Snow and weather reports posted on Friday 15th December 2017
Thursday 1st December 2016, 8:22am
Good morning from here in Niseko.
There is no new snowfall to report on this first day of December, and it is a mild morning here - currently 4C. And unfortunately, it is raining. Oh dear. But never mind, let's get this rain stuff out of the way early on.
I hear that it is snowing at higher elevations and hopefully there'll be some fresh snow on the ground at base as well by the time I post my report tomorrow. Snow and colder temperatures are forecast for tomorrow.
I have posted a 'November recap' lower down in this report...
Today sees the Niseko Village resort area opening up for the season. They are opening just a limited lower area of the resort with the Annupuri Village Gondola and the Community Chair operating. What's this 'Annupuri Village Gondola', I hear you asking? Well, as noted on the Niseko Village resort page on SnowJapan:
'There are some major developments around the base area of Niseko Village for the 16-17 season including a new course and new lifts. The new 1.2km beginners ‘Ageimo’ course effectively connects the base Green Leaf hotel with the Shopping & Dining Area of the resort. A new 816m Village Express lift runs alongside the new course and both gondola cabins and 6-person chairs will share that lift. Yet another new Gondola lift - the 250m long Upper Village Gondola, running two gondola cabins together with each holding up to 8 people – runs from by the hotel to near the top of the Village Express gondola. These developments should greatly improve access around the base areas of Niseko Village.'
So there you go.
Niseko Hanazono plans to be open from Saturday.
What should be open today?
Niseko Grand Hirafu plans to be part open from 8:30am with the Ace Number 2 Center Four quad lift taking folk up to the Ace Number 3 pair lift and the open Center Course. The last lift servicing the open run will be at 3:30pm and the last quad lift coming back down to base at 4pm.
Niseko Annupuri also plans to be part open. The Annupuri Gondola starts moving at 8:30am, taking people up to the Jumbo Number 3 pair lift which is open from 8:45am until 3:15pm. The last Gondola down is at 3:30pm.
Niseko Village plans to be part open from 8:30am until 4pm. The lower Community Chair and Annupuri Village Gondola will be operating.
All of the information I am about to discuss is now clearly shown on these new Niseko Now pages, the new ‘Snowfall Analysis’ page and the archive pages, but I do enjoy my monthly round-up so here we go for the month of November.
Below is how much snow has been observed in the Niseko Now reports up until the end of November in the past 5 seasons:
November 2016: 112cm November 2015: 64cm November 2014: 30cm November 2013: 123cm November 2012: 118cm
So, a fairly decent start to the 2016-2017 season and certainly better than the previous two seasons. It is also encouraging to see snow falling quite regularly as well through November, even if it is generally small amounts.
December is of course all-important. We want a lot of early snowfall to provide us with a solid base and to get the season quickly into full swing. As each day passes in December it feels like more and more people are also starting to arrive, betting and hoping on a decent early season.
A smooth start to the season also makes these reports easier to get sorted every morning! I felt for my friends over on some of the other reports last year with what seemed like their season-long struggle.
Over the last few seasons here in Niseko, December has been varied as you can see here with the amount of snowfall recorded in the reports:
December 2015: 244cm December 2014: 519cm December 2013: 275cm December 2012: 418cm
I have just put in my request/order for a repeat of December 2015.
Please be sure to do likewise!
Official resort snow depths as of Thursday 1st December 2016:
Planned season dates for the four main Niseko United ski resorts:
Niseko Grand Hirafu: partly open already, until Sunday 7th May 2017 Niseko Annupuri: partly open already, until Sunday 7th May 2017 Niseko Hanazono: Saturday 3rd December 2016 until Sunday 2nd April 2017 Niseko Village: partly open already, until Sunday 2nd April 2017
Night skiing is planned from Saturday 10th December until Monday 20th March 2017 at the Annupuri, Grand Hirafu and Village resort areas. Read more ...
