It is a cold and snowing morning here in the Niseko area.
There's not much to report yet in terms of cm - less than 5cm - but it will probably building up during the day.
What's better is that this morning there is much less wind about and all of the mountain seems prepared to be open including the top lifts. There's lots of excited people already lined up for those first lifts getting up there right now. Looks like peak gates will be open as well. Visibility isn't the best, don't get too carried away and take care!
Snowfall, maybe on and off, forecast over today and the next few days and keeping cold.
Niseko Avalanche Report
Niseko base 6am: -8C, 5cm of fresh in the past 12 hours. Moiwa 800m: mild wind and 10cm of fresh. Annupuri 1150m: mild wind, -13C, 3cm of fresh. Hirafu 1000m: mild wind, 3cm of fresh, calm weather. Peak 1308m: NW3.0m/s, -12.9C. 12:00 forecast: NW10m/s. Coastal data: Benkei cape NNW7m/s, Kamui cape W4m/s, 1.4m waves, 1019hPa.
The isobars are spacing out, making the wind and snowdrift development calm down. The snowpack is stabilizing. Peak gates will open from the morning. A small avalanche occurred in 800m lower Annupuri bowl (O-sawa) middle-ridge yesterday, one skier got buried but been rescued safely. Avalanche hazard remains considerable in some areas today. Better not traverse open steep slopes such as the Backbowl’s sidewalls. Falling cornices, traversing slopes or stimulating knolls could all trigger a slide. Most cases, people get buried in avalanches triggered by someone else. If you trigger a slide, you’re not only putting yourself in danger but others that are below you.
Cracks are hiding under newly formed snowdrifts. Be especially careful in Moiwa bowl and Higashi-One. Do not duck ropes. Be prepared with avy-gear and use the gates to step out of bounds. Guides and leaders are responsible for their group’s safety. Have a nice day.
Official snow depth numbers and lift news at time of writing:
Light snow falling at the moment over the mountain but no new cm for my report. In fact the forecasts were for more clear-ish kind of conditions today, so perhaps it is going to do that. For now though it's mostly grey/silver/shite with complete cloud cover. Currently around -4C at base.
Not much snow on the weekly forecast but if we get some sun we'll be able to enjoy seeing where we're going in this nice snow we have at the moment.
Operating lifts (planned):
Number 1 Number 2 Number 3A Number 2 quad Number 5 Super quad Number 11 Number 12 Number 13 Number 15 Moving walkway Kids Park
Cold overnight in Hakuba with temperatures reportedly dropping down to minus 10 degrees. I was all wrapped up asleep but yes it was very cold when I got up earlier on. It is still only around -5 degrees.
Quite a lot of cloud around this morning but thin in places and visibility looks decent all round the valley. (I was up on Happo yesterday afternoon and seemed to be constantly skiing through a this thick bank of fog/cloud, though I have been told it was much clearer in other places).
The sun is trying to come out and break through in places again.
Snow conditions should be keeping really nice up there this morning, can't wait to get out again today.
Just looking ahead... there doesn't seem to be any significant snowfall on the weekly radar at the moment. Rather, we are looking at a run of clear and sunny conditions in the region. Keep an eye on the temperatures as we need want it to remain on the right side of zero (which is negative numbers of course). Currently looks like we should be safe in that respect.
Official snow depth numbers and operations (as of 20th February 2014):
Hakuba Goryu: Reporting 2cm of new snowfall at Iimori, and 0cm elsewhere. Upper - 290cm Toomi - 180cm Iimori - 160cm
Hakuba 47: Reporting 0cm of new snowfall at base and 3cm up top. Upper - 265cm Lower - 100cm
Just a dusting of snow on the mountain overnight and it is a cloudy start to the day in Nozawa Onsen.
Cloud this morning and a temperature at 9am of -4 degrees at the village base. Thinning out and breaks in the cloud here above the village now and a bit of sun shining through.
All of the runs at the resort are open once again (except Kandahar West) this morning, meaning Kamoshika and Tanuki are there for the taking. Head up to Skyline!
Looking ahead at the forecasts into next week and it would seem that we can expect sun and clear conditions more than we can expect snow. Perhaps a pre-weekend topup tomorrow but after that lots of clear weather is expected. Might get a bit warmer early in the week but fingers crossed not too much. I'll update you on that nearer the time.
For now though it looks like this coming weekend will be storm-less, unlike last weekend!
Another wintery day yesterday with snow falling at times but only amounting to a dusting, if that, with Kagura reporting 2cm of fresh since yesterday.
This morning it is a much brighter picture. Overcast but bright and at the moment sunny. The cloud seems to be pretty thin and it feels like it could break and give us blue skies any time. The forecast remains for 'cloud' though and even for maybe a bit of snow later and tomorrow (morning) as well.
For this morning though it should be a good time to be out on the slopes. It seems very quiet at the moment. No doubt if people can manage to get here this coming weekend, it will be a busy one.
This makes for a change! It's sunny over Shiga Kogen... and blue skies! A somewhat overcast blue sky in places but definitely a change from the snowfall and stormy conditions that we have been having since last weekend.
I'm sure more than a few people were racing out to first lifts this morning when they looked out the window.
So great snow, great weather. Will be a very good day, I think.
We might see some light snow tomorrow but apart from that there's quite a lot of clearer conditions to enjoy into next week.
Official snow depth data, as of Thursday 20th February 2014):
Another cold morning and just cloudy with no fresh snow to report. I am hearing poor visibility due to fog in places up near the top but down at base visibility is pretty decent.
We might get some fresh snow tomorrow and into Saturday along with stronger winds - though hopefully not enough to affect lifts - before clearer skies from Sunday onwards.
It's the Yamagata Juhyo Kokutai competition in Zao from tomorrow through to Monday next week. The main event over on Uwanodai area and so there will be some restrictions for the public - though it's only a small part of the resort and shouldn't cause much disruption at all... plenty of other runs to enjoy.
Official snow depths (20th February 14): Utopia: 310cm Chuo: 260cm Paradise: 300cm Uwanodai: 180cm Read more ...
Thursday 20th February 2014, 11:55am
The sun is out in Minakami today with temps creeping up to 2 deg C causing a lot of settling of the snow pack. The upper mountains remain below zero so the snow should stay dry, especially in shaded areas.
The forecast shows a small amount of snow tomorrow followed by a cloudy Saturday and sunny Sunday with no wind as the high pressure system covers Japan.