Niseko Now daily snow and weather - Friday 31st January 2020

Niseko Now (Archive Report)

Independent and trustworthy daily snow and weather reports from Niseko region, Japan
ARCHIVE REPORT: Posted at 8:30am on Friday 31st January 2020
Current weather conditions
Observed fresh snowfall AT BASE
weather condition
Cloudy; some blue sky in places
Base temp:

Top temp:
Precipitation Wind Visibility
precipitation condition
Some very light snow falling in places
wind condition
Windy northerly
visibility condition
This report
Friday 31st January 2020, 8:30am
Thursday 30th January 2020, 8:30am 0cm
Wednesday 29th January 2020, 8:32am 0cm
Tuesday 28th January 2020, 8:27am 0cm
Monday 27th January 2020, 8:32am 0cm
Sunday 26th January 2020, 8:35am 9cm
Saturday 25th January 2020, 8:30am 8cm
Last 7 reports (total): 17cm
Last 14 reports (total): 88cm
Current month (January 2020) total: 224cm
2019/2020 season so far total: 516cm

Archive report: Posted at 8:30am on Friday 31st January 2020
The latest Niseko Now report can be found here

Good morning on this last one of January 2020, and it is another windy one.

We were hoping for a bit more snow on the ground but it is just a dusting here at base this morning and not enough to pass my highly scientific rules and allow m to post a cm.

There is some very light snow falling in places as I put this report together, but it's not significant and I can only just see it! There is also some breaks in the cloud and blue sky in places too. So a bit of a mixed picture early on.

It is a little colder than yesterday but not much.

Wind is an issue today again and at the start of the day all of top lifts across the mountain are on hold. Only the base Jumbo lift at Niseko Annupuri, the base lift at Hanazono and two base area lifts at Niseko Village are open in those areas. A bit more of Hirafu looks to be opening at the start of the day including the gondola. That situation might of course change depending on the wind conditions during the day.

Hopefully wind will not make itself a nuisance over the coming weekend.

I am liking the look of the forecast for around late Monday onwards - there's some serious cold and snow lined up there. Hurray!

I will do my usual 'season until now' thoughts/recap and post it in the report on Monday.


Another message from SnowJapan

This general message is being posted on all our daily reports.
It is not specific to one report or region.

Thank you to everyone who contacted us after the general message we posted in these reports a few days ago (and can also be found here)

It’s great to hear from people, and of course it makes us happy to hear so many messages of support. In the feedback, some questions and comments were brought up—and we would like to answer them in public. Here goes:

About 'official snow depth'

The “official snow depth” numbers displayed on our site come from the ski resorts themselves. The resorts provide their figure to a service, and SnowJapan has an agreement with that service so that we can display these figures. The numbers come as is - without details or explanations - and we have no control over them.

As far as we know, there are no rules or guidelines dictating where the ski resorts take their number from. The top? Middle? Base? Some spot where the wind piles up snow? We just don’t know, so, basically, we all must rely on their honesty.

Over the years, we have learned that many ski resorts are honest in their reporting, with realistic numbers and good information on other conditions. We like and respect that.

Other are…let’s be positive and say, “too optimistic”. There is a lot of exaggeration, if not outright falsehoods. We don’t like that.

A reader recently reported that, while our official number from a resort said 70cm, they discovered on arrival that there was just one run open with artificial snow. Of course, we are very sorry to hear that, and we know how upsetting that is. As we have previously noted, we’re skiers/boarders, too.

Our policy is to always be honest in what we do. With the official figures we’re reporting what you’ll see on each resort’s website and the figures posted by local tourist office and other organizations. That’s why we always tag them as “official snow depth”.

So, what is SnowJapan doing about this?

You’ll note that our reporters filing the Now daily reports do sometimes comment when the official figures are a bit questionable.

We think that the official figures do have meaning and value and we can’t be selective in which resorts we post. It’s all or none. We take them all in and provide them to you.

Perhaps think of them as a suggestion, to be taken with a healthy dose of salt. Take a look at other areas in the region and compare - knowing, though, that the terrain and location can make for very different snow conditions in relatively small areas.

Furthermore, it is often quite interesting to compare the official snow depth numbers with other seasons.

Observed snowfall

The ‘observed snowfall’ figure is 100-percent SnowJapan. Our reporters get out there and measure the snowfall they are seeing at base level. Not at the top of the hill or in a secret stash.

People in slightly different areas (in the same region) are sometimes going to see differences. That’s natural and unavoidable; and we’re not claiming that our reports are definitive or perfect.

