Snow and weather reports posted on Thursday 25th May 2017
Saturday 19th December 2015, 7:47am
Weather today is over cast with the sun not expected to make an appearance at least for the morning.
Happy Saturday everyone!
More good news today as Naeba has received 6 cm of snow overnight with a moderate amount of snow still falling currently.
From this morning the upper Takenokodaira course - with natural snowfall - is also opening to join in the fun.
As before the official snow depth of 40 cm is only on the man made courses. Off the side of these courses does now have natural snow (roughly 5-10 cm) but is only ridable in some areas.
We're expecting some sunshine tomorrow and it will probably be a bit warmer but hopefully keep on the colder side of things. Intermittent snow possible early week and then something good looks like it's on the horizon for just before Christmas.
CLoudy; some thunder early this morning (always a good snow sign)
The snow is falling today; looking a lot better, although the total on the ground is still only about 20cm (which is also the official word from Akakura Kanko).
I see a lot of cars passing by the house loaded with skis; I thought maybe one of the areas decided to let people chew up the grass, but I think it's more likely that those drivers weren't checking SnowJapan diligently enough....
Just playing the waiting game now; all the areas would have liked to open by tomorrow, but they'll need a lot more base before they can get out the groomers and pack things down a bit.
Regardless of your views on groomed vs. natural snow, they really do need to do that—there's a lot of interesting stuff out there on the hill that needs to be well covered.
Yesterday was the best day of the season so far, with some incredibly deep turns in places and that nasty ice layer well and truly buried.
Another 13cm keeps the conditions fresh out there, with colder temperatures leading to blower powder out there. The wind is also stronger, so wrap up warm as it's chilly out there today. Right now the wind may cause the gondola to slow, but it will still be able to open. However if the wind increases the upper lifts may close. Snowfall is due to continue throughout the day, tapering off tomorrow.
It is a welcome change from the icy and dry conditions we had last week and perhaps a sign that winter is slowly rolling in. Read more ...
Nozawa Onsen Now!
Saturday 19th December 2015, 8:32am
Very good news....
Nozawa Onsen is now open!
15cm more snow overnight on the mountain and the lifts are going to start moving in a matter of minutes.
- Nagasaka Gondola (from 8:40am) - Hikage Gondola (from 8:40am) - Skyline link lift - Yamabiko Four lift - Yamabiko Number 2 lift - Uenotaira - Yu Road
Planned open courses:
- Yamabiko A course - 1300m length - Yamabiko C course - 850m length - Yamabiko D course - 1250m length - Kokenashi - 200m - Uenotaira
It's those upper course area only of course, so you need to get the gondola back down to base.
Adults 4800 yen, children 2200 yen, seniors 3700 yen.
Sun expected tomorrow but it should be keeping cold.
Another 10cm of fresh snow to report this morning which is good - conditions are certainly improving and we'd like to see more!
Something else this morning. Yes, just when we were hoping that more terrain might be able to open for the weekend, strong winds on the mountain are affecting operations early on.
As far as I can tell here's what is being affected at the time of writing:
Niseko Grand Hirafu: Ace Number 2 Quad Center Four, Ace Number 3 pair, King Number 3 triple, Swinging Monkey lifts on hold at time of writing due to strong winds Niseko Hanazono: Number 3 lift on hold at time of writing due to strong winds Niseko Village: Gondola on hold at time of writing due to strong winds Niseko Annupuri: All lifts on hold at time of writing due to strong winds
So it's all a bit limited at the moment this morning I'm afraid.
Never mind, the bigger picture is positive with the fresh snowfall and it's good and cold.
Hopefully we might get a bit more today though I wouldn't expect too much - the forecast is for clearing conditions later on, but there's even hints of of blue sky and sun in places now so perhaps the clearing is starting already. Fingers crossed that the wind will calm down too.
Then we are likely due some sunshine tomorrow and back to the fresh snowfall around Monday. Looking ahead to Christmas it would seem there's snow on the way around that period too.
Niseko Avalanche Report:
Niseko base 6am: -5℃, 15cm of new snow in 12hours with moderate development of snowdrifts. 600m elevation: W15m/s, 15cm of new snow with notable development of snowdrifts. 1000m elevation: NW15m/s. Coastal data: Benkei cape NNW19m/s, Kamui cape NW11m/s, 1021hPa, 3.4m waves.
