Snow and weather reports posted on Thursday 5th December 2019

Niseko Now!

Friday 13th January 2017, 8:07am
Weather conditions: Fine, some thin cloud
New snowfall: 18cm
Snow depth: --
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):

Niseko Grand Hirafu
Niseko HANAZONO Resort
Niseko Village
Niseko Annupuri
Resorts expected to open as normal this morning.


Official resort snow depths as of Friday 13th January 2017:

Niseko Grand Hirafu & Hanazono
Top - 265cm
Base - 115cm

Niseko Village
Top - 190cm
Base - 120cm

Niseko Annupuri
Top - 185cm
Base - 115cm


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 ...

Yuzawa Now!

Friday 13th January 2017, 8:10am
Weather conditions: Snow
New snowfall: 24cm
Snow depth: --
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.

Including mine.


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

GALA Yuzawa
Official snow depth: 210cm

Ishiuchi Maruyama
Official snow depth: 170cm

Official snow depth: 100cm

Joetsu Kokusai
Official snow depth: 120cm

Official snow depth:
Kagura - 240cm
Mitsumata - 210cm
Tashiro - 190cm

Kandatsu Kogen
Official snow depth: 180cm

Maiko Snow Resort
Official snow depth:
Upper - 200cm
Base - 70cm

Muikamachi Hakkaisan
Official snow depth: 200cm

Official snow depth: 140cm

NASPA Ski Garden
Official snow depth: 115cm

Yuzawa Kogen
Official snow depth:
Top - 160cm
Base - 90cm

Yuzawa Park
Official snow depth: 110cm

Yuzawa Nakazato
Official snow depth: 85cm


'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.

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.

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
Weather conditions: Snow clouds
New snowfall: 14cm
Snow depth: --
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.



Ichinose Family

Ichinose Diamond




Okushiga Kogen

Sun Valley

Takamagahara Mammoth



70cm   Read more ...

Hakuba Now!

Friday 13th January 2017, 8:50am
Weather conditions: Snow
New snowfall: 57cm
Snow depth: --
Good morning to you from here in Hakuba.

And this is what you've been waiting to hear.

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):

Hakuba Goryu: 40-60cm
Hakuba 47: 50cm
Hakuba Happo-one: 60cm
Hakuba Cortina: 50cm

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:
All lifts but one are now operating with most courses available.
Official snow depth:
Top: 90cm

All but two lifts are operating at Kashimayari.
Official snow depth:
Top: 80cm

Hakuba Sanosaka:
Hakuba Sanosaka is part open.
Official snow depth:
Top: 50cm


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.

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
Weather conditions: Snow
New snowfall: 28cm
Snow depth: --
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.


Friday 13th January 2017

Fresh snow reported by resort since yesterday morning:
- Yamabiko: 36cm
- Uenotaira: 35cm
- Hikage: 30cm
- Nagasaka: 30cm
- Karasawa: 25cm

Official snow depths:
- Yamabiko: 200cm
- Uenotaira: 160cm
- Hikage: 80cm
- Nagasaka: 70cm
- Karasawa: 60cm

Lifts operations:
All lifts appear to be operating except for:
- Yunomine pair
- Mizunashi triple
- Challenge pair
- Utopia pair
- Kandahar pair

Most courses at Nozawa Onsen are now open. Courses not open are:
- Hachiman
- Mukobayashi
- Kandahar East
- Kandahar West   Read more ...

Naeba Now!

Friday 13th January 2017, 8:54am
Weather conditions: Overcast and snowing
New snowfall: 18cm
Snow depth: --
Good morning from Naeba everybody.

The snow has been falling in Naeba constantly since yesterday morning.

It has not been all that heavy all the time so not too much has accumulated during the day. However overnight the snow really thickened up resulting in a nice 17cm of snow on the ground this morning.

As a result conditions are nice and powdery and will remain so most of the day.

The weather forecast is predicting snow still every day going on with no end in sight.


   Read more ...

Madarao Now!

Friday 13th January 2017, 9:06am
Weather conditions: It's snowing
New snowfall: 23cm
Snow depth: --
Morning from Madarao.

And it's another good one with a good layer of fresh snow, more falling and more on the way over the weekend.

The resort is reporting 20-30cm of fresh on the mountain as of 8am, and I just measured 23cm... with more being added pretty quickly.

Very nice.

What more is there to say? Just if you are planning a weekend visit to Madarao, be ready for very snowy conditions. If that's your bag, you'll be in for a treat.

The next time we see the sun will probably be early next week.


