Niseko Now daily snow and weather - Wednesday 1st February 2017

Niseko Now (Archive Report)

Independent and trustworthy daily snow and weather reports from Niseko (Hokkaido), Japan
ARCHIVE REPORT: Posted at 8:02am on Wednesday 1st February 2017
Current weather conditions
Observed fresh snowfall
weather condition
Cloudy, some sun in places, generally fine feeling for now
Base temp:
-6°C

Top temp:
-9°C
Precipitation Wind Visibility
precipitation condition
None
wind condition
W 1m/s - SE 4m/s (Hirafu)
visibility condition
Good
This report
Wednesday 1st February 2017, 8:02am
19cm
Tuesday 31st January 2017, 8:11am 14cm
Monday 30th January 2017, 8:47am 0cm
Sunday 29th January 2017, 9:17am 0cm
Saturday 28th January 2017, 8:33am 11cm
Friday 27th January 2017, 8:22am 0cm
Thursday 26th January 2017, 8:12am 11cm
Last 7 reports (total): 55cm
Last 14 reports (total): 95cm
Current month (February 2017) total: 19cm
2016/2017 season so far total: 464cm

Archive report: Posted at 8:02am on Wednesday 1st February 2017
The latest Niseko Now report can be found here

Good morning everyone and welcome to February.

You can see my commentary on January below; I prepared that yesterday. And what better way to follow on from that than being able to report that February is off to a very good start! :)

It is nice and cold and I measured 19cm of fresh snow here at base. Good quality stuff too.

Resorts should be opening as normal this morning and so I am off to try and get some fairly early lifts.

Snow is on the forecast for later on but for right now the sun is out and it is a fine morning.

---

A look back at January 2017 and the season so far

It’s that time once again - a new month and so time for me to look back on the month that was and the season so far. In case you missed it, here’s the report that I posted on 3rd January 2017 that included my comments on the season up until that point.

So now let’s have a look at January 2017 and the total snowfall for the season so far. Remember, this is the amount of snowfall that I personally observe near the base of Niseko Grand Hirafu. Also, remember that more snow falls at higher elevations; this is not a scientific paper; etc, etc. OK? Yosh--, here we go.

January 2017: 152cm
January 2016: 303cm
January 2015: 257cm
January 2014: 461cm
January 2013: 442cm

Unfortunately, unless we roped in some ‘alternative facts’, I don’t think even the most cunning of marketing types could make that comparison look particularly exciting.

Of course, quantity alone does not paint the whole picture.

Indeed, it is surely for the most part the quality of the snow that makes Niseko what it is, and we are rightly proud of it. And quality-wise, we did enjoy some moments in January 2017.

As per my comments last week about the Australian family who helped remind me how much I should appreciate living here (and I do, very much so), different people have different ideas of ‘quality’. Depending on their experiences, what they are used to, where they are from, etc.

Myself, I am used to ‘Niseko quality’ (and ‘Niseko quantity’) so that’s the benchmark for my reports… and while I did enjoy some excellent days, it is hard not to class January as anything other than a disappointment.

I was looking back at the individual data for each day, and the most I observed in one report was 18cm (on 13th January). Most of the other days when I reported any snowfall, it was maxing out at around 10cm. So we were just not seeing particularly large amounts of snowfall that gave us total resets. After that first dry part of the month though it was fairly regular, and that obviously is a good thing.

Let’s now take a look at the total snowfall observed from the beginning of the season until the end of January over the last handful of seasons:

2016/2017 season until the end of January 2017: 445cm
2015/2016 season until the end of January 2016: 611cm
2014/2015 season until the end of January 2015: 806cm
2013/2014 season until the end of January 2014: 850cm
2012/2013 season until the end of January 2013: 979cm

And if we look at that number as a percentage of the total snowfall for the whole season:

2016/2017 % of total season snowfall by end of January 2016: ** remains to be seen **
2015/2016 % of total season snowfall by end of January 2016: about 62%
2014/2015 % of total season snowfall by end of January 2015: about 70%
2013/2014 % of total season snowfall by end of January 2014: about 74%
2012/2013 % of total season snowfall by end of January 2013: about 66%

So over the previous five seasons, by the end of January we had already observed between around two-thirds and three-quarters of the total snowfall for the whole season. (At base - another important point to remember is that especially in early and late season, it is more likely to be snowing at higher elevations and not down at base where my observations are made ).

Looking forward, here’s what the months of February and March have brought us in the last few seasons.

February 2016: 266cm
February 2015: 196cm
February 2014: 178cm
February 2013: 316cm

March 2016: 109cm
March 2015: 139cm
March 2014: 113cm
March 2013: 164cm

I’m sure everyone reading this is very much hoping that we can surpass those numbers this season. A bumper February and March please!

A good friend pointed out to me yesterday that we are not yet even half way through the season. The lifts have now been open for a bit more than two months. With some operating through until early May, that means that there is actually a full three months left to go.

It gives us a lot of time for a large quantity of quality snowfall.

And it means I have a lots more words to type. I’ll try not to ramble on too much!

---

Just to throw some other numbers into the mix, below are the numbers that the Japan Meteorological Agency have recorded in Kutchan Town for January and the season so far:

January 2017: 160cm
January 2016: 258cm
January 2015: 230cm
January 2014: 317cm
January 2013: 268cm

2016/2017 season until the end of January 2017: 568cm
2015/2016 season until the end of January 2016: 488cm
2014/2015 season until the end of January 2015: 658cm
2013/2014 season until the end of January 2014: 674cm
2012/2013 season until the end of January 2013: 672cm

Their particularly large number for December still puzzles me… usually there’s more snowfall up here at Hirafu base than at their Kutchan town measuring point.

