Snow and weather reports posted on Thursday 23rd March 2017
Thursday 2nd March 2017, 8:07am
Blue skies with some slightly ominous clouds
Good morning from Naeba everybody.
Hot, hot, hot! It is definitely going to be a hot one today. With temperatures already just shy of going above freezing I would be dressing with minimal layers of clothing and maximum layers of sun cream today.
Conditions will be nice and smooth and soft to start with. However, as the temperature rises the slopes will get slushy and bumpy today. Excellent for practicing your fore-aft positioning!
The forecast is currently predicting rain right now turning into snow later on. Currently, the rain has not yet turned up although with the cloud that we have this could happen. Fingers crossed this doesn't show up. After today a mixture of snow showers and sometimes rain showers is predicted.
It was all a little too warm yesterday and unfortunately we had to endure a bit of rain in the afternoon yesterday and, it appears, overnight. I decided to stay indoors but thankfully it seemed to be only light rain. I wonder if it managed to snow high up.
Anyway, this morning it is mild and overcast - and not raining. It is going to be another mild day though, before temperatures drop tonight and tomorrow should be colder. Perhaps with some fresh snow to fall...
A look back at February 2017 and the season so far
So, how was your February?
Before I start with my short commentary let me again make it clear that I personally have enjoyed the last month very much and I have met many fine people on the ski lifts enjoying their holidays here. And that’s what it’s all about! As part of my duties doing these reports, though, I need to look a look back at the numbers and compare them to our own (high) standards. Remember, I have no control over the numbers – I just report what I see, so I’m dealing with what nature delivers.
The first few days of February 2017 month started off rather promising with a run of days with decent snowfall, but then we hit a rather prolonged dry spell and it was only in the last ten days or so of the month when we got back to regular snowfall. One thing that struck me on looking back at the numbers was that there wasn’t one day in February when I recorded over 20cm of snow here at base.
The Niseko marketing machine of course boasts about the quality, quantity and consistency of snow to attract people here. And they do it very successfully too! Last season Niseko enjoyed more frequent snowfall than lots of other regions of Japan, and some of them enjoyed being able to make a point about that. I have spoken to a few people visiting Niseko over the last few months who chose to come here because they had noticed that other popular regions were relatively dry last season.
Looking at the numbers from other regions this time round though, to some extent that situation seems to have switched this season. (It does seem to be the case though that even if they got decent snow, it often got milder than usual in between the snowfalls. That's the impression I have been getting anyway, I may be wrong. We're a bit mild here too right at the moment, but generally it often keeps cold in Niseko even when it isn't snowing).
Perhaps it may well similarly 'switch' again next season, who knows.
Personally, I’d be happy if everyone just got tons of regular snowfall and there was none of the ‘we got more than you’ kind of rivalry!
Anyway, I’ll leave the words for now and just go over the numbers themselves. Snowfall at base, as observed first-hand by myself:
February 2017: 160cm February 2016: 266cm February 2015: 196cm February 2014: 178cm February 2013: 316cm
Here are the updated numbers showing the total observed snowfall from the beginning of the season until the end of February over the last handful of seasons:
2016/2017 season until the end of February 2017: 605cm 2015/2016 season until the end of February 2016: 877cm 2014/2015 season until the end of February 2015: 1002cm 2013/2014 season until the end of February 2014: 1037cm 2012/2013 season until the end of February 2013: 1295cm
And if we look at that number as a percentage of the total snowfall for the whole season:
2016/2017 % of total season snowfall by end of February 2016: ** remains to be seen ** 2015/2016 % of total season snowfall by end of February 2016: about 88% 2014/2015 % of total season snowfall by end of February 2015: about 87% 2013/2014 % of total season snowfall by end of February 2014: about 89% 2012/2013 % of total season snowfall by end of February 2013: about 87%
It’s interesting how that percentage is almost identical every season!
And here are the actual observed snowfall numbers for March and April over recent seasons:
March 2016: 109cm March 2015: 139cm March 2014: 113cm March 2013: 164cm April 2016: 6cm April 2015: 3cm April 2014: 13cm April 2013: 32cm
Remember... at base.
