Snow and weather reports posted on Saturday 20th January 2018
Thursday 15th January 2015, 7:42am
Cloudy, grey and overcast
Morning from Madarao Kogen and it's a cloudy and grey one.
No snow to report and none falling either for now, but hopefully it will be later on. Lower down they are expecting some rain but up here in Madarao it will fingers crossed by straight into snow. Light snow anytime? Looks like it might happen.
Tis fairly mild though this morning and +1C now.
Nozawa Onsen of course isn't too far from Madarao Kogen and today is the big date on their calendar - the Dosojin Fire Festival. More info has been posted I see on the Nozawa Now report for today (link on the right side of this page). It's worth experiencing and every year people staying in Madarao head on over there for the event.
Remember, 'top riders' - not including myself of course - will be at Madarao on Saturday for the Powder Wave Session. Should be fun to watch, from 10:30am - head over to the Powder Wave course.
Lifts planned to be open:
Number 1 lift Number 2 quad lift Number 3A Number 5 Super quad lift Number 11 lift Number 12 lift Number 13 lift Number 15 lift Moving Walkway Kids Park Freeride Park Tree Run Courses should be open today
Night skiing at Madarao is every Saturday until 21st March 2015.
Yesterday morning we were treated to some deep blue skies though by lunchtime there was a lot of cloud around and by mid afternoon it was almost all cloud cover. Amazing how quickly it can change. The photos on the report today (below) are from the Muikamachi Hakkaisan resort in Minamiuonuma, taken yesterday morning before those clouds moved back in.
The sun didn't get to make it's starring appearance and so it didn't warm up as much as we were expecting yesterday, though still rose to low positive numbers.
So here we are this morning with grey overcast feel. It's +1C out there with a high of around +5C on the local forecast for town level. No new snowfall and just a slight south easterly breeze.
The snow outside feels a bit hard and icy early on.
We expect snow by the end of the day, though rain might come before that. Fingers crossed it goes straight to the snow. I'll let you know how it turns out tomorrow.
Just an interesting bit of resort news - this Saturday is the first 'all night' at Naeba. After the normal nighta, followed by fireworks, the Number 3 lift take a break and then start up again at 10pm and go through until 6am.
The Kandatsu Kogen resort near the town centra is also planning some similar 'all night' lifts, starting from Friday 23rd (10pm until 4am) and then Saturday (6pm until 4am).
So if you like staying up all night, this may well be for you!
Official snow depths (some not updated today due to early report):
Nighta 'night skiing' - where some slopes are floodlit for skiing and snowboarding in the evening, is available at the following resorts in the area.
Ishiuchi Maruyama: Every day until 21st March (until 8:50pm) Iwappara: Every day until 22nd March (until 8pm on weekdays and Sundays, 9pm on Saturdays) Joetsu Kokusai: Every day until 22nd March (until 9pm) Kandatsu Kogen: From 23rd January, 'all night' on holidays (6pm or 10pm until 4am the next morning) Maiko Snow Resort: Every day until 14th March (until 8pm) Naeba: Every day until 29th March (until 9pm) NASPA Ski Garden (skiers only): Saturdays until 29th February (until 7pm) Yuzawa Nakazato: Saturdays until 14th March (until 8:30pm)
Chateaux Shiozawa also have nighta but only on certain days - no fixed schedule available. Resorts not mentioned above do not operate 'nighta' (or do not plan to have more this season). Some resorts offer tickets that include nighta, others need a special lift ticket.
Yesterday temperatures rose significantly into positive territory and we saw +5c at village level. This led to softening of the snow pack, not to mention puddles around the town and a lot of dripping off roofs. Today the resort has grey overcast skies but clearer weather can be seen in the distance to the south. It is currently -1.5c with the forecast showing an expected maximum of -1c, however I would suspect we will see positive temperatures during the day again. Snow conditions will be hard, and icy in some places, due the the warm temperatures yesterday. Read more ...
Thursday 15th January 2015, 8:14am
Hello from Niseko and weather wise there is not much to report this morning.
No new snowfall, cloudy-overcast, and just a very slight breeze when I was out before. All feels calm. And all resort areas open as planned this morning.
We enjoyed some blue skies over the region yesterday. Might we get to see some more of those today... tomorrow also should be mainly cloudy and maybe a bit colder than today, ending up with some fresh snowfall on Friday night into Saturday. It should be snowing over the weekend.
Some people have sent on comments to me via SnowJapan asking why the Avalanche Report keeps on mentioning about respecting the 'Niseko Rules' (see below) so often. I imagine one reason is because every day there will be different people out on the mountain and so different people will be reading it all the time. Not everyone will be reading each and every day.