But we stand by all our numbers.

Requests for specific recommendations

People often write to ask questions such as, “Should I cancel my planned trip to A and change to B?”

Because we wish to remain unbiased and fair, we strongly feel that it is not our place to make this kind of recommendation of one resort over another. Our independence is what lets us give you solid, unbiased information. We keep that kind of opinion to ourselves.

There is limited advertising on SnowJapan. Our website is an extremely effective place to reach large numbers of skiers and snowboarders who are interested in good information about Japan. But any company or organisation who joins us in that respect is told very clearly upfront that doing so gives them no editorial influence. There’s no exceptions to that and it is a fundamental part of our concept.

Requests for detailed information

People write in often - sometimes more than 50 mails a day - to ask about specific ski resorts, transportation, ski schools, accommodations, etc. Sometimes they are detailed requests to assist with bookings of hotels or ski lessons, or requests for detailed bus and train timetables. (And sometimes, I might add, without even a please or a thank you!)

We simply can’t provide this kind of information. Local tourist associations, booking firms, etc. are all geared to providing information and helping match your needs with services and organizations. We simply aren’t. Just running our website and collecting information from across the Japan ski world and posting it for you is more than a full-time job. (It feels like even more so than usual in this low-snow year!)

As we note on our Contact form, we can’t answer specific questions. We certainly don’t mean to be rude when we don’t answer to questions sent to us, but we aren’t able to respond and still be unbiased…. or get our work done!

Anyway, that’s it for now. Thanks again and we hope you will keep reading SnowJapan and letting others know about us.

Comments are welcome - we’re always trying to improve and it’s just good to hear from you, even if it’s just a quick ‘hi’.


Niseko Avalanche Report

Mountain base: -0.6℃, slight snowfall. Moiwa 800m: WSW 244°4.4m/s, -4.3℃. Yu no Sawa 1000m: NNE 35°9.4m/s, -6.6℃. Village 900m: N 356°6.7m/s, -5.8℃. Hirafu 1000m: N 2°12.2m/s, -6.8℃. Hanazono 720m: NNW 351°5.5m/s, -4.6℃. Benkei cape: ENE13m/s, Kamui cape: NE10m/s, 999hPa, 4.4m waves.

The recorded wind speed is the average of 15 min intervals. Instant gusts are a lot stronger today. A strong north easterly wind is blowing around the rim of the current “oval” shape low-pressure system. Although the snowfall is scarce, heavy snowdrifts are developing; reaching up to 60cm at some places and are very unstable. SW facing knolls, cornice slopes and open steep terrains above 800m are at high avalanche risk today. It’s better staying inbounds today. Most gates will be kept closed. Many of the accidents occur in poor weather. Highly wind-affected snowfall forms heavy slabs and are likely to cause a slide. Better not push it too far during bad weather conditions.

Have a nice day.


Ski resort operation information: Friday 31st January 2020


Niseko Grand Hirafu

Official snow depth (reported by resort):
- Peak: 230cm
- Base: 85cm

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: 164cm
- Base: 92cm

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 8:30am on Friday 31st January 2020
The latest Niseko Now report can be found here

Niseko Now ski lift operation notes:

Top lifts and some more are on hold at the start of the day today due to wind conditions

Thursday 30th January 2020
This report
Friday 31st January 2020
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Niseko Now observed snowfall data (at base): Recent Niseko Now reports
The data displayed is correct up to and including Friday 31st January 2020
This graph shows the amount of observed snowfall recorded at base in the 21 Niseko Now reports up until Friday 31st January 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 Friday 31st January 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)
*as of Friday 31st January 2020
31st January 0cm 11cm 45cm
30th January 0cm 0cm 26cm
29th January 0cm 10cm 15cm
28th January 0cm 0cm 14cm
27th January 0cm 5cm 16cm
26th January 9cm 0cm 26cm
25th January 8cm 7cm 7cm
Previous 7 days total 17cm 33cm 149cm
Previous 14 days total 88cm 132cm 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 - 198cm 299cm
March observed snowfall total - 45cm 49cm
April observed snowfall total - 6cm 13cm
May observed snowfall total - 0cm 0cm
Season observed snowfall total 516cm 951cm 1260cm
Niseko Now observed snowfall data (at base): Monthly and annual accumulation
The data displayed is correct up to and including Friday 31st January 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
2021/2022 season - - - - - - - -
2020/2021 season - - - - - - - -
2019/2020 season - 85cm
- - - -
2018/2019 season 0cm
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 Friday 31st January 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