Snow and weather reports posted on Friday 17th April 2020
Wednesday 17th December 2014, 7:45am
We did end up with rain yesterday from the afternoon and continuing into the evening. I'm guessing (and this is a guess, sorry) that it would have been snow higher up. Rain down in town. It wasn't as cold as it had been but still didn't rise above 3 degrees.
The news last night was full of this "once every however many years" winter storm will be over Japan today and tomorrow - with Hokkaido getting special mention for extra strong typhoon like winds - and while this morning has started snowy and windy, it's not crazily so. A look at the weather charts shows more snow falling to the north of us here, perhaps around Koide and Horinouchi, with slightly less here in the Yuzawa region... but that's just for the moment. The forecast is for heavy snow and strong winds for all of today and tomorrow.
25-30cm of snow on the top of my car parked in Ishiuchi overnight and it's definitely rather windy, but from what I can tell the ski resorts that are open should be open as normal this morning.
Kagura reports 20cm of snowfall and... well, that's actually it for reported numbers. I do wish they'd all tell us every day!
Resorts currently open:
Kagura - pretty much fully open Naeba - part open Iwappara - part open, 2 central area lifts operating Joetsu Kokusai - part open, 5 lifts operating Maiko Snow Resort - part open, top Okusoeji area, Gondola and 2 Okusoeji lifts operating
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. Read more ...
Wednesday 17th December 2014, 8:45am
It did end up raining yesterday unfortunately, not doing the snow any favours and leaving icy conditions at lower levels. It was a relatively mild evening and a cloudy start to the day earlier this morning.
I don't have any new cm of snow to report, but it has started snowing lightly mountain side and should be snowing through today and tomorrow. Having said that, there's a bit of blue sky over towards Yotei right now. It's perhaps not quite the wild morning we were expecting. For now...
There are some extreme weather 'Warnings' out for parts of Hokkaido - right at the moment Kutchan and Niseko regions are on the one rank lower 'Advisories' status. This means that we are still expecting some very strong winds and heavy snowfall over the next 48 hours. Let's see what it brings. Hopefully no damage to places that feel the brunt of the storm.
I'm certainly no meteorologist (!), but sometimes wished I that understood all of those weather charts more than the basic understanding that I have. They were giving it a good go trying to explain to everyone on the news last night that this is "a big one".
Stay safe everyone.
The weather conditions are affecting lifts on the mountain to some degree, and choice is limited to mostly lower areas at the start of the day:
The Ace Number 2 Center Four, Ace Number 3, King Number 3, Swinging Monkey, Hanazono Number 2 and Hanazono Number 3 lifts are having some 'de-icing' done apparently, and it's not known when start for the day. The Gondola is moving though.
Over at Niseko Village, the Niseko Gondola is not moving yet due to the wind conditions.
Looks like all of the lifts at Niseko Annupuri are on hold now but they are preparing Jumbo Number 1 quad.
That's the situation as I write this report anyway. Expect more changes to the lift situation depending on the conditions during the day. Check with the resorts for the latest if you plan to be out and about.
Niseko Avalanche Report
Moiwa base: -4C, calm wind, cloudy and no snowfall. Benkei cape 5:25am: WNW23m/s (SW3m/s at 11:25pm). Annupuri 1000m: -8C, 130cm snowpack. The snow is still dry at 1000m level, icy under 600m.
The powder under 600m has been wiped out by the warm air and rain, but the snow remained relatively good above 800m. The groomers are hard-packed. The wind is currently mild as we’re in between the two low-pressure centers, but sudden changes are to be expected during the day. It’s strongly suggested to stay on the courses today. Ungroomed areas are in tricky conditions, very catchy and locks the skis under the crusty surface. The next storm will bring good snow, better not push it too hard today. Stay safe. The snow conditions changes everyday.
