Snow and weather reports posted on Sunday 7th May 2017
Sunday 21st February 2016, 6:31am
Missed report yesterday - apologies - but did get on the mountain for a run and the humidity in the air caused the ridden in snow to turn partially icy. Untracked snow was sticky and slightly heavy, one of the worst days seen all season in my opinion.
Light rain started falling at the base around noon, sleet up top and by evening the light rain had well and truly set in.
Weather this morning seems stable but things are still overcast and snow forecast for today hasn't begun to fall yet. Hopefully it does come and its significant as its expected to be clear Monday and Tuesday before snowing again Tuesday night through Friday with colder temperatures.
Today's report uses yesterday's snow base though the rain has likely dropped the pack down further.
It's Sunday and it is looking great outside. The road is covered in 15cm of new snow in the village, which means there is going to be a very significant depth on the resort itself. If you have access to fats this is definitely the day to make sure you take them out. The strong winds did come through overnight but have passed and the village is calm at the moment, but winds will increase during the day and tomorrow morning the wind will be moderate.
Temperatures are in the negatives but still pretty warm for this time of year. The good news is that it will get colder as the day progresses. Snow is forecast to continue during the day, and it looks like another moderate dump is on the cards overnight. Skies are overcast but visibility is very reasonable. Read more ...
Sunday 21st February 2016, 8:05am
We were treated to some blue sky yesterday as the clouds cleared and made for a stunning day. Overnight the forecast snowfall came through, not as deep as expected, but 16cm of fresh snow is not to be scoffed at.
Temperatures remain mild, a low of -8°C was reported at the peak, with it expected to warm slightly over the day. The wind is gusting to 29km/h at the peak. It is currently cloudy, but all forecasts are pointing towards more snowfall during the day. Read more ...
Nozawa Onsen Now!
Sunday 21st February 2016, 8:21am
Cloud, fog up top
Morning from Nozawa.
Actually I am not in Nozawa, rather Tokyo... so this morning I am reporting what I have been told from friends this morning.
This morning it sounds like it is a case of rain lower down and snow higher up - and hopefully snow lower down too later on.
Taking a look at the forecast and after the day of snow we are due today it's likely going to be going into Wednesday when we see the next snowfall and the 6-day forecast also shows those nice words 'heavy snow' on Friday. Let's keep an eye on that.
The official snow depth on the Hikage area today is 75cm. On the same day last season, it was 295cm.
I'm only mention this kind of thing again to try show just how 'not normal' this season has turned out to be. Locals are saying that they simply can't remember a season like it.
The good thing to take from it is that - hopefully - it will be a blip and we'll be able to get back to what we expect from next season. I think the important thing is to realise what we have this year, and I highly recommend those of you doing research to read through the archive reports from previous seasons to get a general idea of how things are. You can find them lower down on this page.
There is currently an issue with the 'Yu Road' which means that for the time being it will be open going towards the resort from 8am to 2pm and then coming back down towards the village from 2pm until 5:10pm.
Official info at time of writing on Sunday 21st February 2016 (subject to change):
We probably actually did quite well to avoid rain for most of the day yesterday, with mostly cloudy skies, but I was woken up with a short period of heavy rain earlier this morning.
It's raining now as I write this but does look like and feel it's trying it's best to turn into snow and I expect snow to be falling at higher elevations now.
In fact, I see that Kagura are reporting 5cm of snow overnight and snow falling this morning so that is good to see.
Fingers crossed it'll be snowing down to town here sooner than later. Snow hopefully today and generally cloudy skies are forecast for tomorrow. Next snowfall due around Wednesday and late in the week.
Until we get a good new layer of snow though it's going to be generally spring-like snow conditions out there with the old 'better-snow-higher-up' thing applying.
I see that Kagura have changed the opening times of their top Number 5 romance lift. Until now it was open until 12 noon - which always seemed oddly early - but now it's going to be moving until 2pm evert day. (Starting at 9am on weekends and holidays and at 9:30am on weekdays).
Resort official snow depths (Sunday 21st February 2016) and any specific news at time of writing:
Details of the 'nighta' operations at ski and snowboards resorts around Yuzawa and Minamiuonuma.
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.
This morning I have another 10cm of fresh snow to report to you. That's less than I think most of us were expecting given the forecasts yesterday, so we seem to have been missed out on that 'heavy snow' that we were being tempted with. Still, 10cm is certainly better than 0cm and there'll be more to play in up on the mountain.
That new 10cm of snowfall though takes the total amount of observed snowfall this month (by myself) to be more than the amount I observed for the whole of the month of February last year. It also takes the total observed snowfall since the beginning of this season to over the 8m mark. With over a full week of February 2016 left to go and encouraging forecasts showing regular daily snowfall over the coming week, we could be on for a very good number this month (and eat away nicely at that now-just-less-than-2-metres gap on the numbers from last season at the end of February).
Anyway back to today...
