Niseko Now daily snow and weather - Monday 4th February 2019

Niseko Now (Archive Report)

Independent and trustworthy daily snow and weather reports from Niseko region, Japan
ARCHIVE REPORT: Posted at 8:30am on Monday 4th February 2019
Current weather conditions
Observed fresh snowfall
weather condition
Cloud, fog and...
Base temp:
-5°C

Top temp:
-10°C
Precipitation Wind Visibility
precipitation condition
Sleet, wet snow
wind condition
NW. (Go away!)
visibility condition
Poor
This report
Monday 4th February 2019, 8:30am
2cm
Sunday 3rd February 2019, 8:22am 3cm
Saturday 2nd February 2019, 8:32am 7cm
Friday 1st February 2019, 8:30am 21cm
Thursday 31st January 2019, 8:19am 11cm
Wednesday 30th January 2019, 8:22am 0cm
Tuesday 29th January 2019, 8:25am 10cm
Last 7 reports (total): 54cm
Last 14 reports (total): 112cm
Current month (February 2019) total: 33cm
2018/2019 season so far total: 735cm

Archive report: Posted at 8:30am on Monday 4th February 2019
The latest Niseko Now report can be found here

Good morning from Niseko.

It's a bit... wet, this morning. Not rain, not quite powder snow either. Sleet I think is the word I'm looking for. Or wet snow. (I'm all worded-out after writing the below blurb).

Anyway, it's not a particularly appealing morning with that falling and grey cloudy and foggy conditions.

Hopefully things will improve during the day with temps due to drop again and hopefully some nicer snow falling.

It looks like wind could be a factor again today too, possibly affecting lifts. And indeed, just as I prepare to post this report at 8:30am there is news of top lifts not opening. See individual resort details below for details and keep that in mind.

---

A look back at the season so far: January 2019

The months just fly by don’t they. OK, enough of the clichés... it’s time to look back on the month of January and the 18/19 season so far.

All the numbers that I am discussing here (apart from the JMA numbers at the end) can be found within these Niseko Now reports. See below and the ‘Snowfall Analysis’ page via that big blue tab link thingy up top. And, of course, please always keep in mind that I take my measurements from close to the base of Niseko Grand Hirafu. My numbers can all be compared like-for-like, because they are coming from the same places each season and I try my best to always be consistent.

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

January 2019: 285cm
January 2017: 305cm
January 2016: 152cm
January 2015: 303cm
January 2014: 257cm
January 2013: 461cm
January 2012: 443cm

In the end we didn’t quite manage to hit 3m snowfall at base, and about 20cm less than I observed in January last season. Still, 285cm is nearly double the now famously rubbish (calm down... I mean relatively!!) 16/17 season, but also not reaching the lofty numbers in 2012 and 2013. Monthly numbers don’t say anything about consistency and quality of course...

One great thing has been that I was able to measure fresh cm of snowfall on all but 6 days through the month of January 2019. Adding that on to the 5 days without any new cm of snow measured in December 2018, it means there have only been 11 reports during the whole of December 2018 and January 2019 without any new cm of snow at base.

Fresh snowfall recorded in 51 out of 62 reports. Impressive. :)

So, Niseko is continuing to deliver some excellent consistency which is a good job because we need it (see comments last season about the real need for regular refreshes in such a popular destination).

On to my ‘season to date’ numbers. These are from the beginning of the season to the end of January:

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

And here’s how much of the total snowfall for a season we have already had fall on us by the end of January in those recent seasons:

By the end of January 2019, as a % of the season total: ???
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 2012, as a % of the season total: about 66%

By the end of the month of January, we have usually had between 62-74% of the total snowfall that we can expect over the entire season. (The average being 68%). Hopefully we’ll get at least 3m more snowfall this season, and obviously the more the better.

Always want more snow.

Looking ahead to February, here’s how much snowfall I have recorded during the month of in the last six winter seasons. The numbers in brackets show the total observed snowfall up until the end of February in each of the respective seasons.

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

The last 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 in recent years:

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

And the JMA numbers for the ‘season so far’:

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

The first part of February is still full on peak season and especially popular with visitors coming from overseas to stay and celebrate the Chinese New Year holidays. We hope to see a lot more of winter this month. Up here in Hokkaido we can surely be able to happily ignore all the songs called ‘sakura’ (cherry blossoms) and ‘sotsugyo’ (graduation) that pop up along with other mentions of spring for quite a while yet. We can perhaps start thinking about that this time next month.

As I mentioned in a report a few days ago, I am still not even half way through my season of reports. The last lifts will be moving until early May, so there’s over three full months to go. Lots of . And toast of course.

I hope you will spend it with me – even if you have already been and gone, or indeed even if you aren’t able to visit Niseko at all this season.

