Snow and weather reports posted on Friday 19th January 2018
Friday 23rd December 2016, 8:16am
Morning from Zao, and I wish I could say it were a good one.
Strong winds disrupted a number of lifts yesterday during the daytime with I think about 12 lifts operating most of the time.
And then the rain came and it seems to have been raining through the night. And it has done some obvious real damage to the slopes by the village base. The snow was pretty thin on the ground of course but it's a bit shocking to suddenly see lots of green once again as the snow disappears, and definitely not something you want to see approaching late December. Still, happily Zao is a big place and there's enough snow higher up for those areas to remain open - but it looks like lots of the lower lifts appear to be stopped once again. I'll update that info later in the day when the picture is clearer but for now it's more upper areas open at the moment.
It has not been the best of weeks and I was reading the other reports yesterday - looks like all Japan has been going through a unseasonably warm spell of weather.
What does the forecast tell us to expect? Well, it might get to be early in the week before the next potential decent snowfall arrives, with little bits here and there over the next few days (though nothing significant).
Hope to bring you better updates soon!
Official snow depths: Chuo - 50cm Utopia - 35cm Uwanodai - 15cm Paradise - 50cm
Juhyo 'Ice Monsters' Light Up night time Zao Ropeway operations
December 2016: 23rd, 24th, 29th-31st January 2017: 1st-3rd, 7th, 8th, 14th, 15th, 21st, 22nd, 27th-31st February 2017: 1st-28th March 2017: 1st-5th
Operating from 5pm until 9pm; last ropeway up at 7:50pm. Ropeway return charges are 2,600 yen for adults and 1,300 yen for children. In the event of poor weather conditions, operations are sometimes cancelled. Read more ...
Friday 23rd December 2016, 8:38am
Unfortunately, due to the weather conditions Grandeco will not be opening today
Good morning from stormy Grandeco.
And it's not really a very good morning at all, I'm afraid.
There is a strong wind blowing at this moment (8:30am) and it's going to be difficult to operate the lifts.
The resort is waiting for the wind to calm down and start the lifts, but the forecast says it will be probably be windy until around noon. If the wind remain strong until 10am, they will announce the day as totally closed. :(
Maybe it is good to maintenance your ski / board at the shop today!
Good news is what we want and it is that it will be getting colder and snow is due late afternoon.
Gondola Number 1 quad lift Number 2 quad lift
[A-a] Rainbow 3500 [A-b] Rainbow 3500 [B-c] Mint C [C] Center [D-b] Lavender B
Official snow depth: 65cm
Road condition to Grandeco: Inawashiro through Goshikinuma - dry Goshikinuma through Grandeco - wet, some part icy, snow tires are necessary. Read more ...
Friday 23rd December 2016, 8:45am
Oh dear. It's raining.
Yesterday there was snow falling and I measured 2cm of it, but later in the afternoon it was wiped out fairly quickly as the snow turned into rain. It's just too mild and it seems to be something that all of Japan is enduring at the moment. Here in Niseko we are actually getting off relatively well by the looks of things.
It is due to be getting colder and snowing today so I'd be happy if soon after I post my report it suddenly changed.
If I see Santa on the slopes today, I'm going to jolly well tell him that we want snow and hopefully he'll get on the case in time for dinner tonight. Please do the same.
Let's see what I can get to report to you tomorrow morning...
Niseko Tour Giveaway 2017
After rubbish rain news, I thought I would repeat this:
A new Niseko-tastic Giveaway has been announced on SnowJapan and it is something that I am sure will be of great interest to many of the people reading this. The lucky winner - along with up to three friends - will be able to enjoy a half day private tour in Niseko courtesy of the good people at Hanazono Powder Guides.
A personal note - if you enter, please do take the opportunity to give us some feedback about the new features on SnowJapan, including what we have done with the reports or just anything related to the website. And feel free to send us comments at any time of course. Feedback is always welcome.
Niseko base 6am: +4℃, rain and thaw. Moiwa 850m: +1℃, wet snowfall and snowpack sinking. Annupuri 1000m: -1℃, E5m/s, light snowfall. Hirafu 1000m: -1℃, 15cm of wet snow. Coastal data: Kamui cape E5m/s, 993hPa, 2.0m waves.
