Snow and weather reports posted on Monday 24th February 2020
Thursday 18th December 2014, 8:10am
This storm that is over Japan at the moment is still at the top of the national news.
Last night they were warning that parts of Niigata were up for 120cm of more snowfall before Thursday evening. I think a lot of people went to sleep worried about what might await them but for this region anyway there wasn't quite as much expected overnight.
Let's rewind back to yesterday. It was pretty wild. After the snow I reported yesterday morning, in the early afternoon I took a fresh 40cm off the top of my car. Then 20cm more in the evening. And there's another 15cm on there this morning. So that's 85cm since my last report. I might even be under-reporting there. It was moderately windy at times yesterday, sometimes strong.
So it's another of those days when there's just a ridiculous amount of snow around. It's hard to believe that we are still only on 18th December and only really had 3 lots of snow.
Quite a few ski resorts around Yuzawa and Minamiuonuma plan on being open from tomorrow and then more again on Saturday (details below). They won't have lack of snow problems to deal with, that's for sure. If anything, the problem might be digging out the ski lifts! A good problem to have though as sometimes around this time of the year and even beyond Christmas there's a worry about snow.
Not this year!
Kagura reports 80cm of fresh snowfall and the official snow depth goes up from 200cm to.... er, 200cm. (How does that work then?! I know the amount that falls doesn't always translate into the same amount added due to compacting and all that, but still...!)
Strong winds up there is affecting Kagura with only the Mitsumata Ropeway, Mitsumata Number 1 Quad and Mitsumata Number 2 Romance pair lifts operating. So no main Kagura area and no Tashiro today.
Naeba report 35-50cm and they are too limited to lower areas due to wind.
Here in town it's not actually snowing at the moment, and even looks like it might clear up with visibility getting better - can see the mountains - but the snow is due through the day and I imagine this is just a temporary break, it'll probably be snowing again just after I post this. The forecast for the day is more heavy snow and moderate to strong winds, with the snowfall easing off overnight by early tomorrow morning. Some forecasts are saying we might get to see clearer skies and the sun shining down tomorrow. Would be nice.
As locals deal with all of this snow - 'enough is enough' seems to be the local consensus for now - this weekend should be great. With much more suddenly opening up in some respects it feels like this coming weekend is the first main weekend of the season proper after a kind of 'pre-season'
Hope you can get here to enjoy it. Snow should be superb.
Resorts currently open:
Kagura - limited to just Mitsumata today due to wind 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
Lower areas only open this morning due to windy conditions on the mountain.
As this snowstorm continues to make headlines in Japan, we keep getting more snow, but the strong winds mean that only the lower Hikage and Nagasaka runs are able to open. In some seasons, the resort would have to be totally closed as there wouldn't be enough snow down at base but not this time round. Different set of lifts moving this morning so it's a bit of a different 'look' to Nozawa.
The resort is reporting 43cm of fresh snowfall at top Yamabiko, 40cm on Uenotaira and 70cm on Nagasaka. Interesting numbers there! There's what we had yesterdaty as well to add to that. Just thing... lots.
Check out the official snow depths. Yamabiko - 270cm. Uenotaira - 250cm. Nagasaka - 200cm. It's only mid December! Sugoi.
Snow, possibly heavy snow, wind and cold conditions still forecast for the day today. It should clear up by morning though leaving us with sunny conditions tomorrow.
Top conditions ahead!
Hikage Nagasaka Nagasaka connecting
Hikage Number 2 Pair B Yu Road (Moving walkway) Hikage Triple Nagasaka Four Nagasaka Triple
This particular region of Hokkaido missed the worst of the storm yesterday. Places in eastern regions got much wilder conditions by the looks of things, and more snow too.
Here I have 25cm or so of snow to report. Not bad of course, but much less than some places got. The official snow depth at Niseko Grand Hirafu resort is now up to 2m though.
It's snowing this morning still and rather windy and here's how the wind conditions are affecting lifts as of before 9am:
All of Annupuri on standby, though will open if weather conditions improve. The Niseko Gondola at Niseko Village is not moving, but the three lower lifts are open. The Hirafu Gondola, Ace Number 2 Center Four, Ace Number 3, King Number 3 Triple, Swinging Monkey lifts at Niseko Grand Hirafu are not moving. All of the Hanazono lifts are not moving.
