Snow and weather reports posted on Sunday 30th May 2021

Yuzawa Now!

Sunday 2nd May 2021, 7:22am
Weather conditions: Cloud, blue sky, sun... for now
New snowfall: 0cm
Snow depth: --
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.

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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

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All other ski areas in the region are now closed for the season.

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Photos:

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

   Read more ...
 

Nozawa Onsen Now!

Sunday 2nd May 2021, 7:54am
Weather conditions: Mostly cloudy
New snowfall: 0cm
Snow depth: --
Good morning.

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.

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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

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Sunday 2nd May 2021

Official snow depth numbers (reported by the ski area):

- Yamabiko (1407m): 80cm
- Uenotaira (1230m): 50cm
- Hikage (660m): -cm
- Nagasaka (615m): -cm
- Karasawa (563m): -cm

Planned closing date:

- Nozawa Onsen plans to be open until Sunday 9th May


TOTAL SNOWFALL ACCUMULATION SO FAR (UPPER AREAS)

Yamabiko (1407m)1183cm
Uenotaira (1230m)1171cm
[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


   Read more ...
 

Geto Kogen Now!

Sunday 2nd May 2021, 8:09am
Weather conditions: Cloud
New snowfall: 0cm
Snow depth: --
Good morning from Geto Kogen.

A foggy early morning here but it will probably clear up. Hopefully the drizzle-y rain will too!

We're really in the last bit now. There's another 4 days to go for the snow season here. From tomorrow just the Gondola will be operating... until Wednesday.

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Official snow depth ('groomed depth', as reported by the ski area):

Top: 185cm
Base: 30cm

Planned operating lifts:

Number 1 Gondola
Number 1 pair lift [until 2nd May]

Planned open courses (subject to change):

Main courses:

- A1-A6, B1, B3, C1-C3 open

Tree Run courses:

- All tree run courses now closed

   Read more ...
 

Hakuba Now!

Sunday 2nd May 2021, 8:10am
Weather conditions: Cloudy
New snowfall: 0cm
Snow depth: --
Morning from Hakuba.

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?

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Individual ski area data: Sunday 2nd May 2021
The below information is checked from official sources and manually adjusted each morning.

Hakuba Happo-one

Operating lifts (planned):
- Grat quad
- Alpen quad
- Adam Gondola
- Panorama pair
- Kurobishi Number 2 quad
- Kurobishi Number 3 pair

Open courses (planned):
- Riesen Grat
- Kurobishi
- Usagidaira
- Panorama (some restrictions)
- Base runs all closed - you need to get the Gondola back down to base

Reported snowfall:
- Kurobishi: 3cm
- Usagidaira: 0cm
- Nakiyama: 0cm

Official snow depth:
- Kurobishi: 110cm
- Usagidaira: 43cm
- Nakiyama: 0cm

Planned closing date:
- Sunday 9th May

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Hakuba 47

Operating lifts (planned):
- Gondola
- Line AB pair
- Line C quad
- Line E pair

Open courses (planned):
- All main courses apart from R-1 and R-7 remain open
- Base runs all closed - you need to get the Gondola back down to base

Reported snowfall:
- Summit: 0cm
- Base: 0cm

Official snow depth:
- Top: 70cm
- Base: 0cm

Planned closing date:
- Wednesday 5th May

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Hakuba Goryu

Operating lifts (planned):
- Planned operating lifts:
- Goryu Telecabin (gondola)
- Alps Number 1 pair
- Alps Number 3 pair
- Alps Number 2/4 pair

Open courses (planned):
- Panorama
- Grand Prix
- Technical
- Super
- Base runs all closed - you need to get the Gondola back down to base

Reported snowfall:
- Upper: 0cm
- Iimori: 0cm

Official snow depth:
- Upper: 95cm
- Iimori: 0cm

Planned closing date:
- Wednesday 5th May

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Tsugaike Kogen

Operating lifts (planned):
- Gondola
- Han-no-ki pair
- Tsuga Number 2 pair

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


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Other ski areas in the region are now closed


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Total snowfall accumulation on upper areas:

TOTAL SNOWFALL ACCUMULATION SO FAR (UPPER AREAS)
* Numbers reported by ski areas

Hakuba 47832cm
Hakuba Cortina915cm
Hakuba Goryu1083cm
Hakuba Happo-one867cm
Tsugaike Kogen985cm


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.


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Photos (below):

- Hakuba 47
- Hakuba Happo-one
- Hakuba Goryu

   Read more ...
 

Myoko Now!

Sunday 2nd May 2021, 8:18am
Weather conditions: The sun's out, but the clouds are building
New snowfall: 0cm
Snow depth: --
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!

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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....)

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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.

Challenges

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.

Decisions

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.

Questions

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.

Looking Ahead

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.

(Hopefully with good news!)

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Niseko Now!

Sunday 2nd May 2021, 8:32am
Weather conditions: Cloudy (glimpses of blue sky in places)
New snowfall: 0cm
Snow depth: --
Good morning from Niseko.

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.

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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.

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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.

Niseko Grand Hirafu

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

Open until (planned):
- Wednesday 5th May

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Niseko Annupuri

24 hours new snowfall (as reported by the ski area):
- Peak: 0cm
- Base: 0cm

Official snow depth (reported by the ski area):
- Peak: 190cm (-10cm)
- Base: 30cm (-0cm)

Ski lifts & courses (planned):
- Annupuri Gondola
- Jumbo Number 1 quad
- Jumbo Number 4 pair
- 8 courses remain open (Champion, Utopia, Silver, S-ji, Shirakaba, Paradise, Family, Junior)

Open until (planned):
- Wednesday 5th May

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The Niseko HANAZONO and Niseko Village ski areas are now closed for the season

Night skiing has now finished for the season

   Read more ...
 

Zao Now!

Sunday 2nd May 2021, 10:30am
Weather conditions: Variable!
New snowfall: 0cm
Snow depth: --
A variable day all round.

The sun is in and out; rain on and off as is the wind.

It is forecasted to be light snow during the day at the Chuo slope area which is still running - gambarimasu!

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The following areas remain at least part open, subject to change:

- Chuo (part)

Official snow depths (as reported by the ski area):

- Summit area: -cm
- Chuo area: 30cm
- Utopia area: -cm
- Uwanodai area: -cm
- Omori: -cm
   Read more ...
 

SnowJapan Daily 'Now' reports

Shiga Kogen Now
30th May, 8:56am
Niseko Now
25th May, 14:32pm
Yuzawa Now
23rd May, 8:47am
Furano Now
09th May, 16:56pm
Hakuba Now
09th May, 10:50am
Nozawa Onsen Now
09th May, 8:12am
Kiroro Now
06th May, 13:52pm
Myoko Now
05th May, 13:16pm
Madarao Now
05th May, 9:26am
Geto Kogen Now
05th May, 7:45
Zao Now
05th May, 7:41
Appi Kogen Now
05th May, 7:40
Aizu Bandai Now
19th Feb, 12:28
Minakami Now
13th Jan, 10:10am
Naeba Now
27th Nov, 11:21am

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