The low-pressure system has pulled warm air from the south and passed. Little snow has fallen in the Westside of the mountain and melting in areas below 800m elevation. The snow in the out of bounds is heavy and not suitable for skiing. Sticky snow on the groomers too. Heavy wet snow slides can occur at on & off piste steep slopes. A wet & heavy slab is forming on top of Dec 21st layer and can easily slide at slopes above 1000m altitude. Those type of avalanches are very dangerous. Stay away from valleys and steep slopes.
Road conditions is also treacherous. The temperature will drop from now and a snowstorm will pick up. Roads will freeze, be careful driving.
This information is issued for the safety of all resort users.
The weather changes in the last few years seem quite unusual. All we can do is adjust to it.
Have a great Christmas weekend.
Resort specific opening news at time of writing (subject to change during the day):
All four of the resort areas appear to be opening as planned at the start of the day - a few delays for higher lifts but that should clear soon.
Night skiing is planned until Monday 20th March 2017 at the Niseko Annupuri, Niseko Grand Hirafu and Niseko Village resort areas. There is no nighta in the Hanazono area.
The lifts marked with a * above are the lifts that are planned to be operating for nighta. Read more ...
Friday 23rd December 2016, 9:24am
Hello from Yuzawa and a bit of a later report this morning as I wanted to check everything -- unfortunately, the weather is making things a bit tricky at the moment.
Yesterday was - as expected - another very warm day. I posted my report early yesterday and didn't initially pick up on the fact that some resorts were not going to be able to open due to strong winds. GALA Yuzawa was closed for the day, as were the Tashiro and main Kagura areas at Kagura. It was fairly windy low down too.
We knew it was going to be mild/warm but I was still pretty shocked to see 18C on the road-side thermometer here in Shiozawa just outside of Yuzawa at 6pm. That's just silly numbers and I wish to lodge a formal complaint to someone/somewhere!
And then there was the rain. Yes, it rained overnight and heavily at times.
This morning it's cloudy with a few spots of rain here and there but generally it is holding off for now.
After such a good start a few weeks back, this last week has inflicted some serious damage. The 60cm of snow that was nicely piling up in my garden has now all gone. And slopes around town level in the region are now looking rather brown unfortunately as the snow has disappeared.
Ishiuchi Maruyama and Yuzawa Park had opened, but they are going to be closed for the day today due to the conditions.
A few other resorts are now reducing the areas that are open due to the current snow conditions.
I know what I have written is all a bit grim, but in the interests of telling it like it is. But we all want some good news as well of course, so let's get onto that...
By tonight it should be snowing again and hopefully it will turn everywhere back to white by the morning and continue through the day. After that a break from the snow and a little warmer (but thankfully not the kind of warm we have experienced this last week) before more snow due around Tuesday-Wednesday. So fingers crossed we can get back to 'winter mode' fairly quickly.
I have updated the resort-specific information below with what info I have available. Will do our best to keep this up to data every day.
Snow. Now. Please! :)
Resort-specific info as of Friday 23rd December 2016
GALA Yuzawa GALA Yuzawa is part open. 9 courses in the Central and North areas open in total. Official snow depth: 90cm
Iwappara Iwappara is part open. 4 lifts and 11 courses are open. Opening of nighta has been delayed until there is more snow. Official snow depth: 30cm
Joetsu Kokusai Part of the Panorama area of Joetsu Kokusai is open with 6 lifts operating and 5 courses open. Official snow depth: 50cm
Kagura All areas of Kagura are generally open. The top Kagura Number 5 pair lift and course will open from 1st January 2017. The Dragondola was planning to be open from today, but they have delayed opening due to the lack of snow. Official snow depth: Kagura - 150cm Mitsumata - 110cm Tashiro - 130cm
Kandatsu Kogen Kandatsu Kogen is part open with three lifts operating. Official snow depth: 40cm
Naeba The Prince Number 2 Gondola, Takenokodaira pair, Number 3 and 5 high speed lifts, Number 4 romance pair lifts are operating. Official snow depth: 50cm
Maiko Snow Resort The Gondola and Okusoeji quad and pair lifts are operating. 6 courses open in total. The Maiko side of the resort is currently closed. Official snow depth: Upper - 50cm Base - 0cm
Muikamachi Hakkaisan The Ropeway and Number 3 romance pair lifts are operating. Official snow depth: 50cm
NASPA Ski Garden NASPA Ski Garden is open with 5 courses and lifts 1, 3, 4 and 5 operating. Official snow depth: 35cm
Yuzawa Kogen Yuzawa Kogen is part open. The lower Nunoba area is closed. The Ropeway, Cosmos pair lift, Summit pair lift are operating. Official snow depth: Top - 60cm Base - 10cm
Yuzawa Park Yuzawa Park has had to close due to the snow situation. Official snow depth: 30cm
Yuzawa Nakazato Yuzawa Nakazato is part open. The Number 2 pair lift is operating. Official snow depth: 25cm
'Nighta' (floodlit night operations)
Below are details of the planned 'nighta' operations at ski and snowboards resorts around Yuzawa and Minamiuonuma this season. This information is subject to change due to snow and weather conditions. Please note that this section will not be updated every day.
