Snow and weather reports posted on Monday 11th December 2017
Thursday 23rd February 2012, 7:28am
It's going to be a warm one today! We are expecting a high of 2-3 in the lower areas and still staying below freezing up at higher altitudes. The snow in the backbowls is still pretty good so if you get there early it will be best! Yesterday we saw some warmer temperatures with flurries and sun throughout the day. Nothing collected to more than 1-2 cm. Last night we didn't see any snowfall either. Today is definitely a good one to take a rest day if you have spent the last week going hard after it.
Going into the backcountry isn't a bad idea either. The snow is pretty stable. As it heats up you may want to watch out for heavy "wet" slides. These occur when the sun hits the snow and causes it to put more pressure on weak points. Other than that the visibility should be pretty good. You can work on the goggle tan and get your bearings in order for when a storm/poor visibility does hit. Knowing where you are going is usually helpful in that situation.
Looking into the future, we should be seeing snowfall after this warm spell. A low pressure system is expected to move in and bring us some of that white stuff. At the present moment it's a bit tough to say how much. Let's hope we send February off with a bang snow wise. We are above what we have seen in the past few years for snow totals, let's keep the trend up.
Grand Hirafu / Hanazono: Top - 420cm Bottom - 230cm
Niseko Village: Top - 460cm Bottom - 240cm
Annupuri: Top - 460cm Bottom - 240cm
Niseko Avalanche Report:
Niseko base 6am: -2C, slight snowfall overnight. Coastal data: SSE7m/s at Benkei cape, 0.9m waves and 1014 hPa at Kamui cape. Moiwa peak: -4C, slight snowfall and no development of snowdrifts. Snowfall transition: Crystal snow and pre-low pressure system snowfall is mixed at the surface, which will form Feb 23rd layer in the future snowpack. Deeper layers are stable. Hazard evaluation: General avalanche risk is low, however leeward 40 degree slopes should not be stimulated unnecessarily. The snow is packed and partly crusty, little difficult to ski. Gates: Peak gates open at 9:30am. Caution: a SE wind with snow is forecasted to pick up this afternoon as the next Low approaches. Beware of sudden weather changes. The snow can be in bad shape, beware of loosing control and hitting trees. Read more ...
Thursday 23rd February 2012, 9:13am
Yesterday was fine and sunny right through until the lifts stopped, just some cloud hanging around giving an overcast kind of hue to things. A mild day as well, followed by some strong and noisy winds overnight. The wind seems to have calmed down somewhat but still some gusts from time to time here at town level and some disruption to lifts up at Kagura (see later).
Unfortunately, it is raining this morning as well - as per forecast really. Not heavy rain at the moment just a light drizzly kind of rain. It was really quite warm overnight as well and did not dip below +4 degrees which is very unusual considering that usually we are getting really cold overnight well into the minuses. It's even into positive numbers up at Kagura this morning.
Right now it is +5 degrees and a high of around 7 or 8 degrees is on the local forecast for Yuzawa. It feels almost spring-like at the moment. This is not totally unusual for late February of course, and last year the winter conditions did return in early March, so hopefully a similar pattern might happen this year. There's still not really much chance of snow over the next few days and at least into next week.
The wind is affecting lifts at Kagura - which is open from the Mitsumata Ropeway to the Kagura No1 quad lift. It looks like the Dragondola is not going to be moving today as well. Higher lifts at Naeba are also affected by the wind today and so limited operations there too.
Gala Yuzawa also seems to be closed today due to the winds.
Very strong winds overnight here, at times I thought my roof was going to blow off. The winds brought with them warm conditions as well - no heater on late last night which is a first for 2012 - and it's started off warm this morning and sadly to add to all of that.... it's raining.
And on top of that, the wind is keeping some lifts from opening here at Naeba and also over at Kagura which is limited operations today, along with the Dragondola connection with Naeba being closed.
Perhaps today is one best used doing 'other things'!
On a more positive note, we may just see a bit of snow up top tonight and then perhaps some overnight into Saturday. It would be good. Thankfully, today will likely be the warmest of this current spell, with things starting to get colder again from tomorrow.
