Snow and weather reports posted on Monday 17th February 2020
Friday 12th December 2014, 7:46am
The rain eased off at times yesterday but for lots of the time it was falling heavily from the skies unfortunately. End result is that after all that snow at the weekend, a fair bit of it has gone but like I think I said yesterday there is still a fair bit of snow around on the ground around town.
This morning wet snow is falling in Yuzawa and Kagura are actually reporting 10cm of fresh snow up on their slopes. For the day today, snow on and off - perhaps sleet at times - all a bit wet, but the snow that we have been looking forward to over the weekend still seems set to hit. Starting later on today and potentially heavy snowfall through tomorrow and into Sunday. So I'll look forward to those reports.
Resort news! Two resorts opening for the first time today.
Iwappara are opening from this morning - just the central area Number 2 and 3 pair lifts for the moment, with the West Side Course and the Romance Course open meaning 1300m of skiable course.
Iwappara's partner Joetsu Kokusai to the north in Minamiuonuma (about 20 minutes drive away) is also opening today. They will have 4 lifts operating - the Nagamine Quad, Panorama Quad, Panorama Number 2 and 3 Romance lifts. Courses open will be Nagamine Number 1, Mina Number 1, Panorama 3, Panorama forest courses.
Tomorrow Naeba and Maiko Snow Resort plan to open for the season as well.
Naeba will have a fairl large area open, and downhill from the Number 2 Gondola will be possible as well as part of the left side lower slopes of the resort.
Maiko plans to open the top Okusoeji area, accessed via the Gondola.
A large delivery of snow would certainly help things along!
No new snowfall to report this morning, after what ended up a rather wet day yesterday... but, it's on the way!
In fact, it is snowing at the moment. It's cloud and snow showers forecast for the day today, but that cold winter pattern should be setting in over the region by tonight with lots of snow forecast through until Sunday. Can't wait.
Next week looking promising too.
I don't think it will be long now before we have more of the mountain to play on.
For now, same as yesterday.
Yamabiko A Yamabiko B Yamabiko C Yamabiko D Yamabiko E Kokenashi
Nagasaka Gondola Yamabiko Four Lift Yamabiko Number 2 Four Lift
Warm conditions yesterday continued and we have definitely seen a fair bit of snow melt.
This morning it's cloudy, somewhat colder and light snow is lazily falling from the sky early on. Not going to make much in terms of cm like that, but from later on today into tomorrow and Sunday that system is moving in that should bring with it decent amounts of snow.
I would expect more areas, runs and lifts open from tomorrow. With all of the different resorts in Shiga Kogen doing their own updates (or not as the case sometimes is) it's difficult to bring you the latest on that front.
I'll try to post a report with all of the latest details I can find tomorrow morning.
What's open (as far as I can tell):
Takamagahara The lower runs are open, with the Number 2 triple and Number 3 pair lifts moving.
Ichinose Family The Ichinose Quad and Number 2 Pair A line are moving.
Kumanoyu Number 2 Pair A and B lifts operating.
Yakebitaiyama Yakebitaiyama Second Rapid and Yakebitaiyama Fourth Romance lifts operating. Part of South Course and Karamatsu Courses open.
Yokoteyama Yokoteyama First Sky B Line, Yokoteyama Second Sky, Yokoteyama Fifth and Sixth lifts open. Yokoteyama First Gelende, part of Yokoteyama Second Gelende, Yokoteyama Queen Fifth Gelende open. Read more ...
Friday 12th December 2014, 8:20am
It feels very cold out there this morning and some very low temperatures being reported by the resorts. Need to go out prepared. For cold as well as fun. Light snow continues to fall as I write this and there's another 15-20cm of fresh snow to report here at base since yesterday.
There's more on the way as well with this low pressure system set to deliver large amount of snow to many areas of Japan this weekend. Hopefully we'll be part of the fun there.
There may be a slight easing after the weekend but it's generally snowmen all lined up on the weather forecasts. Niseko isn't the place to come for a high chance of clear skies and sun, that's for sure.