Ishiuchi Maruyama Daily from 23rd December 2016 until 19th March 2017. Nighta is from 5pm until 8:50pm. The Chuo Number 1, Chuo Number 2 and Kanko Number 3 Express lifts are open daily. The Kanko Number 1 Express lift, Hatsukaishi Entrance lift and Hatsukaishi Number 2 pair lifts are also open on weekends and holidays.
Iwappara Daily from 17th December 2016 until 20th March 2017. Nighta is from 5pm until 9pm on Saturdays and until 8pm on weekdays and Sundays. The Main course, Grand course and West courses are open during nighta.
Joetsu Kokusai Daily from 17th December 2016 until 20th March 2017. Nighta is from 5pm until 9pm. The area in front of the main base hotel is open for nighta.
Kandatsu Kogen 'Hobo All Night' ('Almost All Night') is on Fridays, Saturdays and nights before holidays between 29th December 2016 and 1st April 2017. The nighta opening times on those days is from 6pm until 4am the following morning.
Maiko Snow Resort Daily from 28th December 2016 until 19th March 2017. Nighta is from 4pm until 8pm. The Maiko center quad lift on the Maiko Side of the resort operates for nighta.
Naeba Daily from 17th December 2016 until 26th March 2017. Nighta is from 4pm until 8:30pm. Part of the lower area of the resort is usually open for nighta.
NASPA Ski Garden 'Thanks' (extended) opening on Saturdays in December, January and February and also on 23rd December and from 30th December until 8th January 2017. On those days the Number 1 lift is open until 6pm.
Yuzawa Nakazato Every Saturday from 7th January until 11th March 2017, 29th December until 3rd January, 8th January 2017. Nighta is from 5pm until 8:30pm. The Number 2 pair lift operates during nighta. Read more ...
Friday 23rd December 2016, 9:32am
There is good news and not so good news out of Furano this morning. The good news is that we have been hit by a snow storm that arrived yesterday afternoon and has delivered a significant amount of snow. At the moment 29cm has accumulated since yesterday in the Kitanomine village.
The not so good news is that the snow storm has come with much wind. At village level the winds went from strong yesterday to severe overnight and back to strong. On the ski area itself wind is between strong and severe at the moment and this means that the resort is not able to operate any lifts except for the Prince Romance lift on the Furano Zone.
Around the resort there are some very deep drift areas of snow and some roads in Kitanomine have drifts up to a metre high and will require grading before cars can get out or use the roads.
Snow is expected to continue to fall during the day but the winds should start to reduce in intensity from now on.
Yesterday up until lunch was great but after was unfortunately not. The rain started around 2 and became increasingly stronger throughout the night finally stopping around 2:30 this morning. What does that mean for us here at our little mountain? Well for starters we're back to one open run and a reduction of 15cm from our base. Not a good start to the weekend.
Tonight does look promising with a supposed 10-15cm of snow arriving and a few more cm's Saturday and Sunday. Let's hope it arrives in time for a white Christmas.
Falling temperatures and lighter winds will make it somewhat enjoyable so whatever you do this weekend make sure you come here and at least enjoy what's open!
