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Friday 25th December 2015, 7:39am
Gray and foggy at base level
I wish I had a nice big white present all spread out for you, dear reader.... But we got rain instead of snow. If only it were, oh, 10 degrees lower, we'd be seeing heavy snow instead of moderate and miserable rain. That's all I'm going to write to dampen your holiday cheer; hopefully that snow is coming soon.
Akakura Onsen says it's opening, but the base is down to 10cm. Well done, people; well done. I applaud your ambition.
...and hopefully it will be by the end of the day.
Rain falling overnight and it is raining this morning and remaining mild.
We were kind of expecting this rain though, so there's no need to overly worry just yet. It should be getting colder later on today with snow due to be falling sometime this afternoon. (Kagura say it is already snowing higher up there this morning and sleet being reported by Naeba early on).
There's huge debate as to how much snow we'll actually going to get over the next few days. Everyone is of course hoping for lots. The forecasts seems to agree snow later today and overnight, some on and off tomorrow and all day through Sunday - with Sunday due to be the coldest and most winter-like of the lot.
We're here now though so we are going to find out soon enough.
Snow Gods, onegai shimasu!
Resorts that are now at least part open (Friday 25th December 2015) - subject to change:
Kagura Almost all 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 are 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:
12 cm of snow fell overnight, it is still going and the forecast calls for snow all day. It looks like all those Christmas wishes for pow came true! Temperatures are between -3°C and -6°C with 25km/h winds. Visibility is limited due to the low clouds and snowfall.
Good morning from Niseko and ho ho ho, Merry Christmas!
Santa started his deliveries of snow last night with 7cm of it outside my place here at base this morning. He has promised much more.
It doesn't feel particularly cold this morning and the snow that has fallen isn't the lightest for sure, but later on today the temperatures are expected to drop further and it should be pretty cold tonight.
Most importantly, snow clouds are due to be over the region right into early next week and hopefully bring us lots of lovely fluffy snow. Cold temperatures into next week too so come prepared for the conditions.
That old friend of Niseko - 'Wind' - may well play a part this weekend as well with blizzard like conditions possible. We're ok for this morning though so a good time to go out and enjoy the modest new layer early on.
Snow conditions should be quickly improving by the day now if the forecast is right...
Have a fun day.
Niseko Avalanche Report:
Niseko base 6am: -1℃, flurries of wet crystal snow, 5cm in 12 hours, no development of snowdrifts. -3℃ and 90cm snowpack at Moiwa peak. Light snow and wind is continuing and snowdrifts are moderately developing. Coastal data: Benkei cape wind NNW11m/s, Kamui cape wind WNW6m/s, pressure 1006hPa, waves 0.6m.
A passing small low-pressure system made the wind shift westerly and brought some, relatively wet, but good snow. The groomers conditions is good in the morning, however sunlight is weak and visibility is poor. Beware of hitting obstacles.
The general avalanche risk is low except for steep 40+ grade slopes. Carefully follow the coming snowfall transition as the hazards may rise quickly.
Avalanche occurrence in Niseko is closely related to the rapidly growing snowdrifts that develop during storms.
Do not duck ropes to seek fresh tracks, it is against the Niseko Rules and all resort users are expected to respect them.
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 Friday 25th December 2015:
Good morning from Nozawa and Merry Christmas to everyone. We all wish it was a much whiter Christmas than it is so far, but...
It was rain again overnight and this morning too after a night that remained quite mild.
Temperatures are due to drop from now though and fingers crossed it will soon be snowing down here to base. The forecast is still looking positive for snow today, later tomorrow and through Sunday as well. Maybe into early week. :)
What we need of course is for a Nozawa-like blast of full-on winter to get everything into action. Will we get something like that? Let's see.
The resort is reporting 2cm of fresh on the upper Yamabiko runs this morning and somehow they are managing to open the Paradise course. Which means that there's literally 12km of course open up there now, so quite the area really.
All the best for Christmas and I hope to bring you good snow news tomorrow morning.
