Snow and weather reports posted on Monday 1st May 2017
Thursday 27th April 2017, 7:50am
Lots of cloud but expected to clear up
Good morning from Yuzawa.
Yesterday the rain held off into the early afternoon, but by evening heavy rain was falling. Really heavy at times and I heard it overnight too but I'm happy to report that it is not raining now and while there's still a lot of cloud around it's quite bright... and sun is forecast.
Fine and sunny conditions are forecast for tomorrow and while it should be nice and comfortable, things aren't heating up just yet. Things have been known to get borderline hot during Golden Week - which is next week - but there's no real sign of that happening just yet.
Resort information as of Thursday 27th April 2017
Subject to change depending on snow and weather conditions.
GALA Yuzawa GALA Yuzawa plans to be open until Sunday 7th May. All of the Central Area courses and part of the North Area currently remain open. The sledding area is also open. The Falcon downhill course is now closed - use the Gondola to get back down to base. Official snow depth: 160cm
Kagura The Tashiro Area of Kagura plans to be open until Sunday 7th May. The Kagura Area (via Mitsumata Ropeway) plans to be open until Sunday 28th May. Almost all Kagura courses remain open. Closed courses according to official website are the Gondola East Course (at Tashiro) and the downhill course (back to Mitsumata car park). Official snow depth: Kagura - 280cm; Mitsumata - 210cm; Tashiro - 240cm
Kandatsu Kogen Kandatsu Kogen plans to be open until Sunday 7th May. Most courses at Kandatsu Kogen remain open - but snow is getting thin on the ground. Official snow depth: 120cm
Naeba Naeba is closed today but plans to re-open from 29th April until 7th May.
All other ski and snowboard resorts in the Yuzawa and Minamiuonuma region are now closed for the season. Read more ...
Thursday 27th April 2017, 8:12am
Cloud, blue sky
Good morning everyone.
It's a mix of cloud and blue sky this morning and that seems to be what the forecasts are predicting for today and tomorrow, some also mentioning the chance of some light rain. Temperatures of just under 10C are expected today, so it's keeping fairly chilly...
Lower slope areas are looking very bare now as the snow continues to retreat.
Ah, yes, Golden Week. That 'long holiday' in late April through into early May. But what exactly is it?
It's basically a bunch of national holidays and here is the line-up for this year:
- Saturday 29th April is Showa Day (the birthday of Emperor Showa) - Wednesday 3rd May is Constitution Day (Kenpo-kinenbi) - Thursday 4th May is Greenery Day (Midori-no-hi) - Friday 5th May is Children's Day (Kodomo-no-hi)
That means that from Wednesday next week until the end of the following weekend, there is a run of five days of holidays for many people. Add in the upcoming weekend and that's your 'Golden Week'. Some lucky folk might take next Monday and Tuesday off work as well, giving them a full 9 days. Nice!
Anyway, as well as the Niseko Grand Hirafu and Niseko Annupuri ski resort areas remaining open until Sunday 7th May, the Niseko Village part of the mountain will also be operating their Niseko Gondola from Saturday. Their Gondola will be operating but their ski courses will not be open - from the top of the Niseko Gondola, after a bit of a walk you can be skiing at the courses that remain open at the Niseko Grand Hirafu area. A lift ticket that is valid at all of the open resorts and ski lifts that are open over Golden Week is available and costs 3,800 yen for adults and 3,100 yen for children.
Individual resort information: Thursday 27th April 2017:
Planned openings. This info subject to change due to snow and weather conditions - any closings due to weather will be mentioned in the main report above.
Niseko Grand Hirafu Niseko Grand Hirafu plans to be open daily until Sunday 7th May. You need to get the Ace Number 2 Center Four quad lift back down to base.
Official snow depth: Top - 220cm Base - 0cm
Courses that remain open (checked daily with each report): Detour for beginners Shirakaba Center Large Rinkan Jumbo Dynamic
Planned operating lifts: Ace Number 2 Center Four (8:30am until 4:30pm) King Number 3 (8:40am until 4:30pm) King Number 4 (8:50am until 4:30pm) Gondola (8:30am until 4:30pm) ** open only from 29th April until 7th May **
Niseko Annupuri Niseko Annupuri plans to be open daily until Sunday 7th May.
Official snow depth: Top - 170cm Base - 10cm
Courses that remain open (checked daily with each report - no update this morning actually): Champion Shirakaba Utopia Paradise 'S' Ji Silver Family Junior
Planned operating lifts: Annupuri Gondola Jumbo Number 1 Jumbo Number 4
It was rainy conditions for lots of yesterday unfortunately, and there has been some inevitable damage to the remaining snow. Naughty rain! Still, there is a decent amount remaining higher up, so no need to panic. We should be good for Golden Week as planned.
