Snow and weather reports posted on Wednesday 13th December 2017
Wednesday 23rd November 2016, 8:55am
Hello from here in Hirafu and - as expected - Niseko Grand Hirafu is not going to be able to open today and opening has been delayed. The resort announced this yesterday and are saying that they will be starting up the lifts just as soon as there is enough snow to do so.
I do have some fresh snow to report this morning with 6cm of snow here at base. And it is really cold as well this morning - proper winter-like, and my thermometer early on is reading -7 degrees. It's not forecast to warm up any from that point either, so all being well we should be in for a day of cold and more snowfall.
The forecast is looking promising still over the next few days so fingers crossed.
With the official opening of the resorts almost upon us, there's a real buzz around at the moment. Many people who are here in the Niseko region to work for the season are in place and ready to go (with their riding and perhaps with their work too!), owners of businesses are also either waiting or frantically putting plans into place... and of course there are some people who are bravely here in order to enjoy some first turns of the season. Early season is always a gamble of course - wherever you decide to go - so let us hope that this season will be a good one.
If you are tuning in for the first time this season, please do take a good look around at these new-look reports. And make sure you click on that 'Snowfall Analysis' tab near the top of the page as there is a lot of interesting data to play around with on there. Something to do while we want for the snow, and you'll be able to clearly see how the snowfall this season so far is looking much better than last season early on...
The planned dates for the four main resorts. Dates may vary depending on snowfall:
Niseko Grand Hirafu: as soon as there is enough snow until Sunday 7th May 2017 Niseko Annupuri: Saturday 26th November 2016 until Sunday 7th May 2017 Niseko Hanazono: Saturday 3rd December 2016 until Sunday 2nd April 2017 Niseko Village: Thursday 1st December 2016 until Sunday 2nd April 2017
Night skiing is planned from Saturday 10th December until Monday 20th March 2017 at the Annupuri, Grand Hirafu and Village resort areas. Read more ...
Wednesday 23rd November 2016, 9:03am
Furano continues to do very well with these early season snow falls with a further 4cm to report this morning. The forecast is still for continuous light snow through until Monday. While this may amount to just a few centimetres each day, the cumulative effect is certainly going to help build up the lower mountain base. On Monday evening heavy snow is predicted at higher elevations, so we will be keeping our eye on that to see how it develops.
For today there is a nice new layer of light powder snow on a 70cm base. It is fairly windy and temperatures are pretty cold with -10c recorded this morning at the top of Furano Ropeway.
Furano Zone is partially open with Furano Ropeway operating to upload and download skiers to and from the upper mountain. It is not possible to ski from the top to bottom of the mountain yet. The skiable lift is Downhill Romance no.2 chair and the skiable courses are the upper part of Sailer and Spies Course, and Shirakaba Course. Restaurant Downhill is open.
It has been a bit of a wet start to the day here in town - though we can see some snow on the mountains again through the clearings in the clouds.
Kagura is still on standby and waiting to open when there is enough snow, and the forecast is looking like we should be getting some snow over the coming days on the mountains. We'll have to wait and see how much.
It is about 4 degrees here in town this morning and tomorrow should be about the same.
I have added the planned ski resort opening dates below. These are all planned dates of course and may need to change due to snowfall and weather conditions. There's a few smaller ski hills missing from the list as yet, and we'll keep out for information and update when we. You may also notice one new name in there... Muikamachi Ski Resort has this season appeared with a new name - Muica Snow Resort.
Planned opening dates for resorts in Yuzawa Town and Minamiuonuma City (by date):
As soon as there is enough snow: Kagura (Mitsumata)
Greetings from here in Zao Onsen where we have some snow to report. Not a huge amount, just 1cm here at base and so hopefully a good bit more higher up.
You may have noticed on the new yesterday that there was an strong earthquake off the east costs of Fukushima yesterday morning. We felt it pretty strong here as well, a shindo 4 on the Japanese scale. Let's hope that's the last time for a long time, I can do without that feeling!
Anyway back to the happy subject of snowfall once again. The forecast for the coming week is looking mixed - there's chances of snowfall on and off but nothing major by the looks. Zao Onsen doesn't tend to give an 'opening date', rather something more like 'early December'. I'm sure that once enough snow does actually fall here, the lifts will start moving.
Not long now. Keep your eyes on the forecast, and I'll be back in a few days... Read more ...
