Snow and weather reports posted on Monday 6th May 2019
Sunday 27th December 2015, 7:45am
Yesterday at one point there were almost clear blue skies over the region - somehow it had turned into a beautiful day. Better than rain for sure.
Clouds moved in later on in the afternoon and then in the evening it had started raining (trying to snow at times) with the sound of thunder as well. I went to bed last night listening to heavy rain making lots of noise on my roof and not in the best of moods.... just when will it turn to snow?
But I am very happy to report good news from the Yuzawa and Minamiuonuma areas this morning. We are enjoying proper winter-like snow this morning.
There was 10cm of snow on the ground earlier on (any further snowfall since then will be in tomorrows report) and resorts have been reporting up to 20cm of snow. Snow continues to fall now and it's coming down nicely too, so fingers crossed it can continue building up. The forecast does promise snow for the day today; perhaps a break in the snowfall early morning tomorrow but more in the afternoon and tomorrow night. It goes without saying that we want as much as possible.
There's lots of news and activity from the resorts around Yuzawa and Minamiuonuma as well.
Maiko Snow Resort, Joetsu Kokusai and Muikamachi Ski Resort have already part re-opened; Kandatsu Kogen and Iwappara resorts are opening from 12 noon today.
For resorts that were already open - more of GALA Yuzawa is open this morning and Naeba are preparing to get their Daishamen pair lift operating as well.
The NASPA Ski Garden and Ishiuchi Maruyama resorts are both planning to open from tomorrow morning.
That's the updates that I have available now and there may be more news during the day as resorts do their best to open as quickly as possible. I hope that we haven't missed anything. It feels like it's a case of mad panic this morning for many people, though everyone is of course very happy to finally see decent snow coming down. It feels like winter has arrived, finally. Now let's hope that we can keep this winter mode going.
We'll be checking everything again and updating the details again for you in the morning.
Resort operations (Sunday 27th December 2015) - subject to change:
Kagura Almost all of the courses and lifts at Kagura are now open. The only areas not open yet are the top pair lift and the Mitsumata downhill course back to base. The top pair lift (Kagura Number 5 Romance lift) plans to be open this season from 1st January. The Dragondola connecting Tashiro with Naeba is not yet open.
Naeba Lower Number 4 and 5 courses are open as well as the upper Takenokodaira course. In addition, the Daishamen Romance lift and Number 4 high speed lifts are planned to be operating sometime today as well.
GALA Yuzawa More of GALA Yuzawa is open this morning. Most of the Chuo area is now open and part of the North Area as well.
Iwappara Iwappara will be open from 12 noon today. They are hoping to have their Number 2 pair and Number 3 pair lifts operating.
Joetsu Kokusai Joetsu Kokusai has a number of lifts operating from this morning.
Kandatsu Kogen Kandatsu Kogen will be open from 12 noon today with three lifts (Tozawa, Onaka and Ikenodaira) operating.
Maiko Snow Resort Maiko Snow Resort re-opens this morning with 6 upper Okusoeji area courses open via the Gondola. Take the Gondola up and down as the lower areas are not open.
Muikamachi Hakkaisan The Technical course and Rakuraku A courses open with the Ropeway and Number 3 Romance lift operating.
Muikamachi Ski Resort Muikamachi Ski Resort is open from this morning with the Number 2 pair lift operating.
Confirmed news of openings:
NASPA Ski Garden NASPA Ski Garden plans to open at 8:30am tomorrow morning (Monday).
I was kind of bummed last night when we were gettin precipitation, but not of the white kind. The good news came later when we started to hear thunder—always a good sign up here that things may head to snow. And, sure enough, we start the morning with perhaps 20cm of fresh. And it continues to snow.
Pretty strong wind right now, but it's actually come down a lot from the shaking the house had during the night. Apparently there were really big winds all day off the coast here; the Coast Guard website currently shows 18 meter/second NNW winds all across this part of the Japan Sea. Which is also good news for us on the other side of the front range mountains.