This morning there is a lot of cloud around but clearer conditions are forecast for the day.
Sunny skies are expected tomorrow too though it's keeping fairly cool.
Resort information as of 8:30am on Thursday 27th April 2017:
** Below are the planned operations for each of the ski resorts that remain open. Any news for the day will be mentioned in the above report. **
Hakuba 47: All of the courses at Hakuba 47 remain open. Tree Riding Zone gates are now closed for the season. Official snow depth: Upper: 140cm Base: 65cm --- Planned operating lifts: All lifts plan to be operating --- Hakuba 47 plans to be open until Sunday 7th May.
Hakuba Goryu: Upper areas remain open. Champion Expert Course now closed. The lower (and now very narrow!) Toomi course is now used just to get back down to base. The Iimori area of the resort is closed. Official snow depth: Alps: 185cm Toomi: 55cm --- Planned operating lifts: Gondola Alps Number 1 pair lift Alps Number 3 pair lift --- Hakuba Goryu plans to be open until Sunday 7th May.
Hakuba Happo-one: Upper areas that remain open: Riesen Grat, Usagidaira, Kurobishi, Panorama and Skyline. All base areas are now closed - use the Gondola and Sakka Kita-one lifts to get up to the open areas and back down to base. Official snow depth: Usagidaira: 90cm Kurobishi: 130cm Nakiyama: -cm --- Planned operating lifts: Gondola Alpen quad lift Grat quad lift Panorama pair lift Kokusai Number 3 pair lift Kurobishi Number 2 quad lift Kurobishi Number 3 pair lift Skyline Number 2 pair lift Sakka Kitaone quad --- Hakuba Happo-one plans to be open until Sunday 7th May.
Tsugaike Kogen: Tsuga-no-mori, Han-no-ki and Maruyama areas remain open. Other areas (including base areas) now closed. Official snow depth: Tsuga-no-mori: 225cm Han-no-ki: 215cm Shirakaba: 190cm Base areas: 0cm --- Planned operating lifts: Tsugaike Ropeway Gondola Tsuga Number 2 pair lift Han-no-ki high speed pair lift --- Tsugaike Kogen plans to be open until Sunday 7th May.
All other ski and snowboard resorts in the area are now closed for the season. Read more ...
Nozawa Onsen Now!
Thursday 27th April 2017, 8:46am
Good morning from Nozawa Onsen.
There's lots of cloud this morning but thankfully the rain has eased off. Was pretty heavy at times yesterday. Is that even a dusting of snow I can see on the trees on the upper areas? It's certainly keeping pretty cold.
We might get to see some sunshine today if the forecasts are right, though it's not going to warm up much beyond 10 degrees even at base.
Planned lift opening times for the upcoming last part of the season have been updated - see below.
For the moment you can still ski back down to Isemiya near Hikage, but if you wish to get back up top you need to get a (free) bus over to the Gondola base station. Fresh, white, soft and deep is not how I would describe the conditions of the remaining snow near base at the moment, so you might well prefer to take the Gondola back down!
Nozawa Onsen will be open until Sunday 7th May.
11 days to go!
Upper slopes still with an official snow depth of over 2m.
Thursday 27th April 2017
Official snow depths: - Yamabiko: 220cm - Uenotaira: 135cm - Base areas: 0cm
Planned operations - see above report for any disruptions to the plans!
Planned lift operations today: - Nagasaka Gondola - Yamabiko Four - Yamabiko Number 2 Four
Planned open courses today: - Yamabiko A - Yamabiko C - Yamabiko D - Yamabiko E - Kokenashi - Uenotaira - Paradise - Bunabayashi - Rinkan
Planned lift operations for Golden Week (29th April - 7th May):
Nagasaka Gondola - 8:10am until 3:30pm Yamabiko Number 2 Four lift - 8:25am until 3:30pm Yamabiko Four lift - 8:30am until 3:20pm Uenotaira Four lift - 8:30am until 3:30pm Paradise Four lift - 8:30am until 3:40pm Skyline connecting pair - 8:25am until 3:50pm (** this lift not operating on 1st, 2nd May) Read more ...
Thursday 27th April 2017, 8:56am
Good morning from Zao.
The resort is still doing it's best to remain open and for now the courses available are the top Zangezaka Juhyogen, Chuo and Utopia courses.
Snow is getting thinner on the ground in even the remaining open areas now - and has all but disappeared from most base areas.