For now though - rain, rain, go away... don't come back until... May!
Resort Operations, 23rd February (subject to change) Naeba: Limited due to wind Kagura: Limited due to wind (Mitsumat ropeway to Kagura No1 quad)
Not sure about today, as it's windy, warm and it's raining. Sorry to have to bring that news!
A very unusually warm +6 degrees in Madarao this morning which is way different to what we have been used to, but the good news out of this is that today should see the peak of the warm conditions and it should start getting colder. Perhaps a bit of snow tomorrow night before the weekend which would be perfect timing.
We don't like the R word (rain) and we don't like the S word (Spring) spoken too early, so no whispering those words at the back there, ok?
I am confident that winter-like conditions will return, so let's keep positive and just patiently wait for that.
Lifts currently operating: All lifts (except 3B) and courses due to be open today. Official snow depth: 270cm Read more ...
Thursday 23rd February 2012, 9:45am
It is a bit of grey feeling morning here in Furano with overcast skies and not much sun to be seen. The temperatures are not particularly cold but there is a fresh wind whipping around the village which has a bone chilling feel to it. All lifts are operating and snow conditions are packed powder which has been groomed overnight. Expect nice smooth pistes all over the ski area. The forecast is for light snow from afternoon which may get heavier towards evening. Read more ...
Shiga Kogen Now!
Thursday 23rd February 2012, 9:48am
The crossed fingers didn't work I'm afraid as this morning it is raining even up here in Shiga Kogen. It was a very windy night and there is still a moderate wind blowing around but less than it was overnight. What's most surprising is just how warm it is. Here in Maruike it's +5 degrees. That's some change from just a few days ago and real spring-like territory.
So, not what we want to hear this morning. We can only hope this rain eases off sooner than later. Sad seeing the roads all wet now rather than with their usual white snow look going on. So when can we get more snow? There's a chance of some falling later today as snow, but I imagine it won't be much more than wet snow and not much of it and then after that there is potential for snowfall overnight Friday into Saturday - who knows how that will turn out. But it sure looks like it should be starting to get back colder starting tomorrow and over the weekend. So we can be hopeful.
Don't worry, no doubt winter will return.
Nighta operations this evening planned at the following resort areas:
- Ichinose Family
Official resort snow depths as of Thursday 23rd February 2012 AM:
Today has the dubious fame of seeing the first rain of the year in Zao village (as far as I can remember anyway). It is an unseasonably mild morning and even early on it was about +4 degrees here. There's not much of a wind, thought it was quite strong overnight, and even up at Utopia they are reporting a temperature of 0 degrees - although I have heard that it might actually be (wet) snowing up there.
Now for the good news. From tomorrow it will get colder once again and we can perhaps expect a sprinkling of snow and then possibly moderate snowfall into Saturday. From Sunday it should return to something like normal cold conditions.
A new layer of fresh snow in time for the weekend would be great. Please let it be so!
Official snow depths (23rd February 12) Utopia - 275cm Chuo - 240cm Paradise - 260cm Uwanodai - 180cm
Operating lifts (23rd February 12) All Ropeways (Skycable, Zao Chuo Ropeway, Zao Ropeway) operating. All the runs at Zao are open. Read more ...
Thursday 23rd February 2012, 10:31am
Overcast and rain
After the recent ridiculously sunny conditions we are now unfortunately faced with precipitation coming down in the form of rain in Hakuba. The freezing level is at 2500m and as the system passes it will continue to precipitate, easing in the afternoon and hopefully turning to light snow in the evening.
This morning it was .5 C in the valley with a (very!) high of up to 10C expected during the day. Up on the slopes it will range from 2 C to 5 C down low and 0 C to -4 C up high. Winds are breezy and coming from the WSW and WNW.
This particular weather system should make its way past us by the end of the day as lower freezing levels and clearer weather is expected by tomorrow. By Friday night we should see a mini weather system dropping off some snow to start the rejuvenation process. Fingers crossed folks! The weekend is calling for more snow accumulation and clearings into next week, though it doesn't look like we can expect anything major.
Avalanche Danger: HIGH
Very dangerous avalanche conditions. Travel in avalanche terrain not recommended. Natural avalanches likely; human-triggered avalanches very likely.