It has been fairly mild and cloudy/overcast here at base so far this morning, with the temperature just above zero outside my place. It looks like snow is falling higher up - and snow is on the forecast on and off for the day today.
Doesn't feel too windy down here early on but I see that Niseko Village are reporting northerly winds up to 16m/s and wind conditions are preventing some of the top lifts from opening this morning.
It is extremely sad of course to hear about the skier passing away after hitting a tree yesterday.
Do take care out there, and be sure to read the Avalanche Report below.
Resort specific lift opening news at time of writing (subject to change during the day):
Niseko Grand Hirafu The top Ace Number 4 and King Number 4 lifts are on hold at the start of the day due to strong winds.
Niseko Village The Niseko Gondola and Wonderland Chair lifts are on hold at the start of the day.
Niseko Annupuri Appears to be planning on being open as normal at the start of the day.
Niseko Avalanche Report:
Niseko base 6am: -2℃, 10cm snowfall, 40cm snowdrift. Moiwa 848m: -4.8℃, WSW14.2m/s, 20cm snowfall with large development of snowdrift. Benkei cape: NW7m/s, Kamui cape: SE3m/s, 1006hPa, wave height unknown. Hirafu peak ridge: -8℃, strong easterly gusts and developing snowdrifts. Annupuri 1150m: -7℃, NE15m/s, 50cm and larger snowdrifts in various areas.
A Low is rapidly passing along the pacific coast. Heavy stormy conditions in the mountains, generating drastic development of snowdrifts in leeward slopes above 800m elevation. The avalanche risk is very high. Prominent trigger layer is Feb 20th pre-low-pressure snowfall. Snowdrifts have reach 100+cm thickness in some areas, 50cm or thicker surface slide avalanches are to be highly considered in Annupuri O-sawa cornice area, Backbowl sidewalls 1000m area, west ridge area, Mikaeri bowl upper area. Peak gates will be closed, please do not cross boundary ropes. Many of the avalanche accidents occur when snowdrifts are developing exponentially. Better let the snow stabilize for a while after the wind calms down and lifts start running. Uneven snowdrifts are also present in the treeruns, trick conditions, be careful.
A skier passed away hitting a tree in Higashi-One yesterday. It is very unfortunate and we would like express our deepest sympathy to the family. This information is issued not only to prevent avalanche accidents, but all incidents in the out of bounds area.
Road conditions are also treacherous today, drive in controllable speed.
Official resort snow depths as of Sunday 21st February 2016:
Yesterday was a grey day. We had our share of rain and also snow - the latter of those being most welcome of course and there was even up to 5cm or so of snow falling on upper areas of resorts.
It was snowing outside my place yesterday evening, but it wasn't snow all night - there was some rain in there again.
This morning light snow is falling again, but there's no new cm to report as yet.
Still, all being said I think that we probably did better than that the worse-case situation that we were fearing!
OK so it is snowing now and let's hope we can get some fresh cm out of today.
Unfortunately, strong winds are messing about with plans at some resorts this morning with the top lifts at Happo-one, Hakuba Goryu/47 and Tsugaike Kogen on hold at the time of writing the report. Hopefully the wind might ease during the day allowing them to open.
The forecast is looking pretty decent actually. After today when we can expect snow, there's snow due later on Tuesday and also at the end of the week -- with the chance of snow showers in between as well. Let's hope so!
Resort news as of 8:45am on Sunday 21st February 2016 (where available, all subject to change due to weather conditions)
Hakuba 47: Hakuba 47 is reporting 0cm of fresh snowfall this morning. All courses are generally open. Strong winds are preventing the Line C and Line E lifts from opening at the start of the day. The Tree Riding Zone open is on 'hold' at time of writing. There is no 'nighta' at Hakuba 47. Official snow depth: Upper: 210cm Base: 115cm
Hakuba Goryu: Hakuba Goryu is reporting 0cm of fresh snowfall on lower slopes and up to 5cm on upper areas this morning. All courses are generally open except Snow Diving and Adventure. Strong winds are preventing the top Alps lifts from opening at the start of the day. The Toomi area will be open until 8:30pm tonight for 'nighta'. Official snow depth Alps: 245cm Toomi: 125cm Iimori: 125cm
Hakuba Happo-one: Happo-one is reporting 0cm of fresh snowfall this morning. All generally open - including Kurobishi Off Piste Area and Happo Banks Snow Park. Strong winds are preventing the Gondola and upper mountain lifts from opening at the start of the day. The lower Nakiyama area is open for 'nighta' every day until 9pm. Official snow depth: Usagidaira: 205cm Nakiyama: 60cm Sakka: 45cm
Hakuba Cortina: Hakuba Cortina is reporting 0cm of fresh snowfall this morning. All lifts open. All courses open except Mt Hieda Ridge and Giant. The Ikenota area will be open for 'nighta' until 9pm tonight (9pm on Saturdays). Official snow depth: Top: 175cm Base: 110cm
Tsugaike Kogen: All course areas are open. At time of writing top half of Gondola is on hold due to weather conditions. 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: 218cm Maruyama: 80cm Kane-no-naru-oka: 60cm
Hakuba Iwatake Snow Field: Reporting 0cm of fresh snowfall this morning. All of the Village Side is open but parts of the Mountain Side not open (Sonezawa, Dangan, Kamo 4, Five Side, View A, View B). Winter Triathlon Festa until tomorrow, so the cross country area is currently closed to general public. There is no 'nighta' at Hakuba Iwatake. Official snow depth: Upper: 120cm Lower: 50cm
Hakuba Norikura Onsen: All courses apart from Expert Course are open. There is no 'nighta' at Hakuba Iwatake. Official snow depth: 110cm
Foggy at a level just higher than the base area today.