(Answers on a postcard please!)

----

Niseko Avalanche Report:

Niseko base 6am:: -6℃, mild wind, 20cm crystal snow. Moiwa 800m: -8.5℃, NE breeze, 30cm snowfall, 163cm snow depth, light snowdrift development. Annupuri 1150m: -11℃, NW12m/s, 30cm snowfall, 165cm snow depth, some snowdrift development. Hirafu 1250m: -13℃, NW10m/s, 30cm snowfall with some snowdrift development. Kamui cape lighthouse: SW11m/s, 1012hPa, 1.9m waves.

Moderate snowfall amount under the typical winter pressure chart. The 60cm thick surface layer is sintered and stable. The new snowdrifts are consolidating uniformly and the general avalanche risk is low. Yesterday’s tracks are mostly reset and the snow is in really good shape. Better not over-estimate your equipment and/or skills. The valley streams aren’t fully buried and are hard to notice. Some cracks due to geothermal heat are also present. All gates are scheduled to open from the morning. Seek for advice from the ski patrol at the gates.

Wearing avalanche beacons are strongly recommended. It will allow others to find you, and you will be able to search your friends. Helmets are also strongly recommended as injuries on the head are more likely to be critical.

---

Resort specific opening news at time of writing (subject to change during the day):

Niseko Grand Hirafu
Niseko HANAZONO Resort
Niseko Village
Niseko Annupuri
All areas opening as planned at the start of the day.

---

Official resort snow depths as of Wednesday 1st February 2017:

Niseko Grand Hirafu & Hanazono
Top - 320cm
Base - 140cm

Niseko Village
Top - 250cm
Base - 140cm

Niseko Annupuri
Top - 275cm
Base - 135cm

---

Night skiing is planned until Monday 20th March 2017 at the Niseko Annupuri, Niseko Grand Hirafu and Niseko Village resort areas. There is no nighta in the Hanazono area.

Archive report: Posted at 8:02am on Wednesday 1st February 2017
The latest Niseko Now report can be found here

Niseko Now ski lift operation notes:

Resorts should be opening as planned early this morning

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Tuesday 31st January 2017
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Wednesday 1st February 2017
Thursday 2nd February 2017
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Japan snowfall data
(updated daily during winter)
Niseko Now observed snowfall data: Recent Niseko Now reports
The data displayed is correct up to and including Wednesday 1st February 2017
This graph shows the amount of observed snowfall recorded in the 21 Niseko Now reports up until Wednesday 1st February 2017
(View the latest Niseko Now report here :: View more analysis here)
Niseko Now observed snowfall data: Recent season comparisons
The data displayed is correct up to and including Wednesday 1st February 2017
This table shows the amount of observed snowfall recorded in the Niseko Now reports during same period over the last three seasons
(View the latest Niseko Now report here :: View more analysis here)
  2016/2017
*as of Wednesday 1st February 2017
2015/2016
Season
2014/2015
Season
1st February 19cm 12cm 15cm
31st January 14cm 8cm 0cm
30th January 0cm 1cm 3cm
29th January 0cm 6cm 10cm
28th January 11cm 1cm 3cm
27th January 0cm 16cm 0cm
26th January 11cm 14cm 0cm
Previous 7 days total 55cm 58cm 31cm
Previous 14 days total 95cm 88cm 90cm
November observed snowfall total 110cm 61cm 30cm
December observed snowfall total 181cm 244cm 519cm
January observed snowfall total 152cm 303cm 257cm
February observed snowfall total 19cm 266cm 196cm
March observed snowfall total - 109cm 139cm
April observed snowfall total - 6cm 3cm
May observed snowfall total - 0cm 0cm
Season observed snowfall total 464cm 992cm 1144cm
Niseko Now observed snowfall data: Monthly and annual accumulation
The data displayed is correct up to and including Wednesday 1st February 2017
This table shows the amount of observed snowfall recorded the Niseko Now reports for each month and total season accumulation
(View the latest Niseko Now report here :: View more analysis here)
  October November December January February March April May
2017/2018 season - - - - - - - -
2016/2017 season 2cm
[2cm]
110cm
[112cm]
181cm
[293cm]
152cm
[445cm]
19cm
[464cm]
-
[464cm]
-
[464cm]
-
[464cm]
2015/2016 season 3cm
[3cm]
61cm
[64cm]
244cm
[308cm]
303cm
[611cm]
266cm
[877cm]
109cm
[986cm]
6cm
[992cm]
0cm
[992cm]
2014/2015 season 0cm
[0cm]
30cm
[30cm]
519cm
[549cm]
257cm
[806cm]
196cm
[1002cm]
139cm
[1141cm]
3cm
[1144cm]
0cm
[1144cm]
2013/2014 season 0cm
[0cm]
123cm
[123cm]
275cm
[398cm]
461cm
[859cm]
178cm
[1037cm]
113cm
[1150cm]
13cm
[1163cm]
0cm
[1163cm]
2012/2013 season 0cm
[0cm]
118cm
[118cm]
418cm
[536cm]
443cm
[979cm]
316cm
[1295cm]
164cm
[1459cm]
32cm
[1491cm]
2cm
[1493cm]
  October November December January February March April May
Niseko Now reports before Wednesday 1st February 2017
Niseko Now reports from the same period last season
Niseko Now archived reporting
View previous reports posted to Niseko Now by clicking on the month

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002