Skiing and snowboarding on the current full-on spring snow conditions is perhaps an acquired taste and not for everyone. But I say it's most definitely better than being stuck in an office! And a good workout for the knees and thighs to boot.
Golden Week is almost with us - starting from Saturday - and so we enter that final stretch of the season. It looks like there's a mix of weather conditions forecast - do keep your eye on the forecast page.
I'll post my next update early next week.
Zao Onsen plans to be open daily until Sunday 7th May.
Official snow depths (as published by the resort): Summit - 65cm Paradise - 60cm Chuo - 60cm Utopia - 75cm Uwanodai - 15cm Yokokura - 0cm
Planned closing dates for lifts at Zao Onsen - subject to change due to snow conditions:
Operating until Sunday 7th May: - Chuo Number 1 pair AB - Chuo Number 2 pair AB (** only on holidays **) - Utopia Number 2 pair
Open all year (* for sightseeing): - Sky Cable - Chuo Ropeway - Zao Ropeway
All other ski lifts at Zao Onsen are now closed for the season. Read more ...
Shiga Kogen Now!
Thursday 27th April 2017, 9:04am
Thin cloud, sun trying to break through
Hello and good morning from Shiga Kogen.
It's keeping cold.
And guess what, there was even a bit more snow falling last night. It doesn't feel like late April.
This morning it's generally cloudy, though forecasts do talk of clearer skies due for today. We can perhaps expect changeable weather conditions over the next few days. Please do keep an eye on the forecast page.
As we head into Golden Week and the end of April, the official snow depth at some of the resort areas is still around the 2m mark.
A few more ski lifts will be opening up for the weekend - for more details on what plans to be open for Golden Week see below. I believe it is up-to-date and correct but of course subject to change.
Anyway, have a good first-bit-of-Golden-Week.
My next report is due early next week.
During the winter season, the section of the Route 292 main road that connects Shiga Kogen (from Yokoteyama) with Kusatsu Onsen in Gunma Prefecture is closed due to all the snow. That section of road has now re-opened which means that you can now get to Shiga Kogen via Gunma Prefecture from the east - either for spring skiing and snowboarding or just for sightseeing. The road has had to be 'cut out' of the snow meaning that in places there are impressive snow walls on either side.
Official snow depths numbers reported by different areas of Shiga Kogen:
Please note that these numbers are the official numbers that ski resorts publish.
Late season planned opening dates for Shiga Kogen resort areas (subject to change):
Takamagahara Mammoth The quad lift plans to be operating until from 29th April until 7th May
Tannenomori Okojo The quad lift plans to be operating from 29th April until 7th May
Ichinose Family The Ichinose quad lift and Ichinose Number 2 pair B lifts plan to be operating until Sunday 7th May
Terakoya The Terakoya lifts plan to be operating from 29th April until Sunday 7th May
Ichinose Diamond The Ichinose Diamond quad lift plans to be operating from 29th April until Sunday 7th May
Okushiga Kogen The Okushiga Kogen Number 4 pair lift plans to be operating from 29th April and 7th May The Okushiga Kogen Gondola, Number 2, 3, and 6 pair lifts plan to be operating until Sunday 7th May
Kumanoyu The Kumanoyu Number 1 pair lift plan to be operating until Sunday 7th May The Kumanoyu Number 2 pair A and B lifts plan to be operating until Sunday 14th May The Kumanoyu Number 3 quad lift plans to be operating from 29th April until 7th May
Yokoteyama & Shibutoge The Yokoteyama Number 1 Sky A and B lifts plan to be operating until Sunday 7th May The Yokoteyama Number 2 and 3 Sky lifts plan to be operating until late May The Yokoteyama Number 4 pair lift plans to be operating until Sunday 7th May (may be closed on certain days) The Shibutoge lift plans to be operating until late May
Please note that from 8th May, joint Shiga Kogen lift tickets are not valid - individual tickets from the individual areas will be required. Read more ...
Thursday 27th April 2017, 9:42am
Good morning from Grandeco.
It was raining last night but stopped falling as of 9am, and it is just cloudy now.
Snow conditions on the course is slippery this morning because of the wet snow after rain.
Golden week (Japanese consecutive holidays) starts from 29 April and goes on through 7th May. It will be crowded especially on the weekends during this holiday period as people get in their last turns of the season.
The remaining open ski hills in Fukushima prefecture - Grandeco and Nekoma - will end the season on 7th May.
- Gondola - Number 3 quad lift
85% courses now open. Lavender A, Mint B and Center 33 course are closed. The Snow Parks are now closed.