Snow and weather reports posted on Thursday 5th December 2019
Friday 13th January 2017, 8:07am
Fine, some thin cloud
It's a good morning from here in Niseko.
Nature has blessed us a very nice delivery of quality snowfall since my last report.
First of all just looking back to yesterday... the Swinging Monkey lift at Niseko Grand Hirafu didn’t make it to 10am yesterday morning and the lower Morino Chair and Village Express lifts at Niseko Village also had to halt mid-morning before being able to re-open again early afternoon. It was windy out there.
So onto today. And it looks like it should be a very good day indeed.
Decent amount of quality dry and light powder - check! Cold - check! Some blue skies and sunshine - check! Much less wind - check! Top lifts open - check!
On that last point, I think that today the top lifts should be operating as planned. And because they were closed yesterday there will very probably be people fighting to get up and play in that untouched snow.
That's it for me. Time to put on my own 'fighting gear'! Can't wait.
I sometimes hear people asking about the mysterious Country Road Chair ski lift which can be seen lurking around on the trail map and indeed in person on the upper half of the Niseko Village resort area in a seemingly permanently resting kind of state.
Why isn’t it moving? Does it ever open? Does it have magical powers?
I spoke with someone from Niseko Village (located in Niseko Town, ba-dum-tsh!) about said lift to try and get some official word. Basically, this pair lift isn’t scheduled to open - but from time to time you might catch it moving. From what I gather that will most likely happen at times when it’s extremely busy or some kind of special event. It obviously is kept in working order as it can be called into action when called upon, and it does keep its place on the trail map.
So now you know, sort of.
Niseko Avalanche Report:
Niseko base 6am: -8℃, 15cm snowfall and calm. Moiwa850m: -11℃, W5m/s, large development of cornice and snowdrifts. Annupuri1150m: -20℃, the snow is blown and cornices and snowdrifts have developed. Hirafu1250m: -12℃, mild westerly wind, 15cm snowfall and cornices/snowdrifts developed in Higashi-One. Kamui cape lighthouse: WSW8m/s, 1000hPa, 2.1m waves.
The wind is calming down. Newly formed wind-drifts of 100cm thickness have been observed. The new layer is stabilizing as we speak, but the avalanche risk will remain high all day. The cornices have grown big and are likely to fall and trigger a slide as they do. Beware and don’t stimulate them. Stay away from cornices and knolls and do not traverse steep slopes. Gates opening is undecided. Please follow the ski patrol’s instructions.
Surface slab avalanches occur as slabs slide in leeward slopes. Slopes near cornices in Higashi-One, Backbowl (Kozan no sawa), Annupuri bowl (Osawa) are all in critical conditions. Do not stay put in valley bottoms, avalanches strike from above. The snow in the treeruns is a little wind-affected and heavy but light snow is blanketing and is in great conditions. Wearing helmets, beacons and other safety equipments is strongly recommended when stepping out of bounds.
Resort specific opening news at time of writing (subject to change during the day):
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 ...
Friday 13th January 2017, 8:10am
The beautiful heavy snowfall continues here in Yuzawa.
Since my report yesterday morning I measure another 24cm of fresh snow on the ground. (And counting).
And as ski resorts, this is how much fresh snow they are reporting this morning:
Naeba: 10-20cm or 20-30cm (the resort seems to be saying both!) Kagura: 20cm Kagura (Mitsumata area): 20cm Kagura (Tashiro area): 15cm Maiko Snow Resort: 30-50cm
* For those of you new to the reports, the only reason I mention those resorts in particular is because they are the ones that actually publish such numbers daily. If others did, I'd mention those too!
And here's out first-hand observations on the ground of the snowfall since the report yesterday.
Outside our place in Minamiuonuma (not far from Maiko and Ishiuchi Maruyama just to the north of Yuzawa): 20cm
At our measuring spot in Yuzawa town: 24cm
And... the snow is still forecast to continue falling - at times heavily - until at least early in the week and probably beyond. Heaviest due over the weekend.
Curiously it doesn't feel that cold.
There's big flakes coming down at quite some speed. The 'walls of snow' that develop by the side of the roads are starting to appear - though they have some way to go yet before being the 3m in height that they have known to be. Let's see how big they can get over the next few days.
Yes. This all feels... right! :)
If you like skiing or snowboarding while heavy snow is falling and visibility is limited, it should be really great out there this morning. Do take care in these conditions though. If you want to wait until the storm passes, it's might be an idea to consider leaving it until at least early next week. Though of course sometimes we just have to ski when we get the chance. Wrap up well and enjoy!
One thing is for certain, this snowfall will breathe new life into all the resorts in the region and they can concentrate on just getting on with peak season.
