Snow and weather reports posted on Friday 15th December 2017

Yuzawa Now!

Monday 14th December 2015, 7:58am
Weather conditions: Cloudy
New snowfall: 0cm
Snow depth: 0cm
Good morning from Yuzawa.

Yesterday was a calm day, though not the blue skies of Saturday. This morning there is a lot of cloud in the sky again some low clouds hanging around in places and it's a generally grey start to the day.

It is hovering around 5C degrees now as of 8am with a high temperature of about 12-13 degrees expected early afternoon.

Resort openings remain the same with Kagura and Naeba both part open - see below for more details.

The Tashiro area of the Kagura resort are now saying that they are planning to open on Saturday 19th December, though no doubt nature will have the final say on that...!

So let's take a fresh look at the forecast.

Tomorrow will probably bring some sunshine and will be another mild day, perhaps slightly warmer than today will be. But you want the good news, right? It's still looking like Wednesday and Thursday - and perhaps into Friday - are going to be important days for us. That's when snow is due to be falling. Wednesday might be more of a rain day (at least to start off with) in town with snow due to be falling higher up, and Thursday looks like it has the most potential for colder temperatures and decent snowfall. Please!

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Going back to what we posted in the report yesterday about there being lots of snow this time last year but six years ago some resorts around town were struggling to open even after Christmas... those examples are pretty much the two extremes. Last year was a truly excellent start in terms of snowfall in early to mid December. Then we had that season when some resorts were only able to open just before New Year.

Usually, 'on average' as it were, the season falls somewhere between those two. That's probably why the majority of resorts aim to open by around the weekend of the 19th December. We will of course just have to wait and see what nature brings this year. And we will of course bring you the latest every day.

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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.

On standby to open as soon as there is enough snow:
Iwappara
Joetsu Kokusai
Kagura (Tashiro)
Maiko Snow Resort

Friday 18th December:
Ishiuchi Maruyama
Muikamachi Ski Resort
Yuzawa Nakazato
Yuzawa Park

Saturday 19th December:
GALA Yuzawa
Ipponsugi
Kandatsu Kogen
Ludens Yuzawa
Nakazato Snow Wood
Muikamachi Hakkaisan
NASPA Ski Garden
Yuzawa Kogen

Thursday 24th December:
chateau-shiozawa

Friday 25th December:
Hakkaisanroku

Saturday 26th December:
Itsukamachi
Ishiuchi Hanaoka
Mt Granview

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Ski resorts in Yuzawa town
Ski resorts in Minamiuonuma City
   Read more ...
 

Zao Now!

Monday 14th December 2015, 8:09am
Weather conditions: Cloud cover
New snowfall: 0cm
Snow depth: 0cm
Seemed quite busy again out there yesterday though unfortunately it was quite noticeable that there is less snow. Bringing it home that - as with so many other regions of Japan this mid December - we really need a good dump of snowfall. At least the resort is able to be part open, I suppose!

It is another calm and mostly cloudy morning, looks like thick fog on the mountain too.

The forecast for this coming week remains unchanged with snowfall expected around Wednesday-Friday and it should be getting nice and cold as well. Some people may complain when it gets cold, but I think they would prefer it to mild and snow-free periods.

Let's hope this upcoming winter snap delivers the goods.

Lifts that are currently operating (subject to change):

- Sky Cable (gondola)
- Zao Chuo Ropeway
- Zao Ropeway
- Chuo Number 1 pair AB
- Mikaeri pair
- Onsen Number 1 pair
- Utopia Number 2 pair

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Official snow depths (Sunday 13th December 15):

Utopia: 20cm
Chuo: 30cm
Paradise: -cm
Uwanodai: 15cm

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6 day Zao Onsen snow and weather forecast   Read more ...
 

Niseko Now!

Monday 14th December 2015, 8:32am
Weather conditions: Clear and sunny but cold
New snowfall: 0cm
Snow depth: 35cm
Greetings on this beautiful early morning here in Niseko. The sun is out, the clear blue skies are looking lovely and it's also actually rather cold. My trusty thermometer outside was telling me -5C just a little earlier. That's a bit more like it! I do like a good cold morning in winter. It just feels right doesn't it?

So yes, lovely blue skies this morning and it is going to be a fine day. It will surely warm up some during the day and the local forecast says it might do so up to around 3 degrees here at base.

Tomorrow there'll be more cloud to start off with and unfortunately we will probably get rained on in the afternoon. There are signs that tomorrow might be the last of this current generally milder period, with a much wanted return to more winter-like conditions proper by Wednesday. Hopefully we can expect snowfall on Wednesday. And on Thursday. And maybe on Friday... now that sounds good to me, please don't let us down Nature-san!