Large avalanches in many areas; or very large avalanches in specific areas.
Slab avalanches in the Alpine will come with great size and consequence. Very dangerous avalanche conditions. Travel in avalanche terrain not recommended. Natural avalanches likely; human-triggered avalanches very likely. Large avalanches in many areas; or very large avalanches in specific areas. Slab avalanches in the Alpine will come with great size and consequence. RAIN on the snow pack is putting rapid load on the already heavy wind affected slopes at Tree Line and warming may mean that Alpine slopes will also receive rain as the day goes on. This added weight may trigger large slabs in these wind affected areas. Lower slopes will see wet loose avalanches start immediately and continue through the duration of the rain showers. Glide cracks may open wider or slide to the ground as water runs between the ground and snow above.
Travel outside of the ski resorts is not advised during the rain storm and until temperatures cool below freezing for long enough to stabilize the now wet snow pack. New snow at elevation will also be unstable and produce new surface instability and loose avalanches.
The temps in the valley are hovering right around freezing level and should turn back into snow hopefully very soon and looks like we will have fresh powder for the weekend!
It's still a great day to enjoy the onsens of the Northern Japan Alps or go in search of Monkeys and cultural sites!
Official snow depths and operations @ Thursday 23rd February 2012 AM:
Hakuba Goryu: No new snowfall early this morning. All lifts operating. Official snow depths: Alps daira - 300cm; Toomi - 185cm; Iimori - 145cm
Hakuba 47: Hakuba 47 seem to be reporting new snowfall again, up to 5cm up top. All courses open (Line D lift not operating weekdays). Official snow depth: Upper - 235cm Lower - 120cm
Happo-one: Ski lifts/courses: All lifts apart from Usagidaira pair, Central pair and Kita One No3 pair lifts should be operating today. Official snow depth: Usagidaira - 190cm; Sakka - 100cm; Nakiyama - 90cm.
As predicted there is light rain falling in the valley this morning in Minakami. It gets sleety higher up but it is pretty warm out there today compared to some of the colder temperatures of late. Pretty misty out there too so visibility is a bit reduced in some places. Snow is a bit heavy and wet right now which is to be expected. A freeze now would make for some pretty hard conditions.
The forecast is for a clearer day tomorrow with the temperatures to drop a bit on today. Snow on Saturday and then a mix of clear weather and light snow into next week.
Strong winds overnight really ate up a lot of the snowpack. It's not as noticeable on the hill, but it really helped for the buried houses around the base of the mountain; we finally saw some asphalt on the roads after a long stretch of packed snow and ice. The rain and gloom of the early day have lifted a little in mid-afternoon, and it's warmer than it's been all season. Maybe a day to do something other than ski today, but the snow and colder weather are both expected to return very soon.
It's not a real inspiring day outside today. It has been pretty overcast and we have been hit by some rain too. Lots of the gang have headed up and have not seen anyone come back yet so must not be too bad up there. But if you are looking for a day off and in the onsen then today has probably been as good as any. The Nagasaka Gondola was closed for a little while too with high winds but is up again now.
Yesterday in comparison was a beautiful day with loads of sunshine and some great conditions especially up high. As reported yesterday in the Village it was warm and the snow melting a bit.
Good news is that temperatures are still set to drop and some snow should start to roll in from later today if all going well. On the forecast the amount of snow expected from Friday night on has been pumped up a bit to and may get up to 30cm out of it if we are lucky. Freezing level should also drop to below sea level by Sunday night as well.
The other good new is that in Nozawa Onsen there is still some cool things to do on a not so perfect day.
Hit an Onsen, there are 13 free ones in town. If you do all of them you can get a free bandana from the Tourist Office.
There are 2 museums in town. The Ski museum and the Cultural Museum both well worth a look.
Grab a toboggan and do a restaurant crawl over the resort. Always fun but take it easy on the grape and grain.
Cross country ski or snowshoe. Nice to see the mountains at a different speed!
Relax take a walk and enjoy one of the 30 restaurants, bars and cafes that Nozawa Onsen has to offer