Snow and weather reports posted on Sunday 26th May 2019
Monday 1st February 2016, 8:05am
Good morning from Yuzawa, first day of February already!
Yesterday the snow did finish up and leave us with some clearer skies and sunshine in the afternoon.
This morning it is snowing and there's 3cm fresh on the ground. Early on Kagura are reporting 3-5cm and Maiko are reporting 5cm. Not a massive amount, but it is still snowing now - though not expected to last beyond this morning.
It is currently -1C and it shouldn't warm up too much during the day today.
Light snow from time to time today and tomorrow as well, some forecasts saying there's a decent chance of the sun making an appearance mid-week - and then a return to some fresh snowfall on Friday.
What will February bring us this season. More of the same, or a sustained blast of full-on winter?
As promised I'm going to bring you some numbers from the season. To start with today, it'll be our own numbers that we have observed here in town.
A few people have been asking about the snowfall in Yuzawa this season and how it compares with previous seasons. Some didn't know about all of the archives that we have here on SnowJapan - there are archive reports going as far back as 2002 on the site. It's interesting to take a look back and see how the reports have evolved and improved over the years. (Those of you viewing the reports on the mobile site will need to go over to the main website to get all of the arhives and full details).
But just to demonstrate how 'not normal' this season is, last season at the end of January I had observed 979cm of snowfall. This season so far, observing from the same place, that number stands at 235cm; essentially less than 1/4 of the amount from the same point last season.
Last year was definitely 'special' (the previous season the number at the end of January was 433cm), and there's bound to be more snow falling higher on the mountains than here in town, but it's still a pretty startling comparison. And that is perhaps why it's such a talking point - because we are so used to getting huge amounts of snow in this region.
Still, it is important to note that resorts are open and actually have decent snow cover - it's not as if they we have bare mountains like in some places.
January 2016: 143cm January 2015: 420cm January 2014: 297cm
15/16 season up until the end of January 2016: 235cm 14/15 season up until the end of January 2015: 979cm 13/14 season up until the end of January 2014: 433cm
Remember those numbers are all observed here at base level, not up on the mountain. And they are taken from the same place in each of those seasons, by ourselves.
Tomorrow, I'll introduce some other statistics that come directly from Niigata Prefecture about official snowfall records in Yuzawa town.
Resort official snow depths (Monday 1st February 2016) and any specific news at time of writing:
All resorts in the area are either mostly or fully open.
Details of the 'nighta' operations at ski and snowboards resorts around Yuzawa and Minamiuonuma.
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.
Maiko Snow Resort Open daily with the Maiko Center quad lift operating from 4pm until 8pm. The charge is 500 yen for everyone.
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.
NASPA Ski Garden Extended opening until 6pm (Number 1 lift) on Saturdays until 27th February. There is no special ticket available just for the extended time.
Yuzawa Nakazato Open on Saturdays from 5pm until 8:30pm (until 12th March). Tickets are 1500 yen for adults and 1000 yen for children and seniors.
Good morning to you and this morning I have another 12cm of fresh snowfall overnight to report which makes for a decent start to February.
The last day of January saw some nice blue skies in the morning with clouds moving in and then some fresh snow falling. Snowfall overnight is the kind I like best - fill in the tracks... reset the mountain... nice. (Just one thing, bring us 20+cm each night, ok?)
Actually, I see that the Avalanche Report is reporting 20+cm on the mountain. So all is good.
It is another very cold morning here, but I doubt that will put people off wanting to get up for early tracks and enjoy the conditions. Snow continues to fall and I expect visibility to be somewhat limited in places at the moment but once again the snow is expected to stop and leave us with a cloudy day; perhaps even a bit of blue sky again? The Hanazono webcam is showing hints of that just now...
The Early Morning lift service at Niseko Grand Hirafu has now finished for the season. It sounds a bit odd thinking about things already finishing up for the season, but then we can remember that lifts and runs are scheduled to be open until early May. So like I mentioned yesterday, we have over 3 months to go!
So here we are in February 2016 already and it's time for my monthly look back - and forward - to see where we stand this season.
