Snow and weather reports posted on Sunday 17th December 2017
Saturday 24th December 2016, 7:58am
OK, today we have good news: 20+ centimeters of snow (a little wet and heavy, but snow) and the fall keeps coming.
I measured 18 centimeters before starting the throwing of snow here and there, and another 3 after two hours of power-shoveling joy (at least I get to sit in a warm cabin, not trudge behind the snowthrower (beloved as it is). Some days will need both if we get a genuine, snow-pounded Myoko ski season.
I can't understand some of the reports today: Suginohara, which closed yesterday due to low snow and high winds, is reporting 40cm in part of the report, then 15cm and 20 cm for the base and top, respectively (which I guess means new snow, not total, although that's actually what it says in Japanese). Well, everybody's got fresh new snow and it's coming down very nicely, so no complaints.... Actually, as I write the pace has picked up a bit, so we could see an extra couple of centimeters per hour.
And all the resorts are open as of today! Your Christmas Eve present.
Good morning to you all and Merry Christmas! Having lived in Japan for so long, I sometimes get confused into thinking that 24th December is 'Christmas' - so why not let's just celebrate both today and tomorrow. Hurray!
OK, so what do we have going on this weekend and what is Santa bringing us...
First of all, fresh snow on the ground at base. I have measured 11cm but it is one of those days where it is rather difficult to put a representative number on it because of the winds. (I realise that some people are probably going to have issues with my number, but I've got to go through the season with consistency so it is the number on my report today). As you can see on the Avalanche Report below, it is reporting very large amounts of snow in places on the mountain. Keep it all in mind.
So yes it was full-on wild blizzard weather yesterday here on Hokkaido. Similarly to how it was a couple of weeks ago, Sapporo region got a shed load of snowfall as well. That snow will be good ground work for the Sapporo Snow Festival for sure, but it caused problems over there. The weather conditions were bad enough to close the airport and make road conditions pretty hairy.
Here in Niseko the pesky rain in the morning changed into snow around lunchtime and from the afternoon the winds got themselves whipped up into a frenzy with the snow that was falling getting blown about. On a day like today take extra care out there with much deeper wind-blown snow drifts out there in places. Wrap up well too, it's going to be cold.
The earlier snow this morning has eased off for now and there's even a bit of blue sky in places as the time approaches 8:30am. Stronger winds on the mountain are still affecting some higher lifts at the start of the day today with my updates on that situation below.
It is of course Christmas weekend with New Year now just around the corner. Niseko is lively and in party mode and there are more people here who are going to be less tolerant of accepting any kind of 'early-season' excuses for snow conditions less than perfect... we're kind of out of that zone now. People are expecting. Let's hope Niseko delivers - I am confident it will! I'm off out now to go check things out for myself.
Have a fun day everyone.
Visit the SnowJapan Facebook page for details on how to enter the current special tour Giveaway on SnowJapan.com. Good luck to you all and thank you for all of the comments sent in so far.
Niseko Avalanche Report:
Niseko base 6am: -8℃, large development of snowdrifts, up to 80cm snowfall in past 12hours. Coastal data: Kamui cape E4m/s, 1016hPa, 3.0m waves. Moiwa 850m: -10℃, N6m/s, 100cm snowdrifts. Annupuri 1150m: -13℃, N20m/s, snowdrifts so deep that snowcats have difficulties grooming the course.
A strong northerly wind is persisting above 1000m elevation, making snowdrifts continue to develop. The wind at the base has dropped early morning and light crystal snow is falling. Huge snowdrifts have developed overnight and is sitting on top of Dec 23rd layer. 80cm thick slides have been observed in 800m leeward cornice slopes. According to the observations and weather transition, the avalanche risk is very high this morning.
The stabilization of snowdrifts in leeward slopes above 800m is delayed.
