Snow and weather reports posted on Sunday 7th May 2017
Wednesday 18th January 2017, 7:50am
Good morning from Yuzawa.
Once again, snow continued falling through pretty much all of the day yesterday, though for the most part it wasn’t as full on as the snowfall over the weekend and so much smaller numbers. We have measured another 8cm of fresh snow on the ground (6cm of that before evening; 2cm overnight).
Kagura resort are reporting 10cm across mountain.
This morning we are starting the day with a mix of blue sky and cloud (like less cloud with time) and it looks and feels like it should be a very fine and sunny day. Actually it may be getting a little warmer than we would like - up to around 4C forecast in town later on. Let's hope that doesn't rise too much.
But people who are lucky enough to be around today should be in for a real treat. Hope you can get to enjoy it.
After a few days of what looks set to be mixed weather conditions (cloud, sun, light snow tonight perhaps), moderate to heavy snow is on the forecast for Friday-Saturday and then more come Monday. Just the kind of thing that most of us probably want.
The winter storm of the last week has really kicked things into shape well and good and this month looks like it is going to continue to deliver.
Music to my ears!
I was meaning to mention this before, but a mail sent in asking about it reminded me.
One early morning in late October, the ‘Ishiuchi Drive-In’ yaki-niku restaurant by the side of Route 17 in Ishiuchi (just to the north of Yuzawa) was sadly burnt to the ground. It was popular with locals and visitors alike. More than a few ‘SnowJapan meetings’ have been held in there over the years and in fact your reporter was enjoying some yaki-niku there the day before the fire. Unconfirmed, but we are hearing that there are no plans to re-build it – at least by the people who owned it.
It will be missed!
Official snow depth information as of Wednesday 18th January 2017
Some resorts have not yet updated their numbers as this report was posted and so unchanged.
GALA Yuzawa Note: South Area currently closed due to avalanche danger. The Central and North areas are open. Official snow depth: 290cm
Below are details of the planned 'nighta' operations at ski and snowboards resorts around Yuzawa and Minamiuonuma this season. This information is subject to change due to snow and weather conditions. *** Please note that this section will not be updated every day.
Ishiuchi Maruyama Daily until 19th March 2017. Nighta is from 5pm until 8:50pm. The Chuo Number 1, Chuo Number 2 and Kanko Number 3 Express lifts are open daily. The Kanko Number 1 Express lift, Hatsukaishi Entrance lift and Hatsukaishi Number 2 pair lifts are also open on weekends and holidays.
Iwappara Daily until 20th March 2017. Nighta is from 5pm until 9pm on Saturdays and until 8pm on weekdays and Sundays. The Main course, Grand course and West courses are open during nighta.
Joetsu Kokusai Daily until 20th March 2017. Nighta is from 5pm until 9pm. The area in front of the main base hotel is open for nighta.
Kandatsu Kogen 'Hobo All Night' ('Almost All Night') is on Fridays, Saturdays and nights before holidays between 29th December 2016 and 1st April 2017. The nighta opening times on those days is from 6pm until 4am the following morning.
Maiko Snow Resort Daily until 19th March 2017. Nighta is from 4pm until 8pm. The Maiko center quad lift on the Maiko Side of the resort operates for nighta.
Naeba Daily until 26th March 2017. Nighta is from 4pm until 8:30pm.
NASPA Ski Garden 'Thanks' (extended) opening on Saturdays in January and February and also from 30th December until 8th January 2017. On those days the Number 1 lift is open until 6pm.
Yuzawa Nakazato Every Saturday from 7th January until 11th March 2017, 8th January 2017. Nighta is from 5pm until 8:30pm. The Number 2 pair lift operates during nighta. Read more ...
Nozawa Onsen Now!
Wednesday 18th January 2017, 8:00am
Low cloud early on, but mostly fine and sunny up top
First of all, it was great to hear yesterday morning that the people who were missing at the resort were found and apparently unharmed after digging themselves into a snow hole for shelter. We’re very happy to hear that you got back to base and ‘otsukaresama deshita’ to the people who were out looking.
Hearing about incidents such as this is definitely a reminder for us all of the dangers that current conditions especially can bring. Take care everyone.
OK so yesterday the snow continued through the day and during the day an additional 10-40cm of snowfall has been reported by the resort since yesterday morning.