Cornices and snowdrifts are slowly developing under the winter weather pattern and are forming soft slabs of unstable snow in cliffs and steep slopes, likely to slide from Dec 18th layer.
50cm surface slab avalanches are likely to occur in 800m upper SE aspects and knolls. Better stay away from those aspects until the wind calms down and the snowpack stabilize. Avalanche accidents are most likely to occur in developing sniwdrifts.
Out of bounds areas are still closed due to lack of snow. Please remain patient and respect the Niseko Rules.
This information is released for the safety of all resort users.
The snow is good but visibility gets bad sometimes.
Planned resort operations (subject to change due to weather conditions 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 - Green - Kokutai (upper part) - Alpen - Sennoki - Kogen - Boyo - Holiday - Rinkan (part) - Jumbo
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: - Connecting - 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 - Dynamic - Silver
Official resort snow depths as of 19th December 2015:
Maiko Snow Resort have announced that they will be opening from tomorrow. The Gondola and Okusoeji lifts will be operating (starting at 8:30am) with 6 of the upper Okusoeji area planned to be open. Lower courses are not open and so the Gondola is needed to get back down.
Original morning report:
Good morning from Yuzawa where we have had some more snow overnight. Not a huge amount, but we'll very happily take it!
Kagura are reporting 10-15cm of snow, I am reporting 4-5cm of snow down here in town.
Light snow expected for the morning and maybe clearing to just cloud later on. Tomorrow the forecast is for clearer and sunny skies and slightly warmer. After today the next decent snow we can probably expect is just before Christmas.
Anyway let's get down to the details! There's a few resort areas opening for the first time this season from this morning and basically most of the other resorts are now 'on standby' to open as soon as there is enough snow.
Below is what we can confirm this morning and we'll do our best to keep this updated for you every morning.
Resort operations in Yuzawa and Minamiuonuma (Saturday 19th December 2015, 9am)
Kagura From today a large part of Kagura Mitsumata is now open with natural snow - basically most areas up to and including the main Kagura runs are skiable. A decent part of Kagura Tashiro is also now open from this morning - up to the Tashiro Number 1 high speed lift. Note that the connecting courses between the main Kagura area and the Tashiro areas are not yet open.
Naeba Lower Number 4 and 5 courses are open with the help of artificial snow, and from today the upper Takenokodaira course opens (natural snow).
GALA Yuzawa GALA Yuzawa is open from this morning - the Melody and Entertainment courses in the main Central Area are open.
Muikamachi Hakkaisan Muimamachi Hakkaisan has also opened today - the Technical course and Rakuraku A courses open with just two pair lifts operating (one to get to the open area). The Gondola is not open yet.
Light snow has been falling this morning in the valley and more no doubt up there on the mountains too where I am hearing conditions are quite windy too with poor visibility in places. The resorts that are already open though seem to be unaffected and open as planned with a few more lifts running this morning at Hakuba Goryu, Hakuba Happo-one and Tsugaike Kogen.
Please keep an eye on the resort specific information below as it is being updated every day. Apologies if the reports are a little later than usual at the moment - there is such a lot of information to check every morning. It will be a big help and relief to everyone once all of the resorts can be 'fully open'!
Back to the snow and there has been around 5cm of fresh around base areas and resorts are reporting around 10-15cm of new snowfall this morning.
The forecast tells us to expect clouds to clear by this afternoon and before it gets dark we might get some sun but it should remain cold for the day. Tomorrow should be clear and sunny with a high temperature perhaps around 5 degrees.
Looking ahead a bit further, is that rain on Monday? It might well be down at base anyway as it gets slightly warmer again but as we approach Christmas it looks as if there's promise of some fresh snow.
It has been a difficult start to the season for sure. Seasons are long though so a late start doesn't write the story of the whole season.
Hopefully Santa might have something big up his sleeve for us!
In the meantime we just need to enjoy what we have. Hope you have a good weekend wherever you are.
