Snow and weather reports posted on Thursday 14th December 2017
Friday 1st January 2016, 7:44am
Sunny to south, east and west, big cloud shadow haning over Myoko-san and over the ocean to the north.
Happy New Year! And happy new snow (sounds like a Japanese ad campaign: "Oh fresh my new snow!" Written with love....)
About 30cm new at the base of Akakan today. It's dark over Mt. Myoko still today, but sunny to the south and east - and, as I'm going snowshoeing for a first visit to the shrine at Togakushi, perfect weather.
Still looks like snow in the Mt, Myoko area and to the north, which would be welcome. It's looking more like normal, but we can still use more snow.
Not all resorts have reported in yet, but we can't wait! Gotta get out there! (And sorry - I see that Akakan accidently wrote 190cm yesterday, which did seem odd. Editor please take note for the totals for the season! Don't want to add an unwarranted 80cm).
Akakura Kanko: All lifts running -5° / 110cm (yes, yesterday's 190cm was wrong, it seems!)
And it is a snowy start to 2016 with 20cm on fresh snow on the upper slopes since yesterday evening and snow down to the village.
The snow is expected to stop during today, perhaps around lunchtime, and then we might get some sunshine later on. But it should be keeping cold. Over the coming days though a bit of a warm up is still forecast of course we hope it stays on the colder side.
For now though it's a good New Year morning and I hope you can enjoy it. I'm off to rest my head a bit after last night!
Please note that on Thursday 31st December, Saturday 2nd January and Sunday 3rd January, the lifts and gondolas at Nozawa Onsen will all be starting their day 30 minutes earlier than usual.
Official info at time of writing on Friday 1st January 2016 (subject to change):
Good morning and a very happy New Year to you all.
Did you have fun tonight? I enjoyed watching some fireworks from a relatively quiet corner and have managed to get myself up pretty much as normal this morning. Looks like quite a lot of people have also been able to, though I guess many will have a later start today.
Just 1cm of fresh snow to report to you this morning but it is snowing again this morning so I expect more tomorrow. Some really great conditions to enjoy yesterday as well as some gate action. Now that almost all of the resort course areas are now open it won't be long before all of the gates join in the fun. Please keep an eye on the Avalance Report posted below.
The forecast remains good for continued snowfall in the coming week. Yey!
Let's take a look at the snowfall numbers for December 2015 and the season as a whole so far.
In December 2015 I observed a total of 244cm of snowfall here at Hirafu base, which made for a total of 308cm so far since the start of the season. Last year I observed 519cm of snowfall in the month of December, so effectively there was over twice as much as this year (though there was a bit more this year in November than the previous season).
Here's the numbers lined up:
December 2013 - 275cm (398cm since start of season) December 2014 - 519cm (549cm since start of season) December 2015 - 244cm (308cm since start of season)
The Japan Meteorological Agency - who record numbers in Kutchan town (close by but a bit lower down than my position) - have the following numbers over the last three seasons. These numbers are as you might expect a little lower than what I observe up here.
December 2013 - 258cm (357cm since start of season) December 2014 - 387cm (428cm since start of season) December 2015 - 194cm (229cm since start of season)
It's worth noting again that higher up on the mountain there will be more snowfall than down here at base. It is often said that you can probably add about 50% extra on to what we get at base to get an idea of how much snow falls up there.
The number to beat for the month of January? I observed 257cm in the month of January 2015 and 461cm for January 2014.
Let's hope this January is a repeat of 2014!
I'll keep a track on all of these numbers as the season progresses...
Resort specific news/notes at time of writing (subject to change during the day)
Niseko Annupuri 12 of 13 courses now open. Early gondola from 7:20am-8:20am on January 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 9th, 10th. Charge 1000 yen.
Niseko Avalanche Report:
Niseko base 6am: light sprinkle of snow and calm. Moiwa 800m: -8℃, 5cm of new snow, W8m/s, 30cm snowdrifts. Anupuri 1150m: northerly 8m/s, -10℃, light development of snowdrifts. Coastal data: Benkei cape NNW11m/s, Kamui cape N6m/s, 1019hPa, 1.2m waves.
Gates 4, 5, 6 and 10 will open today. Looking at the snowfall transition, weather data, and morning observations, the general avalanche risk is low. Out of bounds riding in Niseko and anywhere else in Japan is yet to be officially recognized by the Hokkaido and federal government. All activities outside the resort boundaries must be done at one’s own risk, however the ski resorts and the local community is deploying various efforts in order to improve the safety of all resort users.
Search and rescue operations are still difficult to conduct due to lack of snow, which is one of the reason the opening of the peak gates is delayed, however, preparations is moving on and it shouldn’t be too long before we start opening all gates. We appreciate your patience. The slopes above 500m altitude has been moderately reset with the wind-drifts.
Happy New Year and have a nice day.
Official resort snow depths as of Friday 1st January 2016:
Grand Hirafu / Hanazono: Top - 255cm Base - 115cm
Niseko Village: Top - 185cm Base - 100cm
Niseko Annupuri: Top - 120cm Base - 100cm
Lifts planned to be open for night skiing:
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)
Good morning and a very Happy New Year to everyone reading this report and SnowJapan.
