grasp the concept of "flexing in my boot". Side comment: When I went to Happo-One, the instructors gave me more suggestions to bend my knees more. My other instructor immediately realised that I struggled to bend my knees without falling face forward, and suggested instead I bend my knees outward. I think this method is better than just attempting to flex in my boot.
3. I struggled to understand some of the terminology Jason would use, even when I asked him to explain in more detail. e.g. When explaining toe turns to me, he told me I needed to "stomp in my front boot". I still don't understand how I can stomp in my boot when my boot is secured to the board.
4. The snow monkeys were supposed to be included in our package, but we didn't get to see them as we had booked the Nagano snow shuttle to head to Hakuba on our last day. I would have liked to have a discount on our package because we missed out on this.
5. Upon arrival at Yudanaka station, Jason was not able to pick us up because he was out skiing with his tour. I completely understand this, but I think that mentioning pick-up is included in the package should come with a disclaimer, e.g. after 5pm.

In summary,
After Day 1, I would not have booked another tour with Jason.
After Day 2, I feel better enough to book another tour with him.

I have definitely improved in my snowboarding and my confidence after this tour with Jason.

On accommodation:
The only negative I have was the pillows. They were too thin, and even with getting more pillows for our second night, I slept badly. My friend also felt the heater kept switching from hot to cold, which disrupted his sleep. Aside from that, Yoshi and Song-Mi were amazing hosts. And breakfast was awesome too.

Epic Ski Trip! They live up to their name!

Ange
19/02/2017
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Customer Age
    18-35
  • Rider Level
    Beginner
  • Rider Type
    Skier
  • Month Visited:
    February
What an incredible experience with these guys! I had only skied once before in New Zealand and over 3 days doing group lessons there I wasn't entirely comfortable on the skis and hadn't even been on a chair lift. I chose this beginner package with private instruction to try and get more comfortable on the skis and also get to experience some Japanese culture and what a great investment! I booked a 5 night package which incl 3 days skiing, private instruction and all my gear hire. Midway through my first day, I went on my first chairlift and on my 2nd day I was taken down a red run, unbeknownst to me...it was amazing
The instruction was first class and I improved so much faster than I thought I would, I now feel comfortable to go skiing by myself on beginner runs which is a great feeling. Both Jason and his son are so patient and correct your errors really quickly and give great tips to get you skiing better and more comfortably quickly. Add to that a great group of other skiers, staying in an amazing Ryokan, sleeping in a traditional tatami room, eating multi-course Japanese meals and soaking in an onsen each day after skiing. I also had a chance to visit the Snow Monkeys and Matsumoto Castle and try some great local restaurants with the group
If you want great skiing, a traditional Japanese cultural experience, great food and amazing people, this is your tour!
I really hope I can get back and ski with these guys again next year.

Ms.

Eade
15/02/2017
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Customer Age
    18-35
  • Rider Level
    Beginner
  • Rider Type
    Skier
  • Month Visited:
    January
Due to We are a family of different combination of ski levels and plus a 3 yr old child, we required a guide / trainer who understands the dynamics. Our guide / trainer, Jason,is very attentive and patient with our 3 yr old and leveraged any possible tools to train her and make it a fun thing to do rather pushing too hard on her.

We enjoyed the accommodation as well as the culture tour. We loved the entire package and would recommend to anyone who is interested in skiing sport regardless any level of skills.

Thank you, Jason. BTW, my daughter still thinks and talks about you all the time.

Great Experience! Worth every penny.

Sridhar
30/01/2017
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Customer Age
    36-50
  • Rider Level
    Beginner
  • Rider Type
    Skier
  • Month Visited:
    December
We selected the Shiga Kogen Beginner Package with Epic Ski Adventures in Dec 2016. We did 3 days of skiing. The experience was great, far exceeded our expectations. Jason was very responsive before the trip, giving us detailed information and we were fully prepared. Upon reaching Yudanaka he met us promptly and took us through the whole process of getting our equipment sorted out so that we were fully ready for 3 full days of skiing. Jason and his team of qualified instructors were endlessly patient and always on hand to help us through the tough first 2 days, so that we progressed well onto day #3. All told, we got great value and had a great experience. Highly recommended, both for beginners and for more experienced skiers.

Testimonial from Jim

Jim
25/01/2017
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Customer Age
    18-35
  • Rider Level
    Beginner
  • Rider Type
    Skier
  • Month Visited:
    January
Epic by name, Epic by nature! These guys were absolutely brilliant. We got onto them from a local ryokan owner cause we really hadn’t organised anything for our ski holiday. Jason and his team took care of ski gear hire and transport for us. They were really reasonably priced, especially given the high level of service they provided. As I had never skied before, I had two days tuition with a private instructor and my partner hitched a ride with us for a small fee. The instructor was an exceptionally gifted skier, but more importantly an amazingly patient and talented trainer. I would recommend Tom as an instructor for anyone of any age. By the end of day one I was starting to do parallel turns and was able to do whole runs by the end of day two. They were also running group ski and cultural tours at the time and they integrated us into a bunch of the cultural experiences as well – like the Taiko drumming, dance performances and Geisha. Being integrated with the tour group was great fun and Jason and his team maintain a rollicking good time throughout the 10 day ski tour package offered. The tour group was made up of advanced, intermediate and beginner skiers, but they managed to find great slopes and keep everyone happy at their own ski level. We will definitely make use of Jason’s tour company next time we come back to Yudanaka or Shiga Kogen again. They are flexible, hassle free, and good blokes to deal with. I would happily recommend anyone, of any ski level to use Epic Ski Adventures. They have great local contacts, so you can ensure that you will be skiing on the best slope there is on each day you ski.

Had A Fantastic Experience

Sue & Louis Von Richter
14/12/2016
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Customer Age
    12-17
  • Rider Level
    Beginner
  • Rider Type
    Skier
  • Month Visited:
    December
We had a fantastic day on the slopes with Jason. He was very patient with both of us having never skied before or even been to ski field. By the end of the day Louis was up on the lifts doing his first ski run. I would highly recommend Jason and his team to anyone wanting the true skiing experience. You are not just another customer with the same old routine, he does everything at your level and capabilities. He made sure that both of us had a great day even though we progressed at different rates
Thanks for a truely magnificent experience and a great day on the slopes.
PS. The karaoke back at the hotel was pretty awesome too
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