Snow and weather reports posted on Wednesday 22nd May 2019
Aizu Bandai Now!
Monday 4th February 2019, 7:28am
It is like a relatively warm and spring-like (sorry!) morning with generally cloudy skies again today.
The snow condition is not going to be the best due to the warmer conditions so we are now looking forward to the next big snowfall.
According to the forecast - next snowfall around the 7th, so later in the week.
The photos for today are from from Alts Bandai (first two) and Grandeco.
Nekoma - lift 4/5, course 11/11 open *Closed on Wednesday and Thursday 1/16-2/28 Grandeco - lift 4/5 include one gondola, course 13/13 open Urabandai - lift 3/3, course 3/3 open *Closed on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday Minowa - lift 3/3, course 10/11 open Numajiri - lift 4/4, course 10/11 open Alts Bandai - lift 7/8 include one gondola, course 19/25 open Inawashiro - lift 7/8, course 18/18 open Inawashiro resort - lift 3/4 include one gondola, course 8/9 open Listel - lift 2/2, course 5/7 open Family Bandai Bandai - lift 0/2, course 0/7 open *Only open on Saturday, Sunday and national holidays. Read more ...
Monday 4th February 2019, 7:35am
It is a warm morning and just below zero at -1c. It will get colder, rather than warmer, as the day rolls on. There is a respectable 8cm of new snow on the ground in the village. This is quite heavy reflecting the warm temperature at the moment. Visibility is okay but there is a moderate wind and the snow is coming in sideways. Light snowfalls are forecast to continue through the week.
Open lifts: Prince Romance chair Downhill Romance #2 chair Downhill Romance #3 chair Furano Ropeway
Kitanomine quad chair Kitanomine #2 chair Kitanomine Gondola Link chair Read more ...
Nozawa Onsen Now!
Monday 4th February 2019, 7:36am
Well, yes it was mild yesterday and overnight and we got rained on. Not the best news. The resort is reporting light rain on the lower part of the mountain and just cloudy up top (with apparently poor visibility up there).
But the good news though is that it should be getting colder this morning and all being well we might even get some snow.
Clearer weather expected again tomorrow and for the next decent snowfall we should perhaps look to around Thursday.
Monday 4th February 2019
Fresh snowfall reported by the ski resort (since yesterday morning):
All lifts apart from the following planned to be operating:
- Yunomine pair - Mizunashi triple - Challenge pair - Utopia pair - Kandahar pair (open for general public on 12th Feb and 1st Mar 2019)
All courses open apart from the following planned to be open:
- Grand Prix - Kandahar (open for general public on 12th Feb and 1st Mar 2019)
Lift operation times until end of March:
Nagasaka Gondola - until 4:00pm (time of last one down) Hikage Gondola - until 4:20pm (time of last one down) Yamabiko Number 2 Four - until 4:10pm Skyline connecting pair - until 4:30pm Base lifts - until 5:00pm Yu Road - until 5:10pm Read more ...
Monday 4th February 2019, 7:44am
Cloudy (though some bits of blue in places)
Good morning from Yuzawa.
Yesterday by later in the afternoon it was grey and cloudy, mild and then the rain started. I was woken up around 4am by the sound of sirens - and treated to the sound of some heavy rain on the roof of my place. That's something we don't like hearing in February. This morning it is quite noticeable how much lower the snow is around my house (there's still tons of it, no need to panic! Just noting how one day of mild and rain can affect it).
Unfortunately it is still raining with up to GALA Yuzawa reporting rain (Kagura are not saying).
Also there seems to be wind problems forecast for today and Kagura have announced that the Tashiro Area is going to be closed for the day. That means that Kagura will be open from Mitsumata to the Number 1 pair lift.
OK, back to today. There is actually some blue sky in some places, though the forecast is for the rain to turn to snow as it gets colder during the day.
Sunshine is forecast for tomorrow and the next snow (after some possible flakes today) is from Thursday.