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

- Powder Theater
- Adventure Aisle
- Crystal Bowl
- Ninja
- Rabbit
- Kamoshika
- Bear

- Nighta at Madarao Kogen is every Saturday until 25th March (and also 8th January and 19th March)

Official snow depth:

- 160cm   Read more ...

Grandeco Now!

Friday 13th January 2017, 9:10am
Weather conditions: It's snowing
New snowfall: 36cm
Snow depth: --
Good morning from a very snowy Grandeco. Great news.

It was snowing heavily last night and not only on the mountain but also in the base and town areas. Lots of snow at last.

It is not windy at this morning and should make for a great day for skiing and boarding.

Snowplough trucks are busy doing their thing everywhere in the village, please pay attention to other cars and trucks on the way.

The Number 4 lift has started operating from this morning, so that means that all lifts at the resort are now open.

The remaining courses are Lavender 28 and Melissa and they should be open from tomorrow.

Conditions are light powder through out the resort.

This is how we love things to be. Hope you can come to enjoy it.


Snow Park Information:
6m wide box, 5m straight rail, 6m straight box, 4 formed cask, drum can, 6m straight box, 8m straight rail, 6m arch box, 3m table top, 5m table top.


Lifts operating:

Lifts Operating:
- Gondola
- Number 1 quad lift
- Number 2 quad lift
- Number 3 quad lift
- Number 4 quad lift

Courses open:

All courses except Lavender 28 and Melissa

Official snow depth:

Road Condition to Grandeco:
Inawashiro through Goshikinuma: snow
Goshikinuma through Grandeco: snow
Snowplough trucks everywhere, pay attention.   Read more ...

Zao Now!

Friday 13th January 2017, 9:11am
Weather conditions: Snow
New snowfall: 18cm
Snow depth: --
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
Weather conditions: Snow
New snowfall: 55cm
Snow depth: --
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):

Central quad
Central number 2
Central number 3a
Central number 4
Central number 5
Central number 6
Sailer quad
Vista quad (planned)


Official snow depth:

110cm   Read more ...

Minakami Now!

Friday 13th January 2017, 9:59am
Weather conditions: Snow clouds
New snowfall: 25cm
Snow depth: --
Great snow here again today.

Things cleared briefly last night but we woke up to another 25cm of fresh at the base of Tenjindaira. They are reporting the same number up top.

All these recent snowfalls have been without any significant wind and the only negative is that other Minakami resorts just don't seem to be getting it.

Forecast is for Snowmageddon this weekend with strong winds too. If the snow comes without the wind, as its been doing all week, it will be a cracker.


New snowfall:

25cm Tenjin
0cm Hodaigi
0cm Okutone

Official snow depths:

200cm Tenjin
120cm Hodaigi
60cm Okutone


Resorts in Minakami (forecasts available from each page):

Minakami Hodaigi
Minakami Kogen Ski Resort
Minakami Kogen Fujiwara
Norn Minakami
Okutone Snow Park
Tanigawa Tenjindaira
Tanigawa Onsen White Valley   Read more ...

Myoko Now!

Friday 13th January 2017, 10:11am
Weather conditions: Steady snowfall
New snowfall: 44cm
Snow depth: --
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.


Akakura Kanko:
180cm, -4°

Akakura Onsen:
205cm, -3°

Ikenotaira Onsen:
120cm, -2°

Myoko Suginohara:
130cm, -11° (top)

Seki Onsen:
210cm, -6° (the town site says 2cm, so there are other bad typists besides me out there)

Myoko Ski Park:
180cm, 0°

Kyukamura RunRun:
190cm, 1°

Tangram Ski Circus:
145cm, -3°

Madarao Kogen:
160m, -3°

   Read more ...

Furano Now!

Friday 13th January 2017, 12:06pm
Weather conditions: Bluebird
New snowfall: 1cm
Snow depth: --
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.

Tomorrow looks like it will be similar weather.    Read more ...

SnowJapan Daily 'Now' reports

Hakuba Now
05th Dec, 17:25pm
Furano Now
05th Dec, 9:50am
Naeba Now
05th Dec, 9:43
Zao Now
05th Dec, 9:34
Shiga Kogen Now
05th Dec, 9:05
Appi Kogen Now
05th Dec, 8:29
Nozawa Onsen Now
05th Dec, 8:23
Geto Kogen Now
05th Dec, 8:22
Aizu Bandai Now
05th Dec, 8:15
Yuzawa Now
05th Dec, 8:14
Niseko Now
05th Dec, 8:03am
Grandeco Now
04th Dec, 17:38am
Madarao Now
04th Dec, 9:09
Minakami Now
01st Dec, 13:47
Myoko Now
30th Nov, 11:01am