I bring news this morning. You know how Kagura was planning to be open until 22nd May? Well, with the good snow conditions up there the resort has announced that they now plan to stay open an extra week..... until 29th May. So we have a full month left up there.
Anyway, first day of Golden Week period in Japan and already the car park is busy and people filtering over to Kagura. The weather is fine, the sun out just some clouds up there amongst the blue sky, and so it should be a good day on the snow.
Tomorrow and Sunday should see generally fine conditions as well with temperatures warming up quite a bit once again (temps. down in Yuzawa town will rise to above 20 degrees).
Official Snow Depth:
Official snow depth @ Friday 29th April 2011 AM
Operations at Kagura (for period 29th April - 8th May):
We will post updates to this Naeba Now section a few times a week until the end of the season at Kagura. At the same time, the Yuzawa Now report area will continue to be updated on a daily basis including any information on Kagura as well. So please keep an eye on that report as well for the most up-to-date information on Kagura. Read more ...
Friday 29th April 2011, 9:52am
It has been lightly raining in the early hours of the morning but the rain has now stopped. Conditions on the mountain are clear and calm with some cloud hangining around the tops. Only the top part of the mountain is skiable - Furano Downhill Romance #2 chair and Furano Downhill Romance #3 chair are operating.These lifts are located on the upper part of the mountain. Furano Ropeway is operating to allow access to these lifts. According to the offical resort report "course only for warp play. The warp free is lent out in the top of the mountain". Now before you get too excited about "warping", Furano Now has investigated and found that what the resort is trying to say is "at the top of the Ropeway an area for sledding has been prepared and sleds are provided free of charge". Read more ...
Friday 29th April 2011, 10:01am
It is a cloudy morning in Zao - looks like there are some bright skies behind the fast moving grey clouds that we have at the moment.
The last few days we have seen some serious snow melt down on lower slopes. The snow has completely melted away in large parts of those lower slopes of the resort now with the warmer temperatures that we have been experiencing.
This morning is a bit colder though, with even temperatures below zero as of 8am. So it was a cold night and won't get that warm today. Things should warm up over the weekend though, but there is a chance of some rain showers at times. Hopefully they will hold off.
Today is of course the first day of the Golden Week holidays in Japan. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of next week are also national holidays.
By the way, the Zao Echoline road is now open for the off-season. The road will be closed from 5pm until 8am though for the moment due to potentially icy conditions overnight.
The courses will be serviced by the following lifts:
Chuo Ropeway Sky Cable Zao Ropeway Chuo No1 Pair Chuo No2 Pair Katakai Triple Paradise Pair Utopia No2 Pair Shobunuma Pair
The above information is subject to change. Spring lift ticket rates will apply. Read more ...
Friday 29th April 2011, 10:25am
There's a lot of cloud hanging around this morning but above the open runs on the resorts and so visibility out there remains good. Some blue sky on show every now and again as the clouds move around quickly. Decent conditions on the forecast though so perhaps it will clear up as the day progresses.
Not a particularly warm morning but tomorrow and Sunday looks like we will see a return of some warmer temperatures with it warming up to close on 20 degrees in the village. Looks like there is a chance of rain on Sunday so perhaps tomorrow is the pick of the weekend.
We are into the last stretch now for the resorts that remain open in Hakuba. Snow is thin on the ground on the lower slopes of Goryu but you can still ski down to the base both there and at Hakuba 47. At Tsugaike only the top runs are now open, but the Ropeway is now open. See the latest updated info below.
Official snow depths and operations @ Friday 29th April AM:
Hakuba Goryu: The upper slopes at Goryu plan to be open until 8th May. The Gondola and Alps No3 pair lifts are operating. The Alps No1 pair will also be open from 29th April until 8th May. Top to bottom skiing still ok, but snow thin on the ground on lower slopes. The Champion Expert course is now closed. Alps daira - 165cm.