Wednesday 23rd November 2016, 10:18am
Mostly cloudy, snow on the mountains
Snow is falling on the mountains this morning, and fairly close to base too. While I can't see much of it from down here with a lot of low cloud hanging around, the webcams are showing white slopes and a few cm so far. Light snow is trying to fall down here at village level, but it is wet and not sticking at all. Gambare!
The forecast for the coming week shows some promise with the chance of snowfall on most days, particularly at higher elevations.
Different forecasts tell different stories and early-early season is often hard to read, so we should just sit back and anticipate some decent snowfall. Patience, patience!
For those of you who are just tuning in for the first time this season, welcome to the new look report pages. We all hope you like them.
There's a lot of things going on that is new, so I encourage you to take a look around and in particular to keep an eye on that brand new 'Snowfall Analysis' page. There's a big tab at the top of this report... go click on it. On that page there is lots of data from previous seasons and you can play around it. Very interesting, and it'll be fun to see how this season plays out. The data will be updated every day as I post my reports throughout the season.
There is a bit of ski resort news since my last report... Yanaba Snow Park is not going to be opening this season.
Yanaba is a smaller ski hill that is actually located by the side of Lake Aoki in Omachi city and just to the south of Hakuba village. Apparently, with the poor snowfall of last season Yanaba only managed to open for a total of about 40 days with less than 8,000 people actually using it. It may not be one of the major ski hills but it is always sad to hear these things.
Yanaba has had something of a troubled on-off run of seasons of late and there is no word as to what happens beyond the coming season, but I'll post any further news in a future report.
Perhaps a bumper season of heavy and consistent snowfall might help. Yes, please - we'll have some of that!
Below are the official planned season opening dates for the ski and snowboard resorts in the Hakuba region. There are all subject to change depending on what happens weather-wise:
Hakuba Happo-one: as soon as there is enough snow Hakuba 47: from late November Hakuba Goryu: from late November Tsugaike Kogen: from 28th November Hakuba Cortina: from 10th December Hakuba Iwatake Snow Field: from 16th December Hakuba Norikura Onsen: from mid December Hakuba Sanosaka: from mid December
Reports will be posted daily once the lifts get moving. Read more ...
Shiga Kogen Now!
Wednesday 23rd November 2016, 10:40am
Cloudy with snow at times
Hello from Shiga Kogen and it is a cold morning.
Rain last night turned into snow, and this morning it has been snowing here. Not huge amounts, but it is all going to count. As I write this it actually turning quite bright, but the forecast is for snow to continue and perhaps even some decent snowfall tonight into tomorrow. Fingers crossed.
Kumanoyu have said that they hope to be able to say when they will be able to open later on today.
I'll post a new report tomorrow with the news.
The section of Route 292 between Yokoteyama and Kusatsu in Gunma Prefecture is now closed for the winter season. Read more ...
Nozawa Onsen Now!
Wednesday 23rd November 2016, 10:58am
It was raining last night and earlier this morning but it is really trying hard to snow now even down here to village level. Nothing is sticking yet and it is all a bit wet at the moment, but there's definitely white stuff falling. And the forecast looks good for snow tonight. I hope to be able to report some fresh on the ground tomorrow morning.
Take a look at the images below - the first one is from the Yamabiko C course and the second one from the Paradise course area... both showing snow on the ground, though just a think covering by the looks. The third image is from the base Hikage area where as you can see it's still looking very brown and green. Soon hopefully it'll all be white.
How do you like the way the reports look now? As well as a nice new clean look, there is a lots of data to take in. While we wait for the snow to fall, please take a good look at what is on the pages now. You can now very clearly compare seasonal data and get a good idea of how recent seasons have gone in terms of snowfall. All very interesting, I'm sure you'll agree. In case you did not notice, there is a completely new page to this report called 'Snowfall Analysis' - click on the big blue tab link towards the top of this page.
Nozawa Onsen hopes to be able to open for the season on Saturday 26th November 2016. Read more ...
Wednesday 23rd November 2016, 11:44am
Snow is falling
The second snowfall of the season!
Everywhere is looking white once again as we enjoy some more snowfall here in Madarao along with some nice cold conditions - and with more snowfall forecast over the next few days as well.
Madarao Kogen is one of the resorts that usually waits for a decent base and a set opening date in mid December to open up for the season. The official opening date for Madarao Kogen this season is Saturday 17th December. So hopefully, there will be a really good base building up by then... Read more ...