Hello from Hakuba and it's not the best start to the long Christmas weekend.
Rain. It was not unexpected of course, but still always not good to see.
And it is causing problems on lower areas. Hakuba Cortina is going to be closed for the day and a few course areas at Hakuba 47, Happo-one, Iwatake that were open are closed this morning. We really need Santa to come and bring us a delivery of lovely snow.
The good news this morning is that it looks like it is snowing higher up already and snow is forecast to be falling down here by later today and through tomorrow, so I hope to be bringing you good news in my next report.
Not only is this kind of weather annoying in itself, but it makes the reports more difficult to put together every day! Can't wait for the day when everywhere is just 'open' and we can get on with the full-on season. (I seem to recall saying that a few times last year...)
Resort news as of 9:10am on Friday 23rd December 2016:
All information as available and subject to change during the day due to weather and snow conditions.
Hakuba 47: Hakuba 47 is currently part open. The resort is reporting 0cm of fresh snowfall. Gondola downloading no longer required - you can ski/board to base but not recommended for beginners. The upper course connection with Goryu is now open. Lift & course info: The Gondola, Line A.B, Line C and Line E lifts are operating. All courses now open apart from Route 3, Route 7 and the lower part of Route 8. The Tree Riding Zone is not yet open. Official snow depth Line C Upper: 70cm Base: 10cm
Hakuba Goryu: Hakuba Goryu is currently part open. The resort is reporting 0cm of fresh snowfall. Gondola downloading required back to base. The upper course connection with Hakuba 47 is now open. Lift & course info: The Gondola, Alps Number 1, 2, 3 and 4, Toomi Sky Four, Toomi Number 1 pair lift and the Milky Four lift in the Iimori area are operating. The following courses are open: - Grand Prix - Panorama - Super - Toomi - Soft Cream Official snow depth Alps: 85cm Toomi: 20cm Iimori: 15cm
Hakuba Happo-one: Hakuba Happo-one is currently part open. Lift & course info: Bad weather conditions this morning mean that the top lifts are not opening. Usagidaira and part of Kurobishi and Panorama are available. Downloading via Gondola or Kokusai Number 1 pair lift required. The following courses are open: - Kurobishi (part) - Usagidaira - Panorama (part) Official snow depth: Usagidaira: 60cm Kurobishi: 60cm
Tsugaike Kogen: Tsugaike Kogen is currently part open. Lift info: The Eve Gondola and the top Han-no-ki pair lift are operating. The following courses are open: - Han-no-ki - Tsuga-no-mori (part) Official snow depth: Tsuga-no-mori: 60cm Han-no-ki: 60cm Oya-no-hara: -cm Kane-no-naru-oka: -cm
Hakuba Iwatake Snow Field: Hakuba Iwatake Snow Field is currently part open. Lift info: The Gondola and 4-sen East lifts are operating. The following courses are at least part open: - East (part) Official snow depth: Top: 30cm Base: -cm
Kashimayari: Kashimayari is currently part open. Lift info: The Number 2 pair and Number 6 quad lifts are operating. Official snow depth: Top: 15cm
Hakuba Norikura Onsen: Hakuba Norikura Onsen is currently part open. Lift info: The Alps Number 1 pair lift is operating with one course open. Official snow depth: Top: 20cm
Please note that Yanaba ski hill will not be opening for the 2016-2017 season Read more ...
Shiga Kogen Now!
Friday 23rd December 2016, 9:43am
Foggy, cloud, bit of blue sky in some places
Yesterday warmed up, which was expected.
It was still surprising to see just how warm it got especially down in the valley where it was even approaching 20 degrees! Surely unheard off as we approach the end of December. Shocking numbers.
It wasn't quite as warm up here of course but still unseasonably mild. Still, it is a bit wet up here though we are expecting snow during the day today and tomorrow as well. So I am hoping for a positive report tomorrow morning with news of fresh snow on the ground.
A few more areas opening from today including Giant and Terakoya but snow is still limited on the ground and open courses around the area are limited.
We're in need of more snow (as if I need to say that!)
