Snow and weather reports posted on Sunday 7th May 2017
Tuesday 20th December 2011, 8:55am
Yesterday saw some quickly changing conditions. Around lunchtime there was a short period when there was more blue skies than cloud up above but early afternoon the clouds rolled in once again and started snowing - albeit wet snow in the evening.
I have some more snowfall to report this morning. The headline once again goes to the Kagura resort who are saying they got 30-40cm of new snow overnight (even if the snow depth number isn't actually changing, but don't worry about that). That's more than down in town where I would say it is more like 20-30cm or so in places, and just to the north in Minamiuonuma more like 5-10cm. Actually Kandatsu Kogen's numbers have also jumped 30cm, but they often get the most down low and more than just nearby resorts in town in that big bowl shape thing they have going on there, and of course more will be falling on the mountains than down in town.
So good news as the snow depth at resorts continue to build up.
Things are looking really great looking forward as well. Snow now and again over the next few days, followed by that heavy snowfall that is due Friday/Saturday. The forecast looks very exciting if it comes off and surely once that has arrived everywhere will be fully open. It might be one of the times though when conditions are a bit crazy out there so worth keeping in mind if you do plan to be here at that time. If the snow comes with stronger winds, lifts could be affected.
Resorts operations and (official) snow depths, 20th Dec 11
Mt Naeba (80cm): Some lower and upper lifts operating - today the Wakuwaku course opens
Kagura (120cm): Almost all of the resort is open
GALA Yuzawa (110cm): The South and North areas are now open.
Iwappara (60cm): No2 and No3 pair lifts, Chuo quad lifts operating
Yuzawa Nakazato (50cm): No2 and No3 pair lifts are operating
Nakazato Snow Wood (60cm): No1 pair lift is operating
Kandatsu Kogen (130cm): One quad lift and one pair lift operating
Ishiuchi Maruyama (110cm): 9 lifts at Ishiuchi are operating.
Joetsu Kokusai (60cm): Panorama area open (two pair lifts operating with two quads getting you up to that area)
Centleisure Maiko (120cm, upper): Gondola, Okusoechi quad and Okusoechi pair lifts operating. The GunGun Course should be open from today. Only the Okusoechi area is open and so you need to get the Gondola back down at the end of the day.
Other resorts planned season openings are as follows:
Yesterday was indeed light snow, cloud, bit of sun here and there, and then back to snow. Back to snow enough to let me tell you that Kagura this morning are boasting another 30-40cm of fresh snow up on their slopes.
Naeba has seen perhaps 20cm or so of fresh snow and their official snow depth is now at 80cm. The base is now building up nicely and while lift/course openings seem to be unchanged this morning, it won't be long now before the whole of the mountain is open.
It's not quite as cold as it way yesterday this morning but still down at -3 degrees. Poor visibility on the mountain as they are covered in clouds and light snow is still falling.
Light snow and cloud the next few days before what still looks like a significant snowfall that is due Friday into the weekend. It might just get a bit crazy around that time!
Just a few things to mention - the Dragondola that connects Naeba with the Tashiro part of Naeba plans to start doing it's thing from Friday 23rd. Also, the connection between Kagura and Tashiro closes at 3pm, so keep that in mind.
Resort Operations, 19th Dec (subject to change) Naeba: No4 and No5 courses near base, Takenokodaira, Daishamen, Downhill, Wakuwaku courses Kagura: Pretty much all of Kagura is open
It is looking like a another good day on the slopes here in Hakuba. We received about 3cms overnight and it looks like it is going to remain overcast and cold today. It is not snowing at the moment but it looks like within the next few days more snow is expected. It looks like it is going to hover just below the zero mark today, so not melting the snow we have is a bonus!
One can still find some fresh lines on the mountain today if you get out there early and look in the right places. With packed powder and groomed runs on most of the upper runs it is actually very nice skiable terrain and with some resorts like Goryu opening up the bottom begginer runs it makes your choices even better.
Later in the week and into the weekend we are all keeping our finger crossed for that huge snowfall present from Santa that is due to arrive. Later on Friday through Sunday really is looking very promising. I think this would be the best present for everyone at this stage, open everything up and lets get this season going! Perhaps see you out there on the slopes.
Official snow depths and operations @ Tuesday 20th December 2011 AM: Especially in this early season period please note that conditions can change quickly - resort operations as well as the weather, as resorts try to get as much open as possible. So please keep that in mind.
Hakuba Goryu: Goryu reporting 15cm of new snow on the upper slopes and just a few cm down at base level. Ski lifts/courses: Telecabin (gondola); Alps Daira No1 pair lift; Alps Daira No3; Toomi Sky 4; Iimori Milky 4. You can now ski down to base. Official snow depths: Alps daira - 100cm; Toomi - 35cm; Iimori - 35cm.
