Snow and weather reports posted on Thursday 25th May 2017
Sunday 14th February 2016, 7:55am
Gray, gray, gray
This continues to be a winter for the record books. Warm south winds throughout the day just ripped through the snowpack; the slight gain we got with last week's genuine Myoko snowfall are more than gone. I'm very interested to see how the resorts will be reporting, as the snow around the house here has visibly dropped by many centimeters. It looks like mid-April, not mid-February.
Heavy rain is now falling, also no help for the snowpack. The temperature is 9°C....NINE degrees! Just bizarre.
The freezing line is going to start moving very quickly down the mountain, followed by some light snow. Normally we'd worry about the possibility of a layer forming in the snow as the surfaces freezes, which could cause problems with heavy snow later (meaning avalanches), but it doesn't look like much snow, and there isn't much left to begin with. Something to think about, anyway, if you do think about going out in the bushes (it's only gotten worse) in the coming days.
I started the year with pretty gloomy reports, and while it's not the end of the season yet, it sure looks and feels like it! We could see some early area closures unless some really unusual late-season snowfalls happen really soon.
We escaped any more than light rain at times later on in the day here, and enjoyed some clearer skies and sun over Naeba for the first day of events at the World Cup. As expected though temperatures rose quickly in the morning and it was a warm day, getting into double digits.
It stayed warm overnight as well and even now at 8am it is 11C degrees here in town. It's even raining up at Kagura, I'm afraid.
After the snowfall last week there was a good 40+cm of snow piled up on the top of a building next to where I live - I have just noticed that snow has now completely melted away, so obviously the warmth is going to be impacting snow conditions.
Just before I got up it was raining heavily for a short while, but it's just light rain now. Quite bright as well actually. Unfortunately though we can probably expect warmth and rain (at least on and off) through the day.
Quite strong winds might be an issue this morning in some higher places - I see that some of Kagura won't be open. The Dragondola and Tashiro Number 2 lifts will be closed due to wind, and also the top Romance Number 5 lift will be closed due to avalanche danger. Just now I can't confirm any other resort lift restrictions.
Certainly this is not what we want to be having in mid February, though it has to be said that we usually do get one or two warmer and wet patches during a season even when it's a 'heavy snowfall' season. The big worry is that with the relatively low base that we have this year, prolonged periods like this will really affect how long resorts can stay open.
Happily changing the tone, there is good news!
Tomorrow is still set to be much colder (back down to near freezing) and snow should be falling again. If we are lucky we might be getting snowed on through Wednesday, so fingers crossed we get a decent amount.
Today is the second of two days of events at the 2016 FIS Alpine Skiing World Cup at Naeba ski resort in Yuzawa. The very best of luck to everyone involved and competing. I hear that the organisers have been having a long night preparing the course for todays event. It is raining at the moment in Naeba unfortunately though the event is scheduled to go ahead as planned.
Weather - please be kind!
Resort official snow depths (Sunday 14th February 2016) and any specific news at time of writing:
Details of the 'nighta' operations at ski and snowboards resorts around Yuzawa and Minamiuonuma.
Ishiuchi Maruyama Open daily until 8:50pm (until 20th March). The Chuo No 1 and Chuo No 2 lifts are open daily. The Kanko No 1, Kanko No 2, Kanko No 3, Hatsukaishi Entrance lift, Hatsukaishi No 2 pair lifts are open on weekends and holidays. The basic charge is 2000 yen but various tickets are available.
Iwappara Open daily until 9pm on Saturdays and until 8pm on weekdays and Sundays (until 21st March). The charge is 1500 yen for adults and 1000 yen for children and seniors.
Joetsu Kokusai Open daily until 9pm (until 21st March). The charge is 1500 yen for adults and 1000 yen for children and seniors. On weekdays the area in front of the main hotel is open - a larger area (including Osawa and Atema) is open on weekends.
Kandatsu Kogen Open from 6pm until 4am on Fridays, Saturdays and evenings before holidays through 26th March. Open from 4:30pm until 11pm on weekdays until 24th March. Various tickets are available starting at 2000 yen for adults, 1700 yen for seniors and 1000 yen for children.
