I thought the snowfall most of the day yesterday was great but when I woke up this morning and wiped the sleep out of my eyes it was a sight to behold. I'm being a little conservative when I say we had 35cm of powder dumped on our little corner of the world.
It's still dumping outside with no end in sight. I'd say we'll probably get another 30-40 cm today and the same overnight. Now that I have your attention let's talk about the rest of the week too. By Saturday morning Appi should have another 100cm of fresh snow. With that much snow coming I could bet that most, if not all, of the mountain will be open for business. That's excellent news for everyone.
Temperatures right now are around -4 at the base with the wind reducing that considerably at the summit.
Unfortunately we still are in limited operations on the mountain itself but that's going to change very quickly. I'm sure the main gondola operations may be interrupted somewhat today with the winds too. For this of you coming today you're in for a very nice powdery day out there.
That's all for now. I've got to find my snowblower, it's under all that white stuff somewhere !!
Currently planned operating lifts (subject to change due to weather conditions):
Gondola Central quad Central number 1 Central number 2 Central number 3a Central number 4 Central number 5 Sailer quad
And it is an extremely cold one too. Feels like the coldest of the season to me for sure. -10 degrees my thermometer was saying.
There is new snow out there, I measure just over 8cm, which is very nice though personally I wouldn't imagine it to be enough to properly cover that harder layer that we've been gliding on over the last few days. Perhaps there's much more higher up. Whatever, the next few days should see to that with decent snowfall still showing on the forecast. Snow is expected to continue falling throughout the day today and tomorrow. And hopefully beyond that.
It is going to be windy too and we can expect lift disruption - at the start of the day the top lifts at Niseko Grand Hirafu, Niseko Village and Niseko Annupuri are on hold. Usually I'd be a bit put out by that, and I can certainly sympathise with the good folk visiting Niseko for their holidays just at this moment. But I think we would all agree with the real need of lots of fresh snow and a run of days of stormy conditions. Let's hope disruption is kept to a minimum.
There's lots of people out early this morning eager to claim first tracks this morning. I'm going to join them soon.
I have been very interested in reading some of the really very fine comments that a lot of you have sent to SnowJapan since the message posted on the report a few days ago. It’s really great to read them. Thank you very much for the kind comments. I must admit that some days I really would like to have a big lie-in and some days I would love to be at the front of the queue for the first lifts of the day, but I do really enjoy posting the reports. I will continue to gambarimasu.
(Don’t worry, the comments I was shown were 100% anonymous. Though perhaps do look out for loads of ‘Book Now’ emails coming soon**)
I do not read any other snow reports - either ones from Japan or overseas. Well, apart from the ones on this website. In the case of Niseko in particular, I have always felt that it is best that I write my reports without reading what anyone else might be saying on the subject.
I perhaps naively thought that ‘honest reports’ would be the norm, rather than the exception. But lots of you seem to be expressing some serious irritation with resorts and snow reports in general. Not just ones from Japan but from pretty much everywhere. I don’t know how folk can sleep at night if they are intentionally misleading or even posting outright lies.
But anyway if you approve of the concept, it’s all the more reason to try to spread the word about SnowJapan.com to other people. Let’s turn it round, and put pressure on ‘the bad guys’!
The current strong wintery pressure system is bringing cold air and strong westerly wind. The gates’ opening is yet to be decided, please follow the ski patrol’s instructions. The snow below tree level has been reset and in good shape. The storm is forecasted to pick up and make the snowdrifts and cornices drastically grow. The avalanche risk is already high and will rise accordingly. Most avalanche accidents occur in leeward heavily snow-loaded slopes during strong storms. Today’s conditions are different from yesterday’s. Make conservative decisions today.
A guided tour tried to walk over the net of the closed Gate 6 yesterday afternoon. Moiwa may not be within the Niseko United group, but is strictly conforming the Niseko Rules. Anyone disregarding the Rules will be refused to use the resort premises. The freedom to ride out of bounds and the guiding business relying on that can only be guaranteed by abiding the Rules. Better not make light of them.
Beware of frostbites.
Resort specific opening news at time of writing (subject to change during the day):
Niseko Grand Hirafu The top Ace Number 4 and King Number 4 lifts are on hold due to wind conditions.
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. Read more ...
Wednesday 11th January 2017, 8:36am
Soon after posting the report yesterday, I was off out for a ski. By the time I was in the gondola at Maiko Snow Resort, I was really surprised at how clear it was turning out to be and also how much snow there was hanging on the trees. While there had been hardly any fresh snow on lower levels, it was different higher up with about 20cm of fresh and some really nice conditions to boot. By late morning there was hardly a cloud in the sky - it had turned into a beautiful morning. That wasn't something that the forecast said...
