Snow and weather reports posted on Thursday 25th May 2017
Tuesday 1st March 2016, 8:10am
Good morning from Yuzawa. And this is the kind of report I like writing...
This morning Kagura are reporting an impressive 40-50cm of fresh snow since yesterday and Maiko Snow Resort are reporting 30+cm on their slopes.
Here in town outside my place I have measured 22cm of lovely snow on the ground.
That's more like it, great to see a decent amount of snow. This is what we are used to here!
It started off raining quite a lot yesterday but turned into snowfall and by evening there was a layer of snow on the ground with more joining it overnight.
Snow is forecast for the day today and also hopefully into tomorrow as well, though perhaps just light snow rather than heavy. Actually just at the moment the snow has stopped falling and it's fairly bright. Hopefully that is just a temporary break rather than a clear up.
So this morning conditions should be great and definitely one to make the most of.
Strong winds seem to be affecting operations at Kagura with only the Mitsumata area open this morning with the chance of parts of Kagura opening depending on conditions. (That means that there'll be lots of untouched up there on the main Kagura areas tomorrow).
Once these snow clouds clear up, I'm afraid there isn't much more snow to be seen on the 6-day forecast. Rather it looks like it's going to really warm up by the weekend. Let's deal with that nearer the time.
For now though, a very good morning!
Resort official snow depths (Tuesday 1st March 2016) and any specific news at time of writing:
Some numbers have not yet been updated as the report went online
Details of the 'nighta' operations at ski and snowboards resorts around Yuzawa and Minamiuonuma. Subject to change due to snow conditions.
Ishiuchi Maruyama Open daily until 8:50pm (until 20th March). The Chuo No 1 and Chuo No 2 lifts are open daily. The Kanko No 1, Kanko No 2, Kanko No 3, Hatsukaishi Entrance lift, Hatsukaishi No 2 pair lifts are open on weekends and holidays. The basic charge is 2000 yen but various tickets are available.
Iwappara Open daily until 9pm on Saturdays and until 8pm on weekdays and Sundays (until 21st March). The charge is 1500 yen for adults and 1000 yen for children and seniors.
Joetsu Kokusai Open daily until 9pm (until 21st March). The charge is 1500 yen for adults and 1000 yen for children and seniors. On weekdays the area in front of the main hotel is open - a larger area (including Osawa and Atema) is open on weekends.
Kandatsu Kogen Open from 6pm until 4am on Fridays, Saturdays and evenings before holidays through 26th March. Open from 4:30pm until 11pm on weekdays until 24th March. Various tickets are available starting at 2000 yen for adults, 1700 yen for seniors and 1000 yen for children.
Maiko Snow Resort Open daily with the Maiko Center quad lift operating from 4pm until 8pm. The charge is 500 yen for everyone.
Naeba Open daily until 27th March. From 4pm until 8:30pm on weekdays and Sundays (2000 yen); until 9pm every Saturday and on 20th March (3000 yen). 'All Night' opening is planned for Saturday 26th March when Naeba will be open from 10pm until 5am.
NASPA Ski Garden Extended opening until 6pm (Number 1 lift) on Saturdays until 27th February. There is no special ticket available just for the extended time.
Yuzawa Nakazato Open on Saturdays from 5pm until 8:30pm (until 12th March). Tickets are 1500 yen for adults and 1000 yen for children and seniors.
The storm carries on at Kiroro today. The wind has changed direction, but remains strong. Upper lifts will be closed today. Lower lifts are suspended and will be re-assessed later in the morning, however it is not optimistic.
The the road between Otaru and Kiroro is closed, as is road between Kutchan and the Akaigawa Michi no eki. There is a lot more snow moving around today so expect large wind drifts if you are traveling.
There has been some new snowfall, however our snow gauge has not weathered the storm well so there is no measurement.
The weather is forecast to calm down today and at least a partial opening is likely tomorrow. Read more ...
Tuesday 1st March 2016, 8:25am
Looks like lower lifts at Niseko Grand Hirafu and Niseko Village are now moving!
It's full-on stormy blizzard conditions again this morning.
Yesterday a few lower lifts did remain open as far as I can tell, but I suspect that today the mountain will be completely closed. Very strong winds, snow and very limited visibility out there. It's difficult to give a good reading today in terms of snowfall due to the wind blowing it all about everywhere but I notice the Avalanche Report is mentioning a whopping 40cm. Not like that here at my base, but that's the number I need to report.
A bit mad out there.
Hopefully come tomorrow the storm conditions will have eased off and allow the lifts to get going again though we are expecting snow to continue falling perhaps into tomorrow morning. After that it does look like there'll be less snow to expect through into the weekend. More on that tomorrow...