Lifts planned to be operating at resorts (* subject to change due to weather conditions):
Niseko Grand Hirafu Courses: Super Course and Furiko Courses now open Lifts: Ace Family Lift, Ace Number 2 Center Four lift, Ace Number 3 lift, Holiday Number 1 Pair lift, Hirafu Gondola, King Number 3 Triple lift, Swinging Monkey. Night skiing lifts: Ace Family Pair lift, Ace Number 2 Center Four lift, Hirafu Gondola, Holiday Number 1 Pair lift
Niseko Hanazono Courses: Stairway to Heaven, Silver Dream, Legend of Shinya, Yotei Sunset, Crystal Garden Lifts: All 3 quad lifts operating Night skiing lifts: No night skiing at Hanazono
Niseko Village Lifts operating: Niseko Gondola, Community Chair, Banzai Chair, Morino Chair Night skiing lifts: Community Chair and Banzai Chair
Niseko Annupuri Lifts operating: Annupuri Gondola, Jumbo Number 1 Quad, Jumbo Number 2 Pair, Jumbo Number 3 Pair Night skiing lift: Jumbo Number 1 Quad
Official snow depth numbers at the time of writing:
Grand Hirafu / Hanazono: Top - 175cm Base - 110cm
Niseko Village: Top - 140cm Base - 100cm
Annupuri: Top - 130cm Base - 110cm
Niseko lift tickets can be won in the SnowJapan Prize Draw, details here:
Back to normal with the lifts and courses this morning and 10cm or so of fresh snow to report. Yesterday was rather uneventful in terms of what was open on the mountain and the weather (bit wet at one point), so good to see us back to snow and open.
The resort is this morning reporting 25cm of fresh snowfall on the top runs.
As you can see from the images below, visibility is poor. Not much to see. Care needed.
The snow is really coming down at the moment as well so I expect it to be piling up quite quickly. Which is what the forecast has us down for today and tomorrow.
Winds might well still affect things today again, so got to keep an eye on that.
Yamabiko A Yamabiko B Yamabiko C Yamabiko D Yamabiko E Kokenashi Uenotaira Mizunashi A Mizunashi B Bunabayashi Yunomine B Ushikubi Nagasaka Nagasaka connect
Nagasaka Gondola Yamabiko Four Lift Yamabiko Number 2 Four Lift Uenotaira Four Yu Road (Moving walkway)
It's snowing heavily in Shiga Kogen this morning as we expected. With wind blowing the light snow around it's difficult to put a number on it, but I'm going to go with 30cm and counting this morning. Some heroic under-reporting from the resorts with some adding 0-5cm to their snow depths. Regular readers will know how that frustrates your friendly reporter! I just don't get it. I'd be shouting out about it as much as I could if I were in the ski resorts shoes. But there you go, it seems unlikely that it will change.
Well anyway, conditions should be pretty deep out there this morning. With wind and poor visibility though, it's only for the brave!
A few resorts seeing lifts affected by the wind but for the moment things seem to be almost open as planned.
As I have said more of Shiga Kogen plans to open from this coming Saturday and this storm will have moved on well before then. Might even get clear and sunny on Friday which would be great.
OK so snow and wind forecast to continue all today and tomorrow.
Resort areas status with official snow depths:
Okushiga Kogen: 50cm Part open
Yakebitaiyama: 60cm Part open
Ichinose Family 60cm Part open
Ichinose Yamanokami: 60cm Part open
Ichinose Diamond: 60cm Part open
Takamagahara Mammoth: 60cm Part open
Terakoya: Part open
Higashitateyama: Plans to open on 20th December
Giant: Plans to open on 20th December
Nishitateyama: Plans to open on 20th December
Bundaraia: Plans to open on 20th December
Sun Valley: Plans to open to public on 14th December
Maruike: Plans to open on 20th December
Hasuike: Plans to open on 20th December
Kumanoyu: 65cm Almost all open (note: skiers only resort area)
Yokoteyama: 65cm Lower areas open
Planned night floodlit skiing at Shiga Kogen resort areas this season:
Sun Valley: December 20th, 29th-30th; January 1st-2nd, 11th; Every Saturday from January 3rd to March 21st
Maruike: December 29th-31st; January 1st-3rd, 10th, 11th
Takamagahara Mammoth: December 20th-22nd, 27th-31st; January 1st-3rd
Ichinose Family: Every day from December 20th until March 29th
Ichinose Diamond: December 27th-31st; January 1st-3rd, 11th; Every Saturday from January 3rd until March 28th
Yakebitaiyama: December 27th-31st; January 1st-3rd, 11th; Every Saturday from January 3rd until February 21st
Kumanoyu: December 20th-23rd, 27th-31st; January 1st-3rd; Every Saturday from January 3rd until March 28th Read more ...
Wednesday 17th December 2014, 9:27am
Cloud, poor visibility
Sorry for the later report this morning, I have been digging myself out of snow and also trying to get as much information as I can for this report.