Good morning from Naeba everybody.
Well good news and bad news going into today. Unfortunately yesterday a fair amount of rain did fall on the mountain which is not great, however overnight this turned to snow. This morning it was snowing until about 09:00 at which point it turned into snowy rain. Snain. Currently the weather looks like it could go either way. Let's hope the rain holds off!
Weather for the coming week is predicted to be snowy most days although not in dramatic amounts. Unfortunately there is also a small amount of rain predicted for Tuesday.
Yesterday's warming is over; we got some rain from the late afternoon into the night, even pretty heavy around 7, but the moon came out around 10 and the rain stopped.
Light snow has been falling this morning, although it's stopped at the moment. Things look like they could change, though; the Coast Guard info shows some very strong winds offshore coming in from the northwest and west. I was just about to write that that could bring some good things, and sure enough the snow has suddenly really picked up here (yea!).
It's looking good, so I hope we'll have a snow report with lots of snow in it tomorrow. Just keep an eye on the wind today, as the gondolas and some of the top lifts sometimes stop in high wind. All OK at the moment, though.
We need the snow; look at the decline in snowpack at the resorts. Actually saw some grass poking up on the runs yesterday....
In the morning southerly winds stopped a few lifts from moving though it eased off around lunchtime and we got some snow falling. Then we got the dreaded rain from the evening - at least it's perhaps slightly better than during the daytime...
Anyway this morning we are back to snow falling I am happy to report. Visibility fairly decent still and light to moderate snowfall just at the moment. Hopefully that will continue for the day today. The forecast is looking quite promising for the coming week actually - though just how exciting it will be depends on how the 'light snow' parts turn out. Heavier snowfall is due around Tuesday-Wednesday and also towards the end of the week.
So here's to a good upcoming week!
Official snow depths at Shiga Kogen resort areas (Sunday 21st February 2016):
Sun Valley 60cm Nighta on Saturdays until 19th March (7pm-9pm)
Takamagahara Mammoth 120cm
Tannenomori Okojo 120cm
Ichinose Family 120cm Nighta daily until 27th March (6:30pm-9pm)
Ichinose Diamond 120cm Nighta on Saturdays until 26th March (6:30pm-9pm)
Ichinose Yamanokami 120cm
Yakebitaiyama 150cm Nighta on Saturdays until 12th March (6pm-8pm)
Okushiga Kogen 90cm
Kumanoyu 100cm Nighta on Saturdays until 26th March (6:30pm-9pm) Also on 12th February and 20th March
As I write this report there's a few breaks in the cloud above us and blue sky to be seen and the sun making a few appearances.
Next snow we can expect is currently due according to the forecasts for Tuesday night but we should have snow clouds over Zao from then into the weekend, hopefully at times with moderate to heavy snow falling from the skies.
The 'Juhyo Lightup' evening ropeway service is currently open.
All being well it should remain open every day until next Sunday (28th February) from 5pm until 9pm (last ropeway going up at 7:50pm).
It has not been a classic season for the juhyo monsters, that's for sure. Let's hope they can come back stronger than ever next year.
Information as of Sunday 21st February 2016 (subject to change)
The conditions are less than perfect but it’s going to be a rowdy day here on the mountain with all the racing going on. Good luck to all the racers today.
As far as race conditions go... well... like the rest of the season so far it’s marginal at best. We had a whole lot of rain last night and even though it’s snowing a little right now the mountain and race course is going to be a little mushy. The temperature should lower overnight making the current slush that we have into a nice icy mess. At least we should get some snow to cover the ice so it won’t be that noticeable. The winds will hopefully die down too overnight bringing some light snow off and on all day.
Thursday evening is threatening to bring a much needed 15cm of fresh powder but with temperature forecasts all over the place again lets wait and see what happens.
I’m heading up the hill to see these guys/girls in action. Will report on the fun tomorrow.
Currently planned operating lifts:
- Appi Gondola - Central Number 1 quad - Number 1 lift A - Number 2 lift A - Number 3 lift A - Number 3 lift B - Number 3 lift C - Number 4 lift - Sailer Gondola - Sailer Quad - Sailer Number 2 - Vista quad