Niseko Now daily snow and weather - Monday 3rd February 2020

Niseko Now (Archive Report)

Independent and trustworthy daily snow and weather reports from Niseko region, Japan
ARCHIVE REPORT: Posted at 8:22am on Monday 3rd February 2020
Current weather conditions
Observed fresh snowfall AT BASE
weather condition
Cloudy
Base temp:
-6°C

Top temp:
-11°C
Precipitation Wind Visibility
precipitation condition
None currently
wind condition
Light easterly
visibility condition
Fair
PLEASE READ THIS
This report
Monday 3rd February 2020, 8:22am
1cm
Sunday 2nd February 2020, 8:31am 2cm
Saturday 1st February 2020, 8:30am 0cm
Friday 31st January 2020, 8:30am 0cm
Thursday 30th January 2020, 8:30am 0cm
Wednesday 29th January 2020, 8:32am 0cm
Tuesday 28th January 2020, 8:27am 0cm
Last 7 reports (total): 3cm
Last 14 reports (total): 80cm
Current month (February 2020) total: 3cm
2019/2020 season so far total: 519cm

Archive report: Posted at 8:22am on Monday 3rd February 2020
The latest Niseko Now report can be found here

Good morning from Niseko.

Well, that decent snow coming down yesterday morning that I mentioned didn't really last long and it didn't amount to much - just ever so slightly more than 1cm - and no more fresh overnight, I'm afraid.

I am curious to see that the Avalanche Report (below) is reporting 10cm, so perhaps some areas of the mountain got more lucky than others.

It is a grey, cloudy and cold start to the day. I expect all of the lifts to be opening as planned this morning.

All being well, we should be seeing more snow falling sometime later on today and perhaps regular snowfall through the week.

-----

The 2019-2020 season so far: through until the end of January 2020

It's February already! We are almost halfway through the 2019-2020 season. It's scary how fast the weeks whizz by. I know, I've said that before, but it's true.

It being the beginning of the month, it is once again time when I look back on the season so far and make a few observations. They are, of course, simply my own thoughts and just how I see the season going. And it goes without saying that there's much more to the story than just numbers; they are maybe fun and interesting, but they are not the complete picture. For a more complete idea of the season, please read the reports for each day.

The usual up-front notes:

I take my measurements from close to the base of the Niseko Grand Hirafu area of our mountain. There is usually more snow at higher elevations and generally you hear folk talking (unscientifically) about 1.5 times the amount. It is impossible for me to take measurements from the top of the mountain every morning for all sorts of practical reasons. The observed snowfall numbers on these Niseko Now reports over the years can all be compared like-for-like, because they are my observations and are coming from the same place each season.

This is how much snowfall I have measured during the month of January over the last eight years:

January 2020: 224cm
January 2019: 285cm
January 2018: 305cm
January 2017: 152cm
January 2016: 303cm
January 2015: 257cm
January 2014: 461cm
January 2013: 443cm

I was able to post report snowfall in 20 of the 31 reports in the month of January. There was a bit of a dry run between 7th-12th January and then from 27th January through until yesterday. During the period between 13th and 27th January I was able to report fresh snowfall here at base on all but one day, with a few 30+cm 24-hour snowfalls during that period.

I think that is pretty good.

Still, it certainly wasn’t a classic January. Better than the dry January 2017, but 1m down on the average of the last eight years.

Here are my ‘season to date’ numbers, from the beginning of this season to the end of January 2020:

2019/2020 season up to end of January 2020: 516cm
2018/2019 season up to end of January 2019: 702cm
2017/2018 season up to end of January 2018: 899cm
2016/2017 season up to end of January 2017: 445cm
2015/2016 season up to end of January 2016: 611cm
2014/2015 season up to end of January 2015: 806cm
2013/2014 season up to end of January 2014: 859cm
2012/2013 season up to end of January 2013: 979cm

While I have been able to observe more snowfall than during the poor 2016-2017 season, we are still down a fair chunk on what we think of as ‘normal’.

Another look through the other regional reports on SnowJapan tells me that many areas have been enduring a very challenging season with the snowfall down in all regions, to varying degrees. In some places in western Japan, it is literally at 0% of normal. I have read that 30% of Japanese ski hills had not been able to open at all as of the second half of January. That really is quite shocking, and sad to hear.

So I think it is safe to say that, up until now, Japan as a whole has been having an uncharacteristically poor snow season.

Like I said last month, though, we have such very high expectations here in Niseko that anything other than brilliant or (**insert cheesy marketing pop term here**) can quickly be seen as disappointing. I will admit to sometimes finding myself being a bit greedy when it comes to snow (and I do try to keep such feelings to myself and out of these reports). But then I hear comments like this from visitors I share a lift with:

"This may not be peak Niseko, but it sure as heck is better than back home in....."

