Nagano Beginner Packages - Reviews

Amazing time @ Shiga Kogen

Lee
29/01/2018
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Customer Age
    18-35
  • Rider Level
    Beginner
  • Rider Type
    Skier
  • Month Visited:
    January
We had an amazing time learning to ski. The instructors are skillful, patient, and fun! Will certainly join again at next available chance.

great tour...great people

Jo Hope
12/01/2018
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Customer Age
    51-70
  • Rider Level
    Beginner
  • Rider Type
    Skier
  • Month Visited:
    January
The Nagano Beginner Package was fantastic. As first time skiers my 11 year old daughter and l had a great time and by the end of 5 days were skiing down the incredible slopes of Japan. Everything was taken care of by Epic Ski Adventures, from our gear, lift passes, transport to and from the fields and tuition. All we had to be was be ready by 8am in the morning for the bus and off we would go. Our guides/teaches were exceptional, patient, encouraging, kind and fun. We had so much fun and we will be back again hopefully next year.

First time to Shiga Kogen!!! #solotraveller #snowboarding

Melinda Salter
05/01/2018
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Customer Age
    18-35
  • Rider Level
    Beginner
  • Rider Type
    Snowboarder
  • Month Visited:
    December
What a fantastic experience! From the first email to Jason until my last night in Yudanaka my 10 days was an absolute blast!
Jason, Gus and Mike made my first time to Japan (and Shiga Kogen) and my first time on the board so easy. Thanks Jason for putting together a plan of attack (accommodation, a mixture of days on the board and days visiting the local sights), your advice was spot on and it made the whole trip an “experience” rather than just a snowboarding trip.
Three days of private lessons set me up for the next few days of snowboarding. Gus is a passionate instructor who truly loves teaching others. He did it all at my own pace, was patient throughout and offered valuable advice. With Gus’ tutition and Jason and Mike’s feedback on my progress I set off on the slopes on my own (within advised boundaries). I was just amazed that I was able to do so after such a short time on the board.
Accommodation at the High Quality Abiya Hostel was more than what I expected. Great factilities, impeccable local knowledge, warm and friendly owners (Yoshi and Somi looked after their guests like family) and great other lodgers as well!!! 😉 They have fostered such a strong relationship with Jason and his team.
Overall, everyone on the team, plus the other snowboarders and skiers made me feel at home throughout my time with Epic Ski Adventures! Such a fantastic balance of snow, culture and experiences, I have no doubt in recommending Jason and his team to my friends and family. Great for solo travellers, families and the extreme adventurer, Jason caters for all! Thanks again, epic times!
P.S. Highly recommend that your take Jason and Mike for karaoke! 😉

Great for skiers and non-skiers alike

Judith Hunter
31/12/2017
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Customer Age
    N/A
  • Rider Level
    Beginner
  • Rider Type
    Skier
  • Month Visited:
    December
My kids were very keen to ski, my husband wanted to give it a go, and I wanted to do other things instead. Our trip with Jason made us all happy. We stayed in the wonderful Hostel Aibiya in the lovely little town of Yudanaka. The kids skied for three days with Jason’s excellent instructors Mike and Gus. They had a ball and learned a lot. My husband did one day then decided to go again the next as he had so much fun. I went up to the slopes one day to watch and see Shiga Kogen, but the other days I explored Obuse and Shibu Onsen. On the third day of skiing the conditions weren’t great so after a morning skiing, Jason took us all into Nagano for the afternoon to see the Genko-ji temple and the Olympic Museum.
Jason made it fun for everyone. He was good at balancing everyone’s needs in a very diverse group. The other people in the group included advanced skiers and intermediate snowboarders and we all had fun.
Jason made the logistics of gear, transport and passes very easy in a very interesting area with lots of variety for skiers. Our base in Yudanaka was great - lovely little restaurants and shops and welcoming onsen in a town that felt real”.
Highly recommended

A great snow experience.

Karen M
31/12/2017
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
  • Customer Age
    12-17
  • Rider Level
    Intermediate
  • Rider Type
    Skier
  • Month Visited:
    December
Jason and his team were fantastic. We are a family of 4 with 2 teenagers of different skiing ability and my husband (a beginner) decided at the last minute to have a go too! Jason made all this happen. We stayed at a Ryokan in Yudanaka for 4 nights. We chose Western rooms and I would say the rooms are ***. The bathrooms * but most people use the onsen (amazing hot springs baths) each day and don't need the shower. The meals are traditional, multi-course affairs. Breakfast can be either traditional or western. All wonderful. Now, the most important part is the skiing and it was INCREDIBLE. The kids and husband loved it. Jason joins people of similar ability and tailors the skiing each day. They got so much from the coaching from Jason and his team. They tried powder for the first time. They ate crumpets at the highest peak in Japan. The photos are incredible. Jason made all this happen: booked everything from accommodation to equipment hire. A couple of nights we skipped the dinner included in our package and had amazing sushi in a local restaurant. As I wasn't skiing, I did a few trips into Nagano (45 train ride). Everyone got to see the snow monkeys, a 45 minute walk in the snow - incredible.

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.
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