Niseko Now daily snow and weather - Monday 20th February 2017

Niseko Now (Archive Report)

Independent and trustworthy daily snow and weather reports from Niseko region, Japan
ARCHIVE REPORT: Posted at 8:15am on Monday 20th February 2017
Current weather conditions
Observed fresh snowfall AT BASE
weather condition
Looks like it is going to be a fine morning
Base temp:

Top temp:
Precipitation Wind Visibility
precipitation condition
wind condition
SW 2m/s - W 3m/s (Hirafu)
visibility condition
Very good
This report
Monday 20th February 2017, 8:15am
Sunday 19th February 2017, 8:38am 16cm
Saturday 18th February 2017, 8:32am 8cm
Friday 17th February 2017, 8:31am 0cm
Thursday 16th February 2017, 8:18am 4cm
Wednesday 15th February 2017, 8:17am 2cm
Tuesday 14th February 2017, 8:33am 1cm
Last 7 reports (total): 46cm
Last 14 reports (total): 51cm
Current month (February 2017) total: 102cm
2016/2017 season so far total: 547cm

Archive report: Posted at 8:15am on Monday 20th February 2017
The latest Niseko Now report can be found here

Good morning all from here in my secret Hirafu base.

Yey! There's more fresh snow this morning with another good 15cm on the ground. It's cold and the snow looks nice and dry.

Along with a handful of other people (!), I enjoyed playing in the fresh conditions yesterday and with this new top-up, I intend to do more of the same today.

The light snow that the resorts are reporting falling pre-toast this morning has eased off now and it actually looks like it is going to be a clear and fine day. Things are calm and lifts should be opening as normal this morning.

Anyway, I'm going to get out onto the lifts early this morning. Maybe see some of you. Take care out there.

Here's something I prepared earlier...


An answer to a question:

“If you say 20cm of fresh snow has fallen in your report, how come the snow depth at the resorts does not increase by a corresponding 20cm”?

There’s a few reasons for that. I’ll try to explain the best I can. Firstly, the two numbers are not connected – in my reports I am reporting fresh snowfall at base each morning, while the ski resorts have their own method of measuring their snow depth base. And different ski resorts do that in different places etc.

Snow also compacts, both under the weight of grooming machines, skiers, snowboarders - and also under its own weight. The prevailing weather conditions will have an impact on how that is happening too. The bottom section of the snow base is not going to be light and fluffy like the fresh snow that fell overnight. And can you imagine how tall those ski lift towers would have to be if snow just continued to pile up during a season and not compact?

Anyway, I hope that goes a little way to explaining it. No doubt some other folk would be able to give a much clearer and more scientific explanation of this kind of thing. (If you are one of those folk and reading this, please do feel free to contact me and I may share it up here).

A response to some comments that have been sent in:

Note: some words may have been slightly altered for effect (…though not this first one):

"Your reports are completely useless. They need to be posted before 7:30am to be of any use"

>> Sorry.

"You under-report the snowfall. It’s outrageous! I was there and there was a full 2cm more than you reported!!!!"

>> Sorry.

"You over-report the snowfall. It’s outrageous! I was there and there was a massive 2cm less than you reported!!!!"

>> Sorry.

"Your reports are too ‘negative’!!"

>> Sorry.

"Your reports are too ‘positive’!!"

>> Sorry.

As you can see, there are some real charming folk out there!

I think either myself or SnowJapan (in the general messages that they posted on these reports) have covered all of these issues in the reports so far this season, and so I won’t go into details again. I’ll just add a few bullet points:

** I don’t under-report or over-report. I report what I see with my own eyes and measure, no sugar added or taken away. It may be slightly different from what someone else sees nearby - and indeed we might both be right.

** I can’t post before 7:30am because a) there is not enough information to make a full report at that time, and b) on some days I might still be sleeping at that time. Or eating some toast. I like toast.

** If you are in Niseko and planning to ski, I highly recommend looking out of the window early morning to see what the weather is doing and how much snow has fallen where you are. (Make sure you do it before 7:30am!)

** Knowing full well that people have different expectations and different points of reference, I generally try to avoid trying to describe snow conditions in detail all the time. When I do talk about snow conditions, it is mostly when conditions are clearly excellent or clearly rubbish.