Hearing that kind of comment helps keep my own thoughts in check.

Let’s just take another look at that number above - over the last two-and-a-bit months, I have observed over 5m of snowfall here at base.

I again promise myself to always appreciate the snowfall that we are blessed with. :)

OK, a bit more data. Below is how much of the total snowfall for a season we have already had fall by the end of January in previous seasons:

By the end of January 2019, as a % of the season total: about 74%
By the end of January 2018, as a % of the season total: about 71%
By the end of January 2017, as a % of the season total: about 65%
By the end of January 2016, as a % of the season total: about 62%
By the end of January 2015, as a % of the season total: about 70%
By the end of January 2014, as a % of the season total: about 74%
By the end of January 2013, as a % of the season total: about 66%

That means that on past form we can reasonably expect that we have around 25-30% of our total snowfall for the season left to fall from the skies over the remainder of this season. By the end of January 2016, we had already received only 62% of the total snowfall for that season, meaning there was another 38% left to go.

It’s worth pointing out again that in late season there will be more times when there has been some fresh snowfall on the upper areas of the mountain, but not down at base. On such days, my report will record 0cm observed snowfall.

As we think about February, here’s how much snowfall I have recorded during the month of February in the last seven winter seasons. The numbers in brackets show the total observed snowfall up until the end of February in each of those respective seasons.

February 2019: 198cm (900cm)
February 2018: 299cm (1198cm)
February 2017: 160cm (605cm)
February 2016: 266cm (877cm)
February 2015: 196cm (1002cm)
February 2014: 178cm (1037cm)
February 2013: 316cm (1295cm)

So, we are used to experiencing around 2-3m or snowfall at base in the month of February.

The other piece of data that I always look at is the snowfall numbers that the Japan Meteorological Agency report from their observation station in Kutchan town. Here is what they have reported for the month of January over the last eight years:

January 2020: 148cm
January 2019: 253cm
January 2018: 259cm
January 2017: 160cm
January 2016: 258cm
January 2015: 230cm
January 2014: 317cm
January 2013: 268cm

And these are the JMA numbers for the season so far up until the end of January 2020:

2019/2020 season up to end of January 2020: 451cm
2018/2019 season up to end of January 2019: 667cm
2017/2018 season up to end of January 2018: 752cm
2016/2017 season up to end of January 2017: 568cm
2015/2016 season up to end of January 2016: 488cm
2014/2015 season up to end of January 2015: 658cm
2013/2014 season up to end of January 2014: 674cm
2012/2013 season up to end of January 2013: 672cm

I plan to post a new report every day right through until the end of the season; some lifts plan to operate through until Golden Week in early May.

Remember, all of my observed snowfall numbers I mention here can be found in the table towards the bottom of this (and every) Niseko Now report – as well as on the cool 'Snowfall Analysis' page which you can get to from the blue button at the top of each report.

Next monthly recap in early March.

-----

Niseko Avalanche Report

Mountain Base: -7.5°, 10cm new snow in last 24hrs, none in last 12hrs. Moiwa 800m: SSE 161deg 0.9m/s, -8.9°, 10cm new snow, snowdrift development. Yu no Sawa 1000m: WSW 265deg 0.7m/s, -12.5°. Niseko Village 900m:NNW 322deg 0.2m/s , -12.4°. Hirafu 1000m: ENE, (speed:no data) , -11.8°. Hanazono 720m: W 276deg 1.8m/s, -8.7°. Coastal data: Benkei Cape:WSW2m/s. Kamui Cape NW3m/s, 1019hPa, wave 1.0m. Annupuri 1000: snow depth 160cm.

A small low pressure front passed through yesterday dropping 5-10cm of new snow, none after midnight though. From observation and data, the general avalanche risk is low. All gates are expected to be open except Moiwa gate 10. A low pressure system is approaching from the Sea of Japan, expect snowfall to start before noon. Be careful of a sudden weather change.

Lots of people are getting lost in the Higashi One (east ridge) area. Inexperienced people should not be going out the gates in the late afternoon. If you get lost overnight there is a real danger of freezing to death. Niseko Patrol will go and look for you at night, but with the low temperatures and the difficult snowy terrain it can be very hard to find someone. Although there isn't much snow, what's there is good. Be careful hitting trees. It is strongly recommended to wear a helmet. Is your beacon turned on? A beacon (avalanche transceiver) can not only save your life, it can save your friends. Have a good day.