---

Niseko Avalanche Report:

Mountain Base 6.00am: 0°, 5cm new wet snow. Moiwa 800m: -1.0, E1.7m/s, 5cm light wet snow, foggy. Mikaeri Weather Station: light winds, 5cm new snow, minor snowdrift development from the east. Annupuri 1120m: snow depth 220cm. Hirafu Peak: -5°, strong southerly wind. Mizuno no Sawa Knoll : -2.37°, S5.2m/s, mountain base snow depth 151cm. Suttsu Weather Station: 2.0°, SSE4.7m/s, snow depth 42cm. Kutchan Weather Station: 0.8°, S2.3m/s, snow depth 151cm. Cape Benkei: S3m/s, Cape Kamui: NE4m/s, pressure 995hPa, wave 0.5m.

Preceding a low pressure front the atmospheric pressure gradient is shallow and weather is calm. Above 1000m a strong southerly wind is blowing. From this mornings observation the avalanche risk is low, however after 10am expect the avalanche risk to increase rapidly on leeward steep slopes around 1000m. The current snowfall (Feb3-4) is expected to become a future avalanche fracture face. Take care if we get increased falls of low pressure snow, slabs will form that fracture and slide easily, even in the trees.

When we have a typical winter weather pattern and increased snowfall forming slabs, avalanche accidents can easily occur. A slope you were riding yesterday may not be safe today. Make flexible plans to suit the weather. Hindsight is 20/20 but wont help the dead. Beacons and airbags are no guarantee of safety. Always make cautious decisions. Snow in the trees is good but visibility is bad. Be careful of a sudden change in weather, falling, hitting things, collisions. Is your beacon on? Good weather is always safer in the mountains. Have a good day.

---

Ski resort operation information: Monday 4th February 2019
Subject to change due to weather conditions

Niseko Grand Hirafu
Official snow depth (reported by resort):
- Peak: 340cm
- Base: 125cm

Ski lifts operating:
- Top Ace and King lifts on hold at the start of the day
- The Ace Family quad (until 8:30pm), Ace Center 4 quad (8:20pm), Hirafu Gondola (until 8:10pm) and Holiday Number 1 pair (until 8:30pm) lifts are normally open during the evening

-----

Niseko HANAZONO Resort

Official snow depth (reported by resort):
- Peak: 230cm
- Base: 190cm

Ski lifts operating:
- All lifts should be operating as normal
- The Hanazono lifts are normally open until 3:50pm (Number 3 until 3:30pm)

-----

Niseko Annupuri

Official snow depth (reported by resort):
- Peak: 300cm
- Base: 150cm

Ski lifts operating:
- Top Jumbo lift on hold at the start of the day
- The Jumbo 1 lift is normally open until 8:30pm during the evening

-----

Niseko Village

Official snow depth (reported by resort):
- Peak: 300cm
- Base: 160cm

Ski lifts operating:
- The Gondola and top Wonderland Chair lift on hold at the start of the day
- The Upper Village Gondola, Village Express and Banzai Chair lifts are normally open until 8:00pm during the evening

-----

Night time operations are available in the Niseko Grand Hirafu, Niseko Village and Niseko Annupuri resort areas. There is no nighta at the Niseko HANAZONO resort area.

Archive report: Posted at 8:30am on Monday 4th February 2019
The latest Niseko Now report can be found here

Niseko Now ski lift operation notes:

Top lifts affected by wind early on - see above

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Sunday 3rd February 2019
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Monday 4th February 2019
Tuesday 5th February 2019
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Japan snowfall data
(updated daily during winter)
Niseko Now observed snowfall data: Recent Niseko Now reports
The data displayed is correct up to and including Monday 4th February 2019
This graph shows the amount of observed snowfall recorded in the 21 Niseko Now reports up until Monday 4th February 2019
(View the latest Niseko Now report here :: View more analysis here)
Niseko Now observed snowfall data: Recent season comparisons
The data displayed is correct up to and including Monday 4th February 2019
This table shows the amount of observed snowfall recorded in the Niseko Now reports during same period over the last three seasons
(View the latest Niseko Now report here :: View more analysis here)
  2018/2019
*as of Monday 4th February 2019
2017/2018
Season
2016/2017
Season
4th February 2cm 0cm 3cm
3rd February 3cm 0cm 14cm
2nd February 7cm 0cm 15cm
1st February 21cm 13cm 19cm
31st January 11cm 45cm 14cm
30th January 0cm 26cm 0cm
29th January 10cm 15cm 0cm
Previous 7 days total 54cm 99cm 65cm
Previous 14 days total 112cm 200cm 117cm
November observed snowfall total 84cm 188cm 110cm
December observed snowfall total 333cm 406cm 181cm
January observed snowfall total 285cm 305cm 152cm
February observed snowfall total 33cm 299cm 160cm
March observed snowfall total - 49cm 83cm
April observed snowfall total - 13cm 0cm
May observed snowfall total - 0cm 0cm
Season observed snowfall total 735cm 1260cm 688cm
Niseko Now observed snowfall data: Monthly and annual accumulation
The data displayed is correct up to and including Monday 4th February 2019
This table shows the amount of observed snowfall recorded 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
2018/2019 season 0cm
[0cm]
84cm
[84cm]
333cm
[417cm]
285cm
[702cm]
33cm
[735cm]
-
[735cm]
-
[735cm]
-
[735cm]
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 4th February 2019
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

2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002