Snow and weather reports posted on Saturday 24th March 2018
Thursday 24th December 2015, 7:48am
A little sun peeking through here and there, but mostly cloudy
I was reminded by our dear editor that I have not been getting my reports up— but to tell you the truth, the conditions have been so bad that I was really treating things as though we are still pre-season.
I do give Akakura Onsen credit for valiant trying to allow skiing on 18cm of snow, something we never heard of before. But even they are warning that the weather is terrible and grass is starting to show through. Kyukamura did open yesterday, but, again, things are far below "marginal." And Madarao has closed down again as well.
The snow will come! But until it does, and as big a Myoko area booster as I am, you're going to have more fun doing something else in the meantime. I will write something tomorrow. Maybe about the fishing opportunities of our fine region....
Good morning, and things remain generally a bit wet this morning with temperatures somewhere about the same as well... dropping to about 5C overnight and a high of about 10C expected today. Hopefully it might clear up a bit like it did yesterday for a while and indeed cloud is the forecast for the day.
So is tomorrow the start of the snow? We're still hoping. There may be some more rain to get through before it turns to snow but later in the day all being well snow will be falling down to town. And that will be the start of a run of a few days of snow.
Kagura remains the biggest skiable area open with both the Ropeways open and the connecting courses as well. Please note that the Dragondola connecting Kagura with Naeba is not yet open with only limited parts of Naeba open at the moment.
If you look back at the report archives you will remember the incredible snowfall that we enjoyed last year in December - 559cm of it, here in town! The year before the same number for December was 131cm of snowfall during the month. This month so far we are on a pretty sad sounding 19cm. There's a lot of catching up to do. It's important to note of course that last year was something of a 'special' December and so far this month is proving to be 'special' on the other end of the stick.
Resorts that are now at least part open (Thursday 24th December 2015) - subject to change:
Kagura Most of Kagura is now open. Both Ropeways (Mitsumata and Tashiro) are open and you can ski or snowboard from one to the other. The only areas now closed at Kagura seem to be the very top pair lift, one of the main Mitsumata slopes and the Mitsumata downhill course back to base.
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 part of the Entertainment courses in the main Central Area are 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:
Santa is apparently going to be out on the slopes of Nozawa Onsen today. I wonder what language he speaks? I reckon I know what everyone will be asking him for. Hint: it's white and preferably fluffy.
A bit more rain overnight and a somewhat misty start to the day but the skies might clear up a bit during the day.
Tomorrow is still scheduled to be the start of the snowfall. I almost don't want to get excited about it just in case there isn't as much as we all hope for. But it is still forecast to be snowing from tomorrow (perhaps starting as rain in lower levels before turning into snow) and continuing through the weekend.
Nozawa Onsen remains open as it has been the last few days.
- 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
Hello and it is a calm Christmas Eve morning here in Niseko.
I'm not sure that later on tonight things might be called 'calm'; well considering the festivities that will be happening. Be good everyone!
Anyway, back to the weather. There has been no new cm of snow overnight. There was a tiny bit of snow yesterday later on in the day apparently - I missed it! - but nothing came of it in the end.
Generally a fine day yesterday and it's a fine start to this morning as well. It felt pretty cold overnight I thought but it's going to be another mild day today during the daytime with a high of about 5C expected.
Santa and his trusted reindeer, snow monkeys and kamoshika may well be on the slopes today but by tonight the good man should be packing the snow and starting to unleash it over the region. Let's hope he got our order specifications right and they weren't too vague ('ridiculous amount of snow please').
The little snowmen on the forecast for the coming week are all lined up - check.
It's going to get very cold especially as we enter the weekend - check.
Might get windy? Yes, but we don't care - we just need the snow.
See you tomorrow morning with the latest.
Here's what Niseko Grand Hirafu have said on the subject:
"Wireless drones (including some wired drones) have become increasingly popular recently. The use of drones in Niseko Grand HIRAFU is prohibited, excluding cases where permission has been granted explicitly. This includes ski areas, lifts, and other facilities, as well as the airspace and surrounding areas, as well as areas in which drone operation may have undesired consequences.
Many skiers and people in general use the ski areas and facilities, and since the drones are relatively heavy and have a moving rotor, there is a risk of collision and significant injury. In order to avoid collisions between drones and people due to, for example, sudden winds, transmission problems, malfunctions and operator error, and other reasons, drone flights are prohibited."
No unauthorised flying!
Niseko Avalanche Report:
Niseko base 6.00am: -1°C, no new snowfall, calm. Elevation 1000m: -3ºC, SW3m/s, trace new snow. Coastal data: Benkei Cape: S2m/s. Kamui Cape SW7m/s, 1017hPa, wave 0.7m.
No significant snowfall and the seas are calm. A small low pressure system over the Japan Sea is blocking the high pressure from the west. The current repetitive conditions of warm days and cool nights has made the ski runs below 600m hard, but above 600m the runs are in better condition. Off piste, bamboo and small trees are still completely exposed. Take care, we have had these conditions in the past and accidents still happen.
Note: Be careful off runaway skiis, there are also many other dangers waiting in the mountains. Dont drink too much. Due to the lack of snow, we still cant open gates to out off bounds riding.
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 - 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 Thursday 24th December 2015:
Unfortunately, Grandeco endured heavy rainfall from yesterday evening and through the night.
This morning the rain has cleared and it is now sunny. Feels and looks good but hopefully it won't warm up too much during the day.
Because of the rain overnight it's wet snow conditions this morning - almost like spring season! 50% of the slopes at the resort are open and are good for beginners to intermediates. 3000m in length of course is open.
