Zao Now daily snow and weather - Monday 14th December 2020

Zao Now (Archive Report)

Independent and trustworthy daily snow and weather reports from Zao Onsen region, Japan
ARCHIVE REPORT: Posted at 10:05am on Monday 14th December 2020
Current weather conditions
Observed fresh snowfall AT BASE
weather condition
Base temp:

Top temp:
Precipitation Wind Visibility
precipitation condition
Light snow
wind condition
visibility condition
This report
Monday 14th December 2020, 10:05am
Sunday 13th December 2020, 9:50am 1cm
Saturday 12th December 2020, 8:30am 0cm
Friday 11th December 2020, 8:43am 0cm
Friday 17th April 2020, 7:53am 8cm
Monday 13th April 2020, 8:20am 0cm
Friday 10th April 2020, 7:59am 3cm
Last 7 reports (total): 28cm
Last 14 reports (total): 37cm
Current month (December 2020) total: 17cm
2020/2021 season so far total: 17cm

Archive report: Posted at 10:05am on Monday 14th December 2020
The latest Zao Now report can be found here

It is always good to be woken up by the sound of the road clearance bulldozer (the earlier the better as an indication of how much fell overnight). This morning was 06:40 (05:00 would have been better!) so a pleasant surprise to find 16cm fell overnight (at base), as there was a depressing cessation of snowfall by early evening yesterday. Snow reports coming in from around the mountain for collation were therefore delayed this morning.

Higher up, reported levels more or less doubled, however, no additional slopes are open yet. A few more days of the same should do it, fingers crossed. Incidentally, anyone driving up this week, please note that temperatures are inside the -3C to -7C black ice zone so please do be careful, especially on corners.

Right, I'm off to clear the edges of our roofs to prevent the build up of ice. Whilst seeing how long icicles can get may be fun, the ice they are attached to can be like 10cms+ slabs of concrete flagstones, not something you want falling on your head. (Don't stand under the lip of a roof - snow falling on someone may be a laugh but it may be hiding something nasty! - a local was killed in the village two years ago).


A message from SnowJapan

Note: This message is being published on all daily ‘Now’ reports on SnowJapan

We hope this message finds you and yours well.

As the 2020-2021 season here in Japan gets started, we wanted to post a few general thoughts as well as answer a few common questions.

Coronavirus in Japan

Compared to many countries, Japan appears to have managed to keep its number of (official confirmed) cases relatively low and without any major ‘lockdowns’. Still, coronavirus has overwhelmingly been the major issue of the year and has had a profound impact on many people and businesses. Hospitality and tourism are two of the areas that have been hit particularly hard hit, with the Go To campaign providing a certain amount of relief for some.

In recent weeks, the number of confirmed cases announced in the country every day has increased to around 2500-3000, in what is being labelled the third wave. Let us all hope that we might soon see a decrease in the numbers again and do what we can to help that happen.

How ski areas in Japan are dealing and measures being taken

Correct information on coronavirus is of course important and we encourage everyone to keep up to date with information from trusted sources.

We also encourage people intending to visit a ski area in Japan to take on all relevant advice and requests being asked of visitors. While there is understandably a sense of unease along with a bunch of unknowns as we start the winter season, most ski areas in Japan plan to be opening and are implementing various measures to try and minimise the potential for infections.

Actual measures and requests vary but generally include limiting the number of people riding gondola cabins, ropeways and multiple-person ski lifts; wearing masks and face coverings; using hand sanitisers; practising social distancing and avoiding queues.

Some ski areas are resting various ski lifts for the season, though in many such cases that will not affect the amount of terrain that is available to skiers and snowboarders.

There are a small number of ski areas that have decided to not open at all this winter – some citing coronavirus, some citing a lack of snowfall in recent years… some mentioning both.

Over the last few months, SnowJapan has been trying to keep an ongoing record of various news and information regarding ski area operations for the season. You can find that kind of news in a new blog section here:

* SnowJapan News Blogs *

Our ‘Now’ daily reports

While keeping up to date on coronavirus is important, we are also keenly aware that people are not reading our daily snow reports to read about it. And while it might get mentioned at times within our reports when it is relevant, we do not want our reports to dwell on the subject. We have asked our reporters to try to keep mention of it to a minimum.

For various reasons, this season we are not going to be able to update a few of our usual Now report sections.

The Aizu Bandai Now, Minakami Now and the Naeba Now reports will be rested for the 2020-2021 season. Naeba is located within Yuzawa town and so information from Naeba will be mentioned within our ongoing daily Yuzawa Now reports.

We are sorry about this and hope they will be back.

At the same time, we are pleased to be able to bring you a brand new Kiroro Now daily report section for the 2020-2021 season, from the Kiroro resort in Hokkaido.

Timing of reports

Some of our daily Now reports may appear later in the day than they have in the past. When that is the case, we plan to ‘time stamp’ a report when it was written, rather than the time when it was posted. That is to avoid possible confusion about conditions at the time of writing and the time of posting (changing weather conditions within a day etc).

We will, of course, try to be as timely as possible.

