Snow and weather reports posted on Friday 15th December 2017
Saturday 17th December 2011, 8:39am
Good morning and what a good morning it is. You want snow? We got it!
Kagura are this morning reporting 70-80cm of fresh snow since yesterday. 70-80cm! It's a cold morning about -9 degrees at the top there and I think it goes without saying that conditions will be..... nice! Apart from a few small areas, all areas of Kagura are now open. And I want to be there.
At Naeba the Gondola No2, No5 high speed, No4 pair, Daishamen pair and Takenokodaira pair lifts are operating with the respective courses bottom and top open. So still limited there but I would expect things to open up fairly quickly especially as we are due the snow to continue during the day today.
The Dragondola plans to start operating from 23rd December and so that connection between Naeba and Tashiro is of course not yet open.
Resort Operations, 17th Dec (subject to change) Naeba: No4 and No5 courses near base, Takenokodaira and Daishamen up top Kagura: All areas open apart from Mitsumata downhill course (down to Ropeway base) and Dragondola connecting area at Tashiro.
Well, we have had a very good 24 hours in the region. It has been snowing in an impressive fashion since yesterday lunchtime really and this morning Madarao resort is reporting a whopping 80cm of new snow as the result. Eighty. I wouldn't like to guess at my own observation. I might have gone with 60cm, but 80cm will do. Whatever, it has basically snowed a lot and that is what we like to hear.
This new snowfall has taken the official snow depth up to 100cm and this morning, as the resort copes with all the new snow, the No1 and No2 quad lifts are operating. While that is still very limited operations I would expect things to change quite quickly.
It is still snowing at the moment and snowy clouds are due for the day though perhaps we have gone over the peak of this particular portion of snowfall. The week is looking quite good too as well at the moment with more snow due over the next few days and then heavy snowfall later on in the week.
It really looks like the season is about to kick into gear!
Lifts currently operating: Number 1 lift Number 2 quad lift (subject to change depending on conditions)
So yes this morning we do have good news. The top headline has to be Kagura reporting 70-80cm of fresh snow. That's how Niigata does it! One minute there's none, next minute close to a metre falling in a day. Brilliant. If I had to make an observation about the snow on the ground here, I'd say maybe about 40cm or so. But whatever the number it has been a good night anyway.
Right now it is snowing lightly but it seems the snow clouds are destined to start clearing as the evening approaches and there's perhaps not much more in terms of cm to come today. Snow showers over the next few days but the most exciting prospect is later on in the week starting Thursday when the snow forecast report has us down for 'heavy snow'. Oh yes, we'll take some of that!
From today Kagura is pretty much all open, apart from the course coming back down the hill to the car park at Mitsumata and the area around the Dragondola at Tashiro (the Dragondola is scheduled to start operating on 23rd December). Naeba is also running two of the lifts higher on the mountain, so there's more of that mountain open today.
Down at town level, here's the situation with resorts around Yuzawa and Minamiuouma:
Iwappara have opened this morning and currently have the No2 and No3 pair lifts moving so basically that left hand side of the main area of the resort is open. They are reporting 60cm of snow on the slopes.
Yuzawa Kogen has the Ropeway, Cosmos pair lift and Panorama lifts operating and is reporting 50cm of snow.
GALA Yuzawa has also opened this morning and they have the Central Area of the resort open. They are reporting a snow depth of 70cm.
Kandatsu Kogen have announced that they plan to open up tomorrow (Sunday).
In Minamiuonuma, Joetsu Kokusai are opening the Panorama area of the resort today. Ishiuchi Maruyama will open up the Central area as quickly as they can. Centleisure Maiko were hoping to open today but seem to be saying that they plan to be part open from tomorrow.
So it's all go at the moment as resorts begin to cope with this sudden snowfall. There may be lift openings and closings without much notice in this early period. We'll try to keep on top of the situation each day, but if you do plan to go to a particular resort I recommend checking out their webpage or even calling for the very latest. Read more ...
Saturday 17th December 2011, 9:13am
fairly heavy snow at time of writing, very cold wind
It is a very cold morning here in Niseko, conditions at 8am were whiteout which has eased up around 9am. There has been LOTS of fresh powdery snow falling overnight, everyone getting first lifts today is going to have fantastic first tracks... expect face shots galore!
The wind should be easing off as the day goes on, we still have windchill around -14 but nowhere near as brutal as the past couple days.
The forecast through at least Tuesday is snow, snow and more snow.
Visitors in the coming week - of which quite a few more are due to arrive today and tomorro - can look forward to a very powdery Christmas indeed.