Avalanches are natural phenomenon that occur when conditions align. Snowfall or snowpack amount is not the essential factor. Many of the avalanche accidents occur during and just after storms. The snowpack will stabilize after a day, better stay inbounds and enjoy the snow in and around the courses. Please respect the Rules.
Resort specific opening news at time of writing (subject to change during the day):
The mountain is not yet fully open with top lifts at three of the main resorts not yet operating.
Niseko Grand Hirafu Top Ace Number 4 and King Number 4 lifts not yet operating. The King Number 3 lift is on hold at the start of the day due to wind conditions.
Niseko HANAZONO Resort All lifts generally open. However, the top Number 3 lift is on hold at the start of the day.
Niseko Village Top Wonderland lift not yet operating. The Niseko Gondola is on hold at the start of the day due to wind conditions.
Niseko Annupuri Top Jumbo Number 4 lift not yet operating. Otherwise, open as planned.
Official resort snow depths as of Saturday 24th December 2016:
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 ...
Saturday 24th December 2016, 8:47am
Fresh snow for Christmas, yey!
Good morning from Hakuba and things are looking much better this morning.
Here's how much fresh snow resorts are reporting this morning:
Hakuba 47: 10-15cm at base; 25cm higher up Hakuba Happo-one: 20cm Hakuba Cortina: 17-35cm Hakuba Goryu: up to 30cm on upper slopes
That sounds much more like it doesn't it. :)
Cortina is back open, runs that had been closed are back open... and things just seem a lot more sane and 'real world'! Phew.
I have updated the resort specific information below (as I do every day, so always keep an eye on for the latest details).
The snow might ease off sometime during the day today and then we are expecting fine weather tomorrow, with a return to snow around Tuesday. (I'm trying to ignore the chance of rain before snow, perhaps we can will it not to happen).
We still need a lot more snow of course, but for the moment it is time to get the gear on and enjoy todays delivery of fresh.
Have a fun Christmas Eve, wherever you are.
Resort news as of 8:45am on Saturday 24th 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 20-25cm 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 7 (Route 3 and 8 are back open). The Tree Riding Zone is not yet open. Official snow depth Line C Upper: 90cm Base: 20cm
Hakuba Goryu: Hakuba Goryu is currently part open. The resort is reporting up to 30cm of fresh snowfall on upper slopes. 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, 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: 110cm Toomi: 30cm Iimori: 20cm
Hakuba Happo-one: Hakuba Happo-one is currently part open. Lift & course info: The Gondola, Alpen quad, Panorama pair, Kokusai Number 1, Kokusai Number 3 and Kurobishi Number 2 quad lifts are operating. Downloading via Gondola or Kokusai Number 1 pair lift required. The following courses are open: - Kurobishi (part) - Usagidaira - Panorama Official snow depth: Usagidaira: 80cm Kurobishi: 60cm
Tsugaike Kogen: Tsugaike Kogen is currently part open. Lift info: The Eve Gondola and the top Han-no-ki pair lift and Tsuga Number 2 pair lift are operating. The following courses are open: - Han-no-ki - Tsuga-no-mori Official snow depth: Tsuga-no-mori: 100cm Han-no-ki: 100cm Oya-no-hara: -cm Kane-no-naru-oka: -cm
Hakuba Cortina: Hakuba Cortina is currently part open. The resort is reporting 17-35cm of fresh snowfall. Lift info: The Number 1 pair lift, Number 2 quad and Number 4 pair lifts are operating. The following courses are at least part open: - Ikenoda - Mt Hieda Rinkan - Mt Hieda 1 - Itadaria - Ipponmatsu Official snow depth: Top: 90cm Base: 60cm
Hakuba Iwatake Snow Field: Hakuba Iwatake Snow Field is currently part open. Lift info: The Gondola, 3-sen North and 4-sen East lifts are operating. The following courses are at least part open: - East - North Official snow depth: Top: 50cm Base: -cm
Kashimayari: Kashimayari is currently part open. Lift info: The Number 1 quad, Number 2 pair, Number 3 quad and Number 6 quad lifts are operating. Official snow depth: Top: 30cm
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: 30cm
Please note that Yanaba ski hill will not be opening for the 2016-2017 season Read more ...