The only bad thing this morning is the incomplete news that I have for you. I complain a lot about this, I know, and I'll stop (once things are in full operation, it's pretty easy to keep up on things). The town report didn't come out until 11am yesterday (which is not the decision time for most skiers) and the areas were pretty bad about sending out stuff to the town, or posting on their own sites. But here's what I do have for you:
Akakura Kanko: Myoko Kogen Sky Cable, Hotel No. 5 lift -4° / 25cm (no report yet)
Akakura Onsen: Yodel Triple No. 2, No. 4; shuttle bus from Yodel Information Center at the base up to Yodel No. 3 lift; word is that the Ginrei sections will open as well (no official report up yt) -4° / 20cm
As the snow continues to fall, from 2pm today the resort is opening the Rinkan course to connect the Paradise course with the Nagasaka Gondola. For now it is just to use as means to get back to base. The resort also seems to have the Yunomine pair and Mizunashi lifts and associated courses now operating/open.
Original morning report
Now this feels more like it!
It is a good morning indeed in Nozawa.
We have good cold wintery conditions with decent snow falling from the skies right down to the village.
Yes, after an odd mix of weather yesterday, last night the snow started and we have it on the ground here now with it continuing to fall. Snow is forecast for the day today, maybe a break in it during the day tomorrow but more fresh snow due again by tomorrow evening.
At the time of writing, no word on any changed to what will be open today at Nozawa Onsen. I would not be surprised though if more of the resort opened as more snow falls though. Check with them if you are going to be here.
Should be fun up there this morning. Be sure to wrap up well though and don't get too excited - visibility is limited.
Great stuff. Loads of snow please!
Official info at time of writing on Sunday 27th December 2015 (subject to change):
It actually feels like winter this morning. And we haven't been able to say that much so far this December.
26cm of snow to report, with the resort reporting 30cm on the slopes. Sounds good? Looks good. And I bet it feels good under skis and boards too!
Madarao this morning is open with the Number 1, Number 2 quad lift and Number 5 lifts operating along with 5 courses.
It looks like Tangram Ski Circus is also opening from this morning with the Number 1 pair lift planned to be operating.
It may be limited still but it is a start and with snow forecast to continue for today and then pick up again later on tomorrow night (after a lull in the daytime tomorrow?), there's more to come and hopefully soon more of the resort areas opening.
Visibility is also very limited out there this morning so take care. And have fun!
There are lots of smiling faces at the moment here as our Christmas period haul of fresh snowfall continues.
I have another 20cm of fresh snow outside my place here in Hirafu base this morning, and it is still snowing now, and forecast to continue for the next few days as well.
This is what we like. I am happy that Santa and his creature friends held on to their promise. Not that I ever doubted them of course.
Some of the smiles might be temporarily wiped off faces when people realise that it's also very windy this morning and affecting some lifts at the start of the day. Though maybe not! After the start to the season we have had lovely fresh snowfall and lots of it is by far the biggest thing right now and I think we can put with some wind if that's part of the deal for getting the snow. Though it would be good if we could just get the snow without the wind.
At the time of writing, strong winds on the mountain are affecting resorts in this way:
Niseko Grand Hirafu - Top King Number 4 lift on hold. Snow moving going on at King Number 3 which may open a bit late. Niseko Hanazono - Top Hanazono Number 3 lift on hold. Niseko Village - Gondola and top Wonderland lift on hold. Niseko Annupuri - Jumbo Number 1 running slow with all other lifts on hold.
It's limited visibility on the slopes this morning along with the windy conditions.
Have fun in all that snow, but don't forget to be careful and to always stay safe. An extra layer and face masks are recommended today - it's cold out there.
As I mentioned snowfall is due through until around Tuesday; the resort areas should be 'all open' sometime soon I think.
Oh yes! :)
Niseko Avalanche Report:
Niseko base 6am: -9℃, 20cm of crushed crystal snow in 12hours, small development of snowdrifts. Moiwa 800m: -12℃, NE15m/s, large cornices and snowdrifts development up to 100cm. Annupuri 1000m:-16℃, NW25m/s, poor visibility and large development of snowdrifts.
