Rooster tails in the sun at Mount Madarao on a Jones Mind Expander

Snowboards for Madarao Mountain Resort...

For those of you who have visited us at Snowball Chalet you know how insanely deep the snow gets at Madarao Mountain Resort. Regular cheeky overnight snowfalls in excess of a meter (3 feet) mean you need something special to really take advantage of the most perfect conditions in the snow world.

Enter Jones Snowboards... Jones has teamed up with surf shaper Chris Christenson to create some of the best powder weapons we have ever known and they are the perfect tool for the deep light snow of Madarao. Our favourite two boards in the range are the Storm Chaser and the Mind Expander (before you ask, yes it does expand your mind).

The single biggest factor that makes the perfect pow board… Rocker! Traditionally snowboards have been made with a camber profile. That means when lying flat on the ground the center of the board will be off the ground. Camber gives a board pop. Using your own weight you flex the board through a turn and when it returns to its normal shape it pops you out of the turn. Cambered boards feel really alive and are great for more or less everything other than pow. They are better for ollies, carving and absorbing the landings of jumps. Kind of like suspension. What is wrong with camber in pow? Effectively camber makes the angle of attack of the board point down. In deep soft snow that makes the tip of the board submarine. Ever felt like you had to have all your weight on your back foot to keep the nose out of the snow? Camber.

Rocker is more or less the same shape as the part of a rocking chair that touches the ground. Because it has an upward curve the angle of attack pulls the nose of the board out of the snow. More float, no more burnt out back leg and you can ride with more or less even weight on both legs so you don’t get anywhere near as tired. The difference is absolutely huge in soft snow. It also makes it way easier to turn the board which is exactly what you want in Madarao’s famous tree runs. They can be tight and it makes it a breeze to get around even the tightest sections in the deepest snow.

The Storm Chaser

Deep in the snow in the back bowls of Madarao Mountain Resort

The Storm Chaser is a snowboard that redefined what was possible in the pow. Tip to tail rocker lifts the nose out of the deep giving you that super floaty feeling and making riding powder so much easier. Very short tail makes and it’s spoon shaped nose make the floatiness even more pronounced.

Just because this board has epic powder credentials doesn’t mean it is a slouch on the groomers. It has an insane sidecut and is actually pretty stiff making it a super fun carve beast. Getting totally horizontal to the snowpack on a perfect pitchy corduroy groomer is easy as pie and the G’s you can pull on this thing are insane.

Mind Expander

The Jones Mind Expander a perfect sbowboard for Japans deep snow and tree runs.

The Mind Expander is Dan’s personal favourite. It also has all the rocker floating the nose up out of the snowpack making for 30 foot rooster tails on every turn. It is a super versatile board with a more or less twin tipped shape albeit with a slightly shortened tail. This thing also has a spoon nose and is a lot softer than the Storm Chaser.

The board is perfect for the pitchy deep tree runs of Tangram and the back bowls of Madarao Mountain. We found that in places like Seki Onsen where the slopes are super steep it wasn’t as stiff as we would have liked to hold the mountain so if you are riding very steep terrain (45 degrees plus) go for the Storm Chaser.

Do I need to buy one of these powder weapons to visit Madarao?

Another face shot cout=rtesy of a Jones Mind Expander and the deepest snow on earth.

Jones recommends both of these boards should be ridden at significantly shorter lengths than a normal board but we love to float on Madarao pow so we more or less ride normal length. Dan at 173 cm and 73kg rides either the 154 or 158 Mind Expander and the 157 Storm Chaser (which is really way to big but oh so fun). Andy at 160cm tall rides the 150 Mind Expander. Japanese guests are going to prefer smaller boards because they are way lighter than us westerners so a 142 or 146 will be perfect.

Should you buy a board just for the pow? We get asked this question a lot. Most people have an all round board or a board for European, Australian, New Zealand or American conditions. It is definitely worth bringing those boards along to Madarao because not every day of a 7 or 14 day trip is going to be perfect as it is super fun to get onto a normal board for the right conditions. The cold hard fact is that one board can’t do everything. There is simply no substitute for a board with full rocker in deep pow but if you only come to Japan once every few years is it worth having one. The answer is yes for sure. The stoke of people who have the best day of their lives on snow is not something that can be easily measured. We have you covered though… At SnowbalL Chalet we have been collecting the Storm Chaser and Mind Expander quiver and we rent them out to our guests. Make sure you bring your own boots and we will set you up on the board of your choice. We are super flexible so if you decide to take it day by day that is fine. We keep our boards waxed and ready to go. Basically we just want everyone to have as much fun riding Japow as we do. The snow life is the only life after all.

Posted on Mon 10 August 2020