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There are more and more excited people arriving in Niseko now and that is only going to continue as we enter the second half of December and the first of the big holidays - Christmas. You can almost feel the 'pressure' (for want of a better word) for more snow and for the mountain to be able to get fully open.

That should not be too far away. Can't wait!

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Remember that at the moment the Niseko Grand Hirafu, Niseko Village and Niseko Annupuri resort upper mountain connections are not open and so if you want to get between them you'll need to get to base and take the road bus.

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Niseko Avalanche Report

Niseko base 6am: -5℃, no snowfall, mild breeze bluebird. Coastal data: Benkei cape SSW2m/s, Kamui cape SW6m/s, 0.7m waves. NNW5m/s at 1000m altitude.

No snowclouds can be observed and temperature is relatively low in the high-pressure system. Thaw is continued until tomorrow.
Avalanches can occur even in shallow conditions. Hard slab avalanche caused by the collapsing of the 15cm crust layer is to be considered in Kozan no Sawa (Backbowl) 1200m sidewalls’ 30-40 grade slopes.

There has been a case of fatal avalanche accident at this place. Riding steep and large vertical drop slope involves great danger. Better not over-estimate your skills.
The current conditions may not the best, but will turn better soon.

Be flexible with your plans.

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Resort specific news as of 8:30am - 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
- Holiday Number 1 pair
- 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
- 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
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Official resort snow depths:

Grand Hirafu / Hanazono:
Top - 140cm
Base - 35cm

Niseko Village:
Top - 60cm
Base - 20cm

Niseko Annupuri:
Top - 55cm
Base - 30cm

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Niseko Grand Hirafu 6 day weather and snow forecast   Read more ...
 

Hakuba Now!

Monday 14th December 2015, 8:35am
Weather conditions: Cloud, and early on a sea of it too!
New snowfall: 0cm
Snow depth: 0cm
Sea of clouds!

There is some very fine scenery to be seen from higher up this morning - a beautiful sea of clouds hanging over the valley. (Pity I am looking at it from my computer rather than actually being there!)

That's always an awesome sight.

The sea of cloud will probably clear up fairly quickly and we might get to see a bit of sunshine today though clouds likely to remain close-by during the day.

Yesterday was a mostly cloudy, mild and calm day. Quite a lot of people out and about though of course the choice for skiing and snowboarding so far is still very limited.

It's another mild morning. It is currently 4C degrees at village base and we are expecting that to rise to perhaps up to around 10C later on.

Tomorrow looks set to be a similar kind of situation but just with rain later on in the day.

But don't fret, there is also good news to look forward to... and that is that the rain should be turning into snowfall overnight into Wednesday and all being well we might get a decent amount of snowfall (especially up on higher areas) through until Thursday. We'll just have to wait and see actually how that turns out of course, but all fingers crossed please.

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The Hakuba 47 resort are today having to close their Route 3 and the lower part of Route 8 due to the snow conditions. It will of course be fantastic when we get to the stage of the season where all resorts are fully open and such details don't need to be checked and reported. Let's hope that's pretty soon!

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6 day forecast for Happo-one:

6 day snow and weather forecast for Happo-one

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Resort news as of 8:30am on Monday 14th December - subject to change

Hakuba 47:
Hakuba 47 is reporting 0cm of new snowfall.
The upper area of Route 1, Route 2, Route 4, Route 5, Route 6 and Route 8 (part) are now open.
Route 3 and the lower part of Route 8 are unfortunately now closed due to the lack of snow.
Planned lifts:
Gondola
Line AB
Line C
Line E
Official snow depth
Upper: 50cm
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: 55cm
Iimori: -cm
Toomi: -cm

Hakuba Happo-one:
Hakuba Happo-one is reporting 0cm of new snowfall.
Parts of Usagidaira, Panorama and 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: 45cm
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: 51cm
Maruyama: -cm

Kashimayari:
Course 2 is open
Planned lifts:
Number 2 pair lift

Other planned resort opening dates

As soon as there is enough snow:
Hakuba Cortina:
Hakuba Norikura Onsen:

18th December
Hakuba Iwatake Snow Field:

19th December
Hakuba Sanosaka:   Read more ...
 

Nozawa Onsen Now!

Monday 14th December 2015, 8:40am
Weather conditions: Mostly cloudy, set to clear up?
New snowfall: 0cm
Snow depth: 0cm
Just another quick update this morning... it's cloudy to start the day, might clear up later and sun is expected during the day tomorrow.

The forecast remains positive for snowfall Wednesday-Thursday.

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Official snow depths (as of 10th December 2015):

Yamabiko - 20cm
Uenotaira - 10cm
Hikage - 0cm
Nagasaka - 0cm
Karasawa - 0cm

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Courses:

Resort not open yet

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Lifts:

Resort not open yet

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Nozawa Onsen 6 day weather and snow forecast

Nozawa Onsen main resort data   Read more ...
 

