Turned into a beautiful day yesterday... check out yesterdays updated report for a few photos from the day.
Blue skies, sunny, great snow and lots of it. Fantastic.
It's a cloudy start this morning and no new start to the day. It will warm up to around 4 degrees today and clouds bringing snow (fingers crossed for straight into snow and no rain before it) later on in the day. Tomorrow the forecast is for cloud/snow but I don't think we are expecting mad heavy snowfall again for the moment.
Great news this morning is that most of the mountain is open from today. There's a few steeper runs that they're no opening quite yet, but apart from that it's mostly open. See info updated below. Uenotaira Snow Park also now open with lots of waves and boxes and that sort of thing if that's what tickles your fancy.
It's the 'Grand Open' of the resort today. At 11am this morning at the Yamabiko top station of the Nagasaka Gondola, there'll be some events going on including drink and food and your chance to 'janken' (rock-paper-scissors) with Nasuki, that loveable kawaii green Nozawa character. You usually can find Nasuki in the Kids Park in the Hikage area at weekends, but he's making a special appearance further up the mountain this morning. Go Nasuki!
No doubt Santa is very busy this time of year, but on Monday and Tuesday he's going to take a break from his busy worldwide schedule and spend time at Nozawa. And, if you find him, apparently he'll give you a present. Not sure if that works for big kids (ie adults) as well as little kids!
All courses now open except:
Paradise link Hikage no kabe Grand Prix course Jumping Course Challenge 39 Kandahara West Kandahara East Kamoshika Course
Lifts open (subject to weather conditions):
All lifts operating except:
Kandahar Pair Shinyu Pair Hikage Number 2 Pair A line
Bit of a Yawn day when it comes to new snowfall. None to report overnight and the day is looking to shape up the same. Though with temps not too bad and good visibility it will still be a nice comfortable day on the mountain. Kitanomine Zone could open tomorrow so we will keep an eye out for the Gondola. Read more ...
Saturday 20th December 2014, 9:28am
Cloudy / overcast
Hello from Yuzawa.
Yesterday the clouds gradually broke up leaving us early afternoon with lots of blue sky above Yuzawa and Minamiuonuma. It turned into a beautiful afternoon with just a bit of cloud hanging on. Snow was great too - one of the things about this early snowfall was not just how much there was, but the quality... was like mid-season really nice condition.
Forum's member muikabochi took some photos from Maiko Snow Resort yesterday, and you can see them here.
It didn't warm up too much during the day yesterday, but it's a milder start this morning and cloudy - or is that overcast? Just generally grey skies basically.
As of 9am it's around 3 degrees here in town and it might rise to as high as around 8 degrees later on in the day. Bit too warm that, and while it will get colder later on there's a good chance it will rain. It should be snowing overnight though with tomorrow set to be colder. Fingers crossed for it to get colder quicker than the forecast suggests and we avoid that rain stuff.
Today sees another bunch of resorts open for the first time including GALA Yuzawa and NASPA Ski Garden and most places are either fully or close to be being fully open. It's great that we are in that position so early in the season and not worrying about the amount of snow.
Noticably more people around this morning as well, it's probably what you might call the first big weekend of the season and I reckon lots of people will be enjoying their first slides of the season today.
As most ski resorts in Yuzawa and Minamiuonuma are now at least part open, I'll just make a note below of which are still waiting to start their season. Just Itsukamachi, Hakkaisanroku, Ishiuchi Hanaoka and Mt Granview left now.
Just a thin cover of new snow since my last report and it's noticeably warmer this morning.
It is generally cloudy right now, but we are expecting some rain this afternoon. We are hoping of course that will end up short-lived and it will soon turn into snowfall.
Tomorrow we expect snow to be falling and for colder conditions.
A few resort news thingies this morning.
Over at Hanazono, Strawberry Fields opens today as well as the Snowmobiling Course.
Niseko Grand Hirafu have noted that the top Large and Dynamic Courses accessed via the Ace Pair Number 4 lift and King Number 4 Lift cannot open yet due to 'insufficient snow cover'.
They are though extending the operation of the Hanazono Quad Number 3 and Swinging Monkey lifts to 3:30pm, with the two lower Hanazono Quads now doing their thing until 3:50pm.
