Snow and weather reports posted on Sunday 7th May 2017
Sunday 20th December 2015, 7:55am
Mostly cloud but due to clear up
Good morning from Yuzawa where early on there's quite a lot of cloud around, though the forecast for the day is still clearer skies and sun. Looks like it's already sunny up in the Naeba area so I expect things to clear up this morning.
It is currently hovering around 0C degrees.
As I mentioned in my afternoon update yesterday, the Maiko Snow Resort is this morning going to be part open. Their Gondola will take people up to the 6 courses that will be open in the Okusoeji area. Apparently there is fairly decent snow cover but it's still pretty thin on the ground up there. New gear not recommended!
Apart from that I don't think there's any resort operation changes since what was reported yesterday.
We didn't get any new cm of snow during the day yesterday even though it was snowing lightly at times. It remained cold during the day though.
Taking a look at the forecast for the coming week... realistically the decent snowfall that we all need is going to be with us around Friday. Before then it is going to be getting warmer than we would like with a mix of sun and perhaps at times rain. As much as I don't want to report that! But, what is due at the end of the week is looking promising so we must keep an eye on that.
In situations like this, when there's not enough snow for places to open as planned, you might think that people would just be sitting around with spare time waiting for the snow.
For most people, it's almost the opposite of that. There's so many things to do and many of those things are far from interesting! Things like re-arranging plans and dealing with cancellations. So people are busy, but they are busy doing stuff that they would very much prefer not need be doing.
Christmas is of course coming up later this week and it is one of the first 'events' of the season and so everywhere would dearly like to be up and running by then. It does look like decent snow is due around the end of the week, but it's going to be tight.
Resorts that are now at least part open (Sunday 20th December 2015) - subject to change:
Kagura 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. (Mitsumata Family course and Chibbiko area; Kagura main gelende, Giant, Technical, Panorama and Gondola courses). A decent part of Kagura Tashiro is also now open - up to the Tashiro Number 1 high speed lift. (Tashiro Ladies course, Shirakaba course, Tashiro Alyeska course, Tashiroko course, Number 1 high speed connecting course, Skyline course). 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.
Maiko Snow Resort From this morning the Gondola will be taking people up to the Okusoeji area where the two lifts will be operating and 6 courses open. Okusoeji RanRan, GuiGui, RunRun, SuiSui, RakuRaku and SanSan courses 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.
Resorts on standby to open as soon as there is enough snow to open:
Madarao Kogen is part open. Tangram Ski Circus is not yet open. Read more ...
Nozawa Onsen Now!
Sunday 20th December 2015, 8:31am
Nice and sunny now
Good morning from Nozawa.
Did you make it out yesterday?
I was up there for a short while and... well, first turns of the season. Always good.
This morning we started the day with cloud around but it has been quickly clearing and now the sun is out with increasingly clearer blue skies. A fine day.
There's no new snow to report.
Next up is maybe sometime later tomorrow though we may be in for rain down here in the village. Later in the week though there looks like a good cold winter front approaching which will very hopefully unleash huge amounts of snow onto us all. Perhaps that is what Santa-san has planned for us.
- 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 - Bunabayashi
Just 1cm of snow since my report yesterday morning and it's not quite as cold this morning.
Yesterday for those who made it up and braved the wind there were some fine snow conditions to enjoy. I'm happy to report less wind this morning though we can still expect some gusts higher up.
It is a cloudy and overcast start to the day here with cloud and maybe some sunshine according to the local forecast. Temperatures will remain fairly low rising to just above zero during the day.
Tomorrow might get slightly warmer during the day but by evening there's a good chance that snow will be falling again and we're expecting a decent amount overnight into Tuesday morning. After that as we approach Christmas a good cold snowy spell is brewing.
Ah yes, Christmas is coming up of course. I suspect that there might be one or two parties going on this week! And of course we can expect to see Santa skiing down the slopes of the mountain, maybe even with one or two of his reindeer friends and presents to give to children.
Present requests for Santa? Snow please!
Niseko Avalanche Report:
Niseko base 6am: -3℃, no snowfall, clear sky and no radiative cooling. No development of snowdrift in higher elevation. 600m altitude -3℃, 1000m elevation WNW15m/s. Coastal data: Benkei cape NW14m/s, Kamui cape WSW9m/s, 1025hPa, 1.9m waves.
Both ocean and mountains is calming down under the approaching high-pressure system. No snowfall has been observed in the past 12hours and snowdrift development is minimal. The general avalanche risk is low.
Snow is still insufficient to open the gates, however the groomers condition is very good. Perfect for practicing precise carving techniques. Beware of over-speeding and hitting trees. The next powder is on its way.
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* - King Number 3 triple - Holiday Number 1 pair* - Swinging Monkey Courses planned to be open: - Family - Beginners access - Center - Shirakaba - Green - Kokutai - Ni-kabe - Alpen - Sennoki - Kogen - Boyo - Holiday - Rinkan - 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* - Morino 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:
Kiroro Resort is wide open! Yesterdays snow allowed patrol to open the last of the courses, along with powder zone. Conditions were good, especially in powder zone, which was over waist deep in places. The top part of Expert A remains closed due to thin snow cover, with an entrance provided from Asari Dynamic course.
