Snow and weather reports posted on Monday 6th May 2019
Friday 18th December 2015, 7:34am
Cloudy to start the day, but looks like things could turn sunny
The snow is falling—just not enough of it quite yet. Not a lot of accumulation following the 10cm or so that we had at the end of the day yesterday; this morning it's falling very lightly, but things are also turning a bit bright out there. Myoko-san (the mountain) has just peeked out as the sky clears. The peak is beautifully white, but unfortunately there just hasn't been enough to even think about opening the ski areas (see the original plans below; now all areas are saying, "when the snow falls...").
If you're here in town early, and I know people have been coming earlier and earlier from overseas, despite warnings from locals, there's always some fishing over on Lake Nojiri, strolls around town—it does look great here in the snow, so head out to Naena Waterfall or something!
There has been very light snow at times but mostly fairly clearer weather today with no new cm to report in town. It has stayed cold though which is good and there is some snow expected overnight tonight and into tomorrow morning. Areas around Yuzawa expecting up to 10cm according to the Niigata forecast.
The snow that we have received yesterday means that are going to be a few changes for the weekend though it wasn't enough for huge changes. Here is the information that I have been able to find this evening:
Kagura Mitsumata - will be mostly open from tomorrow (Saturday), from Mitsumata Ropeway through to Kagura Number 4 Romance pair lift. Kagura Tashiro - will be part open from tomorrow (Saturday), from Tashiro Ropeway to Tashiro Number 1 high speed lift. No skiable connection between Kagura<>Tashiro. GALA Yuzawa - will be part open tomorrow (Saturday), with the Melody and Entertainment courses planning to be open. Muikamachi Hakkaisan - will be part open tomorrow (Saturday), with the Technical course and Rakuraku A course opening Maiko Kogen Resort - not enough snow to open tomorrow (Saturday), but there is a slight chance of a part opening on Sunday depending on how much snow falls tonight. Kandatsu Kogen - not enough snow to open tomorrow. NASPA Ski Garden - has delayed opening until there is enough snow. Ishiuchi Maruyama - has delayed opening until there is enough snow. Yuzawa Kogen - has delayed opening until there is enough snow. The Ropeway is open for tourists (not skiers/snowboarders). Yuzawa Nakazato - has delayed opening until there is enough snow.
That's about it for now. Currently it is unconfirmed what Naeba might have planned for tomorrow, but as things stand now the choice for the weekend is basically Kagura, GALA Yuzawa, Naeba and Muikamachi Hakkaisan. Kagura Mitsumata is easily offering the widest area but note that the connecting courses between Kagura and Tashiro will not yet be open.
We'll scan through all the information again tomorrow morning and report any further news.
Everyone would be very much helped if there were more snow tonight, that's for sure!
Original morning report:
At last, we have snow in town!
Wet snow started falling in the morning yesterday down here in town though it wasn't sticking until the evening and by late night there was just over 10cm of lovely fresh snow on the ground. This morning there's a little more and so I'm going to log it as 15cm.
The Kagura resort is reporting 30cm of fresh snowfall so higher up on the mountain there has been a decent fall.
I was happy to be woken by the snow moving machines at 4am this morning. A good sound it surely is!
It is of course fantastic to see snow again... and it feels proper winter as well with a nice chill in the air. Right now it is about 2 degrees and snow has been holding off but it might be falling again especially this morning and then again overnight tonight into tomorrow.
It seems that this morning Kagura are planning to open their Giant Course and Technical Course if possible. And Tashiro is going to be open from tomorrow as well.
I'll update this page later on today with more news for the weekend and more on the forecast.
Planned opening dates for resorts in Yuzawa Town and Minamiuonuma City (by date):
Currently part open: Kagura The main Kagura course area is open. The Mitsumata area is currently being used as a connection to get to the open Kagura area. Operating lifts are Mitsumata Ropeway, Mitsumata Number 1 lift, Mitsumata Number 3 lift, Kagura Gondola, Kagura Number 1 high speed quad and Kagura Number 1 romance lift (on Saturdays and holidays during this period). All but the latter two are used to get to the snow. The Kagura Gondola needs to be taken to return back to the Mitsumata area.
Good morning and I have another 18cm of snow to report this morning from here in base. Feeling nice and cold and the snow condition is looking good. Nice and dry.
A bit more of the mountain is opening up this morning with the resorts trying to open as many courses as they can. I would expect more still for the weekend especially if we get a bit more snow during the day today... and we expecting it today and tomorrow, with the snow clouds easing off from Sunday.
Colder conditions are expected to continue over the next few days, so be sure to wrap up and go out prepared. It looks like things might get slightly warmer again early in the week but hopefully not like we saw in the period previous to this snowfall.
