This morning I have 15-20cm of snow to report. Hard to put a number on it due to the strong winds that were blowing it around, though wind down at base has calmed down at the moment. Still winds are affecting some lifts at the resorts, as noted below.
As I said the winds that we got yesterday and last night have blown snow around meaning that there'll be places where it's deep and places where it's less so. Caution needed, be careful out there. There should be some great conditions to be found though this morning.
At the moment it's cloudy with light snow falling this morning but stopping as I write this. But taking a look at the forecast, hopefully it will be snowing or soon snowing through until 2014. Fingers crossed wind doesn't play too much of a part in proceedings.
So it's a weekend again and then soon after New Year. There's lots of people around now as you would expect, and a fun lively atmosphere. Fun to be had both on and off the slopes. Hope you enjoy it.
Niseko Avalanche Report
Niseko base 6am: -4C, 20cm of crushed particle snow and moderate development of snowdrifts. Moiwa 800m: -5C, north-easterly wind & snow, notable development of snowdrifts and cornices. Annupuri 1150m: NNW17m/s, 70cm of very unstable snowdrifts, -10C. Annupuri peak 1308m: N21.9m/s, -10C. Coastal data: Benkei cape NNE15m/s, Kamui cape NNE14m/s, 5.1m waves, 995hPa.
Developing wintry weather pattern is generating heavy snowfall and high winds. The mountain is under a big storm. Snowdrifts are developing drastically and the avalanche hazard is rising in all altitude. Better stay away from knolls, cornices and steep terrains today. Avalanches are most likely to occur during and just after storms. 50-100cm thick slides triggered by internal weak lines within the newly formed Dec 27th layer are to be expected in leeward slopes with heavy snowdrift deposit above 800m. All peak gates will be closed today. Please respect the ski patrol’s decisions. Nitonupuri, Shiribetsudake, Mt.Yotei and all other surrounding peaks are also in very hazardous conditions. Cautious and meticulous planning is required for all mountain activities during this weekend. Better not venture too far. The snow in the trees is good, but visibility can be very bad. Have a nice day.
Official snow depth numbers and lift news at time of writing:
Grand Hirafu / Hanazono: Top - 230cm Base - 80cm Ace Number 3, King Number 3 and 3; Hanazono Number 3 lifts not operating due to strong wind.
Niseko Village: Top - 150cm Base - 110cm Niseko Gondola and Wonderland Chair lifts not operating at the moment due to wind. Up to 19m/s according to the resort.
Annupuri: Top - 125cm Base - 120cm Gondola and Jumbo Number 1 lifts wind affected. Read more ...
Saturday 28th December 2013, 9:14am
Furano Ski Area reports that the Kitanomine Gondola will start operating today. This is a most welcome anouncement and gives access to a lot more terrain on the Kitanomine side side for intermediates and advanced skiers.
Giant and Wide will still remain closed on the Kitanomine side, but Dynamic will open and link up the front face. The weather is blue skies and sunshine at the moment but is expected to turn to snow during the day. Winds are moderate at lower levels, and expect strong winds around the top.
Hopefully the wind won't interfere with the season debut for the Gondola.
Operating lifts: Kitanomine Gondola 9:00am-2:30pm Kitanomine high speed quad 8:30am-3:30pm Kitanomine #2 chair 8:45am-8:00pm Link Lift 9:00am-15:10pm Furano Ropeway 8:30am-3:10pm Furano Downhill Swift Lift #1 9:00-3:10pm Downhill Romance #2 chair 8:45am-3:10pm Downhill Romance #3 chair 9:00am-3:10pm Prince Romance 8:30am - 8:00pm Read more ...
Nozawa Onsen Now!
Saturday 28th December 2013, 9:14am
Cloud, sun, light snow
It's a cold morning in Nozawa Onsen, with the resort reporting a samui! -11 degrees up on the Yamabiko runs as of 7:20am. More like -2 down near base, but as most of us will be taking the lifts higher up it's definitely a day to wrap up and be ready for cold.
There's a new layer or snow to play in as well today - 5cm at base and lower slopes and 10cm on upper slopes, bringing Yamabiko close to 2m - but there are breaks in the cloud and more blue sky to be seen and it looks like it's clearing up. The local forecast is for snow throughout the day today, so maybe it's just a break and the snow clouds will be back but it doesn't look like that just now. Snow and the chance of sun is forecast for tomorrow, with the snow bit forecast to be weaker than today.
It's still looking like New Years Day is going to bring decent snowfall and possibly strong winds.
There have been lots of people arriving in Nozawa this morning and it should be a busy day, and that will apply for each day now through into New Year. Nozawa is a small compact village and so if you are here staying just ask the people at your accommodation about ideas on where to go to celebrate. And don't forget to try out the onsen in the village, always a treat.