It has now eased and this morning the skies are clearer. Nice and clear up on the mountain, with some early morning low lying fog over the village - that'll very likely clear up fairly soon this morning.
It looks like it is going to be a cracker!
The sun is forecast to be out and it won’t be quite as cold.
Lifts operations: All lifts appear to be operating apart from: - Yunomine pair - Mizunashi triple - Challenge pair - Utopia pair - Kandahar pair
Most courses at Nozawa Onsen are now open. Courses not open are: - Hachiman - Kandahar East - Kandahar West - Kamoshika Read more ...
Wednesday 18th January 2017, 8:09am
Almost perfect bluebird
Good morning from Naeba everybody!
Well the weather forecast has come through for us today and delivered what was promised. An almost perfect bluebird day with lovely soft groomers all over the mountain. There are exactly two clouds in the sky today and they are those lovely white fluffy ones, not those foreboding storm clouds.
Whilst we did get around 30 cm of fresh snow during the day yesterday it did not snow continuously through the night meaning that most of the mountain has been groomed pretty well this morning. Powder should still be possible to find though if you know where to look.
Looking on we are meant to get some light snow starting again as of tonight with another storm rolling in on Friday night.
Yesterday the sun that was peeking out from behind some clouds when I posted my report didn’t last long, appearing just a few more times now and again during the morning - but in the end the clouds won out the day.
Sadly, they didn’t bring any snowfall with them and it looks like it should be a similar kind of story today, though perhaps some snow tonight and into tomorrow morning. I will of course let you know how much in my next report.
The groomers look very inviting this morning and the Avalanche Report tells of all gates being open and good snow conditions, so I think it is time for me to check it all out myself.
So for the moment at the start of the day it is overcast and cloudy, and keeping nice and cold.
There’s not much else to report this morning really.
Ah, oh yes...
One person sent in a funny email (well, I think it was meant to be funny) asking if I had not made a ‘huge mistake’ with my snowfall reporting over the last week as he had seen the reports from Niigata and Nagano talking about massive amounts of snowfall that they have been getting. They’ve certainly had a very good week – to say the least – but no, I haven’t made a mistake.
(We often get wildly varying weather conditions in different places on this mountain range, never mind to mountainous regions about 1000km away!)
Cast your minds back to when we were enjoying excellent conditions here in Niseko that weekend in December when lots of the mountain regions on the main Honshu island were either dry or being rained on. We get our time, they get their time – that’s the way Nature seems to work. I’m actually most happy at those times when we all get dumped on. We’re all in it together, right?
So it looks like Myoko (in Niigata) has received over 3 metres of snowfall over a period of 7 days; Yuzawa (also in Niigata) has got 257cm; Shiga Kogen (in Nagano) got 234cm, etc… those are some really serious numbers. I am suitably impressed. And, yes, I’m also a bit jealous when I have only been able to 76cm for the first 16 days of January.
Oh dear, I know, some folk probably won’t like me talking about that kind of thing.
The forecast doesn’t promise anything hugely major for us over the coming days (let's see what tonight brings), but I am confident that we will once again get our exciting headlines. The Niseko-tastic snowfall will return and we’ll all get crazy excited about it once again.
Just so we have our ‘target’ at this mid-point of the month, here’s the amount of snowfall I observed here over the past few seasons during the month of January:
January 2017: 76cm (*so far until 18th January) January 2016: 303cm (full month) January 2015: 257cm (full month) January 2014: 461cm (full month)
Come on, Nature, let’s have it!
Niseko Avalanche Report:
Niseko base 6am: -6℃, no snowfall. Moiwa800m: -9℃, scarce snowfall and snowdrifts. Annupuri1150m:-10℃, NW2m/s, no snowfall nor snowdrifts. Hirafu1250m: -11℃, scarce snowfall and snowdrifts. Kamui cape lighthouse: NE2m/s, 1026hPA, 1.0m waves.
The isobars are spaced out and snowclouds on the Sea of Japan are only present over the bay of Ishikari, heading towards Mashike Mountain Range. There are no snowfall, nor snowdrift developments and the general avalanche risk is small. All gates will open from the morning. Listen to the ski patrol’s instructions before stepping out the gates. Old tracks are remaining, however the snow stays good and the groomers conditions are splendid. Beware of falls, slipdrops, crashes and falling into stream holes.
