Snow and weather reports posted on Saturday 30th May 2020
Monday 1st May 2017, 8:38am
And so, here we are into May and the very last week of the season.
It's going to be interesting to see how many people actually turn up this year - despite the official snow depth at Hirafu still saying there's nearly 2m of snow up there, with there being less snow than usual this season there's not as much as we would like. Still, Niseko Grand Hirafu and Niseko Annupuri continue on and plan to keep those lifts moving until Sunday. Details on what is planned to be open below as always.
It's not a particularly nice morning. Cloud, fog and rain is the mix we are enjoying. Hopefully it won't be an extended 12" and conditions might get better fairly quickly.
Weather conditions should be fine and settled for the rest of Golden Week from tomorrow, so at least we should be able to enjoy some fine weather.
Niseko Village are operating their Niseko Gondola over the Golden Week period. The Gondola is operating but the ski courses at Niseko Village are not available - you can take the Gondola up and then walk over to the top area of Niseko Grand Hirafu and ski/board in that area. A lift ticket that is valid on all ski lifts that are open over Golden Week is available. It costs 3,800 yen for adults and 3,100 yen for children.
Upcoming national holidays:
- Wednesday 3rd May is Constitution Day (Kenpo-kinenbi) - Thursday 4th May is Greenery Day (Midori-no-hi) - Friday 5th May is Children's Day (Kodomo-no-hi)
Individual resort information: Monday 1st May 2017:
Planned openings. This info subject to change due to snow and weather conditions - any closings due to weather will be mentioned in the main report above.
Niseko Grand Hirafu Niseko Grand Hirafu plans to be open daily until Sunday 7th May. You need to get the Ace Number 2 Center Four quad lift or Gondola back down to base.
Official snow depth: Top - 195cm Base - 0cm
Courses that remain open (checked daily with each report): Detour for beginners Shirakaba Center Large Rinkan Jumbo Dynamic
Planned operating lifts: King Number 3 (8:40am until 4:30pm) King Number 4 (8:50am until 4:30pm) Ace Number 2 Center Four (8:30am until 4:00pm) * to get up to and back down from open courses * Gondola (8:30am until 4:00pm) * to get up to and back down from open courses *
Niseko Annupuri Niseko Annupuri plans to be open daily until Sunday 7th May. You need to get the Gondola back down to base.
Official snow depth: Top - 150cm Base - 10cm
Courses that are open today Champion Utopia
Planned operating lifts: Annupuri Gondola Jumbo Number 3 Jumbo Number 4
Unfortunately, very strong sunshine yesterday and rain this morning isn't helping keep the snow!
Certainly a fair bit of damaged because of the weather conditions, with some ground appearing at base areas.
It looks like the Lavender 28 course will close from today. People who want to enjoy a steeper course - take the Number 3 lift and head for Melissa.
There's still 4km of course available but if much more ground appears around the base area, the lower part of Rainbow 3500 and Basil course will close.
If you decide not to ski today due to the weather and conditions, look for the beautiful sakura cherry blossom trees by the Kannonji river in Inawashiro town. 200 sakura trees are blooming beside the river there.
- Gondola - Number 3 quad lift
85% courses now open. Lavender A, Mint B and Center 33 course are closed. The Snow Parks are now closed.
And after that nice and warm feel-good day yesterday, sadly it's raining this morning. Not heavy but persistent and raining higher up too. We are hoping it will ease off this morning though and perhaps there might even be some sunshine later on.
The rest of the week looks like it should be generally fine weather too. It's going to be fairly chilly today but come the latter part of the week we will see things warming up again. And possibly the warmth will be here to stay this time.
All four of the resorts are still open. Updated details for each below.
One week left!
Resort information as of 8:55am on Monday 1st May 2017:
** Below are the planned operations for each of the ski resorts that remain open. Any news for the day will be mentioned in the above report. **
Hakuba 47: Almost all of the courses at Hakuba 47 remain open. The lower part of Route 7 is closed, but you can still ride down using Route 1. The Tree Riding Zone gates are closed for the season. Official snow depth: Upper: 115cm Base: 50cm --- Planned operating lifts: All lifts plan to be operating --- Hakuba 47 plans to be open until Sunday 7th May.
Hakuba Goryu: The upper areas remain open. The Champion Expert Course is now closed. The lower (and now extremely narrow) Toomi course can be used to get back down to base - I doubt that will remain much longer! Official snow depth: Alps: 170cm Toomi: 45cm --- Planned operating lifts: Gondola Alps Number 1 pair lift Alps Number 3 pair lift Alps Number 2/4 pair lift --- Hakuba Goryu plans to be open until Sunday 7th May.