Photos today from GALA Yuzawa, NASPA Ski Garden and Route 17/Yuzawa IC.
Updated: 7:45am, Monday 4th February 2019
** Official snow depths (where available) and resort specific information. Information is checked manually each morning but sometimes official information is updated later than the time of these reports.
Night time 'nighta' operations (listed in alphabetical order)
Below is information on night time floodlit skiing operations at ski resorts in the area. Subject to change due to weather and snow conditions.
Ishiuchi Maruyama Open daily until Saturday 16th March 2019 The Chuo Area is open daily for nighta The Hatsukaishi and Kanko Areas only open for nighta over New Year and nights before holidays 4:00pm until 8:30pm
Iwappara Open daily until Sunday 24th March 2019 Part of the mid and lower area of the resort 5:00pm until 8:00pm on weekdays; until 9:00pm on Saturdays
Joetsu Kokusai Open daily until Sunday 24th March 2019 Area in front of the base hotel, Osawa and lower Atema 5:00pm until 9:00pm
Kandatsu Kogen 'Hobo (Almost) All Night' every Friday, Saturday and night before holidays until 30th March 2019 6:00pm until 4:0am the next morning
Maiko Snow Resort Open daily 'one-coin nighta' (500 yen) until Saturday 16th March 2019 Maiko Center Quad lift in the Maiko Area 4:00pm until 8:00pm
Naeba Open daily until Sunday 24th March 2019 Number 3 and 4 high speed and Number 4 romance pair lifts 4:00pm until 8:30pm
NASPA Ski Garden NASPA extends opening for the Number 1 lift on the following dates: 19th, 26th January 2019 2nd, 9th, 10th, 16th, 23rd February 2019 Extended until 6:00pm
Yuzawa Nakazato Every Saturday until 9th March 2019 Sunday 10th February 2019 Number 2 romance pair lift 5:00pm until 8:30pm Read more ...
Geto Kogen Now!
Monday 4th February 2019, 7:51am
It's not the best start to a Monday morning!
Yesterday evening we had some snow falling up top but rain down at base.
And this morning - strong winds and rain. (Anyone up for that?)
Hopefully it will turn to snow as it gets colder. And tomorrow we are expecting fine/cloud conditions which is always better than rain.
This milder patch that Japan has been going through over the weekend seems to be on the way out. Let's get back to cold!
Official snow depths:
* Top: 360cm * Base: 250cm
Planned operating lifts - subject to change due to weather:
* Number 1 Gondola * Number 1 pair lift * Number 2 pair lift
* The Number 2 Gondola is normally rested on weekdays
Courses & Tree Runs - subject to change due to weather:
* All of the main official courses are available * All tree runs open
I hate to have to report it but... it's raining. Started last night. Even though we were expecting it, it's still disappointing and annoying to see it.
But let's be positive. It is supposed to get colder today and we might get snowed on with precipitation due to end by this evening. And then some sunshine tomorrow after a forecast pretty cold night.
Our next portion of fresh snow looks due to be delivered around Thursday.
Looks like part of Cortina is closed this morning, not sure why - perhaps just checking conditions.
Ski resort information on Monday 4th February 2019: The below info is checked manually each morning and believed to be correct at time of report. All ski resorts in the area are currently open. Any further resort specific notes made below.
Night time skiing (nighta) at resorts in the region - weather & conditions permitting The below 'nighta' information will not be updated every day - please check with resorts if you plan to go!
Hakuba Happo-one Daily from 5:00pm until 9:00pm in the Nakiyama base area (Nakiyama Number 2 pair lift) Adults - 2,000 yen; children - 1,200 yen
Hakuba Goryu Daily from 6:00pm until 9:30pm in the Toomi area until 31st March The Sky Four quad operates daily; the Number 2 pair mostly on Saturdays and holidays Adults - 2,000 yen; children - 1,000 yen
Hakuba Cortina Daily from 5:00pm until 8:00pm (until 9:00pm on Saturdays and certain holidays) Adults - 1,500 yen; children - 1,000 yen
Tsugaike Kogen Karamatsu Shirakaba area from 6:00pm until 9:00pm on 9th, 10th, 16th February; 2nd March Adults - 2,200 yen; children - 1,700 yen Read more ...