So choice for the morning boils down to basically the lower areas of Hirafu or Village.
Not crazy cold actually, with the temperature just under 0 right now.
Tomorrow should see calmer conditions and the snowfall easing off. Back to snow at the weekend though. It's never far off!
Niseko Avalanche Report
Moiwa base: -4C, light wind and 30cm of small broken crystal snow in 12 hours. Moiwa 600m: -4C, ENE10m/s, 40cm of new snow and light development of snowdrifts. Annupuri 1150m: NW15m/s, -7C and developing snowdrifts. Benkei cape: NNE15m/s. Kamui cape: ENE9m/s, 997hPa and 2.2m waves.
The wind and snowfall is moderate under 800m as the low-pressure system moves east and the atmospheric pressure gradient is relatively small. The snow in the trees is pretty good. The storm is forecasted to pick up, strong northerly wind will make the cornices and snowdrifts develop drastically. The avalanche hazard level will rise considerably as the storm picks up during the day. The visibility is very bad. Riding slopes near/under cornices are to be avoided in all areas in and around Niseko. Avalanches are also likely to happen under chairlift lines and steep faces within the resorts. This information is released for the safety of all Niseko resorts’ guests. Do not duck boundary ropes.
Lifts planned to be operating (* subject to change due to weather conditions). Any news at time of writing is noted in the main report above:
Niseko Grand Hirafu 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 Lifts: Hanazono Number 1, Hanazono Number 2, Hanazono Number 3 Night skiing lifts: No night skiing at Hanazono
Niseko Village Lifts: Niseko Gondola, Community Chair, Banzai Chair, Morino Chair. Night skiing lifts: Community Chair and Banzai Chair
Niseko Annupuri Lifts: 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 - 200cm Base - 90cm
Niseko Village: Top - 140cm Base - 105cm
Annupuri: Top - 130cm Base - 110cm
Niseko lift tickets can be won in the SnowJapan Prize Draw, details here:
The snow continues to fall in Minakami with a total snow depth of 50cm at the valley level and 80cm in the upper mountains. The forecast predicts heavy snow and strong wind through the end of the day. For tomorrow and Saturday we can expect clear sunny days.
Tenjindaira is closed today due to the wind. Norn and Houdaigi are operating normally for the moment.
Okutone and White Valley plan to open tomorrow with Minakami Kogen following on Saturday.
Planned opening dates:
Tenjindaira - OPEN Houdaigi - part OPEN Norn Minakami - part OPEN White Valley- December 19th Minakami Kogen - December 20th Okutone - December 19th
After the frankly mad conditions yesterday with heavy snowfall and strong winds playing havoc, it's some more of the same this morning.
20+cm of lovely fresh light snow on the ground outside my place.
Most snow prize for the day goes to Cortina with them reporting 60cm of fresh on lower slopes and a whopping 80cm on upper slopes. Sadly it's not fully open today again due to the conditions and avalanche danger. When it gets to open though... oh yes.
Tsugaike Kogen are more coy with actual new snowfall numbers but their snow depth for the upper slopes seems to have increased by 80cm since yesterday and smashes through to over 3m. So I think there's a fair bit of new over there too. Tsugaike is also only limited open this morning with just the lower part of the Gondola moving.
Happo just seems to have the Gondola, Panorama and Kokusai 3 lifts moving early on. More of Goryu/47 is open. Anyway details as I have been able to find have been updated in the bits below.
Local services have been somewhat struggling to cope with the extreme conditions and transportation has been affected, though perhaps we are lucky that there aren't that many people around just yet. Once the storm clears I'm sure things will calm down and we'll all be able to relax more and just enjoy the snow.
When will things calm down? Probably by the end of today or early tomorrow morning. Sun and clearer skies is forecast for tomorrow which should make it a fanstastic day to be on the mountain. The increased visibility will of course help but do remember the inherent dangers that can come with all that fresh snow while enjoying it.
Information from around the resorts - at the time of writing
Happo-one Reporting 30+cm of fresh snow this morning.