Very large amounts of snow falling in Hakuba at the moment.
Here's what the resorts are reporting in terms of fresh snowfall:
Hakuba 47 - 30cm at base since last night, 60cm on upper slopes. Strong winds higher up. Hakuba Goryu - 30cm at Iimori, 30cm at Alps Daira upper slopes. Hakuba Happo-one - 60cm. Hakuba Cortina - 35cm at base; 40cm at top.
Basically lots of snow, with more on the way as it is not stopping any time soon.
Snow storm style conditions out there this morning, though some lifts are managing to be open. It's one of those days when conditions and status can change often, so what I post below is just the snapshot for early morning as I write the report and collect the info. If you are planning to be out in these mad conditions (!), I recommend you check with the resort.
The Number 4 pair lift at Hakuba Cortina is closed this morning, due to avalanche danger according to the resort. It's highly recommended to stay on the official courses. All of this new snowfall, very poor visibility and wind blowing around... extra care is needed at times like this. It feels a bit of a downer talking about potential dangers, but we need to always keep those in mind while having our fun. It's not worth risking your life for.
For those waiting for the end of the storm, Friday might bring us calmer conditions and some clearer skies and sun.
Happo-one Reporting 60cm of fresh snow this morning.
Official Snow depths: Base - 60cm Usagidaira - 180cm
Open lifts: -Kokusai Number 3 -Panorama -Adam Gondola
Hakuba 47 30cm at base, 60cm of fresh on the mountain this morning. All lifts on hold due to the weather conditions early on but hope to get open.
Official Snow depths: Base - 110cm Upper - 230cm
Hakuba Goryu Reporting 30cm at base and higher up this morning. Top Alps Daira lifts closed along with Panorama Course due to the weather. Other areas remain open.
Open lifts: -Gondola -Toomi Sky Four lift -Mikly Four lift -Cosmo Four lift -Iimori Number 6 Pair lift -Iimori Number 1 Pair lift
Open courses: -All courses are generally open, but the top Panorama course is closed this morning because of the weather conditions.
Tsugaike Kogen The upper part of the Gondola and top lifts not open due to the weather conditions this morning. At opening just the lower part and the Shirakaba Quad lift and subsequently only the lower Shirakaba and Oya-no-hara course areas open.
Planned open lifts: -Shirakaba Quad -Gondola (lower part only)
Open course areas:: -Shirakaba -Oya-no-hara
Hakuba Cortina Cortina reporting 35-40cm of fresh snow this morning. Number 4 lift closed along with courses due to avalanche danger.
Official Snow depths: Base - 160cm Upper - 210cm
Open lifts: -Number 2 Quad
Open course areas: -Ikenota
Kashimayari Reporting 40cm of new snowfall. Part open, fully open from this weekend.
Official Snow depth: 110cm
Hakuba Norikura Onsen Reporting 30cm of new snowfall. Part open
Official Snow depth: 150cm
Other planned opening dates:
Hakuba Iwatake Snow Field - Friday 19th December Hakuba Sanosaka - Saturday 20th December
SnowJapan is running a lift ticket prize draw with 400+ lift tickets to send out to site members - 50 of those are for resorts in the Hakuba area, so lots to win. For details on the prize draw, check out this page:
Another socked-in day; a little red glow in the east this morning
The day started slow, but now we can't see with the heavy snow falling—pelting, crashing, screaming—down.
The massive, once-in-25-years low pressure centered over Hokkaido is bringing high winds along the coast and up on the northern island, and steady snowfall here.
No report yesterday, because maybe I didn't want to tell you it was raining/slushy.
There was about 30cm of fresh this morning, so that's the fall for the record. There will definitely be more for tomorrow - the forecast for this region was around 70cm, and it could be more... The two open resorts are not sharing good information today (-3 cm and no change? Wrong, boys, wrong). Read more ...
Wednesday 17th December 2014, 12:24pm
The storm arrived last night with strong winds and plenty of snow. 15cm of new snow is lying around the village with a lot more at higher elevations. The strong winds are still with us but will start to drop in intensity this afternoon and more snow is forecast to fall through until tomorrow morning. The winds have meant that the upper mountain is closed today and the only operating lift is the Prince Romance chair at the base of the mountain. Hopefully the new snow will mean more of the resort will be opened up once the storm has passed through. Read more ...