Maiko Snow Resort Open daily with the Maiko Center quad lift operating from 4pm until 8pm. The charge is 500 yen for everyone.
Naeba Open daily until 27th March. From 4pm until 8:30pm on weekdays and Sundays (2000 yen); until 9pm every Saturday and on 20th March (3000 yen). 'All Night' opening is planned for Saturday 26th March when Naeba will be open from 10pm until 5am.
NASPA Ski Garden Extended opening until 6pm (Number 1 lift) on Saturdays until 27th February. There is no special ticket available just for the extended time.
Yuzawa Nakazato Open on Saturdays from 5pm until 8:30pm (until 12th March). Tickets are 1500 yen for adults and 1000 yen for children and seniors.
Yesterday the warm temperatures arrived and so did the associated rain. Overnight temperatures remained very warm and the village was alive with the sound of water dripping off roofs. If you do own a roof, chances are the conditions mother nature has provided have enabled the roof to self clean itself of snow.
This morning it is raining lightly in the village but there is significantly more rain to come in the first half of the day. The winds are strong at the moment but may decrease as the day progresses. The winds will definitely affect the operation of some of the lifts. From evening the rain is expected to turn to snow and the temperatures will plummet well into the negatives.
For the next few days there is a lot of snow on the radar with Monday night looking like a heavy snowfall will occur which will help repair the rain event.
Sadly it is more of the same at Kiroro today as strong winds and unseasonably warm weather continue to hamper operations. The upper 3 lifts (Gondola, Asari #2 and Nagamine #2) remain on hold today. The temperature is above freezing this morning, with rain currently falling at base level.
The weather looks set to improve tomorrow with the forecast predicting colder temperatures and snowfall. Read more ...
Sunday 14th February 2016, 8:22am
Cloud, rain, poor visibility
Hello from Niseko where unfortunately things are like we expected them to be...
Warm, wet and windy.
It's really not very nice, but if you do decide to strap on the skis or the board you won't be waiting long for the lifts with lots of people deciding to take a break from the sliding action this weekend.
Top lifts at all four resort areas aren't going to be starting the day due to strong winds and very poor visibility (and the other lifts are probably complaining at having to start moving in such nasty conditions!)
The Avalanche Report does say that the groomers are in good condition as well, but personally I think I'll just take their word for it.
Enough of this already, when is the next snow due?!
Hopefully, before the end of today and once it starts snowing and those temperatures get back down into proper winter territory (tomorrow), we should be set for regular snowfall once again in the coming week. That sounds good doesn't it.
Resort specific lift opening news at time of writing (subject to change during the day):
Niseko Grand Hirafu The Ace Number 4, King Number 4, Ace Number 3, King Number 3 and Swinging Monkey lifts are on hold at the start of the day due to strong winds and poor visibility.
Niseko HANAZONO Resort The top Hanazono Number 3 quad lift is on hold at the start of the day due to poor weather conditions.
Niseko Village The Niseko Gondola and top Wonderland lift are on hold at the start of the day due to poor weather conditions.
Niseko Annupuri The top Jumbo Number 4 lift is on hold at the start of the day due to strong winds and poor visibility.
Isobars are spaced out before the next low-pressure is approaching; light rain is falling with temperature above freezing level throughout the mountain. A thick fog is present in higher elevation. There are no powder, but the groomers condition is in good shape. Ungroomed snow is wet, heavy and catchy. Beware of loosing control and hitting trees. Gates 1, 2, 3, 4 & 6 will be closed. Please respect the Rules in order to prevent accidents. A single track under the rope would lead many others to follow it and needlessly raise the chances of accidents to happen.
Cracks, which are the result of snowpack’s tension release, are forming in leeward steep slopes and can be a trigger leading to ground-avalanches. These avalanches are extremely destructive and runs in high speed. Stay away from the valleys. The snow will turn better soon, but before it does, hazardous surface slab slides conditions will come in as the next snowstorm kicks in. Pay attention to the weather transition. Have a nice day.
Official resort snow depths as of Sunday 14th February 2016:
Rain it is. And warm too. 10C at 8am. You can imagine that this has not done the snow conditions much good and I don't think I'm going out to check either today.