The contrast between the upper Okusoeji area of the resort (lots of nice fresh snow and it hanging on the trees) and the base (no fresh snow and it very thin on the ground) was quite stark. But it was certainly very good to see that fine conditions could be found - just need to go and seek them.
By mid afternoon the skies were mostly grey... and then later on it rained again.
I'm prepared to forget about that quickly though because this morning there's lovely fresh snow on the ground, it is snowing quite nicely, and it looks like we're in for a treat still through until at least early next week.
This morning there's nearly 25cm on the ground - in town areas. And here is what I can get from resorts:
As I am writing this report and in the last few minutes it has actually just stopped snowing and I can even see a glimpse of some sky behind the fast-moving clouds... I think (hope) that it's just temporary and we should be back to the snow quickly. The forecast is for snow with particularly heavy snow from Friday through the weekend.
I sense this will be the real turning point of the season. In a good way. :)
Resort-specific info as of Wednesday 11th January 2017
GALA Yuzawa All three areas now open. 13 courses are open in total as well as the sledding area. Official snow depth: 190cm
Ishiuchi Maruyama Lifts from all three base areas are operating and most course areas are available. Official snow depth: 100cm
Iwappara Mostly open - just a few courses now not open. 6 lifts and 17 courses are available. Official snow depth: 65cm
Joetsu Kokusai 17 lifts are operating and 17 courses are open. Official snow depth: 60cm
Kagura All areas of Kagura are open. Official snow depth: Kagura - 210cm Mitsumata - 180cm Tashiro - 160cm
Kandatsu Kogen Kandatsu Kogen is now 'fully open'. (Note that Milky Way and Andromeda courses are open only on weekends and holidays). Official snow depth: 150cm
Maiko Snow Resort All lifts now operating as planned and most courses are available. Official snow depth: Upper - 160cm Base - 30cm
Muikamachi Hakkaisan All planned lifts are now operating and all main courses now open. Note that the Number 2 lift and one course only operate on weekends and holidays. Official snow depth: 120cm
Naeba All lifts and areas now open. Please see Naeba Now report for more specific details. Official snow depth: 130cm
NASPA Ski Garden NASPA Ski Garden is open. All lifts are operating and all courses (apart from the mogul course) are open. Official snow depth: 95cm
Yuzawa Kogen All lifts operating and all courses open. Official snow depth: Top - 130cm Base - 60cm
Yuzawa Park Yuzawa Park is now fully open. Official snow depth: 75cm
Yuzawa Nakazato Yuzawa Nakazato is open with all lifts operating. Official snow depth: 70cm
'Nighta' (floodlit night operations)
Below are details of the planned 'nighta' operations at ski and snowboards resorts around Yuzawa and Minamiuonuma this season. This information is subject to change due to snow and weather conditions. *** Please note that this section will not be updated every day.
Ishiuchi Maruyama Daily until 19th March 2017. Nighta is from 5pm until 8:50pm. The Chuo Number 1, Chuo Number 2 and Kanko Number 3 Express lifts are open daily. The Kanko Number 1 Express lift, Hatsukaishi Entrance lift and Hatsukaishi Number 2 pair lifts are also open on weekends and holidays.
Iwappara Daily until 20th March 2017. Nighta is from 5pm until 9pm on Saturdays and until 8pm on weekdays and Sundays. The Main course, Grand course and West courses are open during nighta.
Joetsu Kokusai Daily until 20th March 2017. Nighta is from 5pm until 9pm. The area in front of the main base hotel is open for nighta.
Kandatsu Kogen 'Hobo All Night' ('Almost All Night') is on Fridays, Saturdays and nights before holidays between 29th December 2016 and 1st April 2017. The nighta opening times on those days is from 6pm until 4am the following morning.
Maiko Snow Resort Daily until 19th March 2017. Nighta is from 4pm until 8pm. The Maiko center quad lift on the Maiko Side of the resort operates for nighta.
Naeba Daily until 26th March 2017. Nighta is from 4pm until 8:30pm. Part of the lower area of the resort is usually open for nighta.
NASPA Ski Garden 'Thanks' (extended) opening on Saturdays in January and February and also from 30th December until 8th January 2017. On those days the Number 1 lift is open until 6pm.
Yuzawa Nakazato Every Saturday from 7th January until 11th March 2017, 8th January 2017. Nighta is from 5pm until 8:30pm. The Number 2 pair lift operates during nighta. Read more ...
Nozawa Onsen Now!
Wednesday 11th January 2017, 8:36am
Mixed - mostly cloudy, some breaks in the cloud
Lovely day yesterday. The sun was out and blue skies. Conditions at Yamabiko were very nice.
Good news this morning from Nozawa as our big week (hopefully) continues as we approach the highlight which should be this weekend.