As a further reference point, here are the numbers that the Japan Meteorological Agency have recorded in Kutchan Town for February and the season so far:
February 2017: 173cm February 2016: 210cm February 2015: 167cm February 2014: 130cm February 2013: 228cm
2016/2017 season until the end of February 2017: 741cm 2015/2016 season until the end of February 2016: 698cm 2014/2015 season until the end of February 2015: 825cm 2013/2014 season until the end of February 2014: 804cm 2012/2013 season until the end of February 2013: 900cm
Again, I find it interesting (and somewhat puzzling) how those readings are showing numbers that are larger than mine – and indeed larger than last season.
There’s just over two months to go with the last lifts of the season planned for Sunday 7th May.
I’ll be here with you every day right up until that last day.
And then I’ll have a nice long lie-in on Monday 8th May.
And on Tuesday 9th May.
Resort specific opening news at time of writing (subject to change during the day):
Night skiing is planned until Monday 20th March 2017 at the Niseko Annupuri, Niseko Grand Hirafu and Niseko Village resort areas. There is no nighta in the Hanazono area. Read more ...
Thursday 2nd March 2017, 8:40am
Mostly bright blue/hazy overcast skies
The feel of spring in the air continues this morning, very much so, but it is better than the rain that was threatened on the forecast last night.
Instead we have lovely sunshine and hazy-like blue skies with an overcast kind of feel going on. Didn't describe that very well did I, haha!? It's going to be 'warm' - approaching 10C in town perhaps - but thankfully that rain should be minimised when it arrives and turn fairly quickly into snow tonight as things start to get colder.
Fingers crossed it will be cold enough for it to be snowing down to town through the day tomorrow.
Not much else to report this morning. Another fine day to be out and about, though with the warmth of the last few the snow conditions will likely be generally... spring!
Spring snow can be fun of course, just we'd prefer to have more winter snow before we get to that part of the season. Come on!!
It is the 65th Echigo Yuzawa Onsen 'Yuki Matsuri' (Snow Festival) this coming Saturday (3rd March). The festivities start at 6pm on the onsen road of Yuzawa (West Exit of the station) along with a torch-lit skiing display and fireworks at 8:40pm.
Official snow depth information as of Thursday 2nd March 2017
GALA Yuzawa Upper part of $2,600,000 closed today due to avalanche danger. Otherwise open as planned. Official snow depth: 350cm
Below are details of the planned 'nighta' operations at ski and snowboards resorts around Yuzawa and Minamiuonuma this season. This information is subject to change due to snow and weather conditions. *** Please note that this section will not be updated every day.
Ishiuchi Maruyama Daily until 19th March 2017. Nighta is from 5pm until 8:50pm. The Chuo Number 1, Chuo Number 2 and Kanko Number 3 Express lifts are open daily. The Kanko Number 1 Express lift, Hatsukaishi Entrance lift and Hatsukaishi Number 2 pair lifts are also open on weekends and holidays.
Iwappara Daily until 20th March 2017. Nighta is from 5pm until 9pm on Saturdays and until 8pm on weekdays and Sundays. The Main course, Grand course and West courses are open during nighta.
Joetsu Kokusai Daily until 20th March 2017. Nighta is from 5pm until 9pm. The area in front of the main base hotel is open for nighta.
Kandatsu Kogen 'Hobo All Night' ('Almost All Night') is on Fridays, Saturdays and nights before holidays until 1st April 2017. The nighta opening times on those days is from 6pm until 4am the following morning.
Maiko Snow Resort Daily until 19th March 2017. Nighta is from 4pm until 8pm. The Maiko center quad lift on the Maiko Side of the resort operates for nighta.
Naeba Daily until 26th March 2017. Nighta is from 4pm until 8:30pm.
Yuzawa Nakazato Every Saturday until 11th March 2017. Nighta is from 5pm until 8:30pm. The Number 2 pair lift operates during nighta. Read more ...
Thursday 2nd March 2017, 8:44am
And a good morning to you from here in Hakuba.
Yesterday morning it was a mix of blue sky, sunshine and cloud. In the afternoon more cloud developed and covered the skies - it ended up being mostly cloudy. It was a mild and generally bright day though.
Dare I mention that 'spring' word?
There is a lot of cloud around this morning with just a few small patches of blue sky to be seen in places. I wouldn't expect a clear up today though - more like something is going to be falling later on. It may well start as rain but by tonight it should be snowing so I am hoping to be able to report some fresh snow on the ground in my next report.