I think I'd rather go do something else and just look forward to the fresh snowfall that is on the way. It might not feel like it just now but we are told to expect snowfall before today ends and for the temps to magically drop considerably by tomorrow. So tomorrow I will hopefully be bringing you news of fresh cm. It's even forecast to be snowing each day through Wednesday, so we can be hopeful of a potential decent recovery.
Gambare, snow clouds!
Madarao Kogen lifts operating (planned at time of writing):
All lifts plan to be open today
Tangram Ski Circus lifts operating (planned at time of writing):
I truly wish that I had much better things to report this morning.
Rain (sometimes heavy) and warmth has been the headline this weekend. Not just in Hakuba I see but in lots of areas looking at the other reports. It doesn't make it any easier though...
Just how much damage this is all doing to snow/base conditions remains to be seen.
What else can I say. Oh yes, we are all very much hoping that the sudden switch back to winter-like conditions that the forecasts are promising us for tomorrow actually happens. The forecast looks rather promising actually. Cold, snowfall (maybe starting late today), possibly heavy snowfall around Wednesday.
So we could soon be enjoying decent fresh snowfall. Can we do without all the ups and downs though please?
Resort news as of 8:40am on Sunday 14th February 2016 (where available, all subject to change due to weather conditions)
Hakuba 47: Hakuba 47 is reporting 0cm of fresh snowfall. All courses are open. All of the Tree Riding Zone is closed today due to avalanche risk. There is no 'nighta' at Hakuba 47. Official snow depth: Upper: 210cm Base: 100cm
Hakuba Goryu: Hakuba Goryu is reporting 0cm of fresh snowfall. All courses except Snow Diving are open. The Toomi area will be open until 8:30pm tonight for 'nighta'. Official snow depth Alps: 250cm Toomi: 130cm Iimori: 140cm
Hakuba Happo-one: Happo-one is reporting 0cm of fresh snowfall on mountain. All open (apart from the Kurobishi Off Piste Area). Happo Banks Snow Park is now open. The lower Nakiyama area is open for 'nighta' every day until 9pm. Official snow depth: Usagidaira: 215cm Nakiyama: 100cm Sakka: 60cm
Hakuba Cortina: Hakuba Cortina is reporting 0cm of fresh snowfall. All courses have generally been open but there may be some closures today due to the weather. The Ikenota area will be open for 'nighta' until 8pm tonight (9pm on Saturdays). Official snow depth: Top: 170cm Base: 110cm
Tsugaike Kogen: All course areas are open apart from Uma-no-se and part of the course through forest. Nighta at Karamatsu/Shirakaba on 20th February and 5th/12th/19th March. Note that the top Tsugaike Ropeway only opens from spring. Official snow depth: Tsuga-no-mori: 240cm Maruyama: 90cm Kane-no-naru-oka: 80cm
Hakuba Iwatake Snow Field: Reporting 0cm of fresh snowfall this morning. Most of Village Side is open but parts of the Mountain Side not open (Sonezawa, Dangan, Kamo 4, View A, View B). There is no 'nighta' at Hakuba Iwatake. Official snow depth: Upper: 120cm Lower: 40cm
Hakuba Norikura Onsen: All courses are now open. There is no 'nighta' at Hakuba Iwatake. Official snow depth: 135cm
It's not good, I'm afraid. Apart from it again being way too warm this morning, it's raining and strong winds are messing around with lift operations (if people were still interested in using the lifts!)
And after that decent snowfall that we enjoyed last week as well. :(
According to the resort it was +8C and raining up on the top Yamabiko as of 7:15am and they've wiped off a chunk from the official snow depth numbers as well.
Poor weather conditions mean that top lifts and the Nagasaka Gondola are on hold at the start of the day. Looks like the Hikage Gondola is moving. See below for more.
I really don't like writing these things, but you want the absolute truth right? I just so so wish I could be bringing you regular reports of deep snow like I usually can, it makes me really sad that I can't...
Trying to forget the 'right now', let's look at the forecast.
It's looking quite promising actually with a sudden drop in temperatures due tomorrow and hopefully snow falling by the time I get up to write my report Monday morning. And after that, snow clouds should be over us or nearby and giving us fresh snow on Tuesday and Wednesday as well. So things could be back on in a few days time once again.