-----

Ski resort operation information: Monday 3rd February 2020

Niseko Grand Hirafu

Official snow depth (reported by resort):
- Peak: 230cm
- Base: 100cm

All lifts are normally operating EXCEPT:
- Ace Number 1 pair lift (normally rested)
- King Number 2 quad lift (normally rested)

All courses normally open

Lifts scheduled for late operations:
- Ace Family quad until 8:30pm
- Ace Number 2 Center Four quad until 8:20pm
- Hirafu Gondola until 8:10pm
- Holiday Number 1 pair until 8:30pm

-----

Niseko HANAZONO Resort

Official snow depth (reported by resort):
- Peak: 165cm
- Base: 97cm

All lifts are normally operating

-----

Niseko Annupuri

Official snow depth (reported by resort):
- Peak: 160cm
- Base: 100cm

All lifts are normally operating

Lift scheduled for late operations:
- Jumbo Number 1 quad until 8:30pm

-----

Niseko Village

Official snow depth (reported by resort):
- Peak: 175cm
- Base: 100cm

All lifts normally operating EXCEPT:
- Country Road (normally rested)

Lifts scheduled for late operations:
- Annupuri Village Gondola until 8:00pm
- Village Express until 8:00pm
- Banzai Chair until 8:00pm

Archive report: Posted at 8:22am on Monday 3rd February 2020
The latest Niseko Now report can be found here

Niseko Now ski lift operation notes:

See above

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Japan snowfall data
(updated daily during winter)
Niseko Now observed snowfall data (at base): Recent Niseko Now reports
The data displayed is correct up to and including Monday 3rd February 2020
This graph shows the amount of observed snowfall recorded at base in the 21 Niseko Now reports up until Monday 3rd February 2020
(View the latest Niseko Now report here :: View more analysis here)
Niseko Now observed snowfall data (at base): Recent season comparisons
The data displayed is correct up to and including Monday 3rd February 2020
This table shows the amount of observed snowfall recorded at base in the Niseko Now reports during same period over the last three seasons
(View the latest Niseko Now report here :: View more analysis here)
  2019/2020
*as of Monday 3rd February 2020
2018/2019
Season
2017/2018
Season
3rd February 1cm 3cm 0cm
2nd February 2cm 7cm 0cm
1st February 0cm 21cm 13cm
31st January 0cm 11cm 45cm
30th January 0cm 0cm 26cm
29th January 0cm 10cm 15cm
28th January 0cm 0cm 14cm
Previous 7 days total 3cm 52cm 113cm
Previous 14 days total 80cm 136cm 206cm
November observed snowfall total 85cm 84cm 188cm
December observed snowfall total 207cm 333cm 406cm
January observed snowfall total 224cm 285cm 305cm
February observed snowfall total 3cm 198cm 299cm
March observed snowfall total - 45cm 49cm
April observed snowfall total - 6cm 13cm
May observed snowfall total - 0cm 0cm
Season observed snowfall total 519cm 951cm 1260cm
Niseko Now observed snowfall data (at base): Monthly and annual accumulation
The data displayed is correct up to and including Monday 3rd February 2020
This table shows the amount of observed snowfall recorded at base in the Niseko Now reports for each month and total season accumulation
(View the latest Niseko Now report here :: View more analysis here)
  October November December January February March April May
2020/2021 season - - - - - - - -
2019/2020 season - 85cm
[85cm]
207cm
[292cm]
224cm
[516cm]
3cm
[519cm]
- - -
2018/2019 season 0cm
[0cm]
84cm
[84cm]
333cm
[417cm]
285cm
[702cm]
198cm
[900cm]
45cm
[945cm]
6cm
[951cm]
0cm
[951cm]
2017/2018 season - 188cm
[188cm]
406cm
[594cm]
305cm
[899cm]
299cm
[1198cm]
49cm
[1247cm]
13cm
[1260cm]
0cm
[1260cm]
2016/2017 season 2cm
[2cm]
110cm
[112cm]
181cm
[293cm]
152cm
[445cm]
160cm
[605cm]
83cm
[688cm]
0cm
[688cm]
0cm
[688cm]
2015/2016 season 3cm
[3cm]
61cm
[64cm]
244cm
[308cm]
303cm
[611cm]
266cm
[877cm]
109cm
[986cm]
6cm
[992cm]
0cm
[992cm]
2014/2015 season 0cm
[0cm]
30cm
[30cm]
519cm
[549cm]
257cm
[806cm]
196cm
[1002cm]
139cm
[1141cm]
3cm
[1144cm]
0cm
[1144cm]
2013/2014 season 0cm
[0cm]
123cm
[123cm]
275cm
[398cm]
461cm
[859cm]
178cm
[1037cm]
113cm
[1150cm]
13cm
[1163cm]
0cm
[1163cm]
2012/2013 season 0cm
[0cm]
118cm
[118cm]
418cm
[536cm]
443cm
[979cm]
316cm
[1295cm]
164cm
[1459cm]
32cm
[1491cm]
2cm
[1493cm]
  October November December January February March April May
Niseko Now reports before Monday 3rd February 2020
Niseko Now reports from the same period last season
Niseko Now archived reporting
View previous reports posted to Niseko Now by clicking on the month

2020

2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002