Hakuba Happo-one: The upper areas that remain open are Riesen Grat, Usagidaira, Kurobishi, Panorama and Skyline. All of the base areas are now closed - use the Gondola or Sakka Kita-one lifts to get up to the open areas and back down to base. Official snow depth: Usagidaira: 80cm Kurobishi: 110cm Nakiyama: -cm --- Planned operating lifts: Gondola Alpen quad lift Grat quad lift Panorama pair lift Kokusai Number 3 pair lift Kurobishi Number 2 quad lift Kurobishi Number 3 pair lift Skyline Number 2 pair lift Sakka Kitaone quad --- Hakuba Happo-one plans to be open until Sunday 7th May.
Tsugaike Kogen: The upper Tsuga-no-mori and Upper Han-no-ki areas remain open. The Lower Han-no-ki and Maruyama areas are part open. All other areas are now closed. Official snow depth: Tsuga-no-mori: 205cm Han-no-ki: 190cm Shirakaba: 160cm Base areas: 0cm --- Planned operating lifts: Tsugaike Ropeway Gondola Tsuga Number 2 pair lift Han-no-ki high speed pair lift --- Tsugaike Kogen plans to be open until Sunday 7th May.
All other ski and snowboard resorts in the area are now closed for the season. Read more ...
Monday 1st May 2017, 9:01am
Morning from Yuzawa.
It's raining unfortunately, with rain being reported up high at Kagura and GALA Yuzawa too. Fingers crossed it won't last long and we might be able to enjoy some clearer skies later this afternoon.
Yesterday was a very fine day weather-wise and rather warm outside too. Perhaps later on in the week we'll see a return to that warmth, but for today things are very noticeably colder... I've got by long sleeves on again.
Settled and fine weather is forecast for the rest of the week.
Remember, while today and tomorrow are 'normal' weekdays, Wednesday through Friday are national holidays and the ski slopes that remain open are usually very busy. If you are planning on coming, an early start is recommended.
There is still excellent snow cover at Kagura and GALA Yuzawa. Things are much more patchy at the lower Kandatsu Kogen resort but it remains open, and Naeba is patchy on lower slopes but you can still ski or board back down to base. More info below.
Resort information as of Monday 1st May 2017
Subject to change depending on snow and weather conditions.
GALA Yuzawa GALA Yuzawa plans to be open until Sunday 7th May. All of the Central Area courses and part of the North Area currently remains open. The sledding area is also open. The Falcon downhill course is closed - use the Gondola to get back down to base. Official snow depth: 140cm
Kagura The Tashiro Area of Kagura plans to be open until Sunday 7th May. The Kagura Area (via Mitsumata Ropeway) plans to be open until Sunday 28th May. Almost all Kagura courses remain open. Closed courses according to official website are the Gondola East Course (at Tashiro) and the downhill course (back to Mitsumata car park). Official snow depth: Kagura - 260cm; Mitsumata - 180cm; Tashiro - 220cm
Kandatsu Kogen Kandatsu Kogen plans to be open until Sunday 7th May. Most courses at Kandatsu Kogen remain open though snow is getting thin on the ground and some parts are narrow. Official snow depth: 100cm
Naeba Naeba plans to be open until Sunday 7th May. Naeba has re-opened for Golden Week period. The Number 2 Gondola and Takenokodaira Romance lift are operating. Courses on lower areas in front of the hotel are narrow but you can still ski or board back down to base. Note that the Dragondola is operating from 9am until 1pm but for sightseeing, not skiing and boarding! Official snow depth: 130cm
All other ski and snowboard resorts in the Yuzawa and Minamiuonuma region are now closed for the season. Read more ...
Nozawa Onsen Now!
Monday 1st May 2017, 9:08am
Hello! The first of May and the last week of the season.
It hasn't started off the best with rain falling, but the forecast is for clearer weather for the rest of the week. It's a much colder morning than yesterday (which was lovely and warm) but things should get back to warming up starting tomorrow.
The Rinkan course back down to base area managed to stay open right up until the end of April, but that is more - you now need to take the Gondola back down now. Best snow is up high anyway!
Nozawa Onsen will be open until Sunday 7th May.
7 days to go!
Lower slopes are now almost completely bare but upper slopes still have an official snow depth of 2m and excellent snow cover.
Monday 1st May 2017
Official snow depths: - Yamabiko: 200cm - Uenotaira: 110cm - Base areas: 0cm
Planned operations - see above report for any disruptions to the plans!
Planned lift operations today: - Nagasaka Gondola - Yamabiko Four - Yamabiko Number 2 Four - Uenotaira Four - Paradise Four - Skyline connecting pair
Planned open courses today: - Yamabiko A - Yamabiko B - Yamabiko C - Yamabiko D - Yamabiko E - Kokenashi - Uenotaira - Paradise
Planned lift operations for Golden Week (daily until 7th May):
Nagasaka Gondola - 8:10am until 3:30pm Yamabiko Number 2 Four lift - 8:25am until 3:30pm Yamabiko Four lift - 8:30am until 3:20pm Uenotaira Four lift - 8:30am until 3:30pm Paradise Four lift - 8:30am until 3:40pm Skyline connecting pair - 8:25am until 3:50pm (** this lift not operating on 1st, 2nd May) Read more ...