What a really strange season. Hopefully it'll be 'unique'! I'll take an 'average' season over this one any day.
Official info at time of writing on Sunday 14th February 2016 (subject to change):
Today it's the 2016 World Cup Slalom Contest and what beautiful weather it is for it. Or not!
Whilst we got lucky yesterday and the rain held off during the day, it began to fall at around 00:00 and has continued until now. Whilst it's not a torrential down pour it's enough to make things slushy on course.
Conditions in general will be less than ideal today mainly due to the rain but a return to snow is still predicted for tonight so let's hope that comes through!
Weather for the coming week remains the same as before with snow expected to start tonight and then continue through until Wednesday. Then we should have a day of clear weather on Thursday, with more snow coming on Friday.
Unfortunately, as with many areas this weekend Grandeco has been enduring rainfall from last night - it has actually been raining throughout the Bandai area on both sides of Mt Bandai.
The rain and warmth has seen the snow melting away quickly and the official snow depth at the resort has taken a drop down from 260cm to 240cm this morning.
This weather feels like a Spring storm, and strong wind will be blowing strong around 18:00-22:00 according to the forecast.
By early tomorrow morning, it should be much calmer and start snowing before the next report goes up.
All of the ski resorts in the Bandai area are open today but if the wind gets too strong, expect some lift operations to be affected. I see that the Tengendai ski are (located to the north of Grandeco in Yamagata prefecture) announced that it has stopped all lifts and ropeway today.
Best to pay attention to the local forecast.
Anyway, hoping to have new snow to report from tomorrow.
It's very warm and wet. Strong southerly winds overnight were blowing around as well. So it's a pretty sad picture this morning I'm afraid.
Just as the official snow depths at resorts don't go up much, they don't go down either - though there has definitely been melt since yesterday and there'll be more today.
Looking ahead with hope, by this time tomorrow the forecasts say it will be back to being very cold and it will be snowing... with snow forecast through Wednesday. So I'll look forward to bringing you news of that tomorrow.
Official snow depths at Shiga Kogen resort areas (Sunday 14th February 2016):
Sun Valley 70cm Nighta on Saturdays until 19th March (7pm-9pm)
Takamagahara Mammoth 120cm
Tannenomori Okojo 120cm
Ichinose Family 120cm Nighta daily until 27th March (6:30pm-9pm)
Ichinose Diamond 120cm Nighta on Saturdays until 26th March (6:30pm-9pm)
Ichinose Yamanokami 120cm
Yakebitaiyama 150cm Nighta on Saturdays until 12th March (6pm-8pm)
Okushiga Kogen 140cm
Kumanoyu 100cm Nighta on Saturdays until 26th March (6:30pm-9pm) Also on 12th February and 20th March
It's raining folks and has been as far as I can tell for the most part since last night. From top to bottom. And way, way too warm. My thermometer says 11 degrees. Which is pretty shocking for 14th February.
The mountain is open but I doubt there'll be that many people wanting to be out in this weather... certainly not like a normal peak season Sunday anyway.
The good news and thing to look forward to is that we are told that winter will be back from tomorrow through Wednesday.
So while things are pretty sad today, maybe in my next report I'll be able to bring you news of fresh snowfall. I sure hope so!
Information as of Sunday 14th February 2016 (subject to change)
Sunday and rain with a chance of more rain throughout the day.
Yes the forecast was correct for once and it’s a lovely day here at Appi if you’ve got a canoe. If I were to choose one word to sum up the day here and its “miserable”.
Cloudy skies forecast all day with the rain maybe turning into snow later this evening with temperatures at the base around 4 to 5 degrees throughout the day too. Temperatures should fall over night and into tomorrow to the -8 range. It will certainly snow but what it’s going to end up like is anyone's guess right now. The base has also shrunk to 110cm because of the rising temperatures and rainfall.
Some courses closed this morning due to the conditions and the gondolas taking a rest - operating lifts early morning shown below.
It’s a TV or book kind of day today so grab yourself a good hardback and settle in to the patter of rain on the roof.
Currently planned operating lifts:
- Central Number 1 quad - Number 2 lift A - Number 2 lift B - Number 3 lift B - Number 3 lift C - Sailer Number 2 - Sailer connecting Read more ...