More people are continuing to arrive in the Niseko area now and Christmas just one week away! It's a good job that more terrain is opening up. Hopefully not long now before it's all open.
Anyway it should be a good weekend!
Niseko Avalanche Report
Niseko base 6am: -3℃, snowing. 20cm of fresh snow in 12 hours without notable development of snowdrifts. The wind is stagnating around 10-15m/s westerly at 1000m elevation. Coastal data: Benkei cape WNW12m/s, Kamui cape WSW10m/s, 1016hPa, 2.1m waves.
A typical winter pressure pattern is generating snow. The pressure gradient is small ad wind remains light accordingly. The snowdrifts are developing but stabilizing quickly. However, 50cm slab slides from Dec 12th layer are still to be considered in south facing cliffs and off-limits areas. Do not duck ropes and stimulate these aspects. Most of the avalanche accidents occur in leeward steep slopes with heavy deposit of snowdrifts during storms.
The conditions are getting better, but the snowpack is still shallow. Beware of stumps and bushes. Gates opening will take while.
This information is released for the sake of all resort users. Always stay humble in the mountains and think safety first.
Resort specific news as of 8:45am - subject to change during the day
The lifts market with an asterix (*) below are planned to be open for night skiing
Niseko Grand Hirafu Lifts planned to be running: - Ace Family pair* - Ace Number 2 Quad Center Four (for transport) - Ace Number 3 pair - Hirafu Gondola (for transport) - King Number 3 triple - Holiday Number 1 pair - Swinging Monkey Courses planned to be open: - Family - Beginners access - Center - Shirakaba - Green - Kokutai (upper part) - Alpen - Sennoki - Kogen - Boyo - Holiday - Rinkan (part) - Jumbo
Niseko HANAZONO Resort Lifts planned to be running: - Hanazono Number 1 quad - Hanazono Number 2 quad - Hanazono Number 3 quad Courses planned to be open: - Connecting - Parallel - Silver Dream - Stairway to Heaven - Setsuzoku course - Crystal Garden - Yotei Sunset (ungroomed)
Niseko Village Lifts planned to be operating: - Niseko Gondola - Community Chair* - Banzai Chair*
Niseko Annupuri Lifts planned to be operating: - Annupuri Gondola - Jumbo Number 1 quad* - Jumbo Number 2 pair - Jumbo Number 3 pair Courses planned to be open: - Utopia - Shirakaba - Paradise - Junior - Family - Dynamic - Silver
Official resort snow depths as of 18th December 2015:
5-10cm of snow overnight and Madarao have announced that there just isn't enough for a safe opening today.
Basically, they'll open as soon as they can which will be after the next delivery of snow.
When will that be? If only any of us knew.
Right now there's actually some blue sky appearing from behind breaks in the cloud. Everywhere is looking white. Well, apart from those blue clouds. There may be more snow on the way overnight tonight so we'll just have to see how that turns out.
Beyond tomorrow there's not a whole lot of snow on the forecasts into next week which is a bit worrying....
I'll update tomorrow with the latest.
Madarao Kogen plans to open on Friday 18th December Tangram Ski Circus plans to open on Saturday 19th December.
Some cloud around but lots of blue sky and bright sunshine.
While it was snowing lightly on the mountains for much of yesterday, there's not as much fresh snow to report as we would have liked (though we always want more, don't we?!). Resorts generally reporting just a bit lower down and up to around 10cm in higher areas.
It's good and cold at base this morning though and hopefully that sun won't warm things up too much, a high of about 4 degrees is expected later on.
There is a chance of more snow tonight through tomorrow morning - it's not expected to last though and we might end up with more sunshine in the day time... should keep cold though.
Today is the first day of the season for the Hakuba Iwatake Snow Field resort area and they have their '4Sen East' area open on the Mountain Side of the resort.
Resort news as of 9:15am on Friday 18th December - subject to change
Hakuba 47: Hakuba 47 is reporting a 1cm of new snowfall at base and 10cm higher up. Route 2, Route 3, Route 4, Route 5, Route 6 and Route 8 (part) courses are open. Planned lifts: Gondola Line AB Line C Line E Official snow depth Upper: 70cm Base: 10cm
Hakuba Goryu: Hakuba Goryu is reporting 10cm of new snowfall on upper areas. The upper Panorama Course and Grand Prix courses at Hakuba Goryu are open. Planned lifts: Telecabin Gondola (to get to the upper area that is currently open) Alps Number 1 pair lift Alps Number 3 pair lift Official snow depth Alps: 60cm Iimori: -cm Toomi: -cm
Hakuba Happo-one: Parts of Usagidaira, Panorama and Kurobishi areas are skiable. Planned lifts: Adam Gondola Alpen quad lift Kurobishi Number 2 quad lift Kokusai Number 3 lift Panorama pair lift Official snow depth Usagidaira: 45cm Nakiyama: -cm Sakka: -cm
Tsugaike Kogen: The upper part of the Han-no-ki course area is open. Planned lifts: Eve Gondola Han-no-ki high speed pair lift Official snow depth Tsuga-no-mori: 67cm Maruyama: -cm
Hakuba Iwatake Snow Field: The East course area in the Mountain Side of the resort is open. Planned lifts: Gondola Noah (to get to the area that is open) 4Sen East
Official snow depth Mountain Side: 30cm Village Side: 5cm
Kashimayari: Course 2 is open Planned lifts: Number 2 pair lift
There's 5cm or so of fresh snow to report this morning from Shiga Kogen... probably more in higher areas. It was still snowing this morning but not as much as would like and it feels like it is clearing up now this morning. The forecast tells us to expect some more snow overnight tonight and it should be keeping very cold.