I am happy to report a snowy start to 2016 with 12cm measured just before outside my place and it would seem resorts around town reporting 10-15cm of fresh snow on the slopes.
The local forecast is for the snowfall to stop sometime this afternoon and maybe a clear night before a cloudy day tomorrow. It also tells us of these milder conditions that are still expected from Sunday through until maybe around Tuesday. Please don't warm up too much (and do not rain!) After today the next chance of snow is due around Tuesday evening.
So here we are in 2016. Those of you who have been around a while will know how special December 2014 was... a magnificent 5.59m of snow falling in town as observed by your reporter. December 2015 of course was almost the opposite with a worrying lack of snow and mild conditions right until the last week. I observed 92cm in December 2015.
If we look back to the year before you can see that it was 136cm for December 2013. Last year also saw less snow than the previous season in the month of January so it was kind of a switch-around of the 'usual' pattern:
December 2013: 131cm (136cm running total for season) December 2014: 559cm (559cm running total for season) December 2015: 92cm (92cm running total for season)
January 2014: 297cm (433cm running total for season) January 2015: 420cm (979cm running total for season) January 2016: ???
Here's to a very snowy January 2016!
Resort operations (Friday 1st January 2016) - subject to change:
Resorts in Yuzawa:
GALA Yuzawa The Central Area and most of the North Area are now open. The downhill Falcon course is also now open.
There has just been a bit fresh snowfall from this morning - perhaps not as much as we thought we might get, just under a few cm - and this morning it is continuing to snow lightly and more snow is on the way. The snow quality is very light.
This morning it is now snowing in all parts of the Ura Bandai area.
According to the weather forecast, until tomorrow it should be snowing but there is actually some talk of the chance of rain for tomorrow afternoon for a short while - I can not (do not want to) believe this! But it does looks like we can expect a bit milder conditions. We shall see.
The Gondola and three hi-speed lifts are operating at the resort this morning as they have been. Unfortunately, the advance course 'Melissa' will close today because of there not being enough snow to remain open.
Still, 70% of the courses at the resort do remain open and the course from the top to base is about 4000 meters long. The Snow Park is open on Lavender B course with 5 meters kicker, 5 meters tabletop and other box items.
Gondola Number 1 quad Number 2 quad Number 3 quad
(A-a) Rainbow 3500 (A-b) Rainbow 3500 (A-c) Rainbow 3500 (B-a) Mint (B-c) Mint (C) Center (D-b) Lavender (F) Basil
Welcome to our new ‘Grandeco Now' reports, exclusive to SnowJapan.
As with all our Now daily reports, it extremely important to us that the information we publish is useful, honest and correct and we’ll be doing everything we can to bring you some good info from this region. Grandeco is located in Kita Shiobara village in the north western region of Fukushima Prefecture - we are very pleased to be able to begin reporting from this region of Japan. More information on Grandeco can be found here and a Resort Spotlight on SnowJapan here. Read more ...
Friday 1st January 2016, 9:01am
Clouds clearing, sunshine in places
Good morning to everyone reading and a very Happy New Year.
We are starting the new year with some nice new snowfall to enjoy. Around 10-15cm in base areas, and up to 20-30cm in some higher areas, conditions should be pretty good this morning higher up.
The clouds have started clearing and there's quite a bit of blue sky to be seen now. Still a lot of cloud around but we can expect increasingly clear skies as the day goes on.
Hakuba 47 are declaring themselves fully open this morning but other areas aren't able to say that yet with lower areas in particular still struggling.
Temperatures are going to be rising a bit over the weekend with the freezing level going up to over 1500m and highs of around 6 degress in the village. We might get some rain but hopefully temps will dip again by the evening and if anything is falling - we hope - it will be snow. There's not a whole lot lined up on the forecast though and we might need to wait until around Tuesday for the colder conditions to return.