First of all, here are my observed snowfall numbers. As always, recorded here near Hirafu base:
Observed snowfall during January 2016: 303cm Observed snowfall during January 2015: 257cm Observed snowfall during January 2014: 461cm
Total observed snowfall for the 15/16 season up until end January 2016: 611cm Total observed snowfall for the 14/15 season up until end January 2015: 806cm Total observed snowfall for the 13/14 season up until end January 2014: 859cm
So I observed nearly 50cm more snowfall during January 2016 than I did in January 2015, but it was still over 1.5m less than in January 2014. Looking at the season as a whole, we are still 2-2.5m behind the previous two seasons - the main reason this time round of course being the late/poor start to the season.
How will February shape up? Here's what I observed last season and the one before:
February 2015: 196cm February 2014: 178cm
I always like to emphasise this so forgive me for repeating it. More snow falls higher up on the mountain than does here at base. The popular thinking is that there's probably up to/around 1.5 times the amount up there. It would of course be ideal to be able to report a number from there as well, but unfortunately it's just not possible to do that every morning...
Let's also take a look at the official snowfall numbers that are published by the Japan Meteorological Agency. These numbers are taken from their point in Kutchan town which is a bit lower than here at Hirafu base, so you would expect them to be less than the snow that I observe myself.
January 2016: 246cm January 2015: 230cm January 2014: 317cm January 2013: 268cm January 2012: 290cm January 2011: 420cm January 2010: 331cm January 2009: 286cm January 2008: 336cm
15/16 season so far at end of January 2016: 476cm 14/15 season so far at end of January 2015: 658cm 13/14 season so far at end of January 2014: 674cm 12/13 season so far at end of January 2013: 672cm 11/12 season so far at end of January 2012: 721cm 10/11 season so far at end of January 2011: 668cm 09/10 season so far at end of January 2010: 680cm 08/09 season so far at end of January 2009: 612cm 07/08 season so far at end of January 2009: 621cm
It is a 'danto' (mild winter) season for most of Japan this time around. Lots of popular ski regions - mostly on the main island of Honshu - are this season getting much less snowfall than they usually enjoy. Take a look at the Yuzawa Now report today and tomorrow for some similar 'analysis' of what is going on down there. Last season the Yuzawa Now reports recorded over 13m of snowfall, which was actually over 1.5m more than I observed for these Niseko Now reports!
Happily for us up here in Hokkaido, we have been doing well once the season got going and have enjoyed regular fresh snowfall for the most part. But still, for the season so far we also have been getting less snowfall than we usually get.
Let's hope that February brings with it some good numbers - not just for here in Niseko, but for all of the ski resort regions of Japan.
Resort specific lift opening news at time of writing (subject to change during the day):
Niseko base 6.00am: -10°C, 20cm new snow. Moiwa 800m: NE8m/s, 20cm new snow, snowdrift development. Mikaeri 740m: -12.9°C, WSW2.7m/s, 30cm new snow, snow drift development. Annupuri 1150m: -15°C, NW15m/s, 20cm new snow, snow drift development. Hirafu 1000m -16°C, 20cm new snow. Coastal data: Benkei Cape:NW13m/s. Kamui Cape WNW6m/s, 1019hPa, wave 1.3m.
Currently we under the influence of typical winter weather pattern. Light winds and snow continue, On upper sections of leeward slopes above 700m, there has been 40cm of snowdrift growth. Above 900m snowdrift growth has been faster, forming soft slabs likely to fracture on the Jan 30 layer. From observation and data, general avalanche risk is low, but risk can be higher depending on aspect and elevation. Avoid cornices and knolls. All gates are expected to be open. If you ignore Niseko Rules and enter Strictly Off Limits areas expect to be banned from all Niseko ski areas. For your own safety follow the rules. Once one person ducks the ropes, other follow, increasing risk of an accident. This cannot be tolerated. Snowfall is expected to continue. Take care falling into cracks when visibility is poor. It's cold today, beware frostbite. Have a good day.
Official resort snow depths as of Monday 1st February 2016:
Light snow falling from early this morning up here with about 4cm so far with hopefully more building up this morning.
Madarao Kogen is reporting 5cm of fresh as of 7am. The snow may continue this morning but will probably stop by this afternoon. After that it's still looking likely that the new snowfall to expect (more than sprinklings anyway) is on Friday. It should be keeping quite cold through the week though so conditions should be keeping pretty decent.
If you like a clear sunny day, Thursday is the day to target this week according to the forecasts.
February already, can you believe it? Time just goes too fast.
Morning from Nozawa and the first day of February.