Anyway, enough talk. I must get onto that Gondola to check out what Nozawa has in store today! The snow should be good up there.
Update, just 10 minutes after I was writing the above: it has been clouding over again! Looks like changeable conditions today.
Courses All courses open apart from: Grand Prix Hachiman Kandahar East Kandahar West Read more ...
Saturday 28th December 2013, 9:42am
No official snow reports to put in here, but I have to get out and into the woods today.
Not a lot of additional snow, after a really good fall of probably 30-40cm. Luckily, the really high winds that were predicted have not hit yet, although the cold is here. It was -5C by the car thermometer, which never fails (seriously, it's always right on the mark. Ah, Japanese technology).
Everything is definitely in full swing now, as the few lifts that haven't been moving should be starting up (especially Tangram and Madarao).
Mostly cloudy and foggy up on the mountains yesterday, light snow falling at times, though some sunny spells in the village and glimpses of the sun depending where you were later in the afternoon.
Varying snowfall reports from across the valley this morning, ranging from 0cm to 40cm. Wind has played it's part in those numbers this morning but Goryu are talking about 20cm of fresh snow on upper slopes and Hakuba Cortina winning the 'most snow' competition this morning with up to 40cm reported over there since yesterday.
Visibility is generally better this morning than yesterday though still limited in places. Snow is falling down to village level this morning and temperatures remain cold. In fact, it's a very cold morning here with temperatures remaining at around -4C mid morning. It'll be minus double figures up there.
Snow clouds forecast to never be far away through into New Year now, though it does seem to be a case that it should be variable conditions each day rather than full on blizzard.
Weather conditions seem to be affecting a few lifts this morning including the top Grat quad lift at Happo-one and the top part of the Gondola and top Tsuga Number 2 lift at Tsugaike Kogen. Lifts at 47/Goryu seem to be operating as normal and not affected.
In resort news, nighta operations start today on the Nakiyama runs of Happo-one.
Official snow depth numbers and operations (as of 28th December 2013):
Hakuba Goryu: Reporting 1cm of new snowfall at Iimoro, 3cm at Toomi and 20cm up top. Upper - 250cm Toomi - 140cm Iimori - 85cm
Hakuba 47: Reporting 10-15cm of new snowfall. Upper - 170cm Lower - 60cm
Happo-one: Reporting 0cm on Usagidaira (wind blown) and 2cm at base. Usagidaira - 215cm Nakiyama - 45cm Sakka - 80cm
Light snow yesterday but it didn't amount to much during the day though in the evening the snow started falling with a bit more conviction and there was 10cm or so on top of the car by late night.
Another 10cm or so overnight at town level and it has been continuing to snow this morning. Interesting actually because from time to time the sun seems to be close to breaking through the clouds and even at one point we had some clear blue skies over town, only to be clouded over quite quickly. Even with the sun shining through at times though, the snow has continued to fall lightly. It's a battle between the snow clouds and the sun. Could it clear up? Right now it feels like it may well do.
Kagura reporting 20cm of snowfall; Naeba 15-20cm; Maiko 15-20cm.
Still, the local forecast as it stands at the moment is for snowfall through today and all of tomorrow as well.
-2C degrees overnight and it hasn't budged since then, still standing at -2.
Windy conditions apparently in places this morning, enough to cause problems at Kagura. Some lifts were closed earlier but seem to be up and running now, though the Dragondola connecting Naeba and Tashiro is closed still. No other resorts seem to be affected.
It's a very cold morning in Zao. -5 degrees earlier and not much 'warmer' now!
Snow is falling adding to the 5cm that we got overnight and generally quite poor visibility on the mountain.
The forecast has little snowmen all nicely lined up all the way through into New Year now, so we should be getting consistent snowfall. Strong winds might be an issue, and indeed this morning there's a fairly strong wind out there but not enough to affect the lifts and gondolas (at time of writing).
Evening "light up' - Starto! (See yesterdays report if that is confusing!)
The photo below is of some baby Ice Monsters, taken on 26th December.
Official snow depths (28th December 13): Utopia: 145cm Chuo: 130cm Paradise: 140cm Uwanodai: 85cm Read more ...
Shiga Kogen Now!
Saturday 28th December 2013, 10:56am
It's still snowing. Good to see some resort areas add 10-20cm to their official snow depth nummbers as well this morning. I would say there was 15cm or so on the car this morning to move. Nice and cold too, wrap up well to get out and enjoy nice dry snow conditions. While we haven't had huge snowfalls, we have been getting these consistent topups and it's building up nicely. Not that we'd say no to a huge snowfall of course.
We are expecting less snow over the next few days, though we might get the occasional snow shower. Next Years Day looks interesting though with a good chance around then of heavy snow along with stormy windy conditions.
Resort info and lift operations (as of Saturday 28th December 2013, 9am):