The strong winter pressure distribution has generated powerful wind and snowfall during the night. The wind at lower elevation has calmed down in the morning, however the storm is persisting above 600m elevation. Snowdrifts and cornices are continuing to grow and are extremely unstable. Avalanche risk is very high in leeward slopes above 800m and open leeside steep slopes above 600m in all mountain areas in Shiribeshi sub-prefecture.
Many of the accidents occur in those slopes loaded with snowdrifts. Stay away from these aspects when planning your touring routes.
Great condition in the trees.
Planned resort operations (subject to change due to weather conditions 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 1 pair - Ace Number 2 Quad Center Four* (for transport) - Ace Number 3 pair - Hirafu Gondola* - King Number 1 pair - King Number 3 triple - King Number 4 - Holiday Number 1 pair* - Swinging Monkey Courses planned to be open: - Family - Beginners access - Center - Shirakaba - Green - Kokutai - Ni-kabe - Alpen - Sennoki - Kogen - Boyo - Rinkan - Jumbo - Dynamic
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* - Morino Chair - Wonderland Chair
Niseko Annupuri Lifts planned to be operating: - All lifts planned to be operating Courses planned to be open: - Champion - Utopia - Shirakaba - Paradise - Junior - Family - Dynamic - Silver
Official resort snow depths as of Sunday 27th December 2015:
Some fine powder snow has been delivered with 20cm of fresh at the moment and more coming as I write. The forecast is also for continued snow for the day today (with perhaps strong winds at times) and also through tomorrow and perhaps into Tuesday.
The new snowfall means that the Number 3 quad lift is able to start it's season from this morning, along with the B-b Mint course opening up... so the resort is now 80% open.
Hopefully soon that will be 100%!
The roads around the Ura Bandai area are this morning covered with snow with freezing road surfaces. Snow tires are necessary as well as careful driving.
Gondola Number 1 quad Number 2 quad Number 3 quad
(A-a) Rainbow 3500 (A-b) Rainbow 3500 (A-c) Rainbow 3500 (B-a) Mint (B-c) Mint (C) Center (D-b) Lavender (F) Basil
Welcome to our new ‘Grandeco Now' reports, exclusive to SnowJapan.
As with all our Now daily reports, it extremely important to us that the information we publish is useful, honest and correct and we’ll be doing everything we can to bring you some good info from this region. Grandeco is located in Kita Shiobara village in the north western region of Fukushima Prefecture - we are very pleased to be able to begin reporting from this region of Japan. More information on Grandeco can be found here and a Resort Spotlight on SnowJapan here.
** There may be a few glitches early on but please bear with us while we settle in this new report section. Thank you. ** Read more ...
Sunday 27th December 2015, 9:11am
There is a thin fog today in the base area with higher up the mountain being slightly more thickly covered.
Good morning from Naeba everyone!
Good news today as we've finally had a big dump of snow all the way down to the base area of Naeba.
Overnight between 15 and 20 cm of snow fell transforming the hill from slightly depressing and muddy to a veritable winter wonderland.
The snow is still falling thickly today so we have high hopes for more of Naeba to become skiable.
Unfortunately the official snow depth of 35 cm is still only on the areas with man made snow making facilities. Off to the side is now starting to become ridable in areas but please do exercise caution, no one wants to end up riding on tarmac.
The weather forecast is looking good for the next three days with snow predicted tomorrow night and then all of Tuesday. If this turns out to be the case then we should certainly see more of Naeba ski area open up. Read more ...
Sunday 27th December 2015, 9:25am
A fabulously happy morning to you from Hakuba where snow is arriving in style.
About 12cm here outside my place but resorts reporting some very good numbers from the slopes. Here's the numbers (of fresh snowfall) that are available:
I have updated what seems to be open at resorts in the areas below so please check those details out. The good news is that Hakuba Cortina are able to open today as well as Hakuba Iwatake and there are more lifts and courses at other resorts now opening up.
With the snow continuing to fall and resorts keen to open up as much as possible as quickly as possible, it's a situation that will be changing rapidly.
