Snow and weather reports posted on Sunday 30th May 2021
Sunday 2nd May 2021, 7:22am
Cloud, blue sky, sun... for now
Good morning from Yuzawa.
It's not raining this morning!
Rewind back to yesterday and by early afternoon GALA Yuzawa and the Tashiro Area of Kagura had closed, with lifts at Kagura getting restricted. That was due to the strong winds. Then we get some not very pleasant heavy rain again in the evening.
No fresh snow is being reported by Kagura.
This morning we actually have some sun. Unfortunately, it probably won't last too long as once again we have rain on the forecasts - from the late morning/afternoon, perhaps? There's limited visibility up at Kagura early on but we can probably expect that to clear.
From tomorrow weather looks like it should be more settled, which would be nice after the last few days.
Daily reports will continue until Wednesday. Beyond that we'll post a report from time to time with weather info and news from Kagura until they close.
Individual ski area information: Sunday 2nd May 2021 The below information is checked with official sources and updated manually every day. Subject to change.
GALA Yuzawa GALA Yuzawa is part open The Gondola, Barouche and Victoria lifts are operating The Entertainment, Edelweiss, Gigi, Broadway and Swan courses remain open The 'Yuki Asobi Park' and Snow Park are both open All other courses are now closed GALA Yuzawa plans to be open until Wednesday 5th May Official snow depth: 60cm
Kagura Kagura is mostly open 16 of 23 courses are available 11 lifts are operating The Kagura Area (via Mitsumata) plans to be open until Sunday 23rd May The Tashiro Area plans to be open until Wednesday 5th May Official snow depth: Top: 170cm Base: 30cm
All other ski areas in the region are now closed for the season.
Kagura GALA Yuzawa (3) Yuzawa Kogen (2) NASPA Ski Garden Ishiuchi Maruyama Route 17 (Yuzawa IC exit)
Note about photos: Kagura and GALA Yuzawa remain open, but the other ski areas shown in the daily photos are now closed for the season
As reported in an update yesterday, wind became an issue yesterday. It halted the Nagasaka Gondola and in the end they got the other gondola operating to bring everyone back down from the top area that remained open. And then there was the rain.... yuck.
We're starting the day with a lot of cloud around. As I write this, it's hanging over the village, breaking up a bit with some blue sky mid-mountain to be seen and covering the top too.
Unfortunately rain is likely again later in the day.
Looking forward to some weather that is more suited to Golden Week! Tomorrow, please.
All base areas are now closed, so you need to get the gondola back down from the runs that remain open.
Lifts open today (planned): Nagasaka Gondola, two Yamabiko quad lifts, Uenotaira quad
Courses open today (planned): Yamabiko A, B, C, D, E; Kokenashi, Uenotaira Some restrictions on Yamabiko B course
Sunday 2nd May 2021
Official snow depth numbers (reported by the ski area):
- Nozawa Onsen plans to be open until Sunday 9th May
TOTAL SNOWFALL ACCUMULATION SO FAR (UPPER AREAS)
[Original daily numbers published by Nozawa Onsen and compiled by Nozawa Now reporter for SnowJapan]
The ‘total snowfall accumulation so far’ table above shows the amount of snowfall that has been reported on the upper areas of Nozawa Onsen. The numbers used are reported each day by Nozawa Onsen. They are manually updated for this report with any new snowfall reported by the resort. This table was first introduced in this report, including a longer explanation
It was cloudy for most of the day and we had rain in the evening. Heavy (and nasty) at times. And windy too. Kind of all mixed up.
Snow news. I see Happo-one are reporting 3cm of fresh snow up at Kurobishi. No other reports of snow to tell you about.
There has been some early morning rain in the village early this morning... and more due later too. (I might be remembering incorrectly, but I can't remember a Golden Week with weather like this - isn't it usually really nice and borderline hot?!)
Can we have some sun tomorrow please?
