After a mostly fine day yesterday, it's a lovely start to the day this morning.
Lots of blue sky and sunshine; but unfortunately no fresh snow.
If you like sunshine, the next few days are going to be good for you as we have fine clear skies lined up through until perhaps Friday. And while today should keep fairly cold, from tomorrow onwards we can very probably expect some warmer conditions - up to around +6C degrees at base tomorrow?
So, a spring-like sunscreen day it is then.
Any more snowfall on the forecast? Perhaps a bit as we enter the weekend, but the forecast is generally looking rather bare as it stands at the moment.
Talking of snow, here we are half way through the month of March. I have observed 95cm of snowfall here at base in that first half of the month. Last year for the whole of the month of March I observed a total of 139cm of fresh snowfall, so currently we need 44cm if we are going to 'catch up'...
Resort specific lift opening news at time of posting (subject to change during the day):
Niseko base 6.00am: -6°C, no new snow, sunny. Moiwa 838m: -7.25°C, E7.3m/s. Mikaeri 800m: no data. Annupuri 1000m: snowpack 300cm. Hirafu Ridgeline: -11°C, no new snow, calm. Coastal data: Benkei Cape:N5m/s. Kamui Cape N5m/s, 1015hPa, wave 0.7m.
Atmospheric pressure gradient is shallow, seas and mountains are calm. There has been no new snow and conditions are icy. As temperatures rise today, the snow pack will weaken and large chunks of snow could break away. Be careful of cracked slopes, Mizuno no sawa Gate 10 is closed due to a significant number of dangerous cracks. Please respect the patrols decision to close this area for safety, do not duck ropes to enter. Mountain has changed to spring conditions and the risk of large catastrophic avalanches from around 1000m is rising. Do not wait, do not have a quick rest, in the valley bottoms. This is where the avalanche will run. These types of spring avalanches are difficult to predict. The size of the winter snowdrifts, temperature fluctuations within the snow pack due to air temperature, rain and sun, expansion and contraction within the snow pack, all play a part in whether these avalanches occur. When a large scale, full depth avalanche occurs, it is devastating to the valleys below, taking out trees, rocks and anyone in its path. If you are not in the way, there will not be an accident. Don't ride in the valley bottoms. Have a nice day.
Official resort snow depths as of Tuesday 15th March 2016:
Wintery conditions with snow falling and a bit of a wind blowing... and Madarao Kogen reporting 15-20cm of fresh snowfall! And a decent layer on top of the car here near base as well...
Can't say that I was expecting that!
Not much to see at the moment.
The snow is expected to ease off by around lunchtime and then the skies should start clearing up leaving us with lots of sunshine for most of the rest of the week. Tomorrow should be a good day to be here if you can!
Temperatures are still forecast to get warmer from tomorrow possibly rising to around 10 degrees and perhaps slightly above on Friday, before getting colder again after that. (Not much in terms of potential snow on the forecast though unfortunately).
It has been snowing again this morning here in Hakuba. There's nothing on the ground outside my place to see for it though in some areas there's a dusting of snow on the ground. A few resorts are reporting a couple of cm, with Hakuba Cortina reporting the most with 10cm of fresh snow again this morning.
More blue sky appearing over the last hour or so and the forecast does say sunshine and so it looks like it's going to clear up and be a fine day. Having said that, right now the clouds still seem to be hanging over upper resort areas and visibility is limited.
Hopefully it will also keep chilly and not warm up too much.
Come tomorrow, the forecast warm-up should be in full swing with temperatures rising through until Friday. There's a good chance of rain sometime around Friday into Saturday, perhaps it keeping cold enough for it to be snow at higher elevations. Fingers crossed.
For now though we should be on for a few days of clearer skies once the clouds clear up today.
Resort news as of 8:55am on Tuesday 15th 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. The Tree Riding Zone is also open. There is no 'nighta' at Hakuba 47. Official snow depth: Upper: 200cm Base: 90cm
Hakuba Goryu: Hakuba Goryu is reporting 0-1cm 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: 257cm Toomi: 120cm Iimori: 70cm
Hakuba Happo-one: Hakuba Happo-one is reporting 2cm of fresh snowfall again this morning. Parts of the lower areas of Happo-one are now closed due to insufficient snow - still lots of upper mountain open though. Night skiing has now finished for the season. Official snow depth: Usagidaira: 175cm Nakiyama: 55cm Sakka: 35cm
Hakuba Cortina: Hakuba Cortina is reporting 10cm of fresh snowfall again 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: 175cm Base: 98cm
Tsugaike Kogen: All courses are generally open. Nighta at Karamatsu/Shirakaba on 19th March. The top Tsugaike Ropeway is now generally open for spring season (extra charge required) - though closed this morning due to weather conditions. Official snow depth: Tsuga-no-mori: 241cm Maruyama: 65cm Kane-no-naru-oka: 60cm
Hakuba Iwatake Snow Field: Insufficient snow means that only limited areas of Village Side remain open - by3, Shinden connecting. Sunny Valley 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: 130cm Lower: 45cm
Hakuba Norikura Onsen: Closed courses are Kamoshika, Highway, Snake, Expert, Skyview and lower part of Satomi Ridge. There is no 'nighta' at Hakuba Norikura. Official snow depth: 80cm
Morning from Nozawa and there's some snow to report again.