In the meantime take care. Best not to be out driving - or out at all - in this kind of weather.
So here we are in March 2016 already. Once things get into March, lots of perhaps somewhat ‘less dedicated’ folk who enjoy a bit of skiing and snowboarding in peak winter months turn their thoughts to things like cherry blossom viewing and such like. It always seems way too soon though, especially for us up here in Hokkaido where some main resorts are open into May and the cherry blossoms are still a long way off. And we're experiencing a blizzard! But that is the way it happens.
Fresh snowfall starts to get less regular once we enter the latter section of the season, but in some seasons March can offer us some excellent surprises. Visitors who chose to come during this part of the season can feel very happy to have dropped on with good timing - or less so. It’s more of a gamble and I suppose that is why the peak season is more expensive!
Some people will still be visiting from overseas this month, though in less numbers than during January and February. One of the other fun things about later season is being able to enjoy Niseko with less people competing for fresh tracks.
Anyway, here’s an updated look at some numbers which some of you may find interesting.
First of all, my observed snowfall numbers which are recorded by myself here at Hirafu base:
November 2015: 61cm November 2014: 30cm November 2013: 123cm
December 2015: 244cm December 2014: 519cm December 2013: 275cm
January 2016: 303cm January 2015: 257cm January 2014: 461cm
February 2016: 266cm February 2015: 196cm February 2014: 178cm
It was a slow start in December, but we enjoyed a decent January and lots of good and regular snowfall in February as well...
15/16 season so far (at end February 2016): 877cm 14/15 season so far (at end February 2015): 1002cm 13/14 season so far (at end February 2014): 1037cm
We caught up a bit on the ‘season total’ with the decent snowfall during February, but it’s still 125cm-160m less than the previous two seasons.
How much snowfall can we perhaps expect to enjoy in March? Last season, I observed 139cm which accounted for 12.4% of the total snowfall for the season (meaning that 87.6% of the total snowfall for the season had fallen by the end of February 2016). For the season before the number was 113cm (accounting for 10.8% of the total).
Let's also take a look at the official February snowfall numbers published by the Japan Meteorological Agency. As always let me explain that these numbers are taken from Kutchan town which is at a slightly lower elevation than my observations here at Hirafu base (so you would generally expect them to be less).
February 2016: 208cm February 2015: 167cm February 2014: 130cm February 2013: 228cm February 2012: 216cm February 2011: 142cm February 2010: 184cm February 2009: 235cm February 2008: 228cm February 2007: 158cm
I make the average of those numbers over the last 10 seasons to be 189cm, so February 2016 has been ‘above average’ this season.
15/16 season so far at end of January 2016: 696cm 14/15 season so far at end of January 2015: 825cm 13/14 season so far at end of January 2014: 804cm 12/13 season so far at end of January 2013: 900cm 11/12 season so far at end of January 2012: 937cm 10/11 season so far at end of January 2011: 810cm 09/10 season so far at end of January 2010: 864cm 08/09 season so far at end of January 2009: 847cm 07/08 season so far at end of January 2009: 849cm 06/07 season so far at end of January 2009: 661cm
The average of that lot is 819cm, so we are ‘below average’ for the season so far by over 1m… the main factor of course being the slow start to the season.
If you have been following some of the other ‘Now’ daily reports on SnowJapan, you will be aware that many regions of Japan this season have had some uncharacteristically small amounts of snowfall, and the season has been something of a struggle. Very un-Japan like - and it’s important to realise that as well.
Luckily we haven’t had anything like those issues up here and especially considering the bigger Japan picture, we’ve done very well indeed I think. It will be interesting to see how March and beyond turns out. I hope it will be a good one for us here in Niseko and all of the other regions of Japan as well.
Resort specific lift opening news at time of posting (subject to change during the day):
Niseko base 6am: -3℃, 40cm new snow, stormy. Moiwa 800m, Annupuri 1150m and Hirafu 1000m inaccessible, data not available. Moiwa 838m: -7℃. Benkei cape: NW39m/s at 4am, 18m/s at 6am. Kamui cape: NNE23m/s at 6am, 998hPa, waveheight unknown.
Maximum scale snowstorm is hitting Hokkaido, severe traffic hindrance and many accidents occurring. If your car gets stuck in a snowdrift, turn the engine off and wait for rescue. The strong Low-pressure system (986hPa) passed and brought heavy snowfall. The atmospheric pressure is starting to rise, however the isobar spacing is tight and the storm is persisting. A hoar layer has developed as the warm air flown in yesterday (Feb 29th layer) and is sitting just below today’s new snowfall. Naturally occurring surface slab avalanches of 90+cm crown are highly likely to occur in areas above 800m. Stay away from the bowls/valleys a while after the storm has calmed down. Visibility is also poor and the snow deep & heavy in the trees. Better stay indoors in this morning; high chances of losing way in the storm. Have a nice day.