Happo-one seems to be having a problem with their website (overload?) and somewhat struggling to get clear info out but they planned to have the Skyline Number 2 pair lift and Skyline Course open from this morning. I am also hearing of issues with the Kokusai Number 1 lift this morning but it may be back up and running soon. To get up to the upper area, use either the Kita One quad lift or Gondola.
Apologies for the later report this morning. There's just so much information to check (and not all of it the easiest to find either). I hope that what I'm providing this morning is a fairly clear picture of the situation. Oh for the day when every resort in the area is finally 'FULLY OPEN'! Hopefully that is now not too far off. I'm sure we are all looking forward to it.
Oh yes, after all that forgot to say: snow forecast for day with limited visibility on the slopes. It's cold this morning, wrap up well and take care.
Resort news as of 9:15am on Sunday 27th December (all subject to change due to weather conditions)
Hakuba 47: Hakuba 47 is reporting 10cm of new snowfall at base and up to 40cm higher up. Upper Route 1, Route 2, Route 3, Route 4, Route 5, Route 6 and Route 8 courses are open. Planned lifts: Gondola Line AB Line C Line E Official snow depth Upper: 120cm Base: 15cm
Hakuba Goryu: Hakuba Goryu is reporting 15cm of new snowfall at base and 35cm on upper areas. The upper Panorama Course, Grand Prix and Super courses are open as well as the lower Toomi run and the Soft Cream course in the Iimori area. The open upper and lower areas are not yet connected - gondola is needed to get down from upper area. Planned lifts: Telecabin Gondola Alps Number 1 pair lift Alps Number 2/4 pair lift Alps Number 3 pair lift Toomi Sky Four lift Milky Four lift Official snow depth Alps: 65cm Iimori: -cm Toomi: 20cm
Hakuba Happo-one: The Usagidaira, Panorama and Kurobishi areas are open. Skyline is planned to be open this morning. Further details are unconfirmed this morning. Possible changes this morning. Planned lifts: Adam Gondola Alpen quad lift Usagidaira pair lift Kurobishi Number 2 quad lift Kokusai Number 1 lift Kita One quad lift Kokusai Number 3 lift Panorama pair lift Official snow depth Usagidaira: 50cm Nakiyama: -cm Sakka: -cm
Hakuba Cortina: Hakuba Cortina open from this morning, reporting 20-30cm of fresh snow and a snow depth of 50cm higher up. Courses open - Ikenota, Mt Hieda Forest, Mt Hieda 1 (lower). Planned lifts: Number 2 quad lift Number 4 pair lift Official snow depth Top: 50cm Base: 20cm
Tsugaike Kogen: The upper Tsuga-no-mori area and upper part of the Han-no-ki course areas are open as well as part of the lower Kane-no-naru-oka area. Planned lifts: Eve Gondola Tsuga Number 1 pair lift Tsuga Number 2 pair lift Han-no-ki high speed pair lift Kane-no-naru-oka Skyliner II lift Official snow depth Tsuga-no-mori: 132cm Kane-no-naru-oka: 35cm
Hakuba Iwatake Snow Field: The North and East runs are open. Planned lifts: Noah Gondola 3Sen North 4Sen Line East Line Lift Official snow depth Upper: 50cm Lower: 10cm
Kashimayari: Course 2 is open Planned lifts: Number 2 pair lift
22cm of snow piled up outside my place here this morning. Utopia area adding 35cm to their snow depth this morning; if that is an accurate reflection of how much fresh snow there is up there... I'm on my way!
Whatever, it is good news this morning with a good snow refresh and more on the way. I would expect more lifts and courses to be open soon - perhaps even within today.
Very cold this morning and fairly strong winds at times and forecast. Tomorrow should be calmer and maybe a break in the snow before more Monday night into Tuesday.
Information as of Sunday 27th December 15 (subject to change)
Lifts that are planned to be operating at Zao Onsen:
- Sky Cable (gondola) - Zao Chuo Ropeway - Zao Ropeway - Onsen Number 1 pair - Mikaeri pair - Chuo Number 1 pair AB - Chuo Number 1 pair AB - Katakai triple - Diamond Number 1 pair - Diamond Number 2 - Zao Paradise pair AB - Shobunuma Number 1 triple - Shobunuma Number 2 pair - Utopia Number 2 pair
About 15cm of fresh snowfall outside my place here in Shiga Kogen this morning. There's snow on the roads and limited visibility.