- 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 - Paradise - Kokenashi - Uenotaira - Bunabayashi
Resort news as of 8:30am on Friday 25th December (all subject to change due to weather conditions)
Hakuba 47: Hakuba 47 is reporting 0cm of new snowfall at base and a few cm higher up. 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: 65cm 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: 69cm Maruyama: -cm
Kashimayari: Course 2 is open Planned lifts: Number 2 pair lift
This morning it is raining here at base though thankfully some snow is falling higher up on the mountain.
Unstable weather conditions forecast for the day so the gondola and hooded quad lift will be your friends.
Looking to the forecast, it's supposed to get colder as the day progresses today. Cold overnight tonight and then hopefully some heavy snow later on Saturday.
50% of the slope areas remain open at Grandeco with the Gondola and two quads operating; operations same as yesterday.
The resorts around Inawashiro on the south side of Mt. Bandai remain closed due to the lack of snow still. Luckily in this Ura Bandai on this northern side we get more snowfall, though obviously want more!
Gondola Number 1 quad Number 2 quad
(A-a) Rainbow 3500 (A-b) Rainbow 3500 (B-c) Mint (C) Center (D-b) Lavender
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Friday 25th December 2015, 8:39am
Today we have fairly low level cloud covering from just above the base area.
Merry Christmas from Naeba everybody.
Good and bad news today. Fortunately the temperature has dropped sufficiently for snow to start falling today, unfortunately it's currently a mixture of snow and rain. Snain if you will. This is in a way good news though as it means that higher up the mountain we do have real snow falling.
As before the snow depth of 35 cm is only for the man made courses in front of the Prince Hotel. Off to the side of these courses is still currently not ridable.
Up at the top of the mountain the Takenokodaira beginner area is still where the best snow is to be found.
The weather forecast for the next few days is looking like we should have snow later on today and over the next couple of days with Saturday being the day with the biggest dump.
Good morning and a very merry Christmas to all readers of Shiga Kogen Now and SnowJapan.
It is a white Christmas. Not quite as white as we might have liked of course, but I do have a few cm of snow to report this morning - and the forecast is good for the next few days at least.
It was quite mild overnight actually (for Shiga Kogen of course!) but from early dawn that snow has been falling and fingers crossed it will continue as it is likely that it will get colder during the day today.
Rumours of Nishitateyama opening their Number 2 triple lift this morning, though other than that things seem to be the same as yesterday.
The situation will of course change quickly once we get some decent snowfall.
Looking forward to bringing you news tomorrow morning!
Have a fun Christmas Day wherever you are.
Resort operations (Friday 25th 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 Nishitatyama Okushiga Kogen Sun Valley Takamagahara Mammoth Yakebitaiyama Yokoteyama
All other ski areas of Shiga Kogen currently remain closed.
It's a mild (doh), cloudy and foggy morning in Zao.
No wind, but could it start snowing any time? Or will it rain a bit before it gets to snow? Looks like the Onsen Number 2 lift is not moving this morning, just not enough snow.
Temperatures are forecast to drop from this afternoon bringing with them snow... and then it's snow into next week. Could this be 'it'? I sure hope so.
Oh, and Merry Christmas!
Come on Santa, bring us some snow. We need it.
Information as of Friday 25th December 15 (subject to change)
Lifts that are planned to be operating at Zao Onsen:
- Sky Cable (gondola) - Zao Chuo Ropeway - Zao Ropeway - 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
Nice falls, more than 10cm in town, probably twice that up top. Kitanomine Gondola is the 10th and final lift to open and it is spinning today but not for passengers at this stage. Feels imminent. We will let you know. Warmish, about -3 in town, no wind. Fat stunning dry light glorious lovely floaty Central Hokkaido snow falling since I woke up at 6am.
Happy Chrimbo today if it's your bag, and if it isn't, happy winter solstice! If you're in the Southern Hemisphere, happy heatwave and stay safe if there are fires where you are. Read more ...