Current lift operations at time of writing (subject to change depending on conditions)
Hirafu: Hirafu family pair, Ace Quad, Ace Pair 3 and Hooded pair 3, swinging monkey and holiday pair running. Gondola also running. and King 4
Annupuri: Gondola, jumbo quad and Pair 2 and Annupuri Pair 3 running. as well as slowed Jumbo pair 4
Niseko Village: Banzai, Mori no and Community chair and Gondola running and Wonderland Chair
Hanazono: Hanazono lift 1,2 and 3 running (2 and 3 slowed at time of writing)
Avalanche Information: Niseko base: -7℃, weak stormy morning with 20cm of new snowfall. Coastal data: NW16m/s and 2m wave height. 1000m altitude: westerly 18m/s. Intermittent snowfall is persisting and snowdrifts are slowly developing in leeward slopes. A heavy and uniform slab of drifted snow up to 120cm thick is laid on top of Dec 14th layer. The grains are rounding and stating to stabilize from the deeper layers, however possibilities of a large surface slab avalanche of newly settled snow is still present especially in open steep terrain and slopes under cornices. Some more time is required to open the gates. Refrain from crossing boundary ropes to seek fresh tracks. The new snow is reasonably dense and in good condition. Read more ...
Shiga Kogen Now!
Saturday 17th December 2011, 9:14am
Light snow, cloud
Yesterday morning might have been a disappointment, but this morning certainly isn't. I would say we have had at least 20cm of new snow overnight and actually looking at the numbers coming in from places like Naeba and Yuzawa this morning that might not seem too impressive actually. But Shiga Kogen isn't as well known for massive dumpage in the same was as Yuzawa is. Shiga Kogen prides itself on the quality of the snow and this morning conditions out there should be fantastic. I'll be out trying them myself later on this afternoon and will let you know tomorrow.
OK so more places are opening up now. Okushiga Kogen is open this morning and Yokoteyama is welcomed to the 'open resorts' list as well. As snow arrives, expect things to change perhaps quickly - the resorts will all open up and get lifts moving as soon as they can.
Today we should see the snow clouds stay though perhaps things will clear up by this evening. Possible light snow showers tomorrow and then the next snow around Monday evening. Later on in the coming week is looking very promising with the prospect of 'heavy snow' on the horizon.
Official snow depths [17th Dec 11]: Takamagahara Mammoth - 40cm Ichinose Family - 50cm Yakebitaiyama - 35cm Okushiga Kogen - 30cm Terakoya - 30cm Kumanoyu - 50cm Yokoteyama - 40cm
Resorts part open [17th Dec 11]: Takamagahara Mammoth - one triple lift Ichinose Family - two pair lifts Yakebitaiyama - one pair lift, one quad lift Okushiga Kogen - one pair lift Kumanoyu - one pair lift Yokoteyama - two pair lifts, one triple lift, one single lift (Higashiyama gondola operating and part of Terakoya open for pole training) Read more ...
Saturday 17th December 2011, 9:17am
The sun is peeking through the clouds this morning here in Hakuba Village. Open parts of blue sky are appearing and it looks like it might be a great day on the mountain. It snowed on and off all day yesterday and we had accumulations of about 15 cms here at the Village base. Last night it snowed about 2-3 cms, so not much to add to the base here on the resorts. I think pretty much everyone was expecting more, and certainly hoping for it!
Conditions on the resorts are powder and packed powder on most runs and some moguls on steeper sections. Still take care going off piste as there are natural hazards in the trees. A shallow snowpack may look tempting to blast through but branches, rocks and things might still be lurking under the snow. So do take caution as it will be a short season if you get hurt now.
Still not all the runs are open here on the resorts in Hakuba as we don't have enough base to open the to the bottom yet. We are really really hoping and praying to the respective snow gods for a heavy blizzard to roll in and unload masses of white fluffy snow. There is some snow forecasted to fall from tonight through Monday and on and off all week so things are looking good for a white Green Day (Emperors Birthday observed) and a white Christmas in Hakuba.
Keep your eye on Thursday into Friday as that looks like it may well be the megaload we are all looking for.
Official snow depths and operations @ Saturday 17th December 2011 AM: Especially in this early season period please note that conditions can change quickly - resort operations as well as the weather, as resorts try to get as much open as possible. So please keep that in mind.
Hakuba Goryu: Ski lifts/courses: Telecabin (gondola); Alps Daira No1 pair lift; Alps Daira No2 pair lift. The Grand Prix course has opened from today (Saturday). The Toomi Sky Four lift is also being prepared and they hope to open it today. Official snow depths: Alps daira - 75cm; Toomi - 25cm; Iimori - 15cm.
Hakuba 47: Just 10cm of new snow overnight. Ski lifts/courses: The resort is hoping for runs apart from Route 8 and the lower part of Route 1 to be open today. Official snow depth: Upper - 90cm Lower - 15cm
Happo-one: Ski lifts/courses: The Alpen quad, Kurobishi No2 quad and Gondola are open this morning. Official snow depth: Usagidaira/Kurobishi - 50cm; Sakka - 20cm; Nakiyama - 20cm.
Tsugaike Kogen: Ski lifts/courses: Han-no-ki high speed pair lift (access via Gondola). The resort is also preparing the Tsuka No4 pair lift and plans to open that as soon as possible. Official snow depth: Upper slopes - 70cm
Hakuba Cortina: The resort is reporting 15-25cm of fresh snow since yesterday. Ski lifts/courses: Number 2 quad and Number 4 pair lifts operating. Official snow depth: Upper - 95cm Lower - 50cm
Hakuba Iwatake: Iwatake will open as soon as there is enough snow.