Nozawa Onsen Now!
Saturday 24th December 2016, 8:54am
Ah yes, we like to see snow falling.
It's not the driest and fluffiest variety of snow, but it sure is better than rain and so a big improvement on yesterday.
There is the best part of 10cm of fresh snow on the ground at base level this morning and 25cm of fresh being reported by the resort up top.
Lower courses are not yet able to re-open but they will surely do so just as soon as there's enough snow.
Tomorrow the forecast tells us to expect clearer skies and sunshine. Look for the next snow (after today) to be falling around Tuesday.
Fingers crossed we can get a fairly decent amount out of today. Conditions should be fun up there on that there mountain. I'm going to go and check for myself.
Saturday 24th December 2016
Lifts that are planned to be operating: All lifts operating except for: - 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: 25cm - Uenotaira: 15cm - Hikage: 11cm - Nagasaka: 11cm - Karasawa: 11cm Read more ...
Saturday 24th December 2016, 8:59am
Morning from Yuzawa.
It is good to see snow falling as I write this report.
Last night it was still raining here in town though during the day at higher elevations it had been snowing - hearing some positive reports from Kagura. They are this morning reporting up to 20cm of fresh snow since yesterday and Maiko Snow Resort closer to town are reporting 10cm on the upper area that is open. Lower down in town it is just a small amount but like I said it is snowing now so we are hoping for some cm today. It isn't mid-winter full on snowing though so not too sure how hopeful we can be.
Tomorrow clearer skies are forecast and perhaps a fine and sunny day. Thankfully, even if it is fairly mild it shouldn't be like it was in the past week. Keep an eye on the forecast link above for the latest.
Ishiuchi Maruyama and Yuzawa Park remain closed today as we await more snowfall.
Resort-specific info as of Saturday 24th December 2016
GALA Yuzawa GALA Yuzawa is part open. 9 courses in the Central and North areas open in total. Official snow depth: 80cm
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 3 courses open. Official snow depth: 40cm
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: 60cm
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 - 60cm Base - cm
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 2 courses and lifts 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 - 80cm Base - 10cm
Yuzawa Park Yuzawa Park is closed due to the snow situation. Official snow depth: -cm
Yuzawa Nakazato Yuzawa Nakazato is part open. The Number 2 pair lift is operating. Official snow depth: 30cm
'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 ...
Saturday 24th December 2016, 9:01am
Sweet glorious snow falling here at Tenjindaira overnight and continuing today.
The base is back to 1m and temps have dropped.
More snow forecast for today and hopefully this keeps on coming.
Quality wise the snow is average for this part of the World.
Supposed to be clear tomorrow and snowing again by Wednesday (though a chance of rain before that at lower elevations).
Official snow depths:
100cm Tenjin 50cm Hodaigi 15cm Okutone
Resorts in Minakami (forecasts available from each page):
There is quite a lot of low level cloud/mist around today.
Good news everybody!
As of around 1300 yesterday we have received almost non stop snow. Over night this has built up to a total of 19cm.
Conditions are fairly fierce out there with fairly strong wind and low visibility due to fog.
Caution is definitely advised today as although we have a fair amount of snow on the ground we don't really have all that much base in certain places. The areas which do have a good amount of base are all clearly marked with poles.
Looking at the weather forecast things generally look pretty good. Some rain is predicted on Monday but this should turn to snow by Tuesday so shouldn't pose too much of a problem. Read more ...
Shiga Kogen Now!
Saturday 24th December 2016, 9:08am
A very good Christmas Eve morning to you all, and I have good news.
A good thick layer of fresh snow has arrived in Shiga Kogen. I measure 32cm. Nice. Perhaps not mid-season fluffy light dry powder, but pretty decent all the same and the amount is important too at this still-early stage of the season. And snow is forecast for the day, so here's to more cm.