Resort news as of 8:40am on Thursday 2nd March 2017:
All information as available and subject to change during the day due to weather and snow conditions.
Hakuba 47: Hakuba 47 is reporting 0cm of fresh snowfall. The resort appears to be opening as planned this morning. Official snow depth Upper: 270cm Base: 130cm
Hakuba Goryu: Hakuba Goryu is reporting 0cm of fresh snowfall. The resort appears to be opening as planned this morning. Official snow depth Alps: 315cm Toomi: 165cm Iimori: 115cm
Hakuba Happo-one: Hakuba Happo-one is reporting 0cm of fresh snowfall (Riesen quad top). The resort appears to be opening as planned this morning. Official snow depth: Usagidaira: 230cm Kurobishi: 300cm Lower: 140cm
Tsugaike Kogen: The resort appears to be opening as planned this morning. Uma-no-se course is closed. Official snow depth: Tsuga-no-mori: 355cm Han-no-ki: 350cm Maruyama: 155cm Oya-no-hara: 135cm Kane-no-naru-oka: 135cm
Hakuba Cortina: Hakuba Cortina is reporting 0cm of fresh snowfall. The resort appears to be opening as planned this morning. Official snow depth: Top: 340cm Base: 220cm
Ichinose Family: Every day until 25th March (6:30pm-9pm)
Ichinose Diamond: Every Saturday until 25th March and 19th March (6:30pm-9pm)
Yakebitaiyama: Every Saturday until 4th March (6pm-8pm)
Kumanoyu: Every Saturday until 25th March and 19th March (6:30pm-9pm) Read more ...
Nozawa Onsen Now!
Thursday 2nd March 2017, 9:05am
The day started off with more sunshine this morning though it has been clouding over and while it will be another mild day, it should get colder later on and then snow should be falling. Everyone is hoping that we can avoid rain in the run up to that. If all goes well it should be snowing when I post my report tomorrow and we can get some through the day too.
There's not a whole lot lined up on the forecasts beyond tomorrow though, so we might just have to get used to the idea that we are getting into a spring weather patterns. That doesn't mean that there won't be more snow of course - March can sometimes bring up some very nice surprises.
What have you got planned for us this season, Nature?
Lifts operations: - All lifts operating except: - Yunomine pair (usually closed on weekdays) - Mizunashi triple (usually closed on weekdays) - Challenge pair (usually closed on weekdays) - Utopia pair (usually closed on weekdays)
Courses not open today are: - Grand Prix - Kandahar West Read more ...
Thursday 2nd March 2017, 9:07am
Sunny blue skies
Good morning from Grandeco.
Today is the third day in a row of sunny conditions. It is a relatively very warm morning here with strong sunshine... usually there are no sunny days like this in winter, so it feels very much like spring.
Because of these sunny days, many people have been hiking up to the peak of Mt. Nishidaiten.
Happily, the forecast has changed from rain to just cloudy this afternoon and there is snow on the forecast for tomorrow.
Courses are perfectly groomed but the snow condition is a little icy.
Snow Park Information:
[Dekodaira E park] 9m kicker and 9m kicker.
[Deokoboko park] 6m straight wide box, 6m down box, 6m straight rail, box, 6m straight box, box, 6m carve box, 6m arch box, deco-barrel,3m table top and 5m table top.
- Gondola - Number 1 quad lift - Number 2 quad lift - Number 3 quad lift - Number 4 quad lift
All courses now open
Official snow depth: 280cm
Road Condition to Grandeco: Inawashiro through Goshikinuma: dry Goshukinuma through Grandeco: dry, icy in parts Read more ...
Thursday 2nd March 2017, 9:18am
Fine > clouding over
The forecast wasn't for a fine start to the day today, but that's what we got!
Since the photo below was taken though things have started to get more generally cloudy and will probably continue to do so. Later on we are expecting possibly rain and eventually snow tonight and into tomorrow morning.
There's not much snow on the forecast for after that though - more likely sunny skies for the weekend.
Anyway, let's see what we get in time for my report tomorrow. Fingers crossed for a fresh layer of snow!