This morning there's an impressive chunk of snow up top - 45cm being reported by the resort from the top Yamabiko area! - and 25cm being reported across the mountain. My measurement this morning was 23cm. So there's a very nice new cover across the resort and we're expecting more... a lot more... between now and Monday. The heaviest snow is still forecast for Friday night and through the weekend.
Very excited about this. Let's see how much I have to report tomorrow morning.
In the meantime, I'm going to wrap up well and head up to that snow... some more courses open now (check the data below).
Wednesday 11th January 2017
Lifts operations: All lifts appear to be operating except for: - Mizunashi triple - Challenge pair - Utopia pair - Kandahar pair
Most courses at Nozawa Onsen are now open. Courses not open are: - Kurokura - Hachiman - Mukobayashi - Kandahar East - Kandahar West
Again not a whole lot in base areas but a lot more as you go higher.
This morning it is snowing on the mountains though not at base. There's a bit of a wind blowing at times I hear higher up, and there's a chance that it might affect lifts but the only thing I can notice so far is the Hakuba Iwatake gondola on standby due to wind.
The forecast still looks excellent for the coming days and I hope to be reporting fresh every day into next week. Keep an eye on the forecasts especially if you are planning on visiting - and come prepared. Surely by the beginning of next week, I'll be able to just tell you that all of the resorts are fully open. It's my dream!!
In the meantime there's some fine snow conditions to be enjoyed out there on them there mountains. Where to go today...!
Resort news as of 8:40am on Wednesday 11th January 2017:
All information as available and subject to change during the day due to weather and snow conditions.
Hakuba 47: Hakuba 47 is reporting 15cm of fresh snowfall on the upper slopes. The top connection with Hakuba Goryu is open. Operating lifts and course info: - All planned lifts are operating (Line D usually only operates when the gondola is not operating). - All courses now open -- Route 7 is open from today. - The Tree Riding Zones are not yet open. Official snow depth Upper: 145cm Base: 35cm
Hakuba Goryu: Hakuba Goryu is reporting 5cm-15cm of fresh snowfall (lower > upper areas). The top connection with Hakuba 47 is open. Operating lifts and course info: - All lifts apart from the Alps 2/4 and Cosmo quad lift are operating. The following courses are open: - Grand Prix - Panorama - Super - Champion Dynamic - Woody - Toomi - Soft Cream - Merry Land - Powder Snow Official snow depth Alps: 150cm Toomi: 45cm Iimori: 30cm
Hakuba Happo-one: Hakuba Happo-one is again reporting up to 30cm of fresh snowfall on the slopes. You can ski or board back down to base via the Riesen Slalom and Nakiyama South course. Downloading via Gondola or lift required in the other areas. Operating lifts and course info: - Most lifts are now operating with just a number of base area lifts still to get moving. The following courses are open: - Kurobishi - Usagidaira - Skyline - Riesen - Panorama - Nakiyama South - Kita-one 3 Official snow depth: Usagidaira: 115cm Kurobishi: 175cm Lower: 30cm
Tsugaike Kogen: Tsugaike Kogen is mostly open. Operating lifts and course info: - Most lifts are now operating. The following courses are open: - Kane-no-naru-oka areas are part open. - All other course areas are available. Official snow depth: Tsuga-no-mori: 139cm Han-no-ki: 130cm Maruyama: 50cm Oya-no-hara: 30cm Kane-no-naru-oka: 25cm
Hakuba Cortina: Hakuba Cortina is now mostly open. The resort is reporting 6cm of fresh snowfall at base and 10-15cm at top. Operating lifts and course info: - Number 6 lift is not operating yet. - Itadaira One and part of Warabidaira courses closed. - Connection to Hakuba Norikura from top area only. Official snow depth: Top: 145cm Base: 90cm
Hakuba Iwatake Snow Field: Hakuba Iwatake Snow Field is part open. Operating lifts and course info: - Gondola - Paradise triple - 3-sen North lift - 4-sen East lift - 5-sen South lift The following courses are at least part open: - East - North - South (part) - Gezan (part) - Sunny Valley (part) - Paradise (part) - by1 Official snow depth: Top: 70cm Base: 40cm
Hakuba Norikura Onsen: Hakuba Norikura Onsen is mostly open. Lift info: - All but one lift are now operating with most courses planned to be open. Official snow depth: Top: 85cm
Kashimayari: Kashimayari is part open with all but two lifts operating this morning. Official snow depth: Top: 40cm
Please note that Yanaba ski hill will not be opening for the 2016-2017 season Read more ...
Wednesday 11th January 2017, 8:56am
Hello and a very good morning to you from Madarao.
And it is a good one with a lot to look forward to as well.