** I avoid cheesy marketing words, loaded adjectives in capital letters and the constant ‘everything is perfect’ descriptions on purpose. Because they're often an exaggeration and sometimes worse. And often horribly cringeworthy. You’ll be able to tell when I’m genuinely excited by conditions; and when I am, you’ll know that my excitement is worthy. (I may however say 'yey' and 'hurray' at times, sorry).

I’m curious why some of these seemingly very angry people still read these reports. Personally, if I don’t like something, I tend to avoid it. So if you don’t like my/our reports, please just don’t read them. I’m fine with that, and I’m sure SnowJapan will be fine with it too – save them some bandwidth! They may even give you a full refund of any monies paid if you ask them; they’re jolly reasonable folk. ;)

To all our friends - don’t worry folks, I am posting the above in a very light-hearted frame of mind and not taking it all too seriously. It can of course be disheartening to hear some of these comments when you are busy putting in the effort day after day (as you might reasonably expect).

I just sometimes wonder how we got to the sad point where people get to feel so entitled and/or just seem to think it’s ok to throw any semblance of decency and manners out of the window when it comes to ‘internet stuff’.


Niseko Avalanche Report:

Mountain base: -11°, 15cm new snow. Moiwa 800m: -9.1°, E1m/s, 20cm new snow, no snowdrift development. Annupuri 1150m, -14°, NE7m/s, 25cm new snow. Hirafu 1250m, -12°, E5m/s, 20cm new snow. Coastal data: Kamui Cape:W2m/s, 1007hPa, wave 1.2m.

The barometric pressure gradient is shallow, the mountain is not wind effected and trees are covered with light crystal snow. From observation the general avalanche risk is low, however on sharp steep slopes, a double layer slab on top of the 17 Feb layer will easily fracture. Take care. All peak gates are expected to open. Please listen to the patrols advice and be prepared before going out of bounds. Do not forget, once you pass through the gates the winter mountain is un-managed and there is many hidden dangers out there.

Yesterday, Backbowl West ridge around 800m, a small avalanche occurred. This could also happen today, be aware. The halfpipes in the bottom of creeks are fun to ride but its wise not to go in them when its windy or snowing – these can be avalanche paths.

More people are getting lost in Anbetsu area out of Gate 10. In Niseko everybody is allowed to ride out of bounds, but as more and more inexperienced people are venturing out of the gates, the patrols advice before leaving to everyone is also becoming more important. In an effort to reduce the number of accidents on the mountain , we all need to examine our current safety systems to make sure we are doing best job we can. Snow is good today.


Resort specific opening news at time of writing (subject to change during the day):

Niseko Grand Hirafu
Niseko HANAZONO Resort
Niseko Village
Niseko Annupuri
All areas are opening as normal at the start of the day.


Official resort snow depths as of Monday 20th February 2017:

Niseko Grand Hirafu & Hanazono
Top - 340cm
Base - 140cm

Niseko Village
Top - 300cm
Base - 140cm

Niseko Annupuri
Top - 315cm
Base - 140cm


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.

Archive report: Posted at 8:15am on Monday 20th February 2017
The latest Niseko Now report can be found here

Niseko Now ski lift operation notes:

All areas will probably be opening as normal this morning

Sunday 19th February 2017
This report
Monday 20th February 2017
Tuesday 21st February 2017
Photo 1
Photo 2
Photo 3
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Niseko Now observed snowfall data (at base): Recent Niseko Now reports
The data displayed is correct up to and including Monday 20th February 2017
This graph shows the amount of observed snowfall recorded at base in the 21 Niseko Now reports up until Monday 20th February 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 20th February 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 20th February 2017
20th February 15cm 4cm 0cm
19th February 16cm 1cm 0cm
18th February 8cm 8cm 0cm
17th February 0cm 38cm 0cm
16th February 4cm 15cm 5cm
15th February 2cm 4cm 15cm
14th February 1cm 0cm 15cm
Previous 7 days total 46cm 70cm 35cm
Previous 14 days total 51cm 110cm 108cm
November observed snowfall total 110cm 61cm 30cm
December observed snowfall total 181cm 244cm 519cm
January observed snowfall total 152cm 303cm 257cm
February observed snowfall total 102cm 266cm 196cm
March observed snowfall total - 109cm 139cm
April observed snowfall total - 6cm 3cm
May observed snowfall total - 0cm 0cm
Season observed snowfall total 547cm 992cm 1144cm
Niseko Now observed snowfall data (at base): Monthly and annual accumulation
The data displayed is correct up to and including Monday 20th February 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 - - - - - - - -
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 20th February 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