So far so good this morning, just cloudy so far with blue sky here and there. It is warm was forecast though and at 10am the resort is posting temps of +5C on upper slopes and +4C on lower slopes. Feels like a spring kind of day basically - weather and snow conditions.
We are just hoping that rain can hold off, or at least keep to a minimum. Onegai shimasu!
Enough of today, looking forward to a return to winter conditions and Monday night onwards seems to be when that will happen still.
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Sunday 2nd February 2014, 10:32am
Mostly sunny, but with clouds moving in from the west
I am happy to say that it is not (yet) raining (much) in Myoko.
It's sunny, mostly, which I guess is nice, but it's also way too much like spring, which worries us.
The official temperature at Akakan this morning was 5, but the car and the illuminated temperature sign down in town have it currently at 11. Add on a pretty strong wind from the west, and we're watching snowpack getting eaten right before our eyes. The clouds also keep racing in from the west, so that predicted rain might fall at any time.
An interesting local fact: the people here grumble when the snow falls all the time (the more normal condition here), but they're worried now when we don't have a lot of snow and they can't use their heavy machinery. The guys may complain, but they secretly like messing about with big diesel-powered snow movers and making perfect snow walls and clear parking areas. They need more snow to feel complete - as do the ski areas, who are not posting the actual decline in snowpack.
Winter looks like it might return later Monday into Tuesday. Fingers crossed.
There's just a thin layer of new snowfall to report this morning.
After the windy conditions of yesterday - it's somewhat calmer this morning, though still a moderate wind is affecting the top lifts at Niseko Grand Hirafu and Niseko Village as of mid morning. Earlier on this morning the sun was making an appearance and there was only a light wind, but it has clouded over and snow and windy conditions are forecast for the rest of the day.
Having said that, it's a relatively mild day after it being really cold overnight. Should get colder again from tomorrow though and snow is lined up on the forecast for at least the first half of the week.
Niseko Avalanche Report
Niseko base 6am: -11, no new snow in last 12 hrs. Moiwa 800m: -12C, trace new snow, snow drift development eased. Annupuri 1150m: -11C, trace new snow. Hirafu 1000m: -11, 10cm new snow. Annupuri peak 1308m: -12.6C, wind WSW7.6m/s. Cape Benkei: SSE10m/s, Cape Kamui: wind calm, wave 1.1m, pressure 1013hPa.
The strong winds for the last 2 days have dropped in the last 10 hrs and new snowdrifts are starting to stabilise. The overall avalanche risk is beginning to fall however around 1000m Kozen no sawa, Osawa, Higashione (east ridge) cornice slope, the risk of slabs fracturing continues. Also on south facing slopes below 850m the risk continues from Jan 28-29 layer. Peak gates are expected to open today. Please listen to the patrols advice before exiting the gates. The snow is good. The 2nd Feb layer is expected to become a notable layer in future snow pack due to surface frost. Pay attention to the snow conditions, heavily wind effected slopes are not good riding, take care falling. Dont traverse under cornices. Dont set off any avalanches. Switch on your beacon. Have a nice day.
Official snow depth numbers and lift news at time of writing:
It has been quite a bright morning though - lots of cloud but blue sky as well and nothing falling from the skies. Can we go the day without anything falling? Would be good as with the temperatures as they are, it wouldn't be snow! Tomorrow should be not quite as warm, but still borderline if liquid will fall or not.
On a happier note, from Tuesday it will get colder and we can expect some nice snow. Yes, that's what we want.
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We were of course worried about the forecast for today, but so far we're doing ok. Well, in avoiding rain anyway. It's about +6 degrees here as I write this with a high approaching 10 degrees forecast. While that's obviously too warm, we are for the moment avoiding rain. Actually there's even some blue sky above us at the moment. Quite a lot of cloud around, but blue sky over the town now. Looks like very nice clear blue skies over Naeba just a bit earlier.
The local forecast even seems to be giving us a break with the 'r' word today, but just pushed it back to tomorrow.
Hopefully it will be back to more winter-like weather conditions from Tuesday with colder temperatures and snow forecast now.
It's not the best of mornings here, and I think some may well be testing out the local hot springs rather than get up on the mountain.
It has been a cloudy morning and... well, it's wet. It was sleet earlier but since then, evil rain has been doing it's thing as temperatures rise. It was only down to about -2 degrees overnight, +1 degree as of 9am and a high of about +10 degrees forecast for later this afternoon.
We are hopeful that it will clear up this afternoon though.
While tomorrow should not be quite as warm, there's chance of rain/sleet again I'm afraid. :(
Snow. We want snow. When's the snow coming? Tuesday looks like the answer to that.
Official snow depth numbers and operations (as of 2nd February 2014):
Hakuba Goryu: Reporting 0cm of new snowfall. Upper - 275cm Toomi - 155cm Iimori - 140cm
Hakuba 47: Reporting 0cm of new snowfall. Upper - 250cm Lower - 85cm
Happo-one: Reporting 0cm of new snowfall. Usagidaira - 220cm Nakiyama - 60cm Sakka - 75cm
It's not often in mid winter when the temps rise above zero in Shiga Kogen, but that's where we are this morning.
It's feeling way too spring-like for everyone's liking. While it isn't actually raining here in Maruike when I write this, the roads are looking wet from the melting snow and there's puddles here and there. Not good.
Cloudy mostly, but I was just over in Kumanoyu area and there was some blue sky over there. It was rather quiet though for a Sunday.
So let's shake ourselves out of this sorrow and look forward to a return to winter which will be.... Tuesday? For a few days of colder tems and snowfall. There's sun lined up after that at the end of the week on the current forecast but different to this weekend it should be keeping colder.
Official snow depth data, as of Sunday 2nd February 2014, 9am):