Niseko Now daily snow and weather - Monday 4th December 2017

Niseko Now (Archive Report)

Independent and trustworthy daily snow and weather reports from Niseko region, Japan
ARCHIVE REPORT: Posted at 8:32am on Monday 4th December 2017
Current weather conditions
Observed fresh snowfall AT BASE
weather condition
Sunny blue skies, some cloud
Base temp:

Top temp:
Precipitation Wind Visibility
precipitation condition
wind condition
S 2m/s - NW 2m/s (Hirafu)
visibility condition
Excellent. 'Epic', even! ;)
This report
Monday 4th December 2017, 8:32am
Sunday 3rd December 2017, 8:31am 16cm
Saturday 2nd December 2017, 8:30am 12cm
Friday 1st December 2017, 8:34am 16cm
Thursday 30th November 2017, 8:29am 5cm
Wednesday 29th November 2017, 8:26am 0cm
Tuesday 28th November 2017, 8:15am 0cm
Last 7 reports (total): 54cm
Last 14 reports (total): 156cm
Current month (December 2017) total: 49cm
2017/2018 season so far total: 237cm

Archive report: Posted at 8:32am on Monday 4th December 2017
The latest Niseko Now report can be found here


I have a long report this morning - please do read it all, I don't want it to be a waste of my time! :)

First of all, the snow and weather report.

Yesterday was a little warmer than we have been experiencing of late and this morning I have an additional 5cm to add to the reports.

It is a really very lovely morning here in Niseko. I know 'lots of fresh fluffy dry snow' is the most lovely kind of morning; but this morning it's the 'sunny blue skies' kind of lovely. We haven't had many of those in recent weeks, so it's good to see everywhere looking all wintery in the sunshine. Beautiful. I want to get out there!

Happily, it's colder again this morning.

And these clear sunny skies won't last long. Actually, since I started putting this report together I feel there's a bit more cloud starting to gather. More cloud is due to move in during the day and it should be snowing once again by the end of tonight. Yey!


A look back at the season so far: November 2017

As usual this season I will endeavour to post a recap at the beginning of each month so that I can gather my thoughts and make some comparisons. There’s often more behind simple numbers, of course, but it’s always fun to see how the season is shaping up compared with previous ones.

Firstly, let’s look at how much snowfall I have measured myself here near the base of Hirafu over the last six years in November:

November 2017: 188cm
November 2016: 110cm
November 2015: 61cm
November 2014: 30cm
November 2013: 123cm
November 2012: 118cm

Early this season is looking very good!

Check out November 2014. What the heck was going on there!? Rubbish.

BUT... a quick look at my own archives (below) shows how December 2014 came back in style with some very big snowfall numbers – even making the total snow haul up until the end of December that year the most in recent seasons. Omoshiroi ne!

Looking a bit deeper at November 2017 - the numbers themselves look great, but what has been really great this year so far is how consistent the snowfall has been since the middle of November. Since November 13th, I have been able to add fresh cm of snowfall on 13 different days.


Here’s how much snowfall I have recorded in the month of December over the last 5 seasons. The numbers in brackets show the total snowfall observed up until the end of December in each season.

December 2016: 181cm (293cm)
December 2015: 244cm (308cm)
December 2014: 519cm (549cm)
December 2013: 275cm (398cm)
December 2012: 418cm (538cm)

That’s a big range – from just under 2m last season to just over 5m in 2014. It’s going to be fun to see how much the total will be come the end of this month. I’ve already recorded 49cm of snowfall in these first few days of December, so it’s a good start to the month.

Lastly, let’s take a look at the data that the Japan Meteorological Agency report from their observation station in Kutchan town:
November 2017: 169cm
November 2016: 171cm
November 2015: 35cm
November 2014: 41cm
November 2013: 99cm
November 2012: 98cm


And here's something else I prepared yesterday.

One person sent some interesting comments to me via SnowJapan regarding general ‘excitement’ for the season, and how he has observed how some folk (not me, happily) are somewhat conveniently re-writing what happened in previous seasons.

Here’s my thoughts on that.

If you have been reading my reports over the last few weeks, you’ll know that yes, I’m pretty excited about what is currently being served up this early season here in Niseko. It has undoubtedly been an excellent start to the season. What’s not to be happy about there.

It seems though that some people are starting to borderline bad-mouth previous seasons when – at the time - they were hyping them up as being ‘Epic’ etc. Suddenly what was totally 'Epic' has now been degraded to being much less so, to make this season seem all the better. I have heard a few people around town saying things like that, but can’t say that I am really surprised. Excitement is good, but hype and marketing are different things. I think you’ll find that most people who are selling Niseko are going to be pretty much always talking things up at any given time; I suppose it goes with the territory and is understandable. Unfortunately, sometimes it becomes really difficult to know what is hype and what is genuine excitement.