Official resort snow depths as of Tuesday 1st March 2016:
Check out these numbers being reported by resorts around the village:
Hakuba Cortina: 45-50cm of fresh snowfall Hakuba Goryu: 20-40cm of fresh snowfall Hakuba 47: up to 40cm of fresh snowfall Hakuba Happo-one: 20cm of fresh snowfall at base
Top marks going to Cortina with up to 50cm of fresh snow being reported over there (problem is, they aren't fully open as they cope with the new snowfall and also deal with avalanche risks).
There's also some upper lift disruption this morning at Happo-one, Goryu and 47 and Tsugaike Kogen due to strong winds.
But I think even with the wind most of us are just really happy to see some decent mid-winter like snowfall again. And with a decent cover of fresh snow everywhere, you should find good conditions wherever you choose to ride this morning.
The snow is expected to ease off sometime this morning leaving us with just cloudy skies and it should remain cold. The sun might be out tomorrow and if it keeps cold and winds calm then it should be a top day to be on the snow.
There's not much snow on the weekly forecast beyond today other than a few scattered showers here and there, and as we approach the weekend temperatures are set to rise and it get warm again.
My osusume (recommendation) -- enjoy this fresh snow now, while you can!
Resort news as of 8:30am on Tuesday 1st March 2016 (where available, all subject to change due to weather conditions)
Hakuba 47: Hakuba 47 is reporting 20-40cm of fresh snowfall this morning. Some lifts including the gondola on hold currently due to strong winds. There is no 'nighta' at Hakuba 47. Official snow depth: Upper: 235cm Base: 135cm
Hakuba Goryu: Hakuba Goryu is reporting 20cm of fresh snowfall on lower areas and 40cm on upper areas this morning. The Hakuba Goryu Gondola remains closed as they deal with an incident in the station. Top lifts on hold at the start of the day due to strong winds. The Toomi area will be open until 8:30pm tonight for 'nighta'. Official snow depth Alps: 265cm Toomi: 130cm Iimori: 100cm
Hakuba Happo-one: Hakuba Happo-one reporting 20cm of fresh snowfall at village base, more on mountain. Top areas closed at start of day due to strong wind conditions. The lower Nakiyama area is open for 'nighta' every day until 9pm. Official snow depth: Usagidaira: 220cm Nakiyama: 80cm Sakka: 60cm
Hakuba Cortina: Hakuba Cortina is reporting 45-50cm of fresh snowfall this morning! Looks like some course closures this morning as they deal with all the snow and avalanche danger - check with them before going! The Ikenota area will be open for 'nighta' until 8pm tonight (8pm on Saturdays). Official snow depth: Top: 185cm Base: 100cm
Tsugaike Kogen: Top areas and lifts on hold this morning due to strong winds. Nighta at Karamatsu/Shirakaba on 5th/12th/19th March. Note that the top Tsugaike Ropeway only opens from spring. Official snow depth: Tsuga-no-mori: 270cm Maruyama: 80cm Kane-no-naru-oka: 100cm
Hakuba Iwatake Snow Field: Parts of the Mountain Side not open (Sonezawa, Dangan, Kamo 4, Five Side, View A, View B). An event is currently being held on areas of the Village Side. There is no 'nighta' at Hakuba Iwatake. Official snow depth: Upper: 160cm Lower: 60cm
Hakuba Norikura Onsen: All courses apart from Snake are open. There is no 'nighta' at Hakuba Iwatake. Official snow depth: 100cm
There haven't been many times I have been able to say that this season but here we are on 1st March and I'm able to report a significant amount of fresh snowfall. And a proper amount too - my friend was saying close to 50cm outside his place. Northerly winds have been blowing snow around and I've taken a few measurements and going to record 35cm as the number today.
Great stuff. And it's still snowing.
Once we get past today, clearer skies are forecast and not a whole lot of snow lined up either.
For now though, today should be GREAT!
Official snow depths at Shiga Kogen resort areas (Tuesday 1st March 2016):
Sun Valley 70cm Nighta on Saturdays until 19th March (7pm-9pm)
Takamagahara Mammoth 130cm
Tannenomori Okojo 130cm
Ichinose Family 130cm Nighta daily until 27th March (6:30pm-9pm)
Ichinose Diamond 130cm Nighta on Saturdays until 26th March (6:30pm-9pm)
Ichinose Yamanokami 130cm
Yakebitaiyama 150cm Nighta on Saturdays until 12th March (6pm-8pm)
Okushiga Kogen 125cm
Kumanoyu 120cm Nighta on Saturdays until 26th March (6:30pm-9pm) Also on 20th March
It's pretty cloudy and snowy out there. The occasional ray of sunshine is breaking through though.