More runs and lifts open this morning, though still not fully open or fully connected. If we get a bit more today, perhaps tomorrow we'll see even more open.
Tomorrow the forecast seems to be calling for clear and sunny skies, so it should be an excellent day to be on the slopes. Hopefully if Santa clears his workload, he might be able to get out on the skis or board too. I wonder what his preferred mode of snow riding is....
Beyond tomorrow the forecast is looking pretty good for decent snow around Tuesday and Wednesday as well.
That all sounds good to me.
Areas of Shiga Kogen currently open and official snow depths:
8cm of fresh snow at base to report this morning. It fell last night and temperatures were low and so it's a good quality light snow.
The lower part of the Rainbow 3500 course and Basil course are open once again from this morning with 3500 meters length in total now available.
According to the forecast, the next snowfall will be on around 27th Tuesday. I'm cautiously optimistic looking at the forecast for the coming week, even if there doesn't seem to be any huge prolonged dump of snow on the short term horizon. We'll have to make do with hopefully regular small installments!
Snow park information: 6 meters down box and 6 meters wide box available.
Deco land (area for beginners and kids): The snow escalator are not in operation this weekend but the area is open for sledding (free).
Gondola Number 1 quad lift Number 2 quad lift
[A-a] Rainbow 3500 [A-b] Rainbow 3500 [A-c] Rainbow 3500 [B-c] Mint C [C] Center [D-b] Lavender B [E] Basil
Official snow depth: 60cm
Road condition to Grandeco: Inawashiro through Goshikinuma - no snow Goshikinuma through Grandeco - wet snow, snow tires are necessary Read more ...
Saturday 24th December 2016, 9:41am
Morning from Zao and just a light sprinkling of fresh snow to report.
Better than yesterday which was definitely one to forget, though we still of course need a lot more snow to really get things going properly for the season. If you check the forecast you'll see bits of snow falling here and there over the coming week though there doesn't appear to be anything major over the coming week. Hmmm...
In the meantime generally the upper areas of Zao Onsen is open with lower slopes and lifts on standby and waiting.
The current snow situation means that the planned light up for tonight has been cancelled (as was last night).
>b>The following lifts are not operating: Astraea Number 3 pair Kurohime Number 1 quad Onsen Number 2 quad Onsen Number 3 parallel AB Onsen Number 4 quad Zao Kokutai pair Ryuzan pair Karamatsu pair Sunrise pair AB Nakamori Number 1 triple Nakamori Number 2 pair Zao Paradise Number 3 pair Yokokura Number 1 pair A Yokokura Number 2 Astraea Number 1 pair Astraea Number 2 pair Omori quad
Official snow depths: Chuo - 50cm Utopia - 35cm Uwanodai - 15cm Paradise - 40cm
Juhyo 'Ice Monsters' Light Up night time Zao Ropeway operations
December 2016: 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 ...
Saturday 24th December 2016, 10:29am
Blue sky and sun
Wow a perfect morning with great news. There has been an additional 14cm of fresh snow since yesterday. All lifts are operating except the Kitanomine Gondola. More of Kitanomine has been opened up except the terrain that can only be accessed by the Gondola. No wind, blue sky, sunshine and fresh snow will make a great day. With all that fresh snow out there it will be a great powder day. Enjoy! Read more ...
Appi Kogen Now!
Saturday 24th December 2016, 10:52am
Hello from Appi,
We did get snow last night, albeit less than we anticipated. Roughly 10cm of fresh powder to add to our meagre base. Two runs are now open for the weekend and as of now are in good shape overall. They are groomed but anticipate them to be a little “worn” by noon.
As far as the forecast goes it’s looking quite promising with snowfall every day till New Year. Obviously some days bringing more fun white powder than others.Thank goodness the temperatures will stay low and help keep what we get here.
Come and join us for the weekend and bring some warm clothes…it’s kind of chilly.