Snow and weather reports posted on Friday 15th December 2017
Sunday 13th December 2015, 8:40am
Lots of cloud, some blue sky
Good morning from my Hirafu base here in Niseko*.
A bit more cloud than yesterday morning but generally conditions are not too far from how things were this time yesterday. It's fairly brisk and chilly, and no new snowfall.
We should expect to see the sun shining today and perhaps those clouds disappearing. It should then get colder than it was last night tonight, with similar conditions expected once again in the daytime tomorrow with a high of around 3-4 degrees at base.
On Tuesday it looks like we can expect rain lower down at least but that will very hopefully of course very quickly turn into snowfall; it should definitely be snowing by Wednesday and hopefully then for at least a day or two. Let's hope I'll have some decent numbers to report!
* I of course realise that I am actually officially in Kutchan town, not Niseko Town - I am just referring to the 'Niseko area' when I say that. Actually there's a good explanation on 'what is Niseko' on the new travel pages the SnowJapan guys have made for this season, which you can handily find here.
Resort specific news as of 8:40am - subject to change 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 2 Quad Center Four (for transport) - Ace Number 3 pair - Hirafu Gondola (for transport) - King Number 3 triple - Swinging Monkey Courses planned to be open: - Family - Beginners access - Center - Shirakaba - Kogen - Boyo - Holiday - Rinkan (lower part) - Jumbo - Connecting Course
Niseko HANAZONO Resort Lifts planned to be running: - Hanazono Number 1 quad (for transport) - Hanazono Number 2 quad - Hanazono Number 3 quad Courses planned to be open: - 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*
Niseko Annupuri Lifts planned to be operating: - Annupuri Gondola - Jumbo Number 1 quad* - Jumbo Number 2 pair - Jumbo Number 3 pair Courses planned to be open: - Utopia - Shirakaba - Paradise - Junior - Family - Silver ---
Turned out to be a lovely fine day all day yesterday, though generally (and unfortunately) it felt more like a November day than mid December. The sun was out for those sliding down the main run at Kagura and the newly-opened runs at Naeba base.
Today there is a lot of cloud and as we approach 9am it is 7C. High temperature today will be around 11 degrees which is still higher than average for the time of year. Similar weather is expected tomorrow.
Here's the encouraging news! Hopefully we are going to see a blast of winter come our way around Wednesday and Thursday in the coming week; I think we are all now ready to get moving with shovels and look forward to that first experience of the season clearing up snow from around our houses. And the noise that the snow clearing machines make late at night and early in the morning. Yes, we want some of that too!
So yes, snow is on the horizon hopefully starting around Wednesday though it may start off as rain in town. Just how much it will bring is the big question.
With many of the resorts around town originally wanting to be opening from this coming weekend, it starts getting very important to everyone.
Fingers crossed everyone.
People have been asking us 'will that resort be open on that date'? The best advice we can give is to look back at the archive reports - links back to 2002 at the bottom of this report page on the PC version of the site - and see how things have gone in previous seasons. Last season was incredible for snowfall in December; 6 years ago resorts were struggling even after Christmas.
Planned opening dates for resorts in Yuzawa Town and Minamiuonuma City (by date):
Currently part open: Kagura The main Kagura course - 1500m in length, real snow (and artificial) - is open. The Mitsumata (snow-mat) area is currently being used as a connection to get to the open Kagura area. Operating lifts are Mitsumata Ropeway, Mitsumata Number 1 lift, Mitsumata Number 3 lift, Kagura Gondola, Kagura Number 1 high speed quad and Kagura Number 1 romance lift (on Saturdays and holidays during this period). All but the latter two are used to get to the snow. The Kagura Gondola needs to be taken to return back to the Mitsumata area.
Naeba A few lower area courses open with artificial snow.
Things seemed quite busy on the mountain yesterday, probably due to the limited areas that are open of course. But still good to see lots of people around.