Resort news as of 8:50am on Friday 1st January (all subject to change due to weather conditions)
Hakuba 47: Hakuba 47 is reporting 15cm of fresh snowfall at base and 20-25cm on upper areas. All courses now officially open. Tree Riding Zone not yet open for the season. Official snow depth Upper: 115cm Base: 20cm
Hakuba Goryu: Hakuba Goryu is reporting 10cm of new snowfall on lower areas and 15cm on upper areas. Upper areas, the main Toomi course and the Soft Cream course in the Iimori area are open. Nighta on Toomi until 3rd January. Planned lifts: Telecabin Gondola Alps Number 1 pair lift Alps Number 2/4 pair lift Alps Number 3 pair lift Toomi Sky Four lift Toomi Number 1 pair lift Milky Four lift Official snow depth Alps: 125cm Toomi: 45cm Iimori: 35cm
Hakuba Happo-one: Usagidaira, Kurobishi, Panorama, Skyline, Kita One and Riesen Slalom areas are now open - lower course areas are still closed. Get the Nakiyama, Gondola, Kokusai and Sakka lifts up and down from open area. Planned lifts: Adam Gondola Alpen quad lift Usagidaira pair lift Happo Riesen quad Nakiyama Number 3 triple Kurobishi Number 2 quad lift Kurobishi Number 3 pair lift Skyline Number 2 pair lift Kokusai Number 1 lift Kokusai Number 3 lift Panorama pair lift Kita One quad lift Kita One Number 3 pair lift Official snow depth Usagidaira: 80cm Nakiyama: 30cm Sakka: 30cm
Hakuba Cortina: Hakuba Cortina reporting 20-30cm of fresh snow. Courses open - Ikenota, Ikenota Forest (upper), Mt Hieda Forest, Mt Hieda 1 (lower), Itadaira, Itadaira Forest, Ipponmatsu. Planned lifts: Number 1 pair lift Number 2 quad lift Number 4 pair lift Number 5 pair lift Official snow depth Top: 75cm Base: 40cm
Tsugaike Kogen: Large sections of Tsugaike Kogen are now at least part open. Planned lifts: Most lifts now operating at Tsugaike Kogen Official snow depth Tsuga-no-mori: 134cm Kane-no-naru-oka: 40cm
Hakuba Iwatake Snow Field: Limited areas of the Mountain Side are currently open. Planned lifts: Noah Gondola View2 3Sen North 4Sen Line East 5Sen South Line Lift Official snow depth Upper: 80cm Lower: 20cm
And what a start. After the festivities and frolicks of last night (I'm just presuming there were lots!), it's a clean slate once again as we enter a new year. And what better than 20cm of fresh snow to help us celebrate. And clearing blue skies as well. And some good cold conditions to keep it all in check.
The early morning clouds have quite quickly started to make an exit leaving us with what we have now and it should be a great morning.
There's more sun than snow on the forecast for the next 3-4 days and from tomorrow in particularly temperatures are going to go up and venture into positive numbers - expect a high of around 4-5 degrees during the daytime. Mid week should see a return to colder conditions.
Today has a thick cloud cover just above the base area. So if you head up to the top of the mountain you're going to be in the cloud.
Good morning from Naeba everybody and I hope your all having a happy new year so far.
Today we've had another overnight dump of snow, with 20cm of fresh snow in the base area today.
Riding conditions are good with Naeba now finally having good snow coverage in all areas. It will probably still be a couple of days before the whole area completely opens up, but rest assured that ski patrol are working their hardest to ensure everyone's safety on the mountain.
The snow forecast for the coming week is not predicting massive amounts of snow, but that could well turn out to be wrong. Today certainly has already had way more snow than the prediction originally indicated. Read more ...
Friday 1st January 2016, 9:20am
Happy New Year!
And hello to everyone from here in Zao.
There's 5cm of fresh snow outside this morning.
It's a cold morning with snow still falling but we expect that to ease off.
Tomorrow and Sunday it's going to be getting a little warmer...temps might even venture into + numbers (though hopefully still keep low). The return to a colder situation with the promise of further snowfall looks to be around Tuesday.
Information as of Friday 1st January 2016 (subject to change)
And the new year has started off well here in Shiga Kogen, with a 18cm of fresh snow on the ground behind my place this morning. I am hearing from around the areas of up to 30cm falling in places on the mountain overnight which is of course very good to hear.
The Kumanoyu resort are now officially this morning declaring themselves as 'fully open' and I expect bit by bit we will see more runs opening for us today with this fresh snow to play in.
We're still not drowning in snow here yet of course, but it's a good improvement all the same for New Year the skiers and boarders here.
It would be great if we could have a run of days of this kind of fresh snow, but unfortunately it's going to be clearing today and from tomorrow it's still expceted to get slightly warmer. Maybe a bit of snow on Sunday night, but after that it is probably going to be Tuesday before the temperatures drop again to more mid-winter levels and we get more snow.
Official snow depths at Shiga Kogen resort areas (Friday 1st January 2016):
Overcast now at Tenjindaira but sunny and clear down in the village
A happy new year to all.
Apologies for the lack of a report yesterday.
Yesterday saw blue skies and warm weather with all lifts running. Snow started up last night around 9pm and continued through till just after noon. Total of 15cm at the base but strong winds up the top seem to have blown everything around and only the middle lift was running at Tenjin today because of the strong gusts.
On the plus side, Hodaigi now have their 1km long beginner piste operational plus the No.2 chair so baby steps over there but progress all the same. Forecast is for warm (perhaps rather unseasonably so) and clear weather through ungtil Tuesday night when new snow is expected.
All snow resorts in Minakami are now at least part open:
Year 2016 (or in Japan 28) starting nicely... Happy New Year.
It has been snowing heavily most of today, big flakes sticking nicely. No sun forecast for the foreseeable future but hopefully that's wrong. No wind today.
Night skiing attracted a few of us for the last day of 2015. It was excellent snow with some untouched deep powder just sitting there. Surprised me so close to the base of the resort but I'm not complaining.
Photo is last night's night skiing. Tonight would look similar with heavier snow falling. Read more ...