But much more importantly than that of course is... that they are important. Unfortunately the reputation of a whole group of folk can easily be damaged by the actions of a small number of people who think that they have special permission to do just about anything they want. It's really not my place to talk about this kind of thing in detail, but personally I just very much hope that everyone visiting Niseko (or anywhere else) does so with a healthy respect for the locals, their customs... and the 'rules' that they have.
Compared with many ski resort areas in Japan, Niseko is very open about allowing backcountry activities and I hope that it stays that way.
Here's the Niseko Rules as they are:
The Niseko Rules are a set of official area regulations which were created for the safety of those who ski or board outside the areas managed by the ski resort, as well as the safety of all other users of the ski resort.
1. ”Haru no taki” & “Yu no sawa”area is strictly off limits at all time.
2. Crossing boundary ropes is prohibited. Those who violate the rules may be refused from using all resorts facilities.
3. No safety control & no patrol beyond resort boundaries.
4. Do not step out of bounds when gates are closed.
5. The "Niseko Avalanche Information" is the official daily info of the Niseko Rules.
6. Special charges will be applied for out of bounds search and rescue.
7. Ski patrol’s instructions must be obeyed.
8. Children under 12 must refrain from going out of bounds unless accompanied by a proficient adult leader.
9. The resorts and the local community respect the freedom of all resort users, but are also deeply concerned about their safety.
Furthermore, the "Haru no Taki Prohibited Area" and the "Yu no Sawa Prohibited Area" are strictly off limits at all times, irrespective of conditions, due to the extremely high risk of avalanche and accidents. Please do not enter these areas under any circumstances.
Any skiers or boarders who violate this prohibition will immediately have their lift ticket confiscated by the ski patrol or resort staff, and no more lift tickets will be issued. In addition, such persons may be banned from using the entire ski resort in some cases.
We request that you follow and respect the Niseko Rules, for the safety of all our visitors.
Resort specific news at time of writing - subject to change during the day
Niseko Grand Hirafu: Looks set to be open as planned this morning. 'Early Morning' lift available daily until 1st February (for 500 yen, Ace Quad Number 2 lift from 8am until 8:20am).
Niseko base 6am: -5C, no wind and no snowfall. Moiwa 800m: -6C, light breeze and no snowdrift development. Annupuri 1000m: 230cm snowpack. Hirafu ridge NW10m/s, -8C, no snowfall nor snowdrift. Coastal data: Benkei cape WNW4m/s, Kamui cape NNW4m/s, 1019hPa, 0.6m waves.
The atmospheric pressure gradient is small, no snowclouds can be observed and the avalanche risk is low. However, hard-slabs have developed near the ridgelines and tumbling on there could potentially trigger a slide. The current surface will form the next weak layer (Jan 14th) in the future snowpack. The Niseko Rules have been determined to prevent accidents of ALL resorts users. The Rules applies to every single person using the resort facilities, no matter their knowledge level, experience level, equipments, nationalities or objectives. Niseko respects people’s freedom to roam out of bounds, but are also constantly concerned about everyone’s safety. Randomly crossing boundary ropes increases the chances of accidents to happen, always use the gates to minimize the risks and be conscious that you’re on your own in the out of bounds areas. Better be prudent. All gates will be open from the morning. No snowfall is expected for the next few days, but the groomers are in excellent conditions. Have a nice day.
Official snow depth numbers and any notes at time of writing:
Grand Hirafu / Hanazono: Top - 330cm Base - 140cm
Niseko Village: Top - 250cm Base - 160cm
Niseko Annupuri: Top - 230cm Base - 180cm
Lifts open for night skiing (planned):
Niseko Grand Hirafu Ace Family Pair lift, Ace Number 2 Center Four lift, Hirafu Gondola, Holiday Number 1 Pair lift (There is no night skiing at the Hanazono area)
Niseko Village Community Chair and Banzai Chair
Niseko Annupuri Jumbo Number 1 Quad
You can win a professional Full Day Private Tour for up to 3 people on SnowJapan in a special Prize Draw: Full details here
After some early spells of blue sky and sun on show, the day ended up being mostly cloudy yesterday though visibility remained good.
It's a faily mild start to the day today with the temperature here in the village currently around +1 degrees and hardly any wind.
It is generally cloudy and what looks like some fog/gas on upper areas of resorts. Is that snow I can see falling higher up on the webcam images?
We are expecting some rain here at base later on, but for that to turn into snow by the end of the day. I should have some new cm of snow to report tomorrow morning and then we're expecting more on Saturday.
Kashimayari: All areas now open. Night skiing every day until 15th March.
