Snow and weather reports posted on Thursday 14th December 2017
Friday 25th November 2016, 7:58am
Blue sky, sun, bit of cloud
An early update this morning as there is some big news... Kagura is going to open today, officially starting the snow season here in Yuzawa.
So what exactly is going to be open? Here's what the resort is saying:
A 600m section of the main run at Kagura will be open. The course is 30-50m in width and the natural snow has been helped on by snow making machines giving what the resort reports as 50cm snow depth.
Operating lifts are Mitsumata Ropeway, Mitsumata Number 1 quad, Mitsumata Number 2 romance pair, Kagura Gondola and Kagura Number 1 romance pair lift. All but the last one are basically operating to get you over to the course that is open. The lifts can be used to get back down as well, which means that there is no shuttle bus needed this year. The Mitsumata Ropeway plans to be operating from 8am until 5pm, with the last one going up at 4:30pm.
So there we have it. It's very limited of course, but if you want to get skiing or boarding in Yuzawa... you can.
What's more, it's a lovely morning here with the sun shining and some fine blue skies.
Down here in town most of the snow that fell yesterday has now gone - or will be gone soon - and today and tomorrow temperatures will probably rise close to 10 degrees during the daytime. There's not a whole lot of snow on the forecast for the coming week, even higher up, but we'll keep an eye on that and the forecast as we move forward ever closer to December.
Ski resorts currently open: Kagura via Mitsumata Ropeway - a 600m long run is now open at the main Kagura area
Planned opening dates for resorts in Yuzawa Town and Minamiuonuma City (by date):
With a bit of blue sky above me as I write, I have some opening news for the Niseko Grand Hirafu and Niseko Annupuri resort areas.
Niseko Grand Hirafu will be opening for the season tomorrow morning. They plan to have the Ace Number 3 lift operating, from 8:30am until 3:10pm. The Ace Number 2 Center Four lift will also be operating to take excited people up to the open area... that open area being the Center Course. Special lift ticket prices of 2,000 yen for adults and 1,000 yen for children and seniors applies from tomorrow until 30th November.
Niseko Annupuri will also be opening from tomorrow. They plan to have the Jumbo Number 3 lift and the Gondola operating, the latter also just operating to get people up to the open area... that open area being the Utopia Course. The first gondola will start at 8:30am. Charges are 2,100 yen for adults and seniors and 1,300 yen for elementary school age children.
ORIGINAL MORNING REPORT (all report data remains as per the original report time)
It is a very good morning to you from here in Niseko.
Oh yes, there is a very nice amount of fresh snowfall to report to you in this report. 25cm of it according to my hi-tech measuring stick. These are the kind of numbers that I like, as I am sure you do too. (Actually, coming to think of it I prefer 50cm... but 25cm will certainly do!)
The cold conditions are continuing and it is still snowing lightly now as I write this, but it's expected to ease off late on and be slightly warmer with less chance of snow tomorrow.
We will have to see if there is enough snow for the ski lifts at Niseko Grand Hirafu and Niseko Annupuri to start moving from tomorrow - as of yet, there is no news from either resort. No doubt there are meetings going on now discussing that very thing...
The folk at SnowJapan tell me that the access numbers are rapidly increasing day-by-day, and so if this is your first time here this season - hi, and welcome back if you have used Niseko Now before now. You'll notice a fresh new look and lots of new season comparison data.
May I bring to your attention those big blue buttons at the top of this report that say 'Snowfall Analysis' and '6-Day Forecast' - and also all of the archive reports too which are linked to at the bottom of the pages.
The planned dates for the four main Niseko United ski 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 ...
Nozawa Onsen Now!
Friday 25th November 2016, 8:48am
Mix of mostly low cloud and blue sky
It is a fine morning here in Nozawa Onsen, but that's not really what I wanted to be reporting.
There's some blue sky and sunshine on the top of the mountain along with a selection of cloud - more low cloud than high - and it feels like it is going to turn into a fine morning. Not a huge amount of snow up on the top slopes of the resort, which means that an opening tomorrow is looking unlikely unless we can get something good going tonight. But there is no official news coming from the resort yet.
The forecast shows some promise of some snow in the coming week especially at higher elevations but we may well get rained on down here in the village.
Keep an eye on the forecast and I will post a report tomorrow morning with the latest. Read more ...
Friday 25th November 2016, 9:22am
Good morning from Hakuba.
After that first snowfall of the season in village areas yesterday, this morning we are starting the day with a mix of cloud and a fair bit of blue sky as well, with the sun peeking out from behind clouds in places. No new snowfall to report but it was a frosty start to the day earlier on. It is currently around 2C here in the village and probably will not warm up much above that during the day.
Tomorrow sunshine is expected, particularly in the morning, and it will probably be a bit warmer as well. There is a possible return to snowfall on the mountains around Sunday, though it will probably mean rain down here in the village.
There's no news from the resorts around the village at the moment and as we get into the weekend four resorts are on standby to open basically as soon as there is enough snow - Hakuba Happo-one, Hakuba 47, Hakuba Goryu and Tsugaike Kogen.
It is a case of waiting for the snowfall.
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 late 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!
Friday 25th November 2016, 9:34am
Mostly clear blue skies and sun
The sun is out and there are beautiful blue skies above us; and it is keeping cold. There might be some snowfall tonight but slightly warmer conditions expected over the weekend before a return to snowy clouds around Monday.
Sometimes I wonder why more detailed official information isn't available for Shiga Kogen - and I don't mean just in English but in Japanese too. This season officially the 'pre-open' of Shiga Kogen was set for 19th November, the 'opening festival' on 3rd December and the 'grand opening' on 23rd December. There's scarce information available explaining exactly what all of those mean though. 19th November was the planned opening date for Kumanoyu but of course they were able to open yesterday. I think that the 'grand opening' refers to the date when each individual area of Shiga Kogen plans to be open. I have been trying to find a list of planned opening dates for each area, but without any success... will post when I have that information.
Areas of Shiga Kogen currently open:
A 600m long run at Kumanoyu area, serviced by one pair lift. Read more ...
Friday 25th November 2016, 9:38am
It is a nice day in Furano with mostly clear skies and the sun coming down onto the slopes. The temperatures coninue to be very cold for this time of year with -10c recorded at the top of the resort and the village only a couple of degrees warmer. Although we are getting light snow it is not accumulating to much at village level as it is more of a snow flurry. On the mountain itself where the skiing is there is a few centimetres of accumulation.
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.
Just a quick note here, as a light dusting of snow is melting under a good strong late-fall sun (not calling it winter until we're covered!).
We had a good hard frost overnight as well, so things are all moving in the right direction.
I got an interesting note from our editor about the out-of-date information from local ski areas - some even two years old. Here is my official request that they get things going in English! But, I guess when you have world-class snow, you don't have to worry about people coming (and they are doing some good things on the slopes to make things better for all sliders).
And another 2cm of fresh snowfall to add to the report today.
It has been a cold morning as well. Surely the coldest morning of the season I would say, with the temperature a few under zero early on.
There is not enough snow yet for any lifts to contemplate moving but I am hearing that something will open up just as soon as there is enough.
Unfortunately right now the forecast isn't promising too much in terms of snowfall even higher up - it's probably going to be sunny tomorrow and warm up a bit over the weekend as well - so we will need to remain patient for a while longer. Read more ...