Some more runs open at Niseko Grand Hirafu now and there's another lift moving at Niseko Annupuri... we're getting there! It surely won't be long now before the resorts are all fully open.
So yes, nighta will be starting up for the season from tomorrow night when part of the mountain will be open and floodlit until 8pm.
Someone has asked about the snow depth numbers shown on the page here below. Namely the one that today shows Niseko Grand Hirafu with 160cm on upper slopes and the adjoining Niseko Village with just 80cm. Personally I would say just don't read too much into it, though Hirafu always seem to bring in the larger numbers. They are simply the official snow depth numbers that the resorts post each day. The most important number to look at I reckon is how much snow is falling each day - we all like that fresh layer don't we. In my experience, different people will give you different numbers -- even if they are actually looking at exactly the same spot. I try to give you an 'accurate' (honest) number each day as I observe around me each morning.
Exciting news as well this morning of 10 free Niseko All Mountain lift tickets that will be part of the SnowJapan Prize Draw this season on this here website, coming to you courtesy of the kind people at Hanazono Niseko Japan. Details will be online later in the day on SnowJapan, and I'll post a link as well tomorrow in the report so you can enter if you so wish.
Here's what is planned to be open this morning:
Niseko Grand Hirafu Courses: Family Course, Sen-no-ki, Alpen, Detour for Beginners, Green, Center, Shirakaba, Kokutai, Kogen, Ni-Kabe, Jumbo, Parallel, Rinkan (lowe), Setsuzoku, Jumbo, Parallel Lifts: Ace Family Lift, Ace Number 2 Center Four lift, Ace Number 3 lift, Hirafu Gondola, King Number 3 Triple lift, Swinging Monkey.
Niseko Hanazono Courses: Stairway to Heaven, Silver Dream, Legend of Shinya, Yotei Sunset, Crystal Garden Lifts: All 3 quad lifts operating
Niseko Village Courses: Final Fling, Shaky Knees, Next Stage, Banzai, Cruiser, Don't Blink, beginners course from Gondola, Junkyard, Namara (part ungroomed), Jagaimo (ungroomed), Misoshiru (ungroomed) Lifts: Niseko Gondola, Community Chair, Banzai Chair
Niseko Annupuri Courses: Paradise, Family, Challenge, Marchen, Dynamic, Junior, Utopia, Shirakaba, Silver (9 out of 13 courses open) Lifts: Annupuri Gondola, Jumbo Number 1 Quad, Jumbo Number 2 Pair, Jumbo Number 3 Pair
Nighta is scheduled to open from Saturday 13th December. Just 2 more nights to go!
Official snow depth numbers at the time of writing:
The rain didn't do us any favors yesterday in terms of melt and snow conditions... but quickly and happily moving on, snow is about to make another hopefully dramatic entrance.
For those of you in Japan you might have seen on the news about the winter low pressure weather pattern that is about to hit Japan and bring with it lots of snow. We're probably going to get our fair share, and hopefully more - it's lining up to be a very snowy weekend. There's another wave of snow due mid week next week as well. So hopefully we will soon not need to be talking about which lifts and courses are open - because they'll soon all be open. That's the plan anyway.
Weather this morning? It's 0 degrees, and there's a few cm of snow on the ground in places from overnight, but while it has been snowing very lightly it's just cloudy right now. Looks like really bad visibility on the mountains early on this morning.
The snow I keep on going on about (see above) is due to start later on today, perhaps this evening, so I am crossing all fingers that we'll have something decent to report tomorrow morning.
Hakuba Norikura Onsen, Kashimayari and Hakuba Cortina all planning on being part open from tomorrow. I'll try to bring details of that in my report tomorrow (sorry if that means it might be a bit later - so much to check!)
Later today SnowJapan is going to announce a Prize Draw that includes a lot of Hakuba-related free ski lift tickets to win.
See the main site for details later on today. I'll link that in tomorrow as well.
Happo-one Part of upper areas open.
Official Snow depths: Base - 20cm Usagidaira - 85cm
Open lifts: -Kokusai Number 3 -Panorama -Alpen Quad -Kurobishi Number 2 Quad -Adam Gondola open to take people up to the open area.
