Sharing The Secret of Myoko
Words by: Matt Hansen Photographer: Mattias Fredriksson @Powdermagazine
“Hold Your Breath“, is the title of the latest article on Myoko in the December, 2019 issue of Powder Magazine. When we first heard they were going there to write it, we were the ones holding our breath. Our first reaction was to cringe, at the thought of throngs of new skiers invading what has been ours alone. However, stepping back and reflecting on what Myoko is with a calm view, the recent attention is a great validation for what we have been telling and showing our members over the last five years. “Exhale… It is as good as we have been saying and it wont change anytime soon!”
In fact, it’s really good. Soul skier and artist Eric Pollard has a new short film out from Nimbus Independent and it’s winning accolades already for best ski film of the year. Where was most of the footage shot? Yeah! You guessed it, Myoko. Without naming names and pinpointing locations, Pollards film shows many of our favorite spots in and around Myoko. The dreamy mode of the shots does about as good job as any film we’ve seen as far as capturing the mood, conditions and soul of the area. If you’re lucky you may even meet Mr. Pollard on one of our trips. We share the same lodge and have visited with him on occasion. See more validation below.
While others might know where Myoko is on the map, securing the best lodge in town at the right time of year is another story. More importantly knowing which resort to ski based on quickly changing conditions is an art, requiring great local knowledge and your own transportation. We have both covered with years of experience and two 4×4 10 person luxury vans. We also take guests outside of Myoko to two resorts that nobody in Myoko can access without their own car and knowledge of when to go to hit it right. The infrastructure in Myoko is very small with only 3 taxis and 2 buses – they can’t handle more people than they already get and its not many. It’s relatively difficult to get to on public transportation alone, compared with other areas of Japan and it’s just not that organized or exploited… yet.
Once you get to a resort the first question is where are the hidden gems? Do we take this lift or skin out right or left? You can waste the best day of your life heading out the wrong direction. Not with us. We find new hidden stashes every year and if there is fresh snow on the hills we are skiing it all day long. There is no stress in Myoko. You don’t need to get up at the crack of dawn and race to the lift. The snow will be there until the lifts close. Your legs will give out before the powder is gone. If you think the grass is greener in other parts of Japan keep this in mind… last year Myoko got 1600cm of snow, next closest in all of Japan – 900cm.
When we aren’t leading you to the best spots on the mountains we are showing you where to eat and introducing you to our local friends, who make the trips really special. Japan is as much about the relaxed and peaceful culture as it is world class snow. The onsens (hot spring baths) relax your sore muscles after long days and refresh you in the morning before heading out. The healthy food keeps you going. We like to joke there is no bad food in Japan, even the gas station food is leaps and bounds better than any American fast food chains. The food alone keeps us coming back year after year.
We finish the trips with a visit to one of the oldest Buddhist temples in Japan, where each person finds their own space and spiritual experience, it’s a tradition to end our trips there and for many its a great highlight. Finally, we end up in Tokyo and visit the bright light, fast paced parts of town its famous for from Shinjuku, Piss Alley for food, Roppongi and the busiest intersection in the world at Shibuya. On our trips you always have the freedom to take off alone or with a friend and do whatever you please. We set the table but you choose what to eat.
Our friend and pro skier Chad Sayers is featured in the Powder article on Myoko. We knew they were going last winter and they showed up the week before we did. We even shared with him where to go for the best experience and showed him on some printed Google Earth maps where the best side-country runs are (Sure we held back some of them). We weren’t worried then about the exposure then and we aren’t worried now. Sharing our secrets of Myoko with our friends in the club is the highlight of our winter and is one of the most gratifying experiences of all our trips.