Good morning to you all from my secret base here in Hirafu and - just like yesterday - there's 12cm of fresh snow to report since I last posted. Nice.
It ended up snowing through lots of the day yesterday and with the Avalanche Report saying 20cm of snow up at Moiwa and I'm hearing similar from Grand Hirafu staff on mountain, it should be a good morning.
Things are keeping nice and cold as well and feeling suitably winter-y this morning and decent snow falling as I write this. With more snow expected today and tomorrow as well, hopefully there'll be another decent number to report tomorrow and conditions should be good for the start of the weekend.
Today is one of those rare days when I'm going to try and get first tracks in. So hope to see you out there.
Resort specific lift opening news at time of posting (subject to change during the day):
Niseko base 6.00am: -6°C, calm, 15cm new crystal snow. Moiwa 838m: -9.2°C, NE1.0m/s, 20cm new snow, minor snowdrift development. Hirafu Ridgeline: -10°C, 15cm new snow, calm. Annupuri 1000m: snowpack 300cm. Annupuri 1150m: W15m/s, 15cm new snow, snowdrift development. Coastal data: Benkei Cape:W5m/s. Kamui Cape NW6m/s, 1015hPa, wave 1.1m.
Atmospheric pressure gradient is shallow and below 1100m weather is calm. Take care on western sides of the mountain above 1100m (Osawa, upper levels of Kozan no sawa), the developing snow drifts are forming slabs. There is possibility of surface slab avalanches up to 30cm thickness on steep slopes fracturing on Mar 9th layer. Some areas of the mountain are completely bare of new snow, exposing the icy Mar 9th layer, take care slipping in these areas. Snow below 1000m is good in the trees and old surface completely buried in new snow. All peak gates are expected to open. Out of bounds areas are not managed. Listen to the patrols advice before leaving the ski area. Wind is expected to pick up around noon again. Be careful of a sudden change in weather. The mountains are back to winter conditions. Have a good day.
Official resort snow depths as of Friday 11th March 2016:
The morning started out very sunny with nice blue skies. In the last half hour some light cloud has rolled over the top of the resort and is hanging around the upper third of the mountain. -12c was recorded at the top earlier on, so conditions will be firm and fast with a light layer of new snow overnight. Temperatures will rise during the day but should stay below freezing.
Conditions will be relatively calm over the next few days. Ligth snow is forecast for the next 6 days and there is a significant dump on the radar for Tuesday evening. Read more ...
Shiga Kogen Now!
Friday 11th March 2016, 9:39am
Sunny some cloud earlier, clouding over forecast
Good morning from Shiga Kogen.
And guess what... fresh snow!
There's 5cm outside my place but I am hearing up to 10cm in some other places. So a fairly decent layer to give us some fun this morning and the sun has been out early on as well so early risers should be enjoying themselves this morning.
It is forecast to get more cloudy during the middle of the day though and we might get some more snow falling before my report tomorrow morning. And tomorrow too.
Official snow depths at Shiga Kogen resort areas (Friday 11th March 2016):
Sun Valley 60cm Nighta on Saturdays until 19th March (7pm-9pm)
Takamagahara Mammoth 120cm
Tannenomori Okojo 120cm
Ichinose Family 120cm Nighta daily until 27th March (6:30pm-9pm)
Ichinose Diamond 120cm Nighta on Saturdays until 26th March (6:30pm-9pm)
Ichinose Yamanokami 120cm
Yakebitaiyama 120cm Nighta on Saturdays until 12th March (6pm-8pm)
Okushiga Kogen 85cm
Kumanoyu 120cm Nighta on Saturdays until 26th March (6:30pm-9pm) Also on 20th March
It's a pleasingly cold start to the day and there has just been a slight bit of snowfall with trees looking frosted and very pretty this morning. Might we get a bit more tonight? Possibly if some forecasts are to be believed but I wouldn't be getting to excited about the possibility. Come with some spring riding in mind and you'll be fine!
Should keep quite chilly tomorrow as well, perhaps a little warmer on Sunday.
Last night brought some welcome and much unexpected snow. About 6cm fell overnight which will certainly help the people on the mountain today. Although yesterdays conditions were less than ideal with ice civering most of the runs the snowfall last night should offer a little buffer zone. The rest of today should be pleasant with perhaps a few more centimetres of snow falling and intermittent sunshine most of the day. It’s certainly chilled out considerably since the weekend too with temperatures today supposed to hit a low of -11.
The next few days should bring fairly light winds and perhaps a little snow. Temperatures will increase somewhat but won’t touch the plus band until at least Wednesday or Thursday next week. If you plan to get out I’d recommend coming now. Although we’ve got a icy top layer you can guarantee the conditions starting next week will deteriorate until closing. Lets hope I’m wrong.
Currently planned operating lifts:
- Appi Gondola - Central Number 1 quad - Number 2 lift A - T Bar - Number 3 lift B - Number 3 lift C - Number 4 lift - Sailer Gondola - Sailer Quad - Vista quad
It's keeping quite cold this morning. Just tiny bit of snow falling yesterday evening for a short while but it didn't really amount to anything. This morning mostly cloudy conditions with perhaps a bit of light snow falling in higher elevations. There's a bit of blue sky about but not the clearer skies that some local forecasts have down for us - not yet anyway, perhaps it will clear up.
Tomorrow possibly a mix of cloud and sunshine and fingers crossed it'll remain quite cold as well and not warm up much.
