Snow-loving families: there’s a new ski lodge in town, and it’s where you’ll want to be for your next holiday to Japan.

It’s called The Brueys Lodge, named after Aussie owner Adam and his Californian co-owner and wife, Kate. The two of them have been living in Japan for years, and recently gave up the corporate dream in Tokyo to run their very own ski lodge on the doorstep of Tangram Ski Circus and Madarao.

They’ve never looked back.

My family of three went to stay and test out all the features. Here are seven things we loved about it, and what you’ll love too.

1. The super-comfy accommodation

Our ‘Katsura’ room at the Brueys

The Brueys Lodge is like your house… if your house also happened to be freshly renovated with the coolest personalised logo matching across your towels and slippers and just about everything else.

There are a variety of rooms available, each personalised with their own decor and room set-up, with some comfortably sleeping up to four adults. And comfy is an understatement: we slept very well while there (Kate and Bruey told us they spent an entire day testing mattresses, dedicating 30 minutes to each option before choosing the best one for their guests).

It’s the little details here that make all the difference. Like the powerpoints in the rooms, which take different types of plugs so you don’t need to pack an adaptor. Or the baby items they can include in your room upon request: like a portacot, baby bath or nappy bin.

Downstairs you’ll find a large restaurant and bar, with a cosy foyer complete with record player and a cupboard full of games. Kids can hang out on the lounge and play Connect4 while grown-ups can kick back with a spicy margarita and gyoza during après, which kicks off at 3pm; we enjoyed ours while our seven-month-old baby hung out on the floor, playing with his toys.

2. The proximity to the lifts

Skiing Tangram

It’s a ski lodge after all, so you want to be close to the slopes. Brueys is a four-minute walk to the closest lift, which is the number six of Tangram Ski Circus. You can ride all the way from there to Madarao Mountain Resort, with the combined resorts offering 15 lifts between them.

There’s something for everyone on the mountain here: groomers, ungroomed terrain with perfect powder, marked tree runs, a freeride park, a natural half-pipe and a children’s park. We skied on a Sunday and were still finding fresh tracks in over 40cm of snow throughout the afternoon.

The team at Brueys can sort your lift tickets so you can go straight to the mountain from your accommodation, with no need to go to the base of either resort first. The lift tickets they sell are discounted – the same price as a seniors ticket or a half-day ticket available for purchase at the lift ticket office.

Rentals are available at the base of Tangram Ski Circus or at Chill Madarao, and the Brueys team can arrange transfers for you as needed. They also have a number of powder snowboards available in-house for rental.

3. The food

The Brueys chef has worked in Michelin-star restaurants, and it shows in the meals: think some of the best veggies you’ve ever had, along with the kind of wagyu beef that had my partner talking about going home and buying a woodfire grill so we could try to recreate it.

Anyone who’s travelled Japan with a dietary requirement knows it can be tough to ensure it’s catered for when dining out and about. The Brueys team has ensured almost everything on the menu is dairy and gluten-free, but they cater for just about any other need too.

If you have a bubba, we requested access to their fridge for our baby food, and they were also happy to blast up anything needed in their Nutribullet. There’s also a rotating kids menu – we hear the favourite is a spaghetti bolognaise.

4. The child care arrangements

Darcy labelled at day care

For those with kids too little for ski school, there’s a Japanese-run child care centre at the base of Tangram-Madarao ski resort, just a 20-minute walk from the Brueys lodge.

The catch? It can’t be booked online and it does book out quickly, as it’s popular with the locals. You’ll also need to be able to speak some level of Japanese to book it in.

The team at Brueys are happy to help and lock in child care arrangements for guests, all you have to do is indicate your preference when you’re booking accommodation with them. They can also arrange a shuttle for you to the day care centre so you can drop off your littlies before venturing straight out to the slopes to ride.

We’re not 100% sure what our baby Darcy got up to in there, beyond him leaving with his name written in Japanese characters and taped across all his belongings – including his shirt – but he seemed to love it and left with at least five new friends.

Hot tip – the child care closes at lunchtime for an hour and 15 minutes. When you’ve picked up your little one, make a beeline for the udon restaurant in the basement of the Tangram ski resort building – it’s the perfect place to spend your lunch hour and absolutely delicious.

5. The extra arrangements Brueys can make

Want to go on a snow monkey tour? Ski over at Myoko Kogen? Get a ski or snowboard lesson while you’re there? Go to an incredible onsen? The Brueys crew can arrange private shuttles for all of it, or put you in touch directly with the right local people to get it sorted for you.

Having lived in Tokyo, Kate and Bruey can also suggest what to do and where to eat while you’re there before you head out to Brueys. They can also offer help with arranging the transport of your ski and board bags through the Yamato (Black Cat) transfer service to get there and back, ensuring you don’t have to lug everything around the rest of Japan with you.

6. The ease of getting there

The lodge is about a 15-minute drive from the Myoko Kogen train station, or a 40-minute drive from the Iiyama bullet train station.

We got there from Tokyo by taking the bullet train to Nagano, the local train to Myoko Kogen, then a taxi to the Brueys. On the way back, we opted for a private transfer to Iiyama to get the bullet train direct to Tokyo.

7. The dog

Mr Frizzle

…need we say more? But in case you need to know: the lodge dog is named Mr Frizzle, he is 12 years old, and because he’s a rescue and they’re not 100% sure when his birthday is, he celebrates his birthday for the whole month of March.

Natalia and her family were hosted by The Brueys Lodge. For more information, click here.

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