Without going into the details regarding the efforts behind bringing these reports to you, let’s just say that we would prefer to be able to continue a report section - even if that means some reports potentially appear later in the day - than have no reports at all. We’re guessing that most of you would agree with that.

SnowJapan site updates

We have been working on updating our all-Japan ski area database since late summer when information started to be available.

It is hard to believe, but even as we approach the middle of December, about 100 ski areas around Japan have not yet updated their official information for the 2020-2021 season. Seems a bit mad, right? But that is the reality.

It is important to us that information on our website is correct, so we are unable to update our information without official information being available. That is why some ski area listings on SnowJapan remain unchanged since last year.

We will get them updated as quickly as we can.

SnowJapan is all about Japan!

Many of you reading this were hoping to visit Japan this winter season but unfortunately are not able to, due to travel restrictions. We feel for you.

But looking at site traffic numbers over the last few weeks, it seems that there is still going to be a lot of people tuning in and following the Japanese winter season from afar. And of course, there are people already in Japan who will be able to ski or snowboard on the Japanese mountains.

We will once again do our best to bring you interesting, honest, up-to-date, and hype-free independent reports and correct information.

With all the stuff going on in the world right now, we are thankful that we are able to be doing something we love doing… about a place we love. That makes it a real pleasure to keep on updating and moving forward.

We hope we will be able to report a lot of regular snowfall this season!

Wherever you are in the world, stay safe and take care.

Thanks for reading.


Lifts operating:

- Chuo Number 1 pair
- Zao Ropeway (both sections)
- Zao Chuo Ropeway
- Sky Cable

Ski course areas open:

- Chuo (part)

Official snow depths (as reported by the ski area):

- Summit area: 15cm
- Paradise area: 30cm
- Chuo area: 20cm
- Utopia area: 25cm
- Uwanodai area: 15cm
- Oomori area: 15cm
- Kurohime: 15cm

Floodlit night skiing:

Uwanodai area:

- 26th December 2020 until 6th March 2021 (daily)
- 13th, 19th, 20th March 2021

Yokokura area:

- 26th December 2020 until 3rd January 2021 (daily)
- 8th January until 6th March 2021 (Fridays, Saturdays & Sundays)

'Light Up' Ropeway operations:

The Zao Ropeway opens in the evenings on the below dates for 'Light Up' sightseeing purposes - to go and see the Juhyo monsters (not for skiing or boarding) on the following upcoming dates:

- 26th December 2020 until 3rd January 2021 (daily)
- Every Friday, Saturday and Sunday in January 2021
- 27th, 28th January 2021
- Every day in February 2021 except Tuesdays

Note: there is an extra charge for this night time Ropeway operation.

Archive report: Posted at 10:05am on Monday 14th December 2020
The latest Zao Now report can be found here

Zao Now ski lift operation notes:

Part of the Chuo area is open, more to follow when there is enough snow

Sunday 13th December 2020
This report
Monday 14th December 2020
Tuesday 15th December 2020
Photo 1
Photo 2
Photo 3
As the hot summer approaches - a few thoughts and an update on what we are up to at the moment

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Japan snowfall data
(updated daily during winter)
Zao Now observed snowfall data (at base): Recent Zao Now reports
The data displayed is correct up to and including Monday 14th December 2020
This graph shows the amount of observed snowfall recorded at base in the 21 Zao Now reports up until Monday 14th December 2020
(View the latest Niseko Now report here :: View more analysis here)
Zao Now observed snowfall data (at base): Recent season comparisons
The data displayed is correct up to and including Monday 14th December 2020
This table shows the amount of observed snowfall recorded at base in the Zao Now reports during same period over the last three seasons
(View the latest Niseko Now report here :: View more analysis here)
*as of Monday 14th December 2020
14th December 16cm 0cm 12cm
13th December 1cm 3cm 2cm
12th December 0cm 0cm 11cm
11th December 0cm - 0cm
17th April 8cm 0cm -
13th April 0cm - 0cm
10th April 3cm - -
Previous 7 days total 28cm 5cm 46cm
Previous 14 days total 37cm 41cm 55cm
November observed snowfall total - 8cm 7cm
December observed snowfall total 17cm 51cm 218cm
January observed snowfall total - 88cm 145cm
February observed snowfall total - 123cm 91cm
March observed snowfall total - 64cm 66cm
April observed snowfall total - 17cm 72cm
May observed snowfall total - - 0cm
Season observed snowfall total 17cm 351cm 599cm
Zao Now observed snowfall data (at base): Monthly and annual accumulation
The data displayed is correct up to and including Monday 14th December 2020
This table shows the amount of observed snowfall recorded at base in the Zao 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 - - 17cm
- - - - -
2019/2020 season - 8cm
2018/2019 season - 7cm
2017/2018 season - 66cm
2016/2017 season - 11cm
2015/2016 season - 22cm
2014/2015 season - 20cm
2013/2014 season - 12cm
2012/2013 season - 3cm
  October November December January February March April May
Zao Now reports before Monday 14th December 2020
Zao Now reports from the same period last season
Zao Now archived reporting
View previous reports posted to Zao Now by clicking on the month