Looking ahead to Christmas Day, things are definitely going to be improving. Temperatures are set to drop tomorrow and snow is due to be falling. Snow and perhaps strong winds at times is the forecast for over the weekend and we can expect it to get very cold as well especially on Sunday.
Sounds like it's going to be a mid-winter weekend. Here's hoping for lots of 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 ...
Thursday 24th December 2015, 8:44am
Today there is a moderate amount of cloud cover at around 1200 metres meaning the base area is completely clear but the Takanokodaira beginner area will be in the clouds.
Good morning everybody and I hope your all having a pleasant Christmas eve so far.
Today conditions are warm already and expected to get a little warmer as the day goes on. So make sure you've packed your swimming shorts.
The weather forecast for the next few days however is still looking good with light snow expected tomorrow and heavy snow expected on Saturday and hopefully into Sunday too. Should be getting much colder too.
The official snow depth of 35 cm is still unfortunately only for the man made ski pistes in front of the prince hotel. Off to the side of these pistes is still not really ridable.
Up the top of Gondola No.2 is where the best snow on the mountain can be found. The Takanokodaira beginner area is 100 percent natural snow.
Morning from Hakuba and.... ho ho ho, it's Christmas Eve. Can you believe that, already? Soon it'll be New Year and then we'll be getting on for approaching what should be peak season. The mind boggles.
Generally it was a fairly cloudy day yesterday. Mostly cloudy with a few very small patches of blue sky to see here and there from time to time. But mostly cloudy. And then some rain later on. :(
I've just about had my fill of writing about rain and mild conditions this season already. PLEASE start snowing! Sorry, let me regain my composure...
It's cloudy this morning again, and mild again. There are some pretty cool looking low clouds hanging over the village and surrounding mountains as well early on. It looks like higher up on the slopes there are areas of poor visibility.
Hakuba 47 are having to cut back a bit again today due to the lack of fresh snow and uncooperative weather conditions. As far as I can tell other resort operations are as they were this morning.
So, the snowfall that we are all waiting for. It is still due to start tonight (higher up) and tomorrow, and as we get into the weekend snow and a real proper winter-like drop in temperatures is expected.
Friday to Sunday are going to be really important days. Let's hope that they deliver!
Resort news as of 8:50am on Thursday 24th December (all subject to change due to weather conditions)
Hakuba 47: Hakuba 47 is reporting 0cm of new snowfall. Upper Route 1, Route 2, Route 4, Route 5, and upper Route 8 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, Grand Prix and Super 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 2/4 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. The Gondola is operating to take skiers and boarders there and back. 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: 77cm Maruyama: -cm
Kashimayari: Course 2 is open Planned lifts: Number 2 pair lift
Here we are, on Christmas Eve, waiting for a decent snowfall to arrive and get the whole of the mountain open.
It was on the national news last night about pretty much all of Japan has had less snow than usual this month and there are only limited ski resorts able to open so far. A read through all of the Now reports here on SnowJapan as well tells a similar story. It looks like the lack of snow is a problem all round this season, so we should in some ways be happy that Zao is at least part open. Still, we want everywhere to be open with more snow than we can play in!
This morning there's no fresh snow to report; rather it's another mild morning here. No wind and an overcast kind of start though I see visibility limited in some on-mountain areas.
Snow conditions are as you might expect them to be without a refresh for a while and not a huge amount in the first place.
Snow may be falling tomorrow and then we hope sticking around over the weekend. Temperatures should also be plummeting (good word that) approaching and entering the weekend so it might start feeling mid-winter again.
If you are planning to be here over the weekend be prepared for cold, wind and snow.
Information as of Thursday 24th December 15 (subject to change)
Lifts that are planned to be operating at Zao Onsen:
- 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 - Diamond Number 1 pair - Zao Paradise pair AB - Shobunuma Number 1 triple - Shobunuma Number 2 pair - Utopia Number 2 pair
It's a mild start to Christmas Eve here in Shiga Kogen.
There's no new fresh snow to report and temperatures in positive numbers. Last night we had some wet sleet falling at one point.
OK so it's a mild morning but things are due to change very soon. Tomorrow should be much colder and the weekend colder still. More importantly is that snow is due to be falling from the sky perhaps starting tonight and then we all hope continuing through the weekend.
It should be a mid-winter feel to the weekend so come prepared. Expect lifts are resorts to open as soon as they possibly can, so it might be a weekend of a lot of action and change. I recommend you look at the resort official information for the latest if you plan on being here.
Santa Claus can be spotted out on the slopes today. Don't be fooled by other ski resorts claiming that he's skiing on their slopes... the real one is here in Shiga Kogen! :)
Resort operations (Thursday 24th December) - subject to change
The following resort areas of Shiga Kogen are part open. Snow and courses that are open remain limited as wait for more snowfall.
Bunadaira Ichinose Diamond Ichinose Family Kumanoyu Okushiga Kogen Sun Valley Takamagahara Mammoth Yakebitaiyama Yokoteyama
All other ski areas of Shiga Kogen currently remain closed.
Madarao Kogen is not yet open. Tangram Ski Circus is not yet open. Read more ...
Thursday 24th December 2015, 12:59pm
Another bluebird stunner
Bluebird and gorgeous in Furano again.
Snow starts in earnest tomorrow. Forecast to sock in.
Not so cold today, about -10 on the resort and -7 in town.
Stunning! If you are skiing, the best run in my opinion is the one returning to Kitanomine. It's not steep but it's not discovered either. And because the runs leading into it aren't open yet, there is a lot of good fresh powder to be had if you go up the hill a bit on your way down... if I am making sense.
Photo 1 is Kitanomine Zone which is not open for skiing (just lifts to get you to the other zone) but should open soon.
Photo 2 is town from Kitanomine Zone. Tokachidake I love you. Read more ...