There hasn't been enough snow to suddenly let everywhere open, but the Yokoteyama is once again open this morning.
Resort areas that are currently open (Thursday 17th December) - subject to change
Ichinose Family Number 2 Pair A line and Number 2 Pair B line lifts are operating Courses open: Ichinose Family Front course (lower part)
Kumanoyu Kumanoyu Number 2 Pair AB line is operating Kumanoyu Number 2 Beginners Course is open (600m)
Takamagahara Takamagahara Number 2 triple lift is operating The lower course area is open
Yakebitaiyama Yakebitaiyama Number 2 high speed and Yakebitaiyama Number 4 romance lifts are operating Part of the South Course (960m) and Karamatsu Course (850m) are open
Yokoteyama Yokoteyama Number 1 Sky B Line, Yokoteyama Number 2 Sky and Yokoteyama Number 5 lifts are operating.
Cloudy day today with light snow all morning, now intermittent.
Nice snows today in Furano.
But it hasn't accumulated enough to open the Kitanomine Zone today, which is a bugger. Mother Nature is a minx.
The Furano Zone is lovely though, with about 5cm fresh on top. Forecast is for snow tonight and tomorrow so hopefully it will be enough to open the lifts and gondola in Kitanomine Zone and give access to the full resort to snow riders. We shall see.
I've been trying to publish this all day (keep getting distracted) so can reliably report it snowed most of the morning, sunny break in town about midday, and now (2pm) is cloudy and cold. Judging by the clouds over the resort, is snowing up top right now.
Yesterday the resort downgraded their base to 65cm and I have estimated it at 70cm after this snowfall.
Now if you would please indulge me I think it is my duty to try and help readers manage their expectations of their Japanese snow holiday.
I am meeting a lot of visitors in recent days who cancelled their trips to coastal or southern resorts in Japan to ski and board here in Furano. Mostly they are loving it, but some are frustrated and that's a real pity. Mainly it's because they have booked accommodation that isn't ski-in to the Furano Zone and the local busses don't run in that direction until 11am. This frustration seems to snowball into a bit of grief for the trip they cancelled. Not good.
I would never talk anyone out of coming to Furano because I love it. And truthfully, the majority of last minute plan changers I have met are loving it, too. Some might become converts in fact, especially if they discover the backcountry.
But if you make new plans please consider what will make you happy on your holiday. And if ski-in matters to you, the only ski-in at the moment is near the Furano Zone which is near the New Furano Prince Hotel. That is 7km from Furano train station for reference and probably about 4km from Kitanomine Village by roadway.
When the Kitanomine Zone opens, very soon we hope, then anywhere in Kitanomine will be within about a 15 minute walk to the resort.
Photo 1 is Kitanomine Zone today at around 8.45am Photo 2 is the view from Kitanomine Village back towards Furano Town at the same time.
Conditions today are good with occasional cloud over what is for the most part a beautiful day.
More good news today as we had 15 cm of fresh snow at the base of Naeba overnight.
The artificial snow pistes have been massively extended out on both sides thanks to the additional snow. Although it is still not possible to ride off the side of the man made stuff.
Just to be clear the current snow depth of 40 cm is only on the man made courses. The rest of the area is not quite ridable just yet. Read more ...
Friday 18th December 2015, 15:24pm
Cloudy, fine over Minakami
Actually had snow accumulating just below the base of Tanigawadake Ropeway overnight to the tune of 15cm and double or more in the drifts.
Tenjin Ski Resort has clocked up 40cm which is promising and though the weather is blue skies and warmish down in Minakami town, clouds have kept the mountain completely covered all day and we have more snow forecast for tonight.
For those in Tokyo, don't bother packing the snorkel but it could well be rideable tomorrow. After which some warmish weather appears to be on the way until the 25th when the forecast is indicating a descent into full-on Winter.