Shallow surface slabs slides triggered by riding stimulation or falling cornices are still to be expected at the Backbowl sidewalls, Osawa and Higashi-One cornice areas. Keep in mind that there are many people riding in the same valley. Better not pause at the bottom of the valleys. The out of bounds area is outside the resort management, however all resorts are concerned about every guests’ safety. Prudency will avoid accidents. Do not duck ropes and please respect the Niseko Rules.
Resort specific opening news at time of writing (subject to change during the day):
It has been a while since we saw clear blue skies. That's what we got this morning.
Clear and sunny and with all the fresh snow to play in today Hakuba should be offering fun of the highest order wherever you choose to ski or board.
While it is a very cold morning, it's forecast to get much milder during the day with temperatures creeping into low positive numbers so keep that in mind.
That's about it. Oh, more snow perhaps tonight and then decent snow on the way from Friday onwards.
Take care and enjoy!
Resort news as of 8:30am on Wednesday 18th January 2017:
All information as available and subject to change during the day due to weather and snow conditions.
Hakuba 47: Hakuba 47 is not reporting any fresh snowfall as far as I can tell. Info: - All planned lifts are operating. - Tree Riding Zones scheduled to be open. Official snow depth Upper: 295cm Base: 150cm
Hakuba Goryu: Hakuba Goryu is reporting 1-3cm of fresh snowfall. Info: - All scheduled lifts plan to be operating. - Nighta from 6pm until 9:30pm on the Toomi area. Official snow depth Alps: 310cm Toomi: 140cm Iimori: 120cm
Hakuba Happo-one: Info: - All courses apart from the top Riesen Grat are open. - Kurobishi off-piste area not open. Official snow depth: Usagidaira: 210cm Kurobishi: 240cm Lower: 105cm
Tsugaike Kogen: Info: - All areas open. Official snow depth: Tsuga-no-mori: 305cm Han-no-ki: 270cm Maruyama: 180cm Oya-no-hara: 140cm Kane-no-naru-oka: 120cm
Hakuba Cortina: The resort is reporting 0cm of fresh snowfall. Info: - Number 7 lift is not operating. - Nighta (Number 2 pair lift) from 5pm until 8pm. Official snow depth: Top: 280cm Base: 200cm
Hakuba Iwatake Snow Field: Info: Most of the Village Side is open and about half of the Mountain Side courses are open. Official snow depth: Top: 150cm Base: 90cm
Planned nighta operations - be sure to check with resorts for latest:
Hakuba Goryu: Planned to be open daily from 6pm until 9:30pm
Tsugaike Kogen: Planned at the Kane-no-naru-oka area on January 14th, 21st, 28th; Febraury 4th, 11th (6pm until 8:50pm) Planned at the Katamatsu-Shirakaba area on January 14th, 21st, 28th; February 11th, 18th; March 4th, 11th, 18th, 19th (6pm until 9pm)
Hakuba Cortina: Planned to be open daily from 5pm until 8pm (until 9pm on Saturdays)
Hakuba Happo-one: Planned to be open daily until 9pm on the Nakiyama area.
Kashimayari: Planned to be open daily.
There is no night skiing at the other resorts in the area. Read more ...
Shiga Kogen Now!
Wednesday 18th January 2017, 8:42am
Clear & sunny
Stunning morning here in Shiga Kogen.
The sun is out.
There's blue skies all around.
And we have very large amounts of top quality fresh snow everywhere.
It sounds almost perfect doesn't it?
And it may very well be today. Certainly up there with one of the best.
I do hope some of you can get here to enjoy Shiga Kogen at its best...
(Forecast has a bit of snow tonight then more going into Saturday and then entering the new week. Regular top-ups on the way!)
Official snow depths numbers reported by different areas of Shiga Kogen:
Most of ski lifts and courses in Shiga Kogen are now open. Please note that these numbers are the official numbers that ski resorts publish.
The snow has let up and the sun is out here at Grandeco with fresh snow across the mountain. Looks like it remain sunny for the duration of the day.
Conditions today are groomed and packed powder through out the resort. Grandeco is now 100% operational and all trails are open with just over 4000 meters of vertical ski-able terrain.