Individual ski area data: Sunday 2nd May 2021 The below information is checked from official sources and manually adjusted each morning.
Open courses (planned): - Tsuga-no-mori - Han-no-ki - Base runs all closed - you need to get the Gondola back down to base
Reported snowfall: - Summit: 0cm
Official snow depth: - Top: 93cm - Base: 0cm
Planned closing date: - Wednesday 5th May
Other ski areas in the region are now closed
Total snowfall accumulation on upper areas:
TOTAL SNOWFALL ACCUMULATION SO FAR (UPPER AREAS) * Numbers reported by ski areas
The 'total snowfall accumulation' data shown in the table is the total amount of snowfall that the ski areas have themselves reported from the upper areas of their resort since the beginning of the season. We manually check and update this official data just before we publish each Hakuba Now report. Any odd-looking numbers are due to the source data. We have no control over the data. Just to be extra clear, unlike our own ‘observed snowfall’ data from base that we show at the top of each report, the data in the table is not an independent observation by SnowJapan.
Just an update, because, yes, you can ski in Myoko. Did I write that already? This weather is confusing me a bit. A friend climbed Mt. Iizuna, just south of Mt. Kurohime (to the south of Mt. Myoko), and found that, while it was mostly late spring conditions, it also snowed up high. Snow looks like it might fall again later today (and thunder, rain, winds....). Always something interesting going on with the weather.
Lotte Arai is still going, still says 195cm, and not sure about the closing, but they were planning to go to mid-month.
So that's about it. I'll add my year-end round-up below. If anything comes up, I'll get back on; otherwise, I'll see you somewhere around November when we get information on the 2021-22 season!
What can you say when the whole world is affected by a viral pandemic? Seems small to complain, and I'll give the resort people I've talked to credit: everybody knows how tough it's been, but everyone also basically says, "Well, what can you do?" The Japanese version of a stiff upper lip, we'll tough it out, etc. And they're right. We didn't have a major outbreak of corona here, no one died from infection, we did get to see friends once in a while, and local shops and restaurants put in all the necessary countermeasures.
The weather, though, was more problematic. After the really disastrous low snow of the 2019-20 season, we had good snow this year. I skied some of the best, lightest, nicest powder I've had in far too many years here. I actually got to use my big monster machines to clear the snow on many occasions, which was oddly satisfying (I'm obviously moving quickly into snow-obsessed ojisan). So we had snow.
It was the cycles of snow and cold then warm/sun/rain that was troubling. I'll ask what lots of locals said out loud: is this what the future holds? That, and a March with basically no fresh snow. The level around the house today is more like a normal late April, not late March. Those cycles aren't just annoying for us who would like the snow to just keep falling like in the past. There are a lot more layers forming in the snow, so the danger of avalanches could be higher, too. This year there weren't that many people out in the backcountry, but some of my friends did set off some slides, saw a lot of strange stuff, etc. Luckily they're locally knowledgeable and cautious, but if powder fever takes over.... Hmmmm.
So this season ends with a whimper, but there wasn't much yelling going on at any time in the season. All the resorts will be back next year; hopefully we'll all get jabs in the arm and be virus-proofed and we can do things like shake hands and have a beer without a plastic barrier between us. The mountain, as always, is great. Even when it's not a great ski day, I can always look around the Myoko peaks and just enjoy the beauty of this place. Pick the right day for the skiing, enjoy the life if not exactly like it was 25 years ago (but I'm not the same skier I was 25 years ago....)
End of season general message from SnowJapan This message is being posted on all of the Now daily reports Added 5th May 2021
First of all, we hope that you and yours are keeping well.
What another strange season 2020-2021 has been.
In terms of snow and conditions, the story of the season can be found in the respective reports. Each region had its own story, of course, but it was certainly great to be able to get back to reporting some heavy snowfall this time round. Spring did once again seem to arrive earlier than we would like, but those fortunate enough to be able to enjoy the snow were able to experience some very fine conditions.