Hakuba 47: All lifts except Line D lift operating. 47 plans to be open until 5th May. Top to bottom skiing still ok, resort reporting 80% of slopes remaining open (as of Friday 29th April). Snow depth (upper) - 95cm
Happo-one: The Gondola, Grad Quad, Alpen Quad, Kurobishi No2 quad, Kurobishi No3 pair, Skyline No2 pair and Panorama pair lifts are operating and the upper slopes will be open until 5th May. All of the lower lifts are now closed for the season - you need to take the Gondola down to the base at the end of the day. Course areas open are: Riesen Grad, Kurobishi, Usagidaira and Panorama. Usagidaira/Kurobishi - 110cm
Tsugaike Kogen: The Gondola as well as the Tsuga No2 pair and Han-no-ki high speed pair lifts in the upper area of the resort are operating. It seems that the Ropeway is also moving for this last stretch of the season. Tsugaike plans to be open until 5th May. Only the upper slopes are now open. Snow depth upper - 200cm
Hakuba Iwatake, Hakuba Sanosaka, Cortina and Hakuba Minekata are now all closed for the season. Read more ...
Nozawa Onsen Now!
Friday 29th April 2011, 10:44am
This is what we have been waiting for! More of Nozawa is open now for the Golden Week holidays - basically the main Yamabiko, Kogenashi, Uenotaira and Paradise courses on the upper mountain are open. Here's the list of open courses:
Yamabiko A Yamabiko B Yamabiko C Yamabiko D Yamabiko E Kokenashi A Kokenashi B Uenotaira Paradise Yunomine A Yunomine B Bunabayashi Challenge Utopia A Uenotaira Snow Park
Great to have the top Yamabiko courses open again. There's still a lot of snow up there... spring conditions as you would expect at the end of April, but no worries in terms of cover.
How about the weather? Quite a lot of cloud, but some blue skies and generally a fine morning to be out there I'd say.... started off a bit chilly and certainly not as warm as it was earlier in the week. Tomorrow and Sunday should be much warmer though and generally fine weather on the forecast for the first part of the weekend, although there is a chance of rain on Sunday.
Monday 9th May until Sunday 15th May: -Nagasaka Gondola -Yamabiko quad lift -Yamabiko No2 quad lift Read more ...
Shiga Kogen Now!
Friday 29th April 2011, 10:57am
It has been a nice morning here in Shiga Kogen so far. Quite bright, a fair bit of blue sky and some big clouds moving around at a fast pace - dramatic looking skies actually at the moment as I write this. It's fairly cold though today and a contrast to the warm conditions that we had earlier in the week especially on Wednesday. It's still only about 5 degrees.
Tomorrow warmer conditions will be back with us probably into double digits in the afternoon.
Snow cover remains good, though patches of ground on lower slopes and those that are closed. But we are nearly into May, so I'd say we are doing well. As you might expect, it's full on spring conditions with the snow. But a lot of fun to be had - wax up and come ready for some last slides of the season.
A few more resort areas are open again from today for the start of the Golden Week period - see below for a run down on what is open.
Official resort snow depths as of 29th April 2011 AM:
Okushiga Kogen: Gondola, No2, No3 and No4 lifts open until 8th May. Please note - Okushiga Kogen is a skiers-only area.
Kumanoyu: No 1 pair lift and No 3 quad lift will be open until 8th May. No 2 pair lift will be open until 8th May and then may continue to be open depending on snow conditions at that time. They hope to be able to open until 15th May. No 4 pair lift – no specific opening times available. Please note - Kumanoyu is a skiers-only area.
Yokoteyama – Shibutoge: The resort plans to be open until the end of May. Yokoteyama No 1 Sky lift open until 8th May. Yokoteyama No 2, No 3 Sky lifts and the Shibutoge pair lift will all be open until conditions permit. Yokoteyama No 4, No 5 and No 6 lifts will be open at unspecified times until 8th May. Please note - snowboarding is not allowed on all courses at Yokoteyama - allowed on No1, No2 and No4 courses and the Shibutoge area. Currently, No4 course is closed).
Ichinose Family: Quad lift and No2 pair lift (B) open until 5th May.
Ichinose Diamond: Triple lift (and moving walkway) open until 5th May.
Higashitateyama: Gondola open from 29th April until 5th May for Golden Week - access to Terakoya only (the Higashitateyama course not open).
Terakoya: Quad and No1 pair lift open until 5th May. Read more ...