Resort news as of 9:15am on Saturday 19th December (all subject to change due to weather conditions)
Hakuba 47: Hakuba 47 is reporting 3-5cm of new snowfall at base and 10-15cm higher up. Upper area of Route 1, Route 2, Route 3, Route 4, Route 5, Route 6 and Route 8 courses are open. Planned lifts: Gondola Line AB Line C Line E Official snow depth Upper: 70cm Base: 10cm
Hakuba Goryu: Hakuba Goryu is reporting 10cm of new snowfall on upper areas. 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 2/4 pair lift Alps Number 3 pair lift Official snow depth Alps: 65cm Iimori: -cm Toomi: -cm
Hakuba Happo-one: The Usagidaira, Panorama and Kurobishi areas are open. Planned lifts: Adam Gondola Alpen quad lift Kurobishi Number 2 quad lift Kokusai Number 1 lift Kokusai Number 3 lift Panorama pair lift Official snow depth Usagidaira: 50cm Nakiyama: -cm Sakka: -cm
Tsugaike Kogen: The upper Tsuga-no-mori area and upper part of the Han-no-ki course areas are open. Planned lifts: Eve Gondola Tsuga Number 2 pair lift Han-no-ki high speed pair lift Official snow depth Tsuga-no-mori: 69cm Maruyama: -cm
Hakuba Iwatake Snow Field: Reporting 5cm of fresh snowfall on upper areas. The East course area in the Mountain Side of the resort is open. Planned lifts: Gondola Noah (to get to the area that is open) 4Sen East Official snow depth Mountain Side: 30cm Village Side: 5cm
Kashimayari: Course 2 is open Planned lifts: Number 2 pair lift
I was up on the mountain yesterday. Some really good snow conditions out there and it was very cold too.
This morning it's -1C outside my place here in the village and there's 4cm of fresh snow on the ground as well.
From this morning it looks like there are more lifts operation at Zao - below is what is officially open this morning.
Not a whole lot of snow still on the forecast into mid week next week so we'll just have to see how things go. There's talk of a very nice looking cold and snowy weather front on the way for Christmas...
Have a fun weekend.
Lifts that are currently operating (subject to change):
- Sky Cable (gondola) - Zao Chuo Ropeway - Zao Ropeway - Onsen Number 1 pair - Mikaeri pair - Chuo Number 1 pair AB - Chuo Number 1 pair AB - Katakai triple - Zao Paradise pair AB - Shobunuma Number 1 triple - Shobunuma Number 2 pair - Utopia Number 2 pair
Pretty wild blizzard like conditions earlier on this morning. There's fresh snow on the ground - depending on where you are and how much the wind has got hold of it anywhere between 5-20cm. Outside my place there's 14cm.
Right now snow is still falling lightly and there's limited visibility out there. It's cold too, feels very wintery.
For the first time this season, the Sun Valley are is open this morning and a few more small changes as noted below. We need more snow to really get things kicking off though.
After today a clear up in weather conditions is expected for a few days perhaps. The next significant snow event it would seem will be with us just before and over Christmas...
Resort areas that are currently open (Saturday 18th December) - subject to change
Ichinose Family Number 2 Pair A line and Number 2 Pair B line lifts are operating Courses open: Ichinose Family Front course (lower part)
Kumanoyu Kumanoyu Number 2 Pair AB line is operating Part of Kumanoyu Number 2 Umanose Course, Kumanoyu Number 2 beginner course and Kumanoyu Number 4 Beginner courses are now open
Sun Valley Housaka Number 2 pair lift is operating Part of the main gelende is open
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
Yokoteyama Yokoteyama Number 1 Sky B Line, Yokoteyama Number 2 Sky, Yokoteyama Number 3 Sky and Yokoteyama Number 5 lifts are operating.
Still snowing in Furano although at this very minute it is falling at an angle. The resort has revised the base up to 85cm and conditions are very good on the Furano Zone. No announcement yet on Kitanomine Zone but we all wait eagerly for word. We had heavy winds in the night and at least two sections of Kitanomine Zone can be wind affected, particularly early in the season when the base is forming.
Still four lifts operating on the open part of the resort with a top to bottom 1000 metre vertical drop.
Bright and sunny in town right now (and snowing moderately to heavily). Serious clouds over the resort so here is to hoping. And to hoping the winds don't carry too much snow away.
Photo 1 is Kitanomine Zone at 8.30am Photo 2 is the aspect towards town at the same time. The hill at the bottom of the footpath is Asahigaoka Park, where the groomed community cross country tracks are. Read more ...
Saturday 19th December 2015, 13:49pm
10cm over night, light winds, temps below zero up top and a shade above at the base. Lots of mountaineers getting up there today but still wasn't officially open this morning.
Can't be far off as there is a solid foot of snow in the forest.
Its now been snowing or snowing intermittently for days and a mix of good quality pow, to heavier stuff with some graupel in between. Read more ...