Light snow is falling this morning and just a couple of cm down at base with 5cm being reported by the resort on the top Yamabiko runs. The webcams show limited visibility on the upper parts of the mountain early on.
Snow showers on the forecast for most days over the coming week with the most potential for a decent amount of snow falling looking like it will be on Friday - before that it will probably just be light snow without that much in terms of new cm.
Still, it is keeping cold and should be so through the week.
Here's to a February that will bring lots of Nozawa-like snowfall.
Official info at time of writing on Monday 1st February 2016 (subject to change):
Today has a thick cloud cover over the top half of the mountain, meaning that if you go up the Gondola today you'll be skiing inside the cloud.
Good morning from Naeba everybody and a happy February to you all.
Today we've had another 5cm of snow overnight on top of yesterdays 5cm meaning that there's a decent amount of powder around on the slopes today. The snow is predicted to carry on all day although just a small amount. Nevertheless conditions should be good for riding all day today.
Weather for the coming week is unfortunately nothing too exciting. Just small amounts of snow predicted for every day although never more than a few centimeters every day.
Some more snow to report with up to 5cm at base levels and some resorts reporting 10-15cm higher up. It's on the wet side again though - down here at least - not the light and fluffy variety that we love best. Once again, a full investigation seems to be required by me going up and checking!
Snow was still falling earlier on when I first got up but seems to be clearing - here in the village anyway, it may well be still snowing higher up... a quick look at the webcams shows limited visibility out there in some areas right now. We're expecting conditions to clear up during the day today so I think visibility will improve as well.
It's a chilly -3C at 9am with the temperature probably rising to just around zero point during the day.
There's a decent chance of sun and clearer skies tomorrow and if you are looking for the next decent snowfall then the end of the week is probably when you should be here.
Let's see what February brings us!
My apologies - in my report yesterday I left in some fresh snowfall for a few resorts from the previous day. My mistake - it was fixed up, but sorry if it caused any confusion. Will be sure that doesn't happen again.
Resort news as of 9:05am on Monday 1st February 2015 (where available, all subject to change due to weather conditions)
Hakuba 47: Hakuba 47 is reporting 5cm of fresh snowfall across the mountain. All courses are open. Part of the Tree Riding Zone are open. There is no 'nighta' at Hakuba 47. Official snow depth: Upper: 200cm Base: 80cm
Hakuba Goryu: Hakuba Goryu is reporting 5cm of fresh snowfall on lower areas and 10cm on upper areas. All courses except Snow Diving are open. The top Alps 2 and 4 lifts are rested on weekdays. The Toomi area will be open until 9:30pm tonight for 'nighta'. Official snow depth Alps: 220cm Toomi: 105cm Iimori: 105cm
Hakuba Happo-one: Happo-one is reporting 15cm of fresh snowfall. All open (apart from the Kurobishi Off Piste Area). Happo Banks Snow Park is now open. The lower Nakiyama area plans to be open for 'nighta' every day until 9pm. Official snow depth: Usagidaira: 185cm Nakiyama: 80cm Sakka: 55cm
Hakuba Cortina: Hakuba Cortina is reporting 1cm of fresh snowfall. All courses are open except Giant. The Ikenota area will be open for 'nighta' until 8pm tonight. Official snow depth: Top: 175cm Base: 120cm
Tsugaike Kogen: All course areas open. Nighta at Kane-no-naru-oka on Saturday 6th, 13th February; at Karamatsu/Shirakaba on 13th/20th February and 5th/12th/19th March. Note that the top Tsugaike Ropeway only opens from spring. Official snow depth: Tsuga-no-mori: 223cm Maruyama: 90cm Kane-no-naru-oka: 70cm
Hakuba Iwatake Snow Field: Most of the Village Side is now open but parts of the Mountain Side not yet available (Dangan, Kamo4, East, View A, View B). There is no 'nighta' at Hakuba Iwatake. Official snow depth: Upper: 140cm Lower: 70cm
Hakuba Norikura Onsen: All courses except Snake and Expert are now open. There is no 'nighta' at Hakuba Iwatake. Official snow depth: 100cm
It is of course now February and that means we have... 98 days left to the season. Sounds good to me.
There has just been a light covering of fresh snow with around 3cm to report this morning.
Light wind at base here with a north westerly wind of around 7-8/sec at upper resort areas.