Official Snow depths: Base - 60cm Usagidaira - 210cm
Open lifts: -Panorama -Kokusai 3 -Adam Gondola
Hakuba 47 30cm at base, 60cm of fresh on the mountain this morning. The Gondola, Line C and Line E lifts on hold due to wind. Route 1 Upper, Route 2, 3 and 8 not open.
Hakuba Cortina Cortina reporting 60-80cm of fresh snow this morning. Limited opening again due to the weather conditions and dangers.
Official Snow depths: Base - 200cm Upper - 270cm
Open lifts: -Number 2 Quad
Open course areas: -Ikenota
Kashimayari Reporting 20+cm of new snowfall. Part open, fully open from this weekend.
Official Snow depth: 130cm
Hakuba Norikura Onsen 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:
A quick peek of the sun earlier, but the clouds are back in and the snow is on.
This is being written during a mid snow clearing coffee break; there is a lot of snow out there to clear, and I'm the one to do it.
I am not sure how much snow was on the ground this morning; there was considerable blowing and drifting, and the snow was pretty heavy and wind-packed. It was somewhere around a meter, but what to say officially... 70cm? 80cm? At least the cars are moving here, even if our windows are still completely filled in (snow reaching to the eaves; low, I'll admit, but still more than two and a half meters tall).
The sun did come out for one moment, and was immediately welcomed by insane winds that completely obscured the roads, but which disappeared as the snow came back in. Ah, the wonders of nature.
One word from the wife: a friend reported that there was no one at Akakura Onsen yesterday. Take advantage of this snow, people! Warm up for the season—in powder! The roads are in pretty good shape, actually (OK, you'll have to dig out your car, but..... A meter of snow!
One more cup of coffee, and back out to drive the snow-wrangling beast. Read more ...
Thursday 18th December 2014, 9:15am
Overnight we have been pounded by strong winds and snow. At village level there has been 10cm on new snowfall, which is not quite as much as was expected but has certainly made a difference to the ski area. The winds are still with us and because of this operation of Furano Ropeway and Downhill Romance chair is on hold for now. The only operating lift is Prince Romancew lift at the moment.
The winds will reduce this morning and the forecast for tomorrow is for calm conditions. Skies are overcast and there are some light snow flurries which will continue through until the afternoon. Read more ...
Shiga Kogen Now!
Thursday 18th December 2014, 10:02am
Loads of snow at the moment as this winter storm continues to deliver. Not the nicest of conditions out but once it passes things should be brilliant... Clouds and snow eased somewhat just now, but snow is forecast to continue falling throughout the day today. For those here tomorrow, a sunny day possible?
Resorts seem to be adding 30cm to the snow depth this morning (or none in the case of Okushiga Kogen!) - there's more than that fallen, quite a lot more in places.
Some lifts affected by the wind - Okushiga Kogen do not seem to be moving any lifts at all as of 10am - and there might be more disruption due to the wind.
Resort areas status with official snow depths:
Okushiga Kogen: 50cm (don't think so!) Part open
Yakebitaiyama: 80cm Part open
Ichinose Family 90cm Part open
Ichinose Yamanokami: 90cm Part open
Ichinose Diamond: 90cm Part open
Takamagahara Mammoth: 90cm 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: 100cm Almost all open (note: skiers only resort area)
Yokoteyama: 100cm Most open now. Shibutoge not yet 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 ...
Thursday 18th December 2014, 10:16am
Stormy conditions this morning in Zao.
Heavy snow, strong winds, poor visibility. 40cm outside my place, hearing over 50cm fresh on the mountain but wind is blowing it all round so difficult to put numbers on it. Whatever the number, plenty of it.
Normal lift ticket prices from Saturday when I expect all of the mountain to be open - weather conditions permitting of course.
It does look probable that once we get past today, weather conditions will calm down and we could even be treated to some sunny blue skies, perhaps with it remaining quite windy. But hopefully not enough to affect lifts on the hill.
Conditions are going to be great though. Remember the cameras, once the sun comes out we should be in for some fantastic scenery too.
Planned operating lifts today (subject to change):
Sky Cable Gondola Zao Chuo Ropeway Zao Ropeway Onsen Number 1 pair lift Onsen Number 2 quad Mikaeri pair lift Chuo Number 1 pair lift Yokokura Number 1 pair lift Utopia Number 2 pair lift