Monday 4th February 2019, 8:29am
We were expecting it so it is no surprise. Some rain overnight, some sleet, some wet snow early this morning. Not fluffy.
So no way around it, conditions will have taken a hit. The hope is that it will get colder as the day progresses and there might be some fresh snow later on.
Sun is expected tomorrow.
Next decent snow? Later in the week seems to be the forecast.
Planned operations for Monday 4th February 2019
Official snow depth at Madarao:
All lifts apart from 5 plan to be open All 31 courses should be open including tree run courses
Nighta operations at Madarao: - Every Saturday until 23rd March 2019 - 10th February 2019
Tangram Ski Circus info:
All lifts operating All course areas open
Nighta operations at Tangram: - Every Saturday until 23rd March 2019 - 10th February 2019 Read more ...
Monday 4th February 2019, 8:30am
Cloud, fog and...
Good morning from Niseko.
It's a bit... wet, this morning. Not rain, not quite powder snow either. Sleet I think is the word I'm looking for. Or wet snow. (I'm all worded-out after writing the below blurb).
Anyway, it's not a particularly appealing morning with that falling and grey cloudy and foggy conditions.
Hopefully things will improve during the day with temps due to drop again and hopefully some nicer snow falling.
It looks like wind could be a factor again today too, possibly affecting lifts. And indeed, just as I prepare to post this report at 8:30am there is news of top lifts not opening. See individual resort details below for details and keep that in mind.
A look back at the season so far: January 2019
The months just fly by don’t they. OK, enough of the clichés... it’s time to look back on the month of January and the 18/19 season so far.
All the numbers that I am discussing here (apart from the JMA numbers at the end) can be found within these Niseko Now reports. See below and the ‘Snowfall Analysis’ page via that big blue tab link thingy up top. And, of course, please always keep in mind that I take my measurements from close to the base of Niseko Grand Hirafu. My numbers can all be compared like-for-like, because they are coming from the same places each season and I try my best to always be consistent.
This is how much snowfall I have measured myself during the month of January over the last seven years:
January 2019: 285cm January 2017: 305cm January 2016: 152cm January 2015: 303cm January 2014: 257cm January 2013: 461cm January 2012: 443cm
In the end we didn’t quite manage to hit 3m snowfall at base, and about 20cm less than I observed in January last season. Still, 285cm is nearly double the now famously rubbish (calm down... I mean relatively!!) 16/17 season, but also not reaching the lofty numbers in 2012 and 2013. Monthly numbers don’t say anything about consistency and quality of course...
One great thing has been that I was able to measure fresh cm of snowfall on all but 6 days through the month of January 2019. Adding that on to the 5 days without any new cm of snow measured in December 2018, it means there have only been 11 reports during the whole of December 2018 and January 2019 without any new cm of snow at base.
Fresh snowfall recorded in 51 out of 62 reports. Impressive. :)
So, Niseko is continuing to deliver some excellent consistency which is a good job because we need it (see comments last season about the real need for regular refreshes in such a popular destination).
On to my ‘season to date’ numbers. These are from the beginning of the season to the end of January:
2018/2019 season up to end of January 2019: 702cm 2017/2018 season up to end of January 2018: 899cm 2016/2017 season up to end of January 2017: 445cm 2015/2016 season up to end of January 2016: 611cm 2014/2015 season up to end of January 2015: 806cm 2013/2014 season up to end of January 2014: 859cm 2012/2013 season up to end of January 2013: 979cm
And here’s how much of the total snowfall for a season we have already had fall on us by the end of January in those recent seasons:
By the end of January 2019, as a % of the season total: ??? By the end of January 2018, as a % of the season total: about 71% By the end of January 2017, as a % of the season total: about 65% By the end of January 2016, as a % of the season total: about 62% By the end of January 2015, as a % of the season total: about 70% By the end of January 2014, as a % of the season total: about 74% By the end of January 2012, as a % of the season total: about 66%
By the end of the month of January, we have usually had between 62-74% of the total snowfall that we can expect over the entire season. (The average being 68%). Hopefully we’ll get at least 3m more snowfall this season, and obviously the more the better.