Open courses: -Panorama (part) -Usagidaira -Kurobishi (part) -Please note, can't ski back down to base.
Hakuba 47 I think I'm reading this correctly - due to lack of staff, Line E won't be opening today (!), but Line C is open once again. Hakuba 47 plans to be fully open from tomorrow, Saturday.
Official Snow depths: Base - 20cm Upper - 80cm
Open courses: -Route 1 Upper -Route 1 Lower -Route 2 -Route 3 -Route 5 -Route 6 -Route 7 -Route 8 -The Tree Riding Zone is not open yet.
Open lifts: -Gondola -Line A -Line C
Hakuba Goryu The top area of Hakuba Goryu is open. Goryu is reporting 3cm of fresh snow on upper slopes and 2cm in the Iimori area. Open area remains unchanged for the moment.
Official Snow depths: Base - 30cm Alps Daira - 90cm
Open lifts: -Alps Number 1 Pair lift -Alps Number 3 Pair lift -Gondola is open to take people up to the open area
Open courses: -Alps Daira Panorama -Alps Daira Grand Prix -Super Course
Tsugaike Kogen 4000m long course is open from top to bottom.
Official Snow depths: Base - 30cm Upper - 100cm
Open lifts: -Han-no-ki High Speed Pair -Gondola
Open course areas: -Upper Han-no-ki -Lower Han-no-ki -Part of Maruyama -Part of Oya-no-hara
Other planned opening dates:
Hakuba Norikura Onsen - Saturday 13th December Kashimayari Sports Village - Saturday 13th December Hakuba Cortina - Saturday 13th December Hakuba Iwatake Snow Field - Friday 19th December Hakuba Sanosaka - Saturday 20th December Read more ...
Friday 12th December 2014, 9:05am
Cloud and fog
It's snowing now but heavier snow is due tomorrow and Sunday. A storm is coming.
Strong winds already here in Zao this morning and very foggy conditions with poor visibility even down here in the village. Looks like there's almost nothing to see on the slopes.
A few more cm on the ground to report this morning, but this just looks like the start of things with a lot of snow forecast over Saturday and Sunday.
Let's see what I have to report tomorrow!
News on nighta operations at Zao!
Uwanodai area: From Sunday 21st December until 22nd March
Yokokura area: From Friday 26th December until 4th January; Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from Friday 9th January until 15th March
Open times from 5pm until 9pm and the cost is 2000 yen for adults and 1000 yen for children.
Operating lifts at time of writing:
Onsen Number 1 pair lift Mikaeri pair lift Chuo pair lift Paradise pair lift Yokokura Number 1 pair lift Utopia Number 2 pair lift All Ropeways/gondolas
Yesterday saw continuous light snow fall with 4cm accumulation in the village and more at higher elevations. The snow was wet which is ideal for base building and was exactly what we needed. In the early hours of the morning strong winds passed through but have now reduced. At the moment it has stopped snowing, but the forecast looks promising with light snow forecast to fall contimuously through to Monday with some moderate falls Saturday night.
The new snow brings good news. Part of the upper mountain is open from today. Access to the upper mountain will be by Furano Ropeway, with Downhill Romance #2 chair operating for skiing. The skiable course will be the upper part of Sailer that runs next to Downhill Romance #2. In addtion to this the Prince Romance chair will be operating at the base.
It's been cloudy with fog for most of the day. The fog has come and go at base level, but looks pretty heavy higher up.
I have been hesitant to report since yesterday, for the rain yesterday, because were looking for a big snowfall that hasn't happened yet today.
One interesting development yesterday; the town announced that in fact Myoko Suginohara Ski Area will open partially tomorrow! Just the gondola, just the weekend, 8:30 am to 3:30. Pre-season price of ¥2,500.
And, Akakura Onsen Ski Area is also opening some runs for ¥2,500: Kumado No. 1, No. 4, No 5 lifts, from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm. They'll be open to the 19th on that schedule, and we'll see what happens after that.
Kind of surprised by both, partly because Suginohara is not the quickest to open (and tends to close early), Akakura Onsen hasn't had any additional snow really since the big fall earlier this week.