There'll be lots of smiling faces around now.
On a very sad note, it was on the news yesterday about two snowboarders missing for a few days. They had gone up to Kagura for some backcountry riding (according to the news) and are still missing. Apparently the search will continue this morning but it's going to be difficult in these conditions.
Let's hope that particular story can end with good news.
Official snow depth information as of Friday 13th January 2017
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 ...
Shiga Kogen Now!
Friday 13th January 2017, 8:34am
Morning from Shiga Kogen.
Another 14cm of fresh snowfall to report this morning as snow clouds remain over the region.
Here in the Hasuike area right now there's a cloud/fog making visibility very limited though I see it is better in other areas (looking at webcams). Snow is falling moderately here at the moment and snow is still on the forecast and set to continue throughout the weekend. Looks like we should be getting a fair bit more before Monday rolls around.
If you plan to be here over the weekend - come prepared for full on winter conditions! Snow should be fantastic if you are ok with such conditions.
Question from reader: how can snow be falling and the snow depths still be so low? Ah, a common one! And I don't know the answer. And as I often say, it's almost ok to ignore the official numbers (I feel) as the resorts somehow never seem to want to increase them too much. The number to keep a track of is my observed snowfall each day... that is how much snow is falling at base - and you can probably add to that for higher up too.
Official snow depths numbers reported by different areas of Shiga Kogen:
Most of ski lifts and courses in Shiga Kogen are now open. Please note that these numbers are the official numbers that ski resorts publish.
Close on 60cm of fresh snowfall in places. At base. It might even be more, but I'll keep it on the conservative side and from my usual measuring point.
My car was almost buried this morning. Actually it still is. But what a sight to behold.
There has been some serious snowfall overnight in the region. So much so that early morning the ski resorts are struggling to get open as planned. Not because of bad weather as such, but because of having to deal with all of the snow. Hopefully that should quickly not be an issue and places will open as normal.
Here is what the resorts are reporting this morning (fresh snowfall):
Heavy snowfall is likely to not be far away through the coming weekend and so it looks like there's going to be more piling up.
With such large amounts of sudden snowfall, it's a case of resort folk running around and being... rather busy. Once things settle down I would expect lifts and course that have until now been unable to open to start opening up. Things might change very quickly too - parts of the resort-specific information may well be out of date soon after I post it. I will try to keep the information on this page up to date but if fine details are important to you over the next few days I would contact resorts directly to get their latest.
If you are heading out there in these conditions: don't forget the dangers out there especially with the sudden increase in fresh snow and visibility issues as well.
Extra caution and calm thinking absolutely required. Take care.
I'm so incredibly happy to see this happen at last. :)
And those of you planning to be here next week --- very nice timing!
Resort news as of 8:45am on Friday 13th January 2017:
All information as available and subject to change during the day due to weather and snow conditions. Early morning some resorts are having to delay opening as they deal with all the snowfall.
Hakuba 47: Hakuba 47 is reporting 50cm of fresh snowfall. Early morning snow-moving delaying opening of some areas. Operating lifts and course info: - All lifts plan to be operating (Line D usually only operates when the gondola is not operating). - The Tree Riding Zones are not yet open. Official snow depth Upper: 220cm Base: 80cm
Hakuba Goryu: Hakuba Goryu is reporting 40cm-60cm of fresh snowfall. Early morning snow-moving delaying opening of upper areas. Operating lifts and course info: - All lifts plan to be operating apart from the Alps 2/4 and Cosmo quad lift. - Nighta from 6pm until 9:30pm on the Toomi area. Official snow depth Alps: 205cm Toomi: 90cm Iimori: 70cm
Hakuba Happo-one: Hakuba Happo-one is reporting 60cm of fresh snowfall. 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. I'd expect that to change soon with this new snowfall. 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 - Shirakaba (part) Official snow depth: Usagidaira: 150cm Kurobishi: 185cm Lower: 70cm
Tsugaike Kogen: Operating lifts and course info: - Most lifts are now operating. - Uma-no-se and Forest course closed. - Kane-no-naru-oka areas are only part open. - All other course areas are available. Official snow depth: Tsuga-no-mori: 220cm Han-no-ki: 180cm Maruyama: 55cm Oya-no-hara: 70cm Kane-no-naru-oka: 35cm
Hakuba Cortina: The resort is reporting 50cm of fresh snowfall. Operating lifts and course info: - Number 7 lift is not operating yet. - Part of Warabidaira course closed; otherwise other courses open. - Nighta (Number 1 pair lift) from 5pm until 8pm. Official snow depth: Top: 190cm Base: 140cm
Hakuba Iwatake Snow Field: Operating lifts and course info: - Gondola - Paradise triple - View 2 - 3-sen North lift - 4-sen East lift - 5-sen South lift The following courses are at least part open: - View C - East - North - South (part) - Gezan (part) - Sunny Valley (part) - Paradise (part) - by1 Official snow depth: Top: 110cm Base: 60cm
Hakuba Norikura Onsen: Info: All lifts but one are now operating with most courses available. Official snow depth: Top: 90cm
Kashimayari: All but two lifts are operating at Kashimayari. Official snow depth: Top: 80cm
Planned nighta operations - be sure to check with resorts for latest:
Hakuba Goryu: Planned to be open daily from 6pm until 9:30pm
Tsugaike Kogen: Planned at the Kane-no-naru-oka area on January 14th, 21st, 28th; Febraury 4th, 11th (6pm until 8:50pm) Planned at the Katamatsu-Shirakaba area on January 14th, 21st, 28th; February 11th, 18th; March 4th, 11th, 18th, 19th (6pm until 9pm)
Hakuba Cortina: Planned to be open daily from 5pm until 8pm (until 9pm on Saturdays)
Hakuba Happo-one: Planned to be open daily on the Nakiyama area. Will open when there is enough snow.