Just a reminder of a few other things - the top connection between Niseko Annupuri and Niseko Village resorts is not yet available with thise top lifts not moving yet (shuttle bus needed) and those gates aren't open yet. For all the talk of large volumes of snowfall, it seems that we need more.
Niseko Avalanche Report
Moiwa base: -3C, light snowfall and calm morning. Moiwa 600m: -5C, light snowfall, calm and good visibility. Annupuri 1150m: -5C, light snowfall and development of snowdrifts. Annupuri 1000m: 130cm snowpack. Coastal data: Benkei cape SSW3m/s, Kamui cape S13m/s, 1017hPa, 1.3m waves.
A Low Pressure system is approaching and making warm air flow in from the south. The weather is predicted to deteriorate before noon. The general avalanche risk is low according to observations, however wet snow slab avalanches hazard in 40°slopes will rise in the afternoon. Be cautious. The groomers conditions and the snow in the trees is in good shape. Bushes are still sticking out above the surface and the streams at the bottom aren’t fully buried yet. Backcountry access from the resort is still restricted and will take some more time to have the gates ready. Do not duck ropes to step out of bounds. We strongly demand all Niseko accommodation to inform their guests about the Niseko Rules. Have a nice weekend.
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:
Sorry about the report being a bit late this morning - making some changes to the information below now that most areas are open. As well as updating the official snow depth numbers and also noting any new snowfall that is reported, I'll also try to add any further info where possible.
It was a beauty of a day in the region yesterday with blue sky all round and bright sunshine making.
This morning started with lots of cloud around but in the last hour or so there has been more blue skies appear and the sun coming out as well at times. Maybe it will clear up more though I think it's more likely to cloud back over... we're due clouds and precipitation later on today. Depending on which forecast you read and being totally reliant on nature it will be rain/sleet/snow, no doubt better chance of snow the higher up you are. But even if it starts off wet later today, hopefully by my report tomorrow I'll be able to bring news of more snow on the ground.
Night skiing 'nighta' is starting up at a few resorts from this evening.
Today will by the busiest day of the season so far. All resorts now open. Christmas and then the more important New Year holidays approaching. Can't believe we're talking about New Year already. Slow down will you, Time!
Official snow depth numbers and operations as of 20th December 2014. Subject to change during the day:
Hakuba Goryu: Reporting 0cm of new snowfall. All lifts operating except Alps Daira 2&4. All courses open except Adventure Course. Night skiing at Toomi - every day from tonight until 31st March.
Mild this morning. No new snowfall to report and hardly any wind either. We're expecting more cloud as the day progresses today with maybe rain at first but snow overnight and tomorrow. Possibly strong winds tomorrow.
Most course areas of Zao Onsen are now open for the season with just a few exceptions. Looks as if the Paradise Number 3 lift isn't operating and the far left mountain area isn't open this morning but other than that...
I'm hearing that there's been a snow slide over on the famous steep Yokokura Wall run and it's closed this morning. Hopefully not for long.
Relatively mild conditions this morning (which still means we are below zero!)
After the sun of yesterday, the runs will be 'suberiyasui' (easy to slide!) this morning. Hopefully it won't warm up too much. Don't think so as the sun isn't out like it was yesterday... more of a clouding over picture this morning but still some blue sky around.
Night skiing (and inded snowboarding) available from today at a few of the areas around Shiga Kogen - details below.
Well, it's the first "big weekend" of the snow season and most of Shiga Kogen is now open.
Resort areas status with official snow depths:
Okushiga Kogen: 70cm Most open
Yakebitaiyama: 100cm Most open
Ichinose Family 90cm Most open
Ichinose Yamanokami: 90cm Open
Ichinose Diamond: 90cm Part open
Takamagahara Mammoth: 90cm Open
Terakoya: 110cm Open
Higashitateyama: 90cm Open
Giant: 80cm Open
Nishitateyama: 90cm Most open
Happo Bundaraia: 90cm Open
Sun Valley: 60cm Open
Maruike: 60cm Open
Hasuike: 60cm Open
Kumanoyu: 110cm Almost all open (note: skiers only resort area)
Yokoteyama: 110cm Most open now. Shibutoge area 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 ...