It's turning into a mild morning here after a frosty start earlier. A cloudy kind of fair start to the day with some light blue hazy kind of skies to be seen behind the cloud here and there. Perhaps it will clear up more as the morning progresses.
We want and need lots more snow of course, and looking at the forecast we can probably expect it from mid week... there might be a few spots of rain to endure before we get to the more fluffy stuff...
Lifts that are currently operating:
- Sky Cable (gondola) - Zao Chuo Ropeway - Zao Ropeway - Chuo Number 1 pair AB - Mikaeri pair - Onsen Number 1 pair - Utopia Number 2 pair
Not a whole lot to report. After the fine weather yesterday, it's cloudy this morning. A high of about 7 degrees and not really getting much colder overnight with similar weather forecast tomorrow as well.
The clouds yesterday cleared up by around lunchtime and we were left with beautiful clear blue skies for the afternoon. Lovely.
I had some fun up at Hakuba Goryu yesterday meeting some friends visiting from Tokyo. I went up on the gondola twice, once in the morning and once later in the afternoon. Early morning there was a bit of snow left on the lower base area; later in the day I noticed most of that had pretty much disappeared.
There's no denying that we really need winter to arrive in style and get itself into gear.
Will that be this week? The forecast is still looking promising for snowfall, and perhaps a decent delivery of it, from late Tuesday/Wednesday through Thursday and possibly beyond. That would be just the ticket.
This morning it's mild and generally very cloudy with just a few patches of blue sky to be seen here and there. The forecast is for cloudy conditions today and tomorrow with daytime temperatures rising to around 8 degrees.
Keep an eye on the forecast and all available fingers crossed!
Resort news as of 9:00am on Sunday 13th December - subject to change
Hakuba 47: Hakuba 47 is reporting 0cm of new snowfall. The upper area of Route 1, Route 2, Route 3, Route 4, Route 5, Route 6 and Route 8 are now open. Planned lifts: Gondola Line AB Line C Line E Official snow depth Upper: 55cm Base: 0cm
Hakuba Goryu: Hakuba Goryu is reporting 0cm of new snowfall. The upper Panorama Course and Grand Prix courses at Hakuba Goryu are open. Planned lifts: Telecabin Gondola (to get to the upper area that is currently open) Alps Number 1 pair lift Alps Number 3 pair lift Official snow depth Alps: 60cm Iimori: -cm Toomi: -cm
Hakuba Happo-one: Hakuba Happo-one is reporting 0cm of new snowfall. The Usagidaira, Panorama and part of Kurobishi areas are skiable. Planned lifts: Adam Gondola Alpen quad lift Kurobishi Number 2 quad lift Kokusai Number 3 lift Panorama pair lift Official snow depth Usagidaira: 60cm Nakiyama: -cm Sakka: -cm
Tsugaike Kogen: The upper part of the Han-no-ki course area is open. Planned lifts: Eve Gondola Han-no-ki high speed pair lift Official snow depth Tsuga-no-mori: 58cm Maruyama: -cm
Kashimayari: Course 2 is open Planned lifts: Number 2 pair lift
Bright but cloud blankets around. Sunny with clouds moving around.
Mild day, mostly sunny today.
Meant to go night skiing last night for the opening but didn't quite make it. Friends went and enjoyed it very much. Fourth lift now open on Furano resort so that's good, and that's most of the Furano Zone open now bringing it to about 35% of the whole resort. Highest peak now skiable - that's the lift that opened yesterday.
Was zero degrees Celsius at 9am which is pretty mild but fine for the piste condition.
In more horrific news, the forecast said last night that Tuesday's snow might have some rain in front of it, which would not be any fun. But Mother Nature is a minx so let's just wait and see what she does.
No winds today. I have been out in the region and the visibility is beautifully clear.
Photo 1 is Furano Resort from across town, taken from the Furano Craft Village. Photo 2 is from Kitanomine where the red light caught me on the way to the craft village. Read more ...