Shiga Kogen Now!

Monday 14th December 2015, 9:11am
Weather conditions: Cloud
New snowfall: 0cm
Snow depth: 0cm
Good morning from here in Shiga Kogen where we are all waiting and anticipating what lies ahead this week... hopefully a good dose of "winter"!

Look for snowfall starting hopefully by the end of tomorrow and hopefully through until early Friday.

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A few big changes, and big news for snowboarders in particular, in the Shiga Kogen area for this season:

Until now, the Okushiga Kogen and Kumanoyu areas of Shiga Kogen were 'skiers-only' areas -- but from this season you can also snowboard at both of these areas.

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Resort areas that are currently open (Monday 14th December) - subject to change

Ichinose Family
Number 2 Pair AB line lift is operating
Courses open:
Ichinose Family Front course (lower part)

Kumanoyu
Kumanoyu Number 2 Pair AB line is operating
Kumanoyu Number 2 Beginners Course is open (600m)

Takamagahara
Takamagahara Number 2 triple lift is operating
The lower course area is open

Yakebitaiyama
Yakebitaiyama Number 2 high speed and Yakebitaiyama Number 4 romance lifts are operating
Part of the South Course (960m) and Karamatsu Course (850m) are open

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6 day snow and weather forecasts:

Ichinose Family 6-day snow and weather forecast
Okushiga Kogen 6-day snow and weather forecast
Yokoteyama 6-day snow and weather forecast   Read more ...
 

Madarao Now!

Monday 14th December 2015, 9:21am
Weather conditions: Clouds clearing increasingly clear
New snowfall: 0cm
Snow depth: 0cm
Good morning as we fast approach the planned opening date of the season for the Madarao Kogen and Tangram Ski Circus resorts.

The big question is... will they be able to?

Right now we're back to a mostly snow-less mountain with the last week or so seeing a mix of mild temperatures and rain. Not the best. But best to get those things out of the way before the season I suppose!

So to this week. The region is set to enjoy a drop in temperatures and snowfall around mid-week. Thursday looks like it should be the peak of that cold front.

Just how much snow falls and if it will be enough for an opening.... well, we'll just have to wait and see.

I'll keep you updated - hopefully it will be snowing when I post my next report.

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Madarao Kogen plans to open on Friday 18th December
Tangram Ski Circus plans to open on Saturday 19th December.

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Madarao Kogen 6 day snow and weather forecast   Read more ...
 

Furano Now!

Monday 14th December 2015, 10:23am
Weather conditions: Beautiful bluebird day in Furano
New snowfall: 0cm
Snow depth: 95cm
Freezing bluebird day that's crunchy underfoot.

It was -7C on my verandah at 8.30am today, which is very cold indeed. Walking around Kitanomine, the footpath had frozen and was crunchy where the footprints were. There is a definite crust on the deeper snow to the side of the footpath. It held me for a second but then I fell through, confirming that about 25cm of snow is holding around Kitanomine Village, with a pretty sturdy crust.

The forecast is taunting us because there are at least 4 days of heavy snow coming but it's pretty consistently preceded by rain. At this stage, the rain is forecast for Tuesday afternoon and the five days afterwards show snow. Sometimes the updated forecast doesn't have rain (that's the taunting bit) but the smart money is on rain before snow. We will evaluate how it affects the base when the time comes.

The backcountry is in better shape than we expected, with about 40cm of powder on top at Tokachidake and a lot of locals out either ski touring or snow climbing yesterday.

I stopped to watch the night skiers yesterday and it was pretty busy. somebody sitting on every third chair I would estimate. It was very clear and very cold yesterday evening.

Photo 1 is the resort at about 7.30am this morning at Kitanomine Zone, which is not yet open and definitely needs snow.
Photo 2 is back towards town with not a breath of wind to move that flag.   Read more ...
 

SnowJapan Daily 'Now' reports

Naeba Now
15th Dec, 11:06am
Myoko Now
15th Dec, 8:58am
Shiga Kogen Now
15th Dec, 8:56
Grandeco Now
15th Dec, 8:54
Appi Kogen Now
15th Dec, 8:47
Zao Now
15th Dec, 8:44
Hakuba Now
15th Dec, 8:36
Niseko Now
15th Dec, 8:35am
Nozawa Onsen Now
15th Dec, 7:55
Geto Kogen Now
15th Dec, 7:31
Yuzawa Now
15th Dec, 7:27
Furano Now
15th Dec, 7:21
Madarao Now
14th Dec, 9:25
Minakami Now
14th Dec, 8:34

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