Operating status for the day at Madarao Kogen (at time of report):
- Number 1 lift - Number 2 quad lift - Number 3A lift - Super quad lift - Number 11 lift - Number 12 lift - Number 13 lift - Number 15 lift - Moving walkway - Kids Park - Free Ride Park
Tree runs should be open
- Powder Wave I - Powder Wave II - River Line - Powder Theater - Adventure Aisle - Crystal Bowl - Ninja - Sawa - Rabbit - Kamoshika - Bear
- Nighta at Madarao Kogen is every Saturday until 25th March (and also on 19th March)
It's a blue sky, but completely covered in thin, high clouds
The sun is out again today; actually the sky is pretty well covered with the high, thin clouds that usually precede a change of the weather (meaning some precipitation ahead).
Out on the ocean the winds are blowing from the south/southeast, which could mean rain (and rain is on the Snow Japan forecast for the area today and this afternoon). Then once again the freezing line comes down, and snow should be falling from tonight into tomorrow. Kind of sad to see the word "heavy" disappear from the snow forecast... we could use one more good thick coating on the hills. Things do look like they're going to spring early next week - but this is mountain weather! You never know!
More fine weather conditions this morning in the region and it's going to be mild again.
Not much change in the forecast either really so we're going to have to wait a bit longer for any fresh snow conditions. Keep your eye on the forecast...
Just 4 more nights left for the night-time Ropeway 'light up' operations. Lasuto-chansu!
All lifts apart from the following appear to be operating today:
Paradise Number 3 pair Karamatsu pair
All courses apart from Kotan should be open.
Official snow depths (as published by the resort itself): Summit - 145cm Paradise - 220cm Chuo - 220cm Utopia - 170cm Uwanodai - 130cm Yokokura - 140cm
Juhyo 'Ice Monsters' Light Up night time Zao Ropeway operations
Every day until 5th March 2017. Operating from 5pm until 9pm; last ropeway up at 7:50pm. Ropeway return charges are 2,600 yen for adults and 1,300 yen for children. In the event of poor weather conditions, operations are sometimes cancelled. Read more ...
Appi Kogen Now!
Thursday 2nd March 2017, 10:50am
Mostly blue skies
Hello from Appi,
Another super sunny day here at Appi. Currently blue skies with some very high stratus layer and a temperature of -1 outside my door. Today looks eerily similar to yesterday but the temperature will be a little warmer.
The clouds will probably roll in later this evening with temperatures dropping to the -7 zone thankfully with some light snowfall predicted to head our way. The winds will pick up slightly but nothing to be too concerned about. All in all it should be a decent weekend here with mostly cloudy skies, fairly stable winds and snow falling on and off. Monday and Tuesday look extremely promising for more snow but we should have a better picture on Sunday to see if it’s really coming.
Have a good day out there.
Planned operating lifts at time of report (subject to change due to weather conditions):
Appi Gondola Central quad Central number 2 Central number 3a Central number 4 Central number 5 Central number 6 Sailer Gondola Sailer quad Vista quad Nishimori
After a run of blue skies the clouds have moved in here today and we have snow forecast for this evening so hopefully it's big. The high temps have moderated somewhat and the forecast is still for colder temps to come too so high hopes.
Minakami town is forecast to see rain, snow up high. Need the whole weather system to shift and come from the North...
The photo is yesterday from the peak of Mount Tanigawa.
0cm Tenjin 0cm Hodaigi 0cm Okutone
Temps at 8am
Official snow depth:
390cm Tenjin 260cm Hodaigi 260cm Okutone
Resorts in Minakami (forecasts available from each page):
Please note that the fresh snowfall number being reported on this report is taken from the ‘base area’ of Tenjindaira - which is just by the top station of the Ropeway at that resort. Other snowfall numbers and commentary will be mentioned within each report when available. Read more ...
Thursday 2nd March 2017, 16:14pm
Well this was definitely the first day of spring skiing with spring snow conditions from the top of the resort to base, and particularly soft from halfway down the mountain. I saw a thermomtre in the village reading +10c around midday, and this was backed up by major melt on all roads causing large puddles. The weather itself couldnt have been more perfect with nice blue skies and sunshine, but luckily there was a light breeze to stop over heating. Temperatures from tomorrow should be back into negatives and light snow is forecast continuously over the next 6 days. Read more ...