Always want more snow.
Looking ahead to February, here’s how much snowfall I have recorded during the month of in the last six winter seasons. The numbers in brackets show the total observed snowfall up until the end of February in each of the respective seasons.
February 2018: 299cm (1198cm) February 2017: 160cm (605cm) February 2016: 266cm (877cm) February 2015: 196cm (1002cm) February 2014: 178cm (1037cm) February 2013: 316cm (1295cm)
The last piece of data that I always look at is the snowfall numbers that the Japan Meteorological Agency report from their observation station in Kutchan town. Here is what they have reported for the month of January in recent years:
January 2019: 253cm January 2018: 259cm January 2017: 160cm January 2016: 258cm January 2015: 230cm January 2014: 317cm January 2013: 268cm
And the JMA numbers for the ‘season so far’:
2018/2019 season up to end of January 2019: 667cm 2017/2018 season up to end of January 2018: 752cm 2016/2017 season up to end of January 2017: 568cm 2015/2016 season up to end of January 2016: 488cm 2014/2015 season up to end of January 2015: 658cm 2013/2014 season up to end of January 2014: 674cm 2012/2013 season up to end of January 2013: 672cm
The first part of February is still full on peak season and especially popular with visitors coming from overseas to stay and celebrate the Chinese New Year holidays. We hope to see a lot more of winter this month. Up here in Hokkaido we can surely be able to happily ignore all the songs called ‘sakura’ (cherry blossoms) and ‘sotsugyo’ (graduation) that pop up along with other mentions of spring for quite a while yet. We can perhaps start thinking about that this time next month.
As I mentioned in a report a few days ago, I am still not even half way through my season of reports. The last lifts will be moving until early May, so there’s over three full months to go. Lots of . And toast of course.
I hope you will spend it with me – even if you have already been and gone, or indeed even if you aren’t able to visit Niseko at all this season.
Niseko Avalanche Report:
Mountain Base 6.00am: 0°, 5cm new wet snow. Moiwa 800m: -1.0, E1.7m/s, 5cm light wet snow, foggy. Mikaeri Weather Station: light winds, 5cm new snow, minor snowdrift development from the east. Annupuri 1120m: snow depth 220cm. Hirafu Peak: -5°, strong southerly wind. Mizuno no Sawa Knoll : -2.37°, S5.2m/s, mountain base snow depth 151cm. Suttsu Weather Station: 2.0°, SSE4.7m/s, snow depth 42cm. Kutchan Weather Station: 0.8°, S2.3m/s, snow depth 151cm. Cape Benkei: S3m/s, Cape Kamui: NE4m/s, pressure 995hPa, wave 0.5m.
Preceding a low pressure front the atmospheric pressure gradient is shallow and weather is calm. Above 1000m a strong southerly wind is blowing. From this mornings observation the avalanche risk is low, however after 10am expect the avalanche risk to increase rapidly on leeward steep slopes around 1000m. The current snowfall (Feb3-4) is expected to become a future avalanche fracture face. Take care if we get increased falls of low pressure snow, slabs will form that fracture and slide easily, even in the trees.
When we have a typical winter weather pattern and increased snowfall forming slabs, avalanche accidents can easily occur. A slope you were riding yesterday may not be safe today. Make flexible plans to suit the weather. Hindsight is 20/20 but wont help the dead. Beacons and airbags are no guarantee of safety. Always make cautious decisions. Snow in the trees is good but visibility is bad. Be careful of a sudden change in weather, falling, hitting things, collisions. Is your beacon on? Good weather is always safer in the mountains. Have a good day.
