Snow and weather reports posted on Tuesday 12th December 2017
Tuesday 22nd December 2015, 7:54am
Kagura this morning are reporting 10-20cm of fresh snow on their upper areas which is great to hear.
Less exciting news to report from lower down as after the cloudy start, for a short time it cleared up a bit with even a bit of sun, but then later on it started raining and was raining overnight. It's a bit... wet... this morning too though it should ease off sooner than later sometime this morning. The temperature here in town is currently 5 degrees and that is basically constant from overnight as well. We can't expect it to rise much during the day though.
Yesterday afternoon Maiko Snow Resort announced that they aren't unfortunately going to be able to open today due to the deteriorating snow conditions (and basically amount of snow!) up there. The rain couldn't have done them any favours. So they join the list of 'waiting for snow' resorts once again.
Looks like Joetsu Kokusai are remaining open though this morning as are of course Naeba, Kagura and GALA Yuzawa.
Tomorrow the local forecast says cloud/sun and a high of around 8C in town.
OK so how is this promised snowfall at the end of the week looking? I'm very happy to report that it still looking like it is on the cards, hopefully with snow starting falling in town Friday and continuing through the weekend. If it all happens as per the forecasts, we can maybe expect lots of the 'on standby' resorts to be able to get going (at least in part) by the end of the weekend.
We can only hope!
I'm getting somewhat tired of posting reports about mild temperatures and rain, so a good dose of heavy snow will be very exciting!
Resorts that are now at least part open (Tuesday 22nd 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 the upper Takenokodaira course is open (100% natural snow).
GALA Yuzawa GALA Yuzawa is part open - the Melody and Entertainment courses in the main Central Area are open.
Joetsu Kokusai The Panorama quad and two pair lifts are moving with the Panorama courses in the North Area open.
Muikamachi Hakkaisan The Technical course and Rakuraku A courses open with just two pair lifts operating (one to get to the open area).
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 ...
Tuesday 22nd December 2015, 8:32am
Mostly cloudy skies, few breaks here and there
There has been just a dusting of snow since my last report here at base.
Yesterday was... well yes, honestly it was just a bit miserable.
Rain. Wind. Mild conditions. I'm sure that people were having fun out there of course - and I sincerely hope that they did - but these are not the things that make up the Niseko that we all love to bits. I really want everyone who visits this fine place to experience it at it's best, so it's frustrating if people come and don't get to see that Niseko. That's nature for you I suppose.
It just feels like we just need to snap out of this weak early season mode we're in and just get going properly. Come on!! Grrrrr...
Interestingly, Niseko Grand Hirafu have added 15cm to their upper snow depth since yesterday. Whether that actually means 15cm of fresh up there or not, well, perhaps I will need to go and check that out! Whatever, I would certainly head up high this morning.
Fairly strong winds on mountain look set to affect a few lifts this morning. At the time of writing this (8:30am), it looks like the top Number 3 Hanazono lift is on standby and the King Number 3 and Swinging Monkey lifts at Grand Hirafu may also be affected. The Niseko Gondola is also starting the day in 'slow mode'. Less wind forecast for this afternoon but I advise checking with the resorts for the latest.
Hopefully we'll have no more rain over the next few days with cloud or sunny conditions more likely forecast.
I just spoke to Santa earlier on and he is absolutely promising snowfall on Christmas Day and beyond. One of his reindeers also confirmed this. And you can always trust a reindeer. Well, ones without particularly red noses anyway.
Hopefully this time next week the situation will be very different. Whenever you are getting here, I hope you can find your fun!
Niseko Avalanche Report:
Niseko base 6am: -1℃, 3cm of broken crystal snow, calm. 600m altitude: -1℃, 5cm new snow, minor snowdrift development. 1000M altitude: N15m/s. Coastal data: Benkei Cape NNE13m/s, Kamui Cape SE2m/s, 1.4m waves and 1022hPa.
Following the passing of a weak low pressure system from midnight until dawn, there has been light snow and winds. Air and snow temperature are warm. Above 800m, snowdrift and cornice development continues. Shallow wet slabs will fracture easily. The gates are not yet open due to shallow snow, lots of exposed bushes and bamboo off ski runs. On South facing cliffs and steep slopes there is possibility of full depth avalanches. Do not duck ropes to enter locations like Yu no sawa, Haru no Taki looking for fresh snow. Respect and follow Niseko Rules.
Yesterday at Kurodake, Daisetsuzan our friend Kei Taniguchi was lost after finishing the climb. We are praying for his safe rescue. Taniguchi has represented Japan in winning the King of the Mountains Piolet d'Or in Europe.
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 Tuesday 22nd December 2015:
Not great news this morning as we put up with some more rain and wet since yesterday but it should be stopping fairly soon leaving us with a cloudy day. It shouldn't get too warm today (about 4 degrees), and maybe a bit warmer tomorrow with some sunshine.
Why Friday? Well, we're looking really good for decent snow starting around Friday and - everyone is hoping - continuing into early next week. A storm is hopefully brewing, and it's due to deposit lots of fluffy goodness here in Nozawa.