Lift lines should not be a problem and you will have plenty of space on the trails as its mid week.
There are a number of middle school ski schools here from Ibaraki for the day so it is advised to watch out for them on the beginner slops.
For people looking to climb Mt. Nishidaiten, please be sure to fill in the mountain climbing sheet located by the inforamtion desk next to the ticket counter. Take the gondola and the lift 3 or 4 to hike up. It takes about an hour and a half from the top of either lift to reach Mt. Nishidaiten peak on foot. Snowshoes or skinned skies are highly recommended for the hike up.
Lifts Operating: - Gondola - Number 1 quad lift - Number 2 quad lift - Number 3 quad lift - Number 4 quad lift
All courses now open
Official snow depth: 200cm
Road Condition to Grandeco: Inawashiro through Goshikinuma: plowed/icey Goshikinuma through Grandeco: plowed/icey Snow tires are necessary and be sure to take your time when driving. Read more ...
Wednesday 18th January 2017, 9:39am
The slopes are still in fine condition despite the fact that we havent had too much in the way of new snow recently. There is some good news on the snow front with possibly around 10cm predicted from tonight on the upper mountain according to the mountain forecast. Not a lot, but it certainly would freshen up the runs.
Today is a fine day with light overcast conditions right now but the sun should break through during the day. There is little in the way of wind out on the mountain. Read more ...
Appi Kogen Now!
Wednesday 18th January 2017, 10:01am
Good morning from Appi,
Currently cloudy skies with light and variable winds and a temperature of -4 outside my front door. The forecast for snow has been all over the map this week so lets hope it actually arrives. I know it’s hard to complain after last weeks deluge but the more snow the merrier we’ll all be right!
Cloudy skies the rest of the week and temperatures at the base of -4 or so. On and off snowfall until the weekend then Sunday promises more than 10cm. The slopes are in good condition and should remain that way all week given the light crowds on them. Only a few runs still closed but there’s enough open to have a full days fun.
Currently planned operating lifts (subject to change due to weather conditions):
Gondola Central quad Central number 2 Central number 3a Central number 4 Central number 5 Central number 6 Sailer gondola Sailer quad Vista quad
Just a little more snow yesterday to end this storm cycle, and an amazing storm it was!
Today it is sunny and beautiful and the mountains are whiter than we've seen in two years. It is a perfect snow day, with a deep base and blue skies. I'm getting a bit giddy... or is it because I, like a lot of my neighbors, still aren't done clearing snow. And more is on the way.
A note on the backcountry (and I wish I could have gotten this out earlier): one of the most respected, veteran skiers around here gave me a call last night about conditions on the hill.
A lot of wind compacted snow, plus the light stuff we got on top, was resulting in a lot of slides coming down all over, he said. Perhaps on an open slope these wouldn't be too severe (but still enough to injury), but the Myoko backcountry is valleys and ridges and places where one could easily get buried. The sun and warmth (although the air is cold) could help to settle the snow, but there definitely is risk out there.
As we wrote before, too many people think being close to the slopes means safety. In fact, any time you ski off the slopes and into the trees, you're in nature, with all the risks (and fun, too). If you don't have the gear and a friend and experience and a plan, today might be a good day to think twice about what you're doing!
Morning from Zao and it is a beautiful morning early on.
Blue skies, sunshine, calm... perfect day for skiing and boarding if you ask me. Though we can perhaps expect more clouds as the day progresses and it is cold at the start of the day but we can expect things to warm up a bit. Fingers crossed not by too much. Should be ok.
Perhaps some snow tonight (don't expect much) and then next up Friday night... and after that Monday. So fresh top ups are due.
In the meantime, should be a very fine day today.
The following lifts are not operating: Karamatsu pair Paradise Number 3 pair Yokokura Number 2 pair
Official snow depths: Chuo - 140cm Utopia - 140cm Uwanodai - 90cm Paradise - 140cm
Juhyo 'Ice Monsters' Light Up night time Zao Ropeway operations - upcoming dates
January 2017: 21st, 22nd, 27th-31st February 2017: 1st-28th March 2017: 1st-5th
Operating from 5pm until 9pm; last ropeway up at 7:50pm. Ropeway return charges are 2,600 yen for adults and 1,300 yen for children. In the event of poor weather conditions, operations are sometimes cancelled. Read more ...