Another 5cm in the past 24 hours keep things fresh. The storm snow has begun to settle so untouched areas may be a little heavy, but thats a good price to pay for waist deep turns! Temperatures are between -4°C and -9°C with less wind today. Clouds are expected to stick around throughout the day, but minimal snow is forecast until tomorrow.
Tomorrow should bring another pulse of snow before things clear up for a few days. Read more ...
Sunday 20th December 2015, 8:59am
Clear blue skies and sun
It's another of those really beautiful clear sky mornings in Hakuba.
(I do love mornings like this, but can we schedule them in for mid-season please, when there's plenty of snow? Cheers!)
It was cold overnight, down to around -6C here in the village, and it's a cold start to the day... snow conditions should be as they were though it is expected to get warmer during the day with the sun, maybe up to about 6 degrees at base.
The snow making/blowing machines are busy at work this morning on the lower slopes of Hakuba Goryu I see. Gambare. Goryu have started up their Toomi Sky Four lift and Toomi course as well from this morning. Note there's no connecting between the open top and bottom areas yet over there so you still need to get the gondola back down from the top area.
Happo have also got the Usagidaira pair lift operating though it seems the course areas open remain as they were.
Resorts trying their best to get as much open as possible and you can be sure they'll continue doing that as we wait for dumpage.
We might get snowed on tomorrow though it does seem that it's going to be a bit warmer (chance of rain), but the main event is looking like it's due as we go into Friday. Could that be the dumpage that we need to really kick into gear? Would be good!
Resort news as of 8:45am on Sunday 20th December (all subject to change due to weather conditions)
Hakuba 47: Hakuba 47 is reporting 0cm of new snowfall. 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: 75cm Base: 5cm
Hakuba Goryu: Hakuba Goryu is reporting 0cm of new snowfall. The upper Panorama Course and Grand Prix courses at Hakuba Goryu are open. From today, Hakuba Goryu is also opening the lower Toomi run. Upper and lower areas not connected - gondola needed to get down from upper area. 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: 15cm
Hakuba Happo-one: The Usagidaira, Panorama and Kurobishi areas are open. Planned lifts: Adam Gondola Alpen quad lift Usagidaira pair 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 1 pair lift Tsuga Number 2 pair lift Han-no-ki high speed pair lift Official snow depth Tsuga-no-mori: 66cm Maruyama: -cm
Hakuba Iwatake Snow Field: Reporting 0cm of fresh snowfall. 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: 25cm Village Side: 0cm
Kashimayari: Course 2 is open Planned lifts: Number 2 pair lift
A fine day on the mountain yesterday and no snow to report this morning from Zao.
It's a cold morning with a lot of cloud around and looking like generally poor visibility on the slopes. That might clear up as the local forecast says there may be some sunshine later on in the day.
Tomorrow borderline rain/snow at times (borderline especially down in the village) with somewhat milder conditions expected.
Going into late week and the coming weekend is still looking good for snow.
Lifts that are currently operating at Zao (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
A very different feel to this morning with clear blue skies and the sun shining brightly. Still remaining very cold though.
There has been some new cm of snow since my report yesterday morning but none is expected today. There may be some more falling tomorrow, but more exciting than all of that is what seems to be forecast to be with us come Friday in the coming week. That could be the storm we are looking for.
In the meantime while operations definitely remain very limited here, it's a very fine day to be outside and sliding down the mountains.
Unconfirmed by these eyes, but I am hearing that Yakebitaiyama have their Number 2 Gondola operating...
Resort areas that are currently open (Sunday 19th 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 Gondola 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.
Two chairs plus the link which means if you are staying on Furano Zone, you have to get yourself back there before the link closes and vice versa, but that's no big deal. Very fun.
Ski hosts should start providing their voluntary services very soon which is great if you want somebody to show you how to recognise the linking run and chairs. But if you get stuck on the wrong side at the wrong time, Prince hotels run a shuttle and taxis are no big deal.
But anyway, at 10.30am it was -4 at the Sorachi River crossing into town. It was -2C on my verandah in Kitanomine at 10am.
Snowing nice and heavy with no wind. Perfect in Central Hokkaido where the snow is (dare we say it) almost too light and wind can make off with it if you're unlucky. Furano is lucky today.
Photo 1 is the resort map of what is open today. Night skiing is only on the Furano Zone still but I think that might change quickly.
Photo 2 is the lackluster photo I took of Kitanomine Zone today when I didn't realise it was open. Sorry about that.
I wasn't going to send out a report today, once I woke up and saw perfect blue skies, felt that warm sun on my face, and noticed that there was no additional snow on top of the 20cm or so out there. But, much to my surprise, three resorts have decided to open up on a VERY limited basis and let people get out there and scrape the snow off the grass! Not great skiing, perhaps, but a nice day to pose in your gear, bask in the sun and enjoy some nice views.
Akakura Onsen is opening up the Yodel section, with one lift running. You have to take a shuttle bus up from the base area, of course (and just to let you know how little snow there is, that shuttle bus heads up on a road that should be covered with snow and under the ski runs).
For the families, Kyukamura opens today, then closes until more snow falls.
And Madarao has opened one run and one lift, and isn;t saying if it will stay open (looks like it will).
As I have written here in the past, snow conditions can be dodgy until Christmas or so. And, sure enough, the first heavy snow forecast is for Christmas Day.....