Ski areas around Japan made various efforts to deal with the covid-19 situation and while there were some changes to operations here and there, most were able to open for the season. Some ski areas and regions have been affected more than others, but it’s probably safe to say that is has been a challenging period for pretty much everyone involved. In particular, destinations that have enjoyed a lot of foreign visitors in recent years have probably felt a big shock.
Perhaps inevitably, there has been a generally more subdued atmosphere and feel to the season.
We made a few decisions before the winter started.
Unfortunately, it was getting obvious that international travel restrictions would be preventing people from entering Japan over the 2020-2021 season. And it was clearly going to be a great disappointment to many.
Even so, we wanted to keep SnowJapan updated as close to normal as possible. We asked our reporters to mention ‘the news’ when it seemed appropriate, but not to dwell on it too much. After all, people are not coming to SnowJapan to read about covid every day. We hope we got that difficult balance right.
Daily reports and updates are an important part of the site. They are popular with people while they are visiting Japan, but people also read our archive reports to see how previous seasons turned out and to make comparisons. Indeed, this last season we have noticed that a lot of you have been following from overseas – even if you weren’t able to come and enjoy the snow in person.
We would like to say a big public thank you to the reporters who did another fine job covering the 2020-2021 winter season on SnowJapan, in some challenging circumstances. Thanks to those efforts, we have another full season of data to add to our records.
Hopefully that information will continue to be of value to people making plans for a future visit to Japan.
The world knows much more about covid-19 in May 2021 than it did in April 2020, but in some ways we end this season with some of the same questions we were asking last year…
Everyone wants to know what the situation will be in six months’ time. There’s definitely brighter wider news and reasons to be positive, but big questions remain on how ‘open’ Japan might be for overseas visitors by the time the snow starts falling again.
No-one knows, of course.
Like last year, all we can do is try to keep a positive mindset and hope that progress will be made, and that overseas friends will be able to visit once again.
Whatever happens regarding the international travel situation, SnowJapan plans to be here reporting the 2021-2022 winter season.
2020-2021 might now be over, but as usual we are busy working on various stuff for the future. We’ll let you know what we’re up to later in the year.
In the meantime, if you are interested in old ski areas from the past around Japan, the SnowJapanHistory (www.snowjapanhistory.com) website will continue to be updated regularly. Over there you can find details on over 160 ski areas, including at least one that closed back in the 1960s (!)
Anyway, that’s it for now. Thanks for reading and your support. If you want to get in touch, as always you can contact us using this form.
Wherever you are in the world, stay safe… and we’ll see you later in the year.
This morning two lifts at Hirafu are opening as normal and only the lower Jumbo lift is operating. Yep. Wind. Some slight drizzle at times too this morning and it is keeping quite chilly with the wind coming from the north.
Annupuri still has 8 courses open (when lift are all moving) and now saying that their Champion, Silver and S-Ji courses are now left ungroomed.
The official information shows the base snow depth at Niseko Grand Hirafu go from 0cm yesterday to 5cm today (though with no 'new snowfall'). Don't know what's going on there, presumably just a typo - either yesterday or today. Just to be clear - there's no fresh snow at base overnight, so I'm making the executive decision of totally ignoring that.
Planned ski area operations: Sunday 2nd May 2021
The below information is manually checked each morning from official sources. The numbers in brackets show the change in the official snow depth numbers since the previous report.
24 hours new snowfall (as reported by the ski area): - Peak: 0cm - Base: 0cm
Official snow depth (reported by the ski area): - Peak: 330cm (-0cm) - Base: 0cm (-0cm)
Ski lifts & courses (planned): - Ace Number 2 Center 4 - King Number 3 quad - King Number 4 single - Detour for beginners, Shirakaba, Center, Large, Rinkan, Jumbo and Dynamic courses remain open - All other courses are now closed including base areas - You need to get the lift back down to base