Up to 20cm of fresh snow on the upper Yamabiko runs since yesterday morning according to the resort (going to have to go check that out I think), with 10cm on Uenotaira and just a bit on lower areas (not the driest snow I have seen, but it is mid March!)
Right now visibility looks limited on upper areas of the mountain especially but we can probably expect things to clear up later in the day with a chance of some sunshine later on even.
Sun is forecast from tomorrow through Thursday and perhaps beyond, as well as increasing temperatures. Come Friday it should be getting rather warm, but beyond that it'll be cooling down again.
Word of warming about Saturday - rain is on the forecasts for that day at the moment; as they are now, Sunday would look to be the better weekend choice. We all know how those forecasts can change (and be wrong) though!
Official info at time of writing on Tuesday 15th March 2016 (subject to change):
Good morning to another fine spring like day in Furano.
Blue skies surround us with the odd cloud hanging around. Cloud may increase later in the day. The sun is out and the resort has been topped up with another light layer of new snow. This time 2cm. There is a very light breeze but nothing significant and it should stay around the same level for the day.
Tomorrow will be warmer and we can expect temperatures well into the positives on Friday. That warm weather on Friday is also going to bring a period of heavy rain in the evening. We are definitely entering spring. Read more ...
Tuesday 15th March 2016, 9:10am
Yesterday we ended up with (wet) snow falling on the mountains with both Kagura and Maiko Snow Resort are reporting 5-10cm of fresh snow since yesterday. It has been more like a bit of slush around town really but good to hear of some fresh on the slopes. This morning we have been having more of that wet snow here - basically in lower areas it's raining/sleeting, and it's snowing higher up.
There's also some wind this morning higher up that is affecting Kagura resort... all of Tashiro is closed this morning along with Kagura Number 4 and 5 lifts. All other resorts appear to be opening as planned this morning.
Once the clouds start clearing up today - expected sometime afternoon - we're expecting things to start getting more spring like once again. Tomorrow and Thursday should see lots of sunshine and blue skies and warmer temperatures. Friday will be the warmest of the lot (up to around 12 degrees in town?), but a dip in temps again beyond that is due too. Unfortunately, rain is currently on the forecast for Saturday.
Nighta operations at Maiko Snow Resort and Yuzawa Nakazato has now finished for the season.
Resort official snow depths (Tuesday 15th 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.
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.
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.
It's a cloudy morning in Zao, though there have been some signs of the sun getting through some of the clouds in places. It looks like higher up on the mountain there's still quite a lot of cloud and fog, so limited visibility.
Just a bit of snow to report this morning again, but not enough to give us soft conditions under-board.
A light wind outside my place but moderate winds are forecast for out there today, though I doubt it will affect any lifts.
Tomorrow and Thursday we're expecting clearer skies and as with most areas of Japan it would seem, warm temperatures.
Information as of Tuesday 15th March 2016 (subject to change)
Lifts currently closed: Karamatsu pair, Ryuzan pair
And some of the resort areas reporting 20cm of fresh as well.
And oddly there's a bit of sunshine coming through my window at the moment. Hold on, no, it's gone. Back to grey cloud cover and the snow falling...
Yes, it is a good morning.
I mentioned a brief glimpse of the sun - the forecast does actually tell us to expect some of that later on today and so perhaps it's the first signs of clearing conditions.
A friend mentioned to me last night, we have just half a month left of 'the full mountain' (ie. all of the resort areas) being open - come April some areas will be closed, though of course some resort areas plan to open right through into May.
Most of the resorts don't seem to have adjusted their official snow depth numbers, but that's par for the course!
Official snow depths at Shiga Kogen resort areas (Tuesday 15th 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)
Clear blue skies, lots of sunshine and a base temperature of -1 today. Another great day for those with cameras wishing to add some shots to their collection. This afternoon may see the clouds rolling in and the wind picking up somewhat this evening. Temperatures will continue to increase and may reach zero or +1 tomorrow. The extended forecast is not good to say the least.
Increasing temperatures that will reach +6 or 7 by Friday and with it comes the rain we’ve been waiting for. All good things must come to and end I guess... I’m just wondering what’s been good about this season at all. I know it sounds a little negative but I hope I’ll be able to put it all in perspective when the season really winds down. I guess any skiing is better than no skiing.
Sunscreen, camera and ski pass in hand. Time to hit the slopes.
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