Just over 20cm of fresh snowfall to report this morning (and 20cm is what the resort are reporting as well). It's cold, the snow quality looks great... and there's more on the way. The forecast for over the weekend is still looking fantastic - for heavy snowfall, not for clear skies!
Looks like we're on for some serious snow.
Operating status for the day at Madarao Kogen (at time of report):
- Number 1 lift - Number 2 quad lift - Number 3A lift - Super quad lift - Number 11 lift - Number 12 lift - Number 13 lift - Number 15 lift - Moving walkway - Kids Park - Freeride Park
The snow is falling at Grandeco and has been through most of yesterday evening. It's forecasted to continue snowing the rest of the day and into tomorrow.
With 5cm of new snow, conditions are groomed and packed powder through out the resort. The courses at Grandeco are now 80% operational, with just over 4000 meters of ski-able terrain. No new courses to report now, but if snow continues the #4 Lift should be opening by this weekend. As it's mid-week, lift lines should not be a problem.
For people wanting to climb Mt. Nishidaiten, please be sure to fill in the mountain climbing sheet located by the ticket counter. Take the gondola and the Number 3 lift to hike up. It will take one and half hours from the top of the lift to Mt. Nishidaiten peak by foot. Snowshoes are highly recommended.
Snow Park Information:
4m straight rail, 5m straight rail, 4 formed cask, drum can, 6m straight box, 8m straight rail, 3m kicker, 5m table top. Newly added to the park is a large 3m high x 8m long J-Curve Snowbank. More to come from the park team in the near future.
- Gondola - Number 1 quad lift - Number 2 quad lift - Number 3 quad lift
[A-a] Rainbow 3500 [A-b] Rainbow 3500 [A-c] Rainbow 3500 [B-a] Mint A [B-c] Mint C [C] Center [D-b] Lavender B [F] Basil
Official snow depth: 100cm
Road Condition to Grandeco: Inawashiro through Goshikinuma: plowed/icey Goshikinuma through Grandeco: plowed/icey Snow tires are necessary and be sure to take your time when driving. Read more ...
Wednesday 11th January 2017, 9:09am
Morning from here in Zao where there's nearly 20cm of fresh snow on the ground.
It's continuing to snow with the forecast showing sustained snowfall through until the end of the weekend. Heavy at times. So there should be some decent numbers coming through in my reports over the next few days.
We needed it all of course and so the more the better. Though with sudden heavy snowfall, extra care needed especially when visibility is restricted like this morning.
Stay safe and have fun. Wrap up well too... it's cold!
The following lifts are not operating: Karamatsu pair Paradise Number 3 pair Yokokura Number 2 pair
Official snow depths: Chuo - 90cm Utopia - 80cm Uwanodai - 55cm Paradise - 90cm
Juhyo 'Ice Monsters' Light Up night time Zao Ropeway operations - upcoming dates
January 2017: 14th, 15th, 21st, 22nd, 27th-31st February 2017: 1st-28th March 2017: 1st-5th
Operating from 5pm until 9pm; last ropeway up at 7:50pm. Ropeway return charges are 2,600 yen for adults and 1,300 yen for children. In the event of poor weather conditions, operations are sometimes cancelled. Read more ...
Wednesday 11th January 2017, 9:11am
Overcast and snowing
Good morning from Naeba everybody.
Once again the snow has come as predicted and dropped a solid 17 cm of snow in the early hours of this morning.
Conditions are powdery across most of the mountain with not too many groomed runs this morning. Riding conditions should remain excellent for most if not all the day.
As before the weather forecast is predicting snow every day going on with heavy snowfall on Friday.
All signs are pointing to a great day ahead with 10cm of new snow having fallen overnight. This is not as fluffy as the usual Furano powder, being a bit denser and heavier. Still though, it is a fine product. The forecast is showing significant snowfall during today and tomorrow, and then from Friday onwards there will be light falls to replenish the slopes.
Driving around the village this morning the wind is evident with a stream of snow being whipped off exposed snow banks. Winds are strong in some places on the upper mountain, but so far this is not interferring with any lift operations.
Temperatures are cold at -11c at base, and factoring in the wind it will be a good idea to tighten up all draw cords and put on an extra layer.
For those heading out early it is going to be a fantastic powder morning!
Great conditions yesterday, 30-40cm deep in the gullies at Tenjin and today we have about 25cm at the base and they are calling it 30cm up top but the base has risen by 35cm and its very likely there is a lot more in various parts of the resort. With shrinkage from the hot day yesterday, it's at least 40cm of new snow. Conditions are great and the forecast for the next few days is massive snow.
Photos from Tenjin yesterday...
Official snow depths:
190cm Tenjin 120cm Hodaigi 60cm Okutone
Resorts in Minakami (forecasts available from each page):