Resort news as of 9:10am on Friday 11th March 2016 (where available, all subject to change due to weather conditions)
Hakuba 47: Hakuba 47 is reporting 0cm of fresh snowfall this morning. All courses set to open this morning. It appears that the Tree Riding Zone has re-opened. There is no 'nighta' at Hakuba 47. Official snow depth: Upper: 195cm Base: 90cm
Hakuba Goryu: Hakuba Goryu is reporting 0-3cm of fresh snowfall this morning. All courses open apart from Snow Diving and Adventure. The Toomi area will be open until 9:30pm tonight for 'nighta'. Official snow depth Alps: 252cm Toomi: 125cm Iimori: 70cm
Hakuba Happo-one: Hakuba Happo-one is reporting 2cm of fresh snowfall this morning. Part of the lower Kokusai and Kitaone areas are closed due to lack of snow. Night skiing has now finished for the season. Official snow depth: Usagidaira: 185cm Nakiyama: 50cm Sakka: 30cm
Hakuba Cortina: Hakuba Cortina is reporting 2cm of fresh snowfall this morning. All courses open apart from Itadaira Ridge, Itadaira Forest and Giant. The Ikenota area will be open for 'nighta' until 8pm tonight (9pm on Saturdays). Official snow depth: Top: 155cm Base: 90cm
Tsugaike Kogen: All courses are open except Uma-no-se. Nighta at Karamatsu/Shirakaba on 12th/19th March. Note that the top Tsugaike Ropeway only opens from spring (no news yet). Official snow depth: Tsuga-no-mori: 235cm Maruyama: 60cm Kane-no-naru-oka: 50cm
Hakuba Iwatake Snow Field: Areas of Village Side that remain open - Sunny Valley, by2, by3, Shinden connecting. Kometsuga and Paradise remain part open. Parts of the Mountain Side that are closed - View A, View B, Kamo 4, Dangan, Sonezawa, Five Side. There is no 'nighta' at Hakuba Iwatake. Official snow depth: Upper: 115cm Lower: 35cm
Hakuba Norikura Onsen: Closed courses are Kamoshika, Highway, Snake, Expert, Sky View and lower part of Satomi Ridge. There is no 'nighta' at Hakuba Norikura. Official snow depth: 85cm
It's cloud and blue sky at the moment over the village and mountain with just a little bit of fresh snow to report, hopefully maybe a few cm higher up.
Not much potential for snow according to the weekly forecast at the moment though it should be keeping pretty cold at least for the next day or two; perhaps a little warmer come Sunday. Fingers crossed it doesn't start warming up too much like the other day!
It won't be as busy as mid season tomorrow but expect there to be quite a lot of people coming out. Lots of 'time for that last ski' kind of discussions being heard...
Zao of course usually opens in some parts through until Golden Week in early May. Just what the snow situation will be like even in early April will be interesting to see.
Information as of Friday 11th March 2016 (subject to change)
All lifts are operating apart from the Karamatsu pair lift which is closed on weekdays.
Morning from Yuzawa, sorry for the late report today.
It has been a somewhat odd morning. Quite cold actually, quite a bit of sunshine and at times a few small flakes of snow seemingly falling from nowhere. As we approach noon, it's mostly cloudy.
Local forecasts say for the rest of the day it'll be a mix of cloud and sun, so perhaps it is going to clear up a bit.
Similar kind of conditions seem to be expected tomorrow as well - maybe with more of the sun bit and a little warmer than today.
There's still not much sign of snow on the forecast for the coming week; better chances of there being some new cm the higher up you go of course. Oh yes, Kagura reporting a few cm of fresh this morning...
Resort official snow depths (Friday 11th March 2016) and any specific news at time of writing:
After some very warm conditions recently, there are some patches of ground on view on some lower slopes around town now. Southern facing slopes are generally more affected. Some courses at resorts are closed due to the snow situation - best to check with the individual resorts for their up-to-date details. Snow cover remains good higher up and is not a problem.
Details of the 'nighta' operations at ski and snowboards resorts around Yuzawa and Minamiuonuma. Subject to change due to snow conditions.
Ishiuchi Maruyama Open daily until 8:50pm (until 20th March). The Chuo No 1 and Chuo No 2 lifts are open daily. The Kanko No 1, Kanko No 2, Kanko No 3, Hatsukaishi Entrance lift, Hatsukaishi No 2 pair lifts are open on weekends and holidays. The basic charge is 2000 yen but various tickets are available.
Iwappara Open daily until 9pm on Saturdays and until 8pm on weekdays and Sundays (until 21st March). The charge is 1500 yen for adults and 1000 yen for children and seniors.
Joetsu Kokusai Open daily until 9pm (until 21st March). The charge is 1500 yen for adults and 1000 yen for children and seniors. On weekdays the area in front of the main hotel is open - a larger area (including Osawa and Atema) is open on weekends.
Kandatsu Kogen Open from 6pm until 4am on Fridays, Saturdays and evenings before holidays through 26th March. Open from 4:30pm until 11pm on weekdays until 24th March. Various tickets are available starting at 2000 yen for adults, 1700 yen for seniors and 1000 yen for children.
Maiko Snow Resort Open daily with the Maiko Center quad lift operating from 4pm until 8pm. The charge is 500 yen for everyone.
Naeba Open daily until 27th March. From 4pm until 8:30pm on weekdays and Sundays (2000 yen); until 9pm every Saturday and on 20th March (3000 yen). 'All Night' opening is planned for Saturday 26th March when Naeba will be open from 10pm until 5am.
Yuzawa Nakazato Open on Saturdays from 5pm until 8:30pm (until 12th March). Tickets are 1500 yen for adults and 1000 yen for children and seniors.