It is keeping nice and cold so the snow is being kept in good condition.
Back to weekdays again now after a busy weekend, so less people around. The forecast shows light snow over the next few days and perhaps a break and some sunshine mid week before we get back to snow falling in the lead up to next weekend.
Light snow falling this morning here in Shiga Kogen. Again, it's wetter snow than we might hope for at the beginning of February, but we'll take it.
I love the phrase that Kumanoyu are using for their 5cm of fresh this morning 'puchi-powder'. Puchi usually translates as small/petite, or in this case I suppose 'a bit'. Kawaii!
Anyway, yes a bit of new snowfall on the slopes this morning. Light snow was falling here in the Maruike area just before, but has eased off now though I imagine that snow is still falling in parts of the region now. It's not expected to last though or not beyond this afternoon anyway.
Lots of cloud and 'gas' around so making visibility limited in some places.
It looks like there's a fair chance of some sunshine tomorrow and Wednesday and the next snowfall after today due sometime around Thursday/Friday.
Come on February - deliver the goods please!
Official snow depths at Shiga Kogen resort areas (Monday 1st February 2016):
Well, it's February and there's still no big snow to report. Outside its partly cloudy and a balmy -9. Expect the clouds to roll in this afternoon bringing a paltry 2 to 3cm of snow.
Yesterday was pleasant enough with sun most of the day and relatively calm winds. The temperature hovering in the -9 range all day. There's really no change in the works for the next few days either so I guess we'll have to enjoy what we have.
Most of the runs are in decent shape although you'll see a few threadbare patches on some of the upper Sailer and Second runs. I hope the rest of the season provides a lot more snow than we've had already. The seasons half way over and it's been disappointing to say the least.
Currently planned operating lifts:
- Appi Gondola - Sailer Gondola - Central Number 1 quad - Number 2 lift A - Number 3 lift B - Number 3 lift C - Number 4 lift - Sailer Number 2 - Vista quad Read more ...
Monday 1st February 2016, 9:40am
It is currently snowing lightly here in Furano this Monday morning. The flakes are very fine and not the usual fluffy stuff that we get, but the accumulation so far is a healthy 6cm in the village which will mean the slopes are going to be nice and powdery again.
There is low cloud cover so expect some flat light on the mountain in places. The weather should stay approximately the same throughout the day. The snow is forecast to continue for the next 6 days with the heaviest falls being on Thursday night and Friday afternoon. An increase in wind is expected for Firday and Saturday, but nothing too major at the moment.
There are quite a few course closures on the Kitanomine side at the moment, or coming up soon. These are for junior high school ski competitions, so it may be worth taking a break and to see how good these young athletes can ski the poles courses. It certainly inspires me to up my game!
The course closures are as follows: Giant until 6/Feb Dynamic until 2/Feb Azelia 3-6/Feb Junior 3-6/Feb
The trees are covered in a nice, light coating of snow this morning. Not a huge amount of fresh, perhaps 10cm or a little more at the base of Akakan, but a welcome addition and snow continues to fall. It's the same small flakes that we've seen almost exclusively this year. We miss seeing those great big, vision-obscuring flakes falling hard and fast. Could still happen, since we're just now into February.
It's light, but it keeps on falling, and snow is on the forecast for all days except Thursday and then there is the chance of heavy snow on Friday. So it may not be a lot all at once, but it looks like we will get some additional snow added to the pack.
More limited visibility on the mountain again this morning but it's not snowing - more like a cloudy and foggy situation.
There has been a bit of snow since yesterday but it's rather wet and heavy. I had fun out there yesterday but my knees and thighs definitely took a good workout and we could really be doing with a new decent delivery of snow to liven things up and freshen things up.
Which brings me to...
I am finding myself disagreeing with the snow quality code that the resort is publishing at the moment. The available codes are as below:
S - powder snow A - very good B - fairly good C - normal/average D - fairly poor E - poor
The resort today is claiming 'S' as the mountain-wide quality of snow this morning.
If today is 'S', then how do we compare that with when there's 40cm of fresh light dry powder out there? Today is not 'S'.
Anyway, enough of that hopefully we should get a bit of snowfall tomorrow and then after that it's probably going to be the end of the week before we get much more.
Information as of Monday 1st February 2016 (subject to change)
All planned lifts are operating this morning. The Karamatsu lift is rested on weekdays.