Happily, I am totally against the concept of serving up any kind of hype and marketing to you in these reports. If anything, I probably have a tendency to try and kick back against that. And anyway, I don’t have anything to sell to you either (neither does SnowJapan). So basically, if you sense me being excited, you can be pretty sure that I am genuinely excited and have real reason to be.

Apart from the issue of misleading people, if everything is relentlessly being reported as ‘Epic’ (insert other Capitalised Adjective) all of the time - even when things aren’t actually really all that 'Epic' - what happens when things really are genuinely ‘Epic’?

Well, enough of that for now.

Let me just end my rather long report today by saying congratulations to the folk who took a bit of a gamble to be here at the very start of the season. They’re probably the ones with the biggest grins!


Niseko Avalanche Report:

Niseko base 6am: -5℃, light dusts, calm. Moiwa800m: -6℃, light breeze, 15cm snowfall and no notable snowdrift development. Annupuri1000m: 135cm snowpack. Coastal data: Benkei cape NW9m/s, Kamui cape WSW2m/s, 1018hPa, 0.9m waves.

The isobars are spread out and the weather is calm. A warm-front snowfall is blanketing the snowpack and will become a potential sliding layer in the future snowpack. The present snowpack above 800m is stable and the avalanche risk is low. The snow is in good shape, but a bit heavy and easy to have skis getting caught. Beware of hitting trees and falling into streams as they’re not fully buried and water flow is still high.

Avalanches in Niseko are mostly caused by the collapsing of storm-affected snowdrifts. Hazard level rises also during heavy snowfall caused by passing low-pressure systems. The snow condition is ever changing. Using caution, especially during poor weather, will reduce the risks of accidents.

The Niseko Rules are implemented in order to protect the freedom and the safety of out of bounds riding, and all resort users must abide by those rules.

Have a nice day.


Monday 4th December 2017

What's planned to be open today in Niseko (subject to change):

Niseko Grand Hirafu

Lifts operating:
- Ace Number 3 Pair lift
- Ace Number 2 Center Four quad lift
- Ace Family quad lift
- King Number 3 quad lift
- Hirafu Gondola
- Holiday Number 1 pair lift
- Swinging Monkey

Niseko HANAZONO Resort

Lifts operating:
- Hanazono Number 1 quad lift
- Hanazono Number 2 quad lift
- Hanazono Number 3 quad lift

Niseko Annupuri Kokusai

Lifts operating:
- Annupuri Gondola
- Jumbo Number 1 quad lift
- Dream Number 1 quad lift

Niseko Village

Lifts operating:
- Niseko Gondola
- Banzai Chair
- Community Chair


Official resort snow depths on Monday 4th December 2017:

Niseko Grand Hirafu & Hanazono
Top - 190cm
Base - 90cm

Niseko Annupuri Kokusai
Top - 140cm
Base - 70cm

Niseko Village
Top - 135cm
Base - 70cm


Floodlit 'nighta' skiing schedule:
Saturday 9th December 2017 until Sunday 18th March 2018

Archive report: Posted at 8:32am on Monday 4th December 2017
The latest Niseko Now report can be found here

Niseko Now ski lift operation notes:

All resort areas at least part open with lots of terrain available.

Sunday 3rd December 2017
This report
Monday 4th December 2017
Tuesday 5th December 2017
Photo 1
Photo 2
Photo 3
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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 4th December 2017
This graph shows the amount of observed snowfall recorded at base in the 21 Niseko Now reports up until Monday 4th December 2017
(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 4th December 2017
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)
*as of Monday 4th December 2017
4th December 5cm 0cm 5cm
3rd December 16cm 3cm 0cm
2nd December 12cm 4cm 0cm
1st December 16cm 0cm 14cm
30th November 5cm 10cm 20cm
29th November 0cm 9cm 15cm
28th November 0cm 0cm 0cm
Previous 7 days total 54cm 26cm 54cm
Previous 14 days total 156cm 67cm 80cm
November observed snowfall total 188cm 110cm 61cm
December observed snowfall total 49cm 181cm 244cm
January observed snowfall total - 152cm 303cm
February observed snowfall total - 160cm 266cm
March observed snowfall total - 83cm 109cm
April observed snowfall total - 0cm 6cm
May observed snowfall total - 0cm 0cm
Season observed snowfall total 237cm 688cm 992cm
Niseko Now observed snowfall data (at base): Monthly and annual accumulation
The data displayed is correct up to and including Monday 4th December 2017
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 - - - - - - - -
2018/2019 season - - - - - - - -
2017/2018 season - 188cm
- - - - -
2016/2017 season 2cm
2015/2016 season 3cm
2014/2015 season 0cm
2013/2014 season 0cm
2012/2013 season 0cm
  October November December January February March April May
Niseko Now reports before Monday 4th December 2017
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