Good morning from Naeba everybody and a happy Tuesday to you all.
Today is looking like one of the best days we've had for powder all season.
The snow started falling during the day yesterday and amassed to a solid 10 cm by 21:00 at night. A further 10 cm fell during the night leading to a decent 20 cm of fresh snow on the ground today.
Temperatures are cold out there today and unfortunately a lot of lifts which would normally be open today are closed due to the wind.
The snow forecast is telling us that the snow will continue until tonight with slight snow showers expected for the rest of the week. Rain is predicted for the weekend but that's still quite a way away so hopefully that will change.
Good morning from a windy, chilly and generally all round bad weather day at Appi.
It’s the first of March and today does not bring pleasant weather. I woke up early this morning to very high winds and the snowfall we have coming down sideways. The temperatures dropped considerably overnight to -10 outside my front door. Those temperatures coupled with the strong gusting winds will mean a wind-chill of around -25 on the mountain. If you’re heading out today you better make sure you’ve got plenty of layers on and a few more in your backpack just in case. The windy conditions should abate somewhat but it’s going to be much later in the day before any normalcy returns.
Yesterday was slushy everywhere and the mountain was deserted. The rain/snow combination kept everyone inside.
The next few days are looking fairly decent though for snowfall. We should see temperatures increasing every day until we’re in the positive range for the weekend and mostly cloudy skies until Friday. Most of the anticipated snow should come on Wednesday night and Thursday morning but with the rising temperatures over the weekend it sounds like it’s not going to stay around for a meaningful amount of time.
Bundle up and stay safe.
Currently planned operating lifts:
- Appi Gondola - Central Number 1 quad - Number 2 lift A - Number 3 lift B - Number 3 lift C - Number 4 lift - Sailer Gondola - Sailer Quad - Vista quad
Good morning from Zao where there's a good new thick carpet of snow on the ground.
Yesterday was white-out on the mountain and very cold too. The result from all of that and overnight is 24cm of fresh snow outside my place here and no doubt more than that on the mountain. A very good way to begin March, I must say!
This morning conditions are still pretty stormy with cold temperatures, snow falling and importantly quite strong winds. I don't know how the day started but it looks like some lifts are affected at the moment (11am), but are mostly open. The top section of the Zao Ropeway being one of the lifts closed.
Tomorrow should be less stormy though the snowfall may continue for another day or so... after that clearer skies and warmer conditions are forecast for the weekend.
Information as of Tuesday 1st March 2016 (subject to change)
Lifts closed as of 11am:
Top part of Zao Ropeway Onsen Number 4 quad lift Zao Paradise Number 3 pair lift
A great start to March, with 60cm of snow on the ground (hard to tell, really, as there was a lot of wind involved through the night).
Sorry not to post earlier, but the snow also meant I got called out to play with the heavy metal (I love little bulldozers), especially since I still need to change a fan belt on the snow thrower - which is really more convenient, but it's nice to sit and work in a warm cab).
The snow continues to fall, and it's nice and cold. Really feels like winter in Myoko. Late though it may be, it's still welcome.
Time to enjoy it, because once again we'll see the freezing line rise up on the weekend to 2000 meters or more. We keep seeing this in the 2016 season, and I hope we won't in 2017.
The word from the mountain is good, light snow up high. With all that wind - we had cornices and windloading around the house - be careful on lee slopes up there. If you don't know what I mean, time to do a little study before you go out!
Just non-stop, full on weather here at the base of Tenjindaira!
Loads of snow came in overnight accompanied by very strong winds that persisted throughout the morning. The snow looked like it had finished by around noon but is coming in extremely heavily now and for now the wind has taken a break. Tenjindaira resort has been shut all day but is expected to open tomorrow with loads of fresh snow, Hodaigi's base has increased by 20cm and the whole resort is open.
Temps to stay cold on throughout tomorrow too.
All snow resorts in Minakami now all open except Oana:
It was very windy still this morning, but winds have dropped gradually through-out the day and it's calmer now.
There was 30cm of snow in the village by yesterday evening and a further 8cm overnight which makes 38cm since the last report but due to strong winds some places have little while others have deep drifts.
No real snowfall today since. It has been lightly overcast all day, and the gondola hasn't been running as well as for the most part the Downhill Number 3 Romance lift, the Kitanomine High speed Number 1 lift and link lift.
Tomorrow should see a return to calmer conditions with the chance of snow showers from time to time. It looks like come the weekend we can expect somewhat warmer temperatures in the region.