Hakuba 47: Hakuba 47 are reporting another 13cm of fresh snow today on upper slopes. Ski lifts/courses: Gondola (to get people to Line 8), Line A, Line C and Line E lifts operating. All courses apart from Line 7, the lower part of Line 1 and the DBD Kamoshika areas are open. Official snow depth: Upper - 133cm Lower - 25cm
Happo-one: The snow depth up on Usagidaira has taken a 30cm jump this morning while the lower slopes are unchanged. Nice conditions up there! Ski lifts/courses: The Gondola, Alpen quad, Kurobishi No2 quad, Kurobishi No3 pair, Panorama pair, Kokusai No3 pair and Skyline No2 pair lifts are operating. Official snow depth: Usagidaira/Kurobishi - 100cm; Sakka - 30cm; Nakiyama - 20cm.
Tsugaike Kogen: Ski lifts/courses: Han-no-ki high speed pair lift (access via Gondola) and Tsuga No2 pair lifts are operating. Official snow depth: Upper slopes - 80cm
Hakuba Cortina: Cortina is reporting 20-30cm of fresh snow this morning. Ski lifts/courses: Number 2 quad and Number 4 pair lifts operating. Official snow depth: Upper - 110cm Lower - 60cm
Hakuba Norikura: Ski lifts/courses: Number 1 pair lift operating. Official snow depth: 40cm
Hakuba Iwatake: Iwatake will open as soon as there is enough snow.
Hakuba Sanosaka: Sanosaka plans to open for the season on 23rd December
Hakuba Minekata: Minekata plans to open for the season on 23rd December Read more ...
Tuesday 20th December 2011, 9:16am
Light snow, cloud
You want more snow? We got it! Yes, another 40cm or so this morning as that base continue to build up nicely. Most of that came overnight as it wasn't really snowing with much conviction for most of the day yesterday.
The official depth is now 140cm. Lift operations remain as they were with the No1 and No2 lifts operating this morning. While the resort seems to be holding off on opening up more right at the moment, it can't be long before the resort opens at least more terrain if not all of it. Snow quality is really good out there, but it would be good to be able to get to the top and explore more. I'm sure that is coming soon though. Basically the forecast for the next week is snow with lots of little snowmen lined up... and some giant snowmen lined up for the weekend when some heavy snowfalls are due to be with us.
Lifts currently operating: Number 1 lift Number 2 quad lift (subject to change depending on conditions)
A bit more snow to report this morning, perhaps 5-10cm or so. I'm looking on at a few other places not too far away getting 30cm and 40cm and wondering... where's ours then?! It doesn't look like we should have too much longer though as those clouds heavy with large quantities of fluffy light snow are just around the corner and due to hit around the weekend or just before. Before then it looks like it will be light snow and cloudy conditions all the way really along with continued cold temperatures.
This morning in Maruike it is about -7 degrees and up on the hills it will be considerably colder in places. There's not much of a wind, so get wrapped up and it's comfortable.
In terms of terrain that is open, I would say that Kumanoyu (skiers only) and Yokoteyama (limited snowboarding) probably offer the most - but that's not much use for the snowboarders amongst us.
So we wait for things to really get started properly. Hopefully that will be this weekend.
Official snow depths [20th Dec 11]: Takamagahara Mammoth - 40cm Ichinose Family - 50cm Ichinose Diamond - 50cm Yakebitaiyama - 50cm Okushiga Kogen - 45cm Terakoya - 30cm Kumanoyu - 50cm Yokoteyama - 40cm Sun Valley - 30cm
Resorts part open [20th Dec 11]: Takamagahara Mammoth - one triple lift, one quad lift Ichinose Family - two pair lifts Ichinose Diamond - one quad lift Yakebitaiyama - one pair lift, one quad lift Okushiga Kogen - gondola and three pair lifts Kumanoyu - three pair lifts Yokoteyama - two pair lifts, one triple lift, one single lift Sun Valley - one pair lift (Higashiyama gondola operating and part of Terakoya open for pole training) Read more ...
Tuesday 20th December 2011, 10:22am
Cloud at tops
There are great conditions out on the mountain today with a light top up of snow over night making things perfect. Temperatures continue to be extremely cold which is keeping the powder out there in great shape.
Night skiing is now operating on both sides of the mountain. Read more ...
Nozawa Onsen Now!
Tuesday 20th December 2011, 10:35am
The snow conditions in Nozawa are now bordering on the ridiculous for this time of year. Ridiculously good that is! Have had another huge 60cm of fresh snow overnight and still big flakes floating from the sky now.
Woke up this morning and looked out the window and the view is slowly getting taken over by the ever growing white wall.
Yesterday up top was a terrific day with light fluffy snow and bursts of sunshine coming thru. The skiing was top to bottom, with good coverage on all slopes and some nice powder runs. Most of the resort runs are now open even Karasawa is ready to go but they are just holding off until we get some weekend crowds in.
Outlook is for things to clear a bit tomorrow then snow again tomorrow night with a huge dump expected on Saturday night. The happiness is big in Nozawa Onsen, oh yes.