Thursday 1st December 2016, 8:33am
Mostly cloudy, some blue sky
Yesterday ended up being bright but cloudy - more silver than blue. Overnight we had some strong noisy wind and it remained quite mild. This morning we start again with some blue cloud and quite a lot of cloud, but it is bright and some moderate winds forecast for the morning. Rain is forecast for later, hopefully it will be snowing higher at Kagura.
And talking about Kagura...
Yesterday after my report was posted some changes were announced for Kagura - with the Mitsumata Family course and the Technical Course opening up. And they have also announced that from tomorrow (Friday), the Giant Course and the Gondola Course will also be open for skiing and snowboarding. And from Saturday, the Panorama Course will be open too, if all goes to plan. Good to see that more terrain is opening up, even if we aren't getting much in terms of natural snowfall.
Iwappara has a planned opening date of this coming Saturday, but that obviously isn't going to happen. Along with Joetsu Kokusai in neighbouring Minamiuonuma, they'll be going into standby mode.
A recap on what is planned to be open today at Kagura:
Open courses are:
- Kagura main course - Technical course - Family Course
Operating lifts are:
- Mitsumata Ropeway - Mitsumata Number 1 quad - Mitsumata Number 2 romance pair - Kagura Gondola - Kagura Number 1 quad lift
Ski resorts currently open: Kagura - part, via Mitsumata Ropeway
Planned opening dates for resorts in Yuzawa Town and Minamiuonuma City (by date):
There was a bit of rain falling early dawn this morning. It is clearer now though and a mild morning with the temperature actually in the low positive numbers. It should be getting colder as the day goes on though and there might be some (rain/sleet/) snow from it by tomorrow morning.
From today part of Ichinose Family and Takamagahara Mammoth are open as well as Kumanoyu - but it's all very limited still.
Apologies for the confusing information about Yakebitaiyama in my last report - it seems to be planning to be open from Saturday. I really wish the information was clearer - they still show being part open on the official site! I'll try not to get too frustrated with that kind of thing too often, promise!
Areas of Shiga Kogen currently open:
Kumanoyu The Number 2 pair B lift is operating with a 600m long run open.
Ichinose Family The Number 2 pair A lift is operating with the lower main course area open
Today is a total contrast to yesterday as the blue skies have given way to grey overcast conditions. The thermomter indicates 0c in the village but it feels much colder than that with a light breeze whipping around. That light breeze will become strong as the day rolls on, and at the top of the mountain there may be strong winds up to gale level. With the warmer temperatures at base level some rain is expected so lets hope that that doesn't damage the lower slopes too much as they are progressing nicely at building up their snow cover. The upper mountain shouldn't see any of the rain and it should be snow falling instead.
Furano Zone is partially open with Furano Ropeway operating to upload and download skiers to and from the upper mountain. It is not possible to ski from the top to bottom of the mountain yet. The skiable lift is Downhill Romance no.2 chair and the skiable courses are the upper part of Sailer and Spies Course, and Shirakaba Course. Restaurant Downhill is open.
Hello and good morning from Hakuba, and as expected it is raining this morning.
Temperatures are too high for snow, around 8 degrees mid morning, and not that cold even up top as well... though hopefully tonight it will get colder and there'll be some snow up there.
Expect sun tomorrow with temperatures not quite as mild as today. After tonight next snowfall seems to be forecast for around Monday.
As things stand there's not much snow on the upper slopes of the resort areas, so the wait continues and will most likely will be continuing next week.
Here are the planned season opening dates for the ski and snowboard resorts in the Hakuba region. There are all subject to change depending on what happens weather-wise:
Hakuba Happo-one: as soon as there is enough snow Hakuba 47: as soon as there is enough snow Hakuba Goryu: as soon as there is enough snow Tsugaike Kogen: as soon as there is enough snow Hakuba Cortina: from 10th December Hakuba Iwatake Snow Field: from 16th December Hakuba Norikura Onsen: from mid December Hakuba Sanosaka: from mid December
Reports will be posted daily once the lifts get moving. Read more ...