14 of the 19 areas of Shiga Kogen are now open with Shibutoge and Ichinose Yamanokami joining the party. The whole of Shiga Kogen is by no means fully open yet along with all of the connecting courses, but it feels like we are on the way to getting there. The more snow the better, of course. But if you are out there remember that it's still not deep and there's still bushes and things sticking up out of the snow. Care is needed especially on a day like today when visibility is very limited.
Snowfall is forecast to continue for today along with some strong winds at times. Tomorrow might start off with clearer skies, but more snow is forecast to be falling by tomorrow night and into Tuesday.
It's cold today with the wind making it feel even colder. Face masks recommended!
It should be fun out there today though.
Resort operations (Sunday 27th December) - subject to change
The following resort areas of Shiga Kogen are part open. Snow and courses that are open remain limited as wait for more snowfall.
Bunadaira Maruike Giant Ichinose Diamond Ichinose Family Ichinose Yamanokami Kumanoyu Nishitatyama (Mammoth side) Okushiga Kogen Sun Valley Takamagahara Mammoth Yakebitaiyama Yokoteyama Shibutoge
Other ski areas of Shiga Kogen currently remain closed.
Snow in the face for those who went up the mountain for a ski this morning.
My friends are still up there and loving it. Visibility turning to poor now as the winds increase. Was still earlier but now a ground blizzard in Furano Town so undoubtedly getting windy on the resort.
A good half metre of fresh down in Kitanomine village so there would be close to a metre of snow to play in at the top of the resort. At least thigh deep.
Just a reminder that if you like the side country, backcountry, or cross-country skiing, always be sensible. Hire a guide unless you really know the terrain and weather conditions and by know, I mean you've been out with guides in the area before and you are prepared for all conditions.
Not to be heavy, but in Central Hokkaido people have died near the piste simply because they saw great snow, headed out of bounds, then came unstuck.
With the deepest respect to her friends and family, the person I am thinking of was at a resort in our region. She did not venture far off piste but came off her snowboard, could not be seen, could not be heard, and because our snow is so light and dry, could not climb back on her board. She perished.
Her tragedy can serve to remind us all that what looks beautiful and benign (for what is more beautiful than soft, white snow?) can be treacherous. Like the blue sea or the gurgling river or a sunlit expanse of terrain.
But we must respect nature always. She is beautiful and giving but she is a strength we cannot fathom.
Be careful folks and have a great ski or board today. My family is sitting by the fire heading out for the occasional sled in the yard today, but our friends are loving the mountain. If the snow lets up, I am taking the young ones for a night ski tonight - the Kitanomine Zone is now fully open, night skiing included, wee hoo!
Please take care.
The other half of yesterday's story, the petite American woman who experienced neck-deep snow at the top of the Kitanomine Gondola, is that I did the very same thing!
The first time I skied Furano I did a turn or maybe two and went over, spending the better part of 15 minutes rolling around on my back trying to get vertical.
And I have loved Furano ever since. Hope I see her here again. Read more ...
Sunday 27th December 2015, 14:03pm
At the time of writing we've had 40cm of fresh snow at the base of Tenjin. I spoke to a mountaineer who camped on the peak of Tanigawadake last night who told me 1m fell at the top!
Tenjindaira resort officially opened at noon today and the snow continues to fall moderately with nice cold temps and a forecast for the dump to continue before easing off tomorrow during the day. Tomorrow night we are looking at another decent dump. Tuesday looks like more snow too. Finally get the feeling that winter has officially arrived, 2WDs are spinning wheels all over town and I've not been this happy to clear snow in some time.
In terms of snow quality, it started out as slush around 10pm last night but after an initial layer of crud the rest has been light, fluffy and quite dry. For anyone out there who may be following these reports, check out the forecasts below. An excellent guide but they often forecast between 1-10cm. Need to add a zero to these numbers or x10 and you get a real forecast provided the snow is not coming from the South or East.