For now, Nozawa Onsen remains part open as the last few days. Looks foggy with poor visibility at the start of the day up there. Take care and have fun.
- Nagasaka Gondola (from 8:40am) - Hikage Gondola (from 8:40am) - Skyline link lift - Yamabiko Four lift - Yamabiko Number 2 lift - Uenotaira - Yu Road (from 8:30am)
Planned open courses:
- Yamabiko A course - Yamabiko B course - Yamabiko C course - Yamabiko D course - Yamabiko E course - Kokenashi - Uenotaira - Bunabayashi
Resort news as of 8:45am on Tuesday 22nd December (all subject to change due to weather conditions)
Hakuba 47: Hakuba 47 is reporting 0cm of new snowfall at base and up to 5cm higher up yesterday. Upper area of Route 2, Route 4, Route 5, and Route 8 (upper area) courses are open. Planned lifts: Gondola Line AB Line C Line E Official snow depth Upper: 70cm Base: 0cm
Hakuba Goryu: Hakuba Goryu is reporting 0cm of new snowfall. The upper Panorama Course and Grand Prix courses at Hakuba Goryu are open, as well as the lower Toomi run. Upper and lower areas not connected - gondola needed to get down from upper area. Planned lifts: Telecabin Gondola Alps Number 1 pair lift Alps Number 3 pair lift Toomi Sky Four lift Official snow depth Alps: 70cm 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: 81cm Maruyama: -cm
1cm of snow to report this morning here in Zao, surely a bit more than that in higher areas on the mountain.
The day is starting off cloudy and once again no wind. It's going to be mild the next few days before things start to get colder again in the lead up to the weekend...
It seems that most areas in Japan are experiencing less snow this year, and we're all looking forward to what the weekend brings. Apparently lots of snow. Let's hope there's enough for everyone. Especially Zao!
The resort was hoping to begin night skiing last night on the Uwanodai area, but as you might expect due to the snow situation that has been delayed until there's more than enough to get that started.
Lifts that are currently operating at Zao Onsen (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
There has been bit of fresh snowfall overnight - just a few cm - and this morning it is continuing to snow lightly with more snow accumulation likely on the upper areas of the mountain. The snow quality is a little wet.
According to the local weather forecast, from tomorrow until Friday should be generally cloudy with the next snowfall due around 26th December.
About 60% of the courses at Grandeco remain open 60% including the 3500m long Rainbow 3500 course.
The gondola and two hi-speed lift are operating at the resort.
The roads around the Ura Bandai area and up to Grandeco are covered with snow - snow tires are needed. The photos with todays report are from the roads approaching Grandeco.
The ski resorts in the Inawashiro area on the southern side of Mt Bandai remain closed, waiting for more snowfall.
Welcome to our new ‘Grandeco Now' reports, exclusive to SnowJapan.
As with all our Now daily reports, it extremely important to us that the information we publish is useful, honest and correct and we’ll be doing everything we can to bring you some good info from this region. Grandeco is located in Kita Shiobara village in the north western region of Fukushima Prefecture - we are very pleased to be able to begin reporting from this region of Japan. More information on Grandeco can be found here and a Resort Spotlight on SnowJapan here.
** There may be a few glitches early on but please bear with us while we settle in this new report section. Thank you. ** Read more ...
Tuesday 22nd December 2015, 10:25am
Still haven't been up the mountain as its still not open so snowfall figures are based on the Tenjin resort numbers. Understated as I'm recording snowfall as the increase in the base only.
Looks like plenty of fresh overnight as the base level is up +20cm despite no snow yesterday. Rain fell at the bottom of the resort and continues now with the snow kicking in from around 850m. Winds are brisk,cold and from the North with the temp currently -0.5C up top.
Expecting an imminent open, which at this point is over 1 month late. Forecast presently is for light snow on the 25th, turning heavy on the 26th and 27th. Read more ...
Tuesday 22nd December 2015, 11:29am
Bluebird with some fluffy white clouds crying CHEESE to the cameras.
Furano looking stunning and the snow is great.
Blue sky today, was shaping up bluebird but a few white and fluffies around. The snow is divine with about 6cm falling in Kitanomine Village and about knee deep on the side country on the resort. Nine of ten lifts now operating so the only one we are waiting on is the Kitanomine Gondola. Sun forecast today and tomorrow so let's hope for the weekend but the fact that Kitanomine Zone is open means it's easy and convenient to get to Furano Zone.
If you have accommodation booked in Kitanomine Zone, it means you do not have to get yourself to Furano Zone. If your accommodation is in town, you only have to make your way to Kitanomine Zone (which is actually walking distance, just not a fun walk carrying skis if you are comfort inclined).
Light breeze today, -2C in town at 10am. Resort listing the base as 95cm with 10cm of fresh. That would be erring on the low side which is always my preference with such things.
Photo 1 is the resort from the Furano Town side of the Sorachi River this morning. Sorry if I led you up when I parked my car right there to take it...
Photo 2 is what is open on the resort today. More lifts but not much more terrain. We need the gondola to run to open up the ski runs in the Kitanomine Zone. Read more ...