Kashimayari: Planned to be open daily.
There is no night skiing at the other resorts in the area. Read more ...
Nozawa Onsen Now!
Friday 13th January 2017, 8:51am
Morning from a snowy Nozawa. As it should be!
And a very decent amount of fresh snow across mountain as well this morning. Since yesterday there's been 35+cm on the upper Yamabiko area and 25-30cm down by base.
And there's more on the way. We can expect heavy snow over the next three days.
If you want to wait for the snow storm to pass, Monday or Tuesday might be the days for you.
If you just can't wait to ride that fresh snow, try to contain the excitement and keep a calm head. I know it's difficult. I'm going to try and do that myself this morning.
Lifts Operating: - Gondola - Number 1 quad lift - Number 2 quad lift - Number 3 quad lift - Number 4 quad lift
All courses except Lavender 28 and Melissa
Official snow depth: 150cm
Road Condition to Grandeco: Inawashiro through Goshikinuma: snow Goshikinuma through Grandeco: snow Snowplough trucks everywhere, pay attention. Read more ...
Friday 13th January 2017, 9:11am
More fresh snow in Zao this morning.
And this snowfall is due to last through the weekend as well so fingers crossed we'll be getting some more decent numbers in the next few days. All good.
Clearer conditions are forecast for Monday.
The following lifts are not operating: Karamatsu pair Paradise Number 3 pair Yokokura Number 2 pair
Official snow depths: Chuo - 110cm Utopia - 100cm Uwanodai - 65cm Paradise - 100cm
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 ...
Appi Kogen Now!
Friday 13th January 2017, 9:57am
Good morning from a white wonderland.
The last few days have been nothing but spectacular here. Yesterday and last night brought another 55cm of snow to Appi. I think that may be an understatement but it's really hard to judge when you get past the 40cm mark.
As you would expect most of the mountain is now open for business although expect some of the runs to open at noon. I think that's because they need to get on them and groom them out.
Today will give us a respite from the deluge of snow we've had and it's quite funny to say we're only expecting 6cm today.... tough day for everyone.
The next few days will be cloudy with light winds and very little snow falling. Expect the mountain to be busy this weekend and make sure you have a good time.....
Currently planned operating lifts (subject to change due to weather conditions):
Gondola Central quad Central number 2 Central number 3a Central number 4 Central number 5 Central number 6 Sailer quad Vista quad (planned)
After a year when the faucet seemed all plugged up, the snow is flowing in real Myoko style today. The total I got was a little less than expected, part of which could be a little natural settling of the snow.
But 44cm (the average of a series of pokes on my study plot) is nothing bad, and it's likely more up high.
Add to that the promise of even heavier snow from later today, and things are starting to look very good in Myoko!
We haven't had much of the the winds that are also expected; it was pretty blustery last night, but only light winds this morning.
There are strong northerly and western winds off the coast, which is always a good sign of snow, too.
After checking for a second time incase I had misread it, "wow" is what I uttered as I confirmed the thermometer was showing -24c in the village and -26c on the resort. Now that is cold! Yesterday was cold, but 10c lower than yesterday is taking cold to a completly different level. These are the kinds of days where the little heat packs that you can buy need to be inserted into gloves and strategically placed over your body. I suspect a few people will be deciding to invest in new gloves.
The day is a crystal clear bluebird one with great views on the resort, over the town through until Tokachidake in the distance. Great for photos but I guarantee you wont have your gloves off for long when taking out the camera. Overnight there was a very light dusting whih amounted to 1cm on the village.