Night skiing at resorts in the Hakuba area:
Hakuba Goryu: Toomi area every day until 31st March. 6pm until 9:30pm. Hakuba Happo-one: Nakiyama area every day until mid March. 5pm until 9pm. Hakuba Cortina: Every day until 31st March. 5pm until 8pm. Tsugaike Kogen: Kane-no-naru-oka on Saturdays in January (and 11th); February 7th, 14th. 6pm until 8:50pm. Karamatsu-Shirakaba on Saturdays in January 10th (and 11th); February 7th, 14th, 28th; Saturdays in March. 6pm until 9pm. Kashimayari: Every day until 15th March. 4:30pm until 9:30pm. Read more ...
Nozawa Onsen Now!
Thursday 15th January 2015, 8:42am
Cloudy and overcast
Good morning from Nozawa on this one of the biggest days of the year for Nozawa folk.
The day is starting off very dull and grey with complete cloud cover. After that fine sunny start to the day yesterday, the clouds were right back with us by afternoon and they seem set to stay for the moment.
No fresh snowfall to report and a temperature of +1C as of 8:30am. Mild conditions also from up top at Yamabiko with the resort saying it's only -1C up there. A high of +5C is expected later on down here at village level.
However, as temperatures drop snowfall is forecast before the today ends - but with a chance of some rain beforehand. Please no. We're all hoping that the weather behaves later on in particular because...
It is of course the climax of the annual Dosojin Fire Festival tonight in Nozawa. It gets busy - get there early and have fun! Early tracks tomorrow morning may well be slightly quieter than usual as a few people nurse sore heads!
Here's a run down of what it's all about again:
Dosojin Fire Festival
This festival is one of the three most famous fire festivals in Japan. It is held on January 15th every year to pray for a plentiful harvest, health and good fortune in the coming year. The festival dates back to 1863 and though the location has changed, the festivities remain the same. During this festival the twenty-five and forty-two year old men from the village play a very important role. An old belief in Japan dictates that, for men, these years are unlucky ages. The twenty-five and the forty-two year old men in their unlucky ages construct the shaden (shrine) from beech wood that reaches a height of 18 meters. Every year it takes 100 villagers to build the shrine. The trees are cut down in October and brought down from the mountain, through the village, on January 13th. After the shaden has been constructed, the priest from Kosuge shrine performs a ceremony to endow it with a God. Along with the shaden there are an average of five tôrô (dedicatory lantern poles) erected every year. These poles are made by a family in the village to celebrate the birth of the first son. The tôrô are offered to the Gods in a prayer for health and good fortune. The festivities begin with the lighting of the fire by the twenty-five and fourty-two year old men. A small group of men carry a torch, which is lit by striking two stones together, from the Kôno residence to the festival grounds. The torch is used to start a bonfire from which the handmade torches, used to attack the shrine, are lit. The festival centers around the shaden, where the fourty-two year olds sit on top and the twenty-five year olds stand guard at the base. Those who are 41 and 43 years old stand around the perimeter to protect the spectators. Torch bearing villagers of all ages attempt to break through the guards and light the shaden on fire. A dangerous and lively battle ensues. The defenders try to put out the fire by striking it with pine branches. The attack lasts for about one hour, after which the 42 year olds call an end to the ceremony and the shaden together with the tôrô are set on fire in an offering to the Gods. The entire festival can take up to four hours from the beginning to the end, but the main attraction is the battle between the guards and the torch bearing villagers.
Fresh snow to report this morning since yesterday afternoon:
Some fine weather yesterday morning with nice clear views looking out towards other mountain ranges. Beautiful. Those Ice Monsters were looking good too.
It clouded over yesterday and this morning lots of cloud still around but decent visibility. It's quite mild this morning and just under 0 degrees outside right now.
Looking ahead at the forecast, some snow expected later today and overnight then a bit more Saturday. No major snowfall on the weekly forecast though but it should keep fairly cold.
If you are interested in watching some ski jumping, the FIS Ski Jumping World Cup Ladies event is being held at the Zao ski jump this coming Saturday and Sunday from 10am each day. Always interesting to see them fly!
Akakura Onsen (Kumado): until 10pm every day until 22 March Tangram Ski Circus: until 8pm on Saturdays until 28 March Madarao Kogen: until 9pm on Saturdays until 21 March Read more ...
Thursday 15th January 2015, 10:12am
A warmer start to the day with temps around 3 deg C as an occluded front approaches from the South. The forecast shows sleet for the afternoon turning into snow tonight with a predominantly cloudy day tomorrow.
It looks like the snow will return for the weekend with blizzard like conditions possible on Saturday but easing on Sunday.