Hakuba Sanosaka: Sanosaka plans to open for the season on 23rd December
Hakuba Minekata: Minekata plans to open for the season on 23rd December Read more ...
Nozawa Onsen Now!
Saturday 17th December 2011, 10:03am
Dumping heavy snow
Over 75cm of fresh snow has fallen in Nozawa in the last 24 Hours. Yesterday was the game changer and winter has well and truly arrived. We had a clear driveway yesterday morning now we need to dig a path just to get to the road.
We were a little unprepared with the shovels and long boots still in storage! But they are working overtime now to clear the amazing amount of snow.
This dump is more like one that we have mid season and the few that have taken the chance to come up early will be well rewarded with some deep powder runs and no crowds.
Yesterday I drove a few of the lift ticket ladies to the Karasawa office and nearly got stuck in the rice paddies on the lower slopes in the mud. Today there is 60cm of fresh snow and no way you would get a car up there. They were preparing the lifts there this morning and plan to open tomorrow!
Still dumping here now and reports are for more on the way with the occasional glimpse of sunshine. The resort has opened Paradise Course and Yunomine today and think will open even more tomorrow. So a great time to be in Nozawa if you still have your skis in storage better pull them out and get up here!
Current Official Snow Depths Numbers:
Current Lift operations: Nagasaka Gondola Yamabiko quads Uenotaira quad
Current courses open: Uenotaira (2000m) Paradise Yunomine Yamabiko A (1300m) Yamabiko B (800m) Yamabiko C (850m) Yamabiko D (1250m) Yamabiko E (1000m) Read more ...
Saturday 17th December 2011, 10:04am
Fantastic snow overnight has allowed a few areas to open today, with others opening tomorrow or in the coming days. No official word on the total, but here at the base of the mountain it's somewhere in the 50-70cm area (and I'm being conservative—the snowthrower, a monster beast, was buried up to his chute).
Snow continues to fall today, so with any like this is the start of the real thing (and the best part of the year), not a on-off dump that is just teasing us into thinking it's time to ski.
Akakura Kanko Ski Area (Akakan): Tomorrow! (December 18) Akakura Onsen Ski Area: When they can... Ikenotaira Ski Area: December 23 Myoko Suginohara: December 23 Seki Onsen Ski Area: When there's enough snow Myoko Ski Park: December 18 Kyukamura Myoko: December 23 Read more ...
Saturday 17th December 2011, 10:53am
Cloud, light snow
Apologies for the lack of report yesterday. Your report has a bad cold and fever and was not feeling very well at all. Anyway, back to the job at hand!
As in many mountainous areas of northern Japan, it has been and is snowing still this morning. Not massive amounts like some places, but steadily snowing allowing the base to grow. I'd say 20+ cm since my last report on Thursday.
The new snow has allowed more of the resort to open for this weekend - there are now 12 lifts operating at Zao with more of each part of the resort open, apart from Kurohime. While more terrain is open but it is worth pointing out that we still don't have huge amounts of snow and in places cover is thin with things still popping up out of the snow. Care needs to be taken.
It's a cold morning out there, surely the coldest so far, and visibility on the upper slopes especially poor as the snow clouds keep it all covered up.
The forecast has snow clouds staying with us pretty much every day until at least Tuesday.
Operating lifts (17th Dec '11) All Ropeways (Skycable, Zao Chuo Ropeway, Zao Ropeway) 12 lifts in total operating. Read more ...
Saturday 17th December 2011, 11:29am
Snow prayers were definitely answered overnight.
The snow started falling yesterday afternoon in the valley and has been pretty much non-stop since. It has added up to a nice dump for all of the resorts in Minakami and area. Houdaigi have a 50cm base for opening day this morning and Tenjin are at 120cm. Other resorts should have a decent base now to think about opening.
It is cold out and more snow is on the way so it is a pretty promising start for Minakami though it managed to go right down to the wire. Look to the end of the coming week for more potantial heavy snowfalls. Read more ...
Saturday 17th December 2011, 12:13pm
Ladies and Gentlemen, it's cold outside. It got down to a chilly -19 last night, and things have only slightly warmed up to -11 by this, the noon hour. Steady snow showers have inundated the area, laying down a smooth 5cm+ blanket of white over everything we already had. The snow looks like it might taper off somewhat towards the afternoon, but this all depends on the wind direction, so we will see what happens. The forecast is for snow to kicked up after supper and stay with us all throughout the day tomorrow, so all you powder hounds, this your chance for some of that famous Furano powder!
Also, Kitanomine Zone is alive and well with almost all runs open. In fact, the entire mountain is nearly skiable. It's safe to see we're headed for a banner year of skiing and snowboarding for Furano's 50th Anniversary of ski history. Read more ...