Snow and weather reports posted on Friday 17th April 2020

Yuzawa Now!

Wednesday 17th December 2014, 7:45am
Weather conditions: Cloud
New snowfall: 20cm
Snow depth: 170cm
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


Official snow depths:

Maiko Snow Resort:
Joetsu Kokusai:


Planned opening dates for resorts in Yuzawa Town and Minamiuonuma City (by date):

Friday 19th December:
Ishiuchi Maruyama
Muikamachi Ski Resort
Yuzawa Nakazato
Yuzawa Kogen
Yuzawa Park

Saturday 20th December:
Chateau Shiozawa
GALA Yuzawa
Kandatsu Kogen
Ludens Yuzawa
Nakazato Snow Wood
Muimamachi Hakkaisan
NASPA Ski Garden
Yuzawa Kogen (Nunoba area)

Tuesday 23rd December:

Thursday 25th December:

Saturday 27th December:
Ishiuchi Hanaoka

Late December
Mt Granview


Ski resorts in Yuzawa town
Ski resorts in Minamiuonuma City


A reminder that there are lots of of Yuzawa and Minamiuonuma lift tickets in the SnowJapan Prize Draw here:   Read more ...

Zao Now!

Wednesday 17th December 2014, 8:45am
Weather conditions: Cloud, fog
New snowfall: 20cm
Snow depth: 130cm
20cm of new snow to report from Zao this morning.

Snow, fog, wind. It's a storm out there. Cold too. Time for an onsen?

But if you want to be out in these conditions, there are some lifts still moving. As far as I can find out for the moment, the lifts below are moving but it's limited out there.

Winds set to be with us today and tomorrow as well, with today probably being the worst. Might even clear up and see some sun tomorrow.

Expect another bunch of snow to be reported tomorrow morning.


Planned operating lifts today (subject to change):

Sky Cable Gondola
Zao Chuo Ropeway
Onsen Number 1 pair lift
Onsen Number 2 quad
Mikaeri pair lift
Chuo Number 1 pair lift
Yokokura Number 1 pair lift


Official snow depths (17th December 14):

Utopia: 160cm
Chuo: 130cm
Paradise: 110cm
Uwanodai: 120cm


Night skiing operations at Zao this season

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 ...

Niseko Now!

Wednesday 17th December 2014, 8:45am
Weather conditions: Mostly cloudy
New snowfall: 0cm
Snow depth: 110cm
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
Super Course and Furiko Courses now open
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

Top - 130cm
Base - 110cm


Niseko lift tickets can be won in the SnowJapan Prize Draw, details here:


Niseko Grand Hirafu 6 day weather and snow forecast   Read more ...

Nozawa Onsen Now!

Wednesday 17th December 2014, 9:00am
Weather conditions: Cloud
New snowfall: 10cm
Snow depth: 150cm
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.


Courses open:

Yamabiko A
Yamabiko B
Yamabiko C
Yamabiko D
Yamabiko E
Mizunashi A
Mizunashi B
Yunomine B
Nagasaka connect


Lifts moving:

Nagasaka Gondola
Yamabiko Four Lift
Yamabiko Number 2 Four Lift
Uenotaira Four
Yu Road (Moving walkway)


Official snow depth:
Yamabiko - 210cm
Uenotaira - 210cm
Nagasaka - 150cm


If you would like to win some Nozawa Onsen lift tickets, check out the SnowJapan Prize Draw:

SnowJapan Prize Draw to win lift tickets


Nozawa Onsen 6 day weather and snow forecast
Nozawa Onsen main resort data   Read more ...

Shiga Kogen Now!

Wednesday 17th December 2014, 9:25am
Weather conditions: Cloud
New snowfall: 30cm
Snow depth: 60cm
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:
Part open

Part open

Ichinose Family
Part open

Ichinose Yamanokami:
Part open

Ichinose Diamond:
Part open

Takamagahara Mammoth:
Part open

Part open

Plans to open on 20th December

Plans to open on 20th December

Plans to open on 20th December

Plans to open on 20th December

Sun Valley:
Plans to open to public on 14th December

Plans to open on 20th December

Plans to open on 20th December

Almost all open (note: skiers only resort area)

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

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

December 27th-31st; January 1st-3rd, 11th; Every Saturday from January 3rd until February 21st

December 20th-23rd, 27th-31st; January 1st-3rd; Every Saturday from January 3rd until March 28th   Read more ...

Hakuba Now!

Wednesday 17th December 2014, 9:27am
Weather conditions: Cloud, poor visibility
New snowfall: 30cm
Snow depth: 130cm
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.


Reporting 60cm of fresh snow this morning.

Official Snow depths:
Base - 60cm
Usagidaira - 180cm

Open lifts:
-Kokusai Number 3
-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.

Official Snow depths:
Iimori - 130cm
Toomi - 120cm
Alps Daira - 190cm

Open lifts:
-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.

Official Snow depths:
Maruyama - 120cm
Oya-no-hara - 120cm
Tsuga-no-mori - 220cm

Planned open lifts:
-Shirakaba Quad
-Gondola (lower part only)

Open course areas::


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:


Reporting 40cm of new snowfall.
Part open, fully open from this weekend.

Official Snow depth:


Hakuba Norikura Onsen
Reporting 30cm of new snowfall.
Part open

Official Snow depth:


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:
   Read more ...

Myoko Now!

Wednesday 17th December 2014, 11:26am
Weather conditions: Another socked-in day; a little red glow in the east this morning
New snowfall: 30cm
Snow depth: 180cm
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 ...

Furano Now!

Wednesday 17th December 2014, 12:24pm
Weather conditions: Cloud cover/overcast
New snowfall: 15cm
Snow depth: 70cm
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 ...

SnowJapan Daily 'Now' reports

Zao Now
15th Sep, 13:18am
Shiga Kogen Now
30th May, 10:10
Geto Kogen Now
06th May, 15:13pm
Appi Kogen Now
23rd Apr, 17:30
Furano Now
22nd Apr, 10:12am
Madarao Now
20th Apr, 9:52am
Nozawa Onsen Now
20th Apr, 9:51am
Niseko Now
20th Apr, 9:50am
Naeba Now
20th Apr, 9:49am
Myoko Now
20th Apr, 9:48am
Minakami Now
20th Apr, 9:47am
Hakuba Now
20th Apr, 9:40am
Aizu Bandai Now
20th Apr, 9:38am
Yuzawa Now
20th Apr, 9:37am
Grandeco Now
06th Dec, 14:16am