Shiga Kogen Now!
Monday 1st May 2017, 9:14am
Morning from Shiga Kogen.
Lovely and warm spring day yesterday with the temperature rising to double digits, but this morning it's raining and colder again.
By tomorrow we should be back to finer weather conditions for the upcoming main part of Golden Week. Wednesday, Thursday and Friday are national holidays and so for many people it's a long 5 day 'weekend'.
There are three main (separate) sections of Shiga Kogen open at the moment - Okushiga Kogen, the Ichinose-Terakoya areas, and the Kumanoyu-Yokoteyama-Shibutoge areas.
Next report before the weekend.
During the winter season, the section of the Route 292 main road that connects Shiga Kogen (from Yokoteyama) with Kusatsu Onsen in Gunma Prefecture is closed due to all the snow. That section of road has now re-opened which means that you can now get to Shiga Kogen via Gunma Prefecture from the east - either for spring skiing and snowboarding or just for sightseeing. The road has had to be 'cut out' of the snow meaning that in places there are impressive snow walls on either side.
Official snow depths numbers reported by different areas of Shiga Kogen:
Planned late season lift operations - subject to change so please check with resorts:
Takamagahara Mammoth The quad lift plans to be operating until Sunday 7th May
Tannenomori Okojo The quad lift plans to be operating until Sunday 7th May
Ichinose Family The Ichinose quad lift and Ichinose Number 2 pair B lifts plan to be operating until Sunday 7th May
Terakoya The Terakoya lifts plan to be operating until Sunday 7th May
Ichinose Diamond The Ichinose Diamond quad lift plans to be operating until Sunday 7th May
Okushiga Kogen The Okushiga Kogen Gondola, Number 2, 3, 4 and 6 lifts plan to be operating until Sunday 7th May
Kumanoyu The Kumanoyu Number 1 pair and Number 3 quad lifts plan to be operating until Sunday 7th May The Kumanoyu Number 2 pair A and B lifts plan to be operating until Sunday 14th May
Yokoteyama & Shibutoge The Yokoteyama Number 4, Number 1 Sky A and B lifts plan to be operating until Sunday 7th May The Yokoteyama Number 2 and 3 Sky lifts plan to be operating until late May The Shibutoge lift plans to be operating until late May
Please note that from 8th May, joint Shiga Kogen lift tickets are not valid - individual tickets from the individual areas will be required. Read more ...
Monday 1st May 2017, 9:47am
Hello from Zao.
Yesterday was a warm one -- mid 20's down in Yamagata city. It was 8C here in the village early morning. Lovely warm sunny spring day.
This morning there's more cloud but it remains warm, currently 13C at base.
The lower slopes of Zao are bare now, but those upper courses are still open for one more week. Gambare!
We at expecting mostly Golden Week-like good weather for the rest of the week.
Sunday is the last day of the season.
Official snow depths (as published by the resort): Summit - 50cm Paradise - 50cm Chuo - 50cm Utopia - 60cm Uwanodai - 10cm Yokokura - 0cm
Course areas that remain:
- Zangezaka Juhyogen - Chuo - Utopia
Planned lift operations:
Operating until Sunday 7th May: - Chuo Number 1 pair AB - Chuo Number 2 pair AB - Utopia Number 2 pair
Open all year (* for sightseeing): - Sky Cable - Chuo Ropeway - Zao Ropeway
All other ski lifts at Zao Onsen are now closed for the season. Read more ...
Monday 1st May 2017, 15:08pm
Cloudy with rain showers
One last final report before Golden Week kicks off here.
Tenjin is still operational with the exception of the cat track to the bottom.
The Minakami Vibes bowl this year was a double running the length of the small lift and it's still holding though they have redistributed the snow on one half to areas that needed it so its half the original size.
It has been raining for the past 18 hours off and on which usually cleans up the snow quite nicely and the Golden Week weather forecast (for what its worth) is clear from tomorrow through Friday.
Just on snow quality, the sunny days forecast mean Spring corn this time of year and unless its cloudy in the morning, it's hard to get enough speed to attack the bowl. On the upside, it's soft if the bowl gets the better of you.
On a general weather note, down low in the nearby village of Yubiso, we just had a Hanami lunch earlier today and the cherry blossoms in Yubiso Park will probably be in full bloom over the next few days.
The road to Ichinokura (walking only) is clear of snow and at Ichinokura itself, the snow walls are 4-5m high.
The photo on this report photo was taken yesterday in better weather.