Current Official Snow Depths Numbers:
Current Lift operations: Nagasaka Gondola Yamabiko quads Uenotaira quad
Current courses open: Uenotaira (2000m) Paradise Yunomine Yamabiko A (1300m) Yamabiko B (800m) Yamabiko C (850m) Yamabiko D (1250m) Yamabiko E (1000m) Hikage Rinkan Course Buna Hayashi Skyline Schneider/Utopia Course
Yu Road is also open the moving walkway from the Village Read more ...
Tuesday 20th December 2011, 11:37am
Sunny until just after 10, clouded over and snowing heavily now
There is a favorite, if often overused, locals way of describing Nisekos snowfall - "it's puking down" can be heard said on the majority of winter days here. Last night there was literally no other way I could think of to describe the heavy bombardment of white that set in in the early evening. Based on that I expected blizzard like conditions in the morning - I couldnt have been more wrong. A glorious bluebird morning with still winds and visibility stretching for miles greeted anyone getting first tracks this morning.
Take a look at the Avalanche report below - 35cm of fresh snow over 12 hours.
Those who saw the early conditions would have been forgiven for thinking perhaps this would be the first day in 18 that Niseko wouldn't receive fresh snow. However they have already been proven wrong as it has already clouded over and is snowing quite heavily again as of time of writing. I will have a look at the historical records for December and see what the record for consecutive snow days is, certainly feels like a chance at breaking the record this year whatever it may be.
The snowfall in Kutchan in December 2011 has now exceeded 238cm. That's 37cm more than the whole of December last year. It's going to be fun seeing how that figure ends up at the end of the month but we still have 11 days to go. Tomorrow may well see some clearer skies again but it's back to the snow from Thursday onwards.
Just heard also that gates 4 and 5 will be definitely opening tomorrow (though not the peak gates)...
Current Official Snow Depths:
Grand Hirafu: Top - 275 Bottom - 150
Niseko Village: Top - 190 Bottom - 140
Annupuri: Top - 210 Bottom - 140
Niseko base: -5℃, 35cm of crystal snow in the past 12 hours. Coastal data: NW 8m/s wind at Benkei cape, 1.2m waves at Kamui cape. Moderate westerly wind below 15m/s is stagnating around the peak. Snowdrifts development is relatively slow and even, and the general avalanche risk is low except in open & steep cliff/knoll terrain as found in strictly off-limits areas. Most winter avalanche accidents occur due to the collapsing of heavily & rapidly developed snowdrifts during a snowstorm, however caution is required at all times in leeward slopes especially in knoll terrain and under/around cornices. Careless traverses and drop-ins could stimulate deeper weak-layers and trigger a slide at anytime. Gate No.6 (Moiwa) is scheduled to open today. Keep in mind that outside the gates is not within the ski resorts anymore. Please respect the ski patrol’s instructions Read more ...
Tuesday 20th December 2011, 13:17pm
Moderate to heavy snow
It's impossible to believe that just a few days ago there was basically no snow on the ground; today the tall fall grasses are gone, the saplings have bent way down under the snow, and we're getting proper snow walls along the roads. It just keeps coming down—a steady fall of snow, more like mid-winter—but here to make sure this will be a very white Christmas.
I'm surprised more places haven't opened yet, especially the always-optimistic Seki, but the start of a new season is always a catch-up operation. Suginohara did move the opening schedule ahead by one day. Lots of snow prep work gets postponed until the snow really hits. But it looks like everybody will be up and going by the end of this week.
Current Official Snow Depths/Operating Condition:
Akakura Onsen: 155cm; Kumado section open
Akakan (Akakura Kanko): 150cm; Sky Cable and 2 Hotel side lifts open.
Ikenotaira: NR; scheduled opening Dec. 23
Myoko Suginohara: NR; scheduled opening Dec. 22
Seki Onsen: NR; scheduled opening Dec. 21
Myoko Ski Park: 150cm; open
Kyukamura: NR; scheduled opening Dec. 23
Tangram: 110cm; limited courses open; snowmobile rides from today
The snow is back and coming down with a vengeance all day today. It's starting to pile up on roofs and the side of the road. The snow clearing fleet is out and about and the local populace are on top of the houses, shovels in hand. The temperature is still really cold and the snow is fantastic. Stashes of powder around and the groomed runs are firm and grippy. Bit more to come too. Read more ...
Tuesday 20th December 2011, 17:08pm
Well, we really are seemingly getting stuck into winter mode now. Another 20cm or so I would estimate overnight and a bit more since then as well. The base on the slopes will be building up nicely. The official numbers below don't seem to have changed but let me tell you, there WAS 20cm this morning! ;)
There hasn't been much of a wind today but very cold and even down to -10 degrees in the village early this morning. If you're like me and not the best at getting up anyway, imagine getting up in those cold conditions.... there is good incentive though as the snow conditions on the mountain are really good, especially up top.
Right now, early evening, light snow is falling but things are calm and it has cleared up somewhat. Tomorrow we might see clearer conditions but after that we are back to the snow clouds and it looks like heavy snow is still forecast for Friday and into the weekend.