Areas of Shiga Kogen currently open and official snow depths:
A mix of cloud and a bit of blue sky early this morning which is better than wind and rain and warmth. This morning it is not quite as warm as yesterday and temperatures are indeed due to drop during the day today. And hopefully we'll be getting snowed on fairly soon.
We're in need of it as well. After that great start before opening, this last week has not been kind with the unseasonably mild conditions and some rain. Let's hope that it's just an early season 'get it out of the way' deal and we'll be back to proper winter again pretty sharpish.
So I hope to be able to report fresh snow in my report tomorrow and snow is due to be falling during the day tomorrow too before sunnier skies on Christmas Day. Doesn't look like it will be warming up like this last week though which is good.
Unfortunately due to the current conditions the resort has announced that there won't be any night skiing this evening.
Operating status at Madarao Kogen (at time of report):
- Number 1 lift - Number 2 quad lift - Super quad lift - Number 11 lift - Number 12 lift - Number 15 lift - Moving walkway - Kids Park - Freeride Park
You'll rarely have me wishing for rain, but today is that kind of day. I didn't report yesterday (sorry; still haven't arranged new work with the existing), but it was a day that no one would really want to talk about. The wind came screaming through, just ripping out our snowpack. It was so strong that it fanned a huge fire in Itoigawa City, just over the mountains to the northwest, burning down dozens of houses and shops.
Originally today's weather was for rain (maybe heavy) to be followed by some possibly very good snow. That still is possible, as our sunny morning (blaach) has turned to clouds and spits of rain. We really need the snow. I was surprised to see Suginohara's base drop from 50cm to 20cm overnight; that and the means they have decided to close today.
OK, for the gooder news: it's getting colder, and light rain at the base is turning to snow. Higher up it looks like the white stuff is already falling. The figures here are from early in the day, so look at colder temps than the official.
Hello from Nozawa and apologies for the later report this morning.
Yesterday was not a good day in the region.
Strong winds and rain are not our friends, and as you can see on the images below real damage has been inflicted on the lower slopes of the resort.
It has simply been way too warm, crazily unseasonably temperatures I think you can say. I didn't record this but I am hearing that it actually got up to 17 degrees and 19 degrees in Iiyama.
One of the good things about Nozawa of course is the vertical, so there's still fairly decent snow higher up on the slopes and what remains open is noted below - basically with the lower slopes closed again it's the upper parts of the resort that remain open.
You need to get the Gondola back down to base though until they re-open.
What's the good news, I hear you ask? Well, snow is due sometime today and through tomorrow as well.... and there's promise of snow around Tuesday-Wednesday too, so fingers crossed we can get a decent amount when it does fall.
Friday 23rd December 2016
Lifts that are planned to be operating: All lifts operating except for: - Hikage Gondola (* maintenance this morning) - Utopia pair - Hikage quad - Hikage triple - Kandahar pair - Nagasaka quad - Nagasaka triple - Nagasaka pair - Karasawa pair
Courses that are planned to be open: - Yamabiko A course - Yamabiko B course - Yamabiko C course - Yamabiko D course - Yamabiko E course - Kokenashi course - Uenotaira course - Paradise course - Paradise link - Mizunashi A - Mizunashi B - Bunabayashi course - Yunomine A course - Yunomine B course
Fresh snow reported by resort since yesterday morning: - Yamabiko: 0cm - Uenotaira: 0cm - Hikage: 0cm - Nagasaka: 0cm - Karasawa: 0cm Read more ...
Friday 23rd December 2016, 12:35pm
Today there is a thick layer of cloud above the ski resort.
Good afternoon from Naeba everybody and apologies for the late update today.
Well things are not great out there today. Whilst the rain did hold off for most of yesterday temperatures were still far to warm and we have lost a large amount of our snow due to that. We have sporadic light rain today although temperatures have dropped a fair amount so there is a reasonable chance of snow later on.
In general the skiing is still OK but only on the specific trails which are being maintained by the ski resort.
Today as well we have restricted opening in the ski resort due to unsafe conditions on some of the recently opened trails.
The forecast is still predicting snow for the next couple of days. Everyone please keep your fingers and toes crossed that this comes through!
UPDATE: As of 13:00 today the rain has turned to light sleety snow. Read more ...