Ski resort operation information: Monday 4th February 2019 Subject to change due to weather conditions
Ski lifts operating: - Top Ace and King lifts on hold at the start of the day - The Ace Family quad (until 8:30pm), Ace Center 4 quad (8:20pm), Hirafu Gondola (until 8:10pm) and Holiday Number 1 pair (until 8:30pm) lifts are normally open during the evening
Official snow depth (reported by resort): - Peak: 300cm - Base: 160cm
Ski lifts operating: - The Gondola and top Wonderland Chair lift on hold at the start of the day - The Upper Village Gondola, Village Express and Banzai Chair lifts are normally open until 8:00pm during the evening
Night time operations are available in the Niseko Grand Hirafu, Niseko Village and Niseko Annupuri resort areas. There is no nighta at the Niseko HANAZONO resort area. Read more ...
Shiga Kogen Now!
Monday 4th February 2019, 8:40am
Good morning from Shiga Kogen.
We did get some rain last night. Unfortunately, it was heavy at times. Very spring like feel to it, which I really dislike saying in February. But it has to be said that such events are not unknown - so nothing to panic about.
This morning it is a mixed bunch of conditions. Rain/sleet/light snow. Bit wet, and the snow that is falling in some places is definitely not top draw quality snow (but any kind of snow definitely better than rain). As it gets a bit colder during the day, hopefully it'll be snowing...
It's foggy too so generally limited visibility.
All in all, it's not the most inspiring of mornings!
After today we will be having a few days of clearer skies before a return to snow due around Thursday.
Shiga Kogen resort info: Monday 4th February 2019
The below information is manually checked for each report. Official snow depth numbers are as reported by the ski resorts themselves.
In the Uwanodai area: Daily until 3rd March 2019 Friday 8th March until Sunday 10th March 2019 Saturday 16th March 2019
In the Yokokura area: Every Friday, Saturday and Sunday between until 10th March 2019
Night time 'light up' sightseeing ropeway is planned for the upcoming dates:
January 2019: 25th-27th February 2019: every day apart from every Tuesday March 2019: 1st-3rd Read more ...
Monday 4th February 2019, 9:06am
Light (at the moment) rain in Naeba this morning along with these milder conditions that we have had since the weekend.
Strong winds are preventing the Tashiro Area of Kagura to open and so the Dragondola is not moving.
Just in now - looks like the top lift at Naeba is also on hold due to wind.
And it looks like this rain is gradually turning into snow.
Official snow depth:
All lifts plan to be operating apart from the following (some lifts rested on weekdays):
- Number 8 high speed lift - Daishamen romance pair lift - Number 2 high speed lift
All courses now open apart from the following:
- Splash Bowl - Men's Riesen Slalom (event being held)
Planned night-time operations:
- Daily until Sunday 24th March 2019 - 4:00pm until 8:30pm - Courses open: Number 5 - Lifts operating: Number 5 high speed lift Read more ...
Monday 4th February 2019, 9:24am
Lots of rain overnight, with a good helping of wind early in the evening as well.
The snow walls have really come down in size, but we've got a good base set up so it's not much of a worry.
The sun is trying to peek out from time to time, while we're also seeing valley fog down below flowing in from the north.
Maybe cooling winds along with the falling freezing level? Wonder if it will be a fast change, and that the wet surfaces turn to ice. Or if we slowly transition to snow, and everything holds together really well.
The rain arrived at 2am last night and has now changed to a delightful snow/rain combination. Hopefully, with the now plummeting temperatures, we’ll just see snow this afternoon. Rapidly falling temperatures due to the frontal passage will take the thermostat down to -12 tonight and stay that way for another day until Wednesday when we may see some more rain.
I’d say conditions on the mountain are unpleasant to say the least.
We may see sporadic lift/gondola closures today due to the wind so be prepared for long lines if that does happen.
** At time of report just the base Central quad and Number 1 and Number 2 lifts; Sailer connecting and Sailer Number 2 lifts are operating. Others on hold. Read more ...