15-20cm of fresh snow to report this morning, where I can measure it anyway. Winds are still with us.
Yesterday was something of a wild day in terms of weather conditions. It didn't start off too bad, and great snow conditions to be found, but around mid morning things got worse and we were treated to strong winds and a bit of thunder and lightning as well just to add to the drama.
The Annupuri area closed completely from just after 10am due to the weather conditions. The quad and Jumbo number 2 lifts managed to open again just before noon, only to close very soon after and that was it for the day. They did try! The Country Road and Morino Chair lifts at Niseko Village were closed just after noon, and over at Hirafu the gondola stopped around 3pm, but was able to open again just after 4pm into nighta. The Hanazono area ended up closed from around 2pm.
Unfortunately we still have strong winds to deal with and this morning the Annupuri area is closed and waitint to see if conditions improve. The other areas are open with a few lifts affected, as noted below. Subject to change during the day of course.
Snowfall and cold conditions are still on the forecast through into next week, so when the winds don't mess things up we should be looking at very fine conditions every day.
Niseko Avalanche Report
Niseko base 6am: -6C, 20cm of wind-affected crushed crystal snow and notable development of snowdrifts. Moiwa 800m: NW16m/s, stormy, -10C, considerable development of snowdrifts. Annupuri 1150m: NW16-20m/s, -11C, considerable development of snowdrifts, hard wind-packed snow in high altitude. Heavy snow and high wind with considerable snowdrifts development in Hirafu area. Coastal data: Benkei cape NNW19m/s, Kamui cape WNW19m/s, 2.4m waves, 999hPa.
A strong wintry weather pattern is generating heavy snowfall and high winds, making considerable snowdrift developments in leeward slopes. Avalanche risk is extreme today. All peak gates will be closed. Please follow the ski patrol’s instructions. The avalanche hazard will remain high for a little while after the storm calms down. Do not duck ropes to seek fresh lines. Do not traverse across steep slopes or slopes under cornices. Stay away from valley bottoms. Ski one by one, not all at once. Never enter strictly off-limits area. Value the Niseko Rules to protect the freedom to go out of bounds. The snow in the trees is heavy but pretty good. Have a nice day.
Official snow depth numbers and lift news at time of writing:
Grand Hirafu / Hanazono: Top - 270cm Base - 110cm King 3, King 4 and Hanazono 3 lifts not operating due to wind.
Niseko Village: Top - 180cm Base - 125cm Gondola and Wonderland chair not operating due to wind.
Annupuri: Top - 145cm Base - 130cm Not open at time of writing. Read more ...
Thursday 2nd January 2014, 9:01am
There's a lot of fresh snow here in Hakuba. To say the least!
Tsugaike Kogen busting through (or to) the 3m snow depth mark. Happo-one adding 50cm to the upper slopes snow depth.
80cm up at Hakuba 47! You could almost say that's... bottomless! ;)
Didn't quite see that coming.
I don't think anyone will have any problems finding some deep powder conditions to play in today. Just be careful!
It does look like Goryu have been 'dealing' with the snow on the upper slopes and so opening later than planned but apart from that there doesn't seem to be any disruption and thankfully there isn't enough wind to cause any issues with lifts. It's not even really that cold this morning.
Snow clouds forecast to ease later today and then we might get to see some sun tomorrow.
Official snow depth numbers and operations (as of 2nd January 2014):
Hakuba Goryu: Reporting 20cm of new snowfall at Iimoro, 40cm at Toomi and 60cm up top. Upper - 295cm Toomi - 170cm Iimori - 120cm
Hakuba 47: Reporting 40cm of new snowfall at base and 80cm (!) on upper areas. Upper - 270cm Lower - 120cm
Happo-one: Reporting 40cm of new snowfall at Usagidaira and 80cm (!) on Kurobishi. Usagidaira - 280cm Nakiyama - 95cm Sakka - 90cm
It's a good snowing morning greeting from Madarao Kogen.
It was a good overnight, with 30cm or so of fresh snow to report to you. Lots of shovelling going on by people wrapped up well as while it's not as cold as it can get here there's a wind blowing making it feel particularly cold.
The snowfall probably won't be here for long though, a clear up is expected. And maybe some sun tomorrow.
Conditions are very good. Hope you can get to enjoy them.
Number 1 Number 2 Number 3A Number 2 quad Number 5 Super quad Number 11 Number 12 Number 13 Number 15 Moving walkway Kids Park
Good morning from Nozawa and I'm glad to be able to report some decent snowfall overnight with the resort reporting 15-20cm over the mountain this morning. Yamabiko is back up to 2m snow depth. It's good to see a nice new fresh layer down here at base too.
Visibility not so good this morning as the snow continues to fall though it should ease off later today and we might get to see some clearer skies tomorrow morning.
It's not so cold this morning and hovering at just over 0C as of 9am, and probably will just get colder this afternoon and overnight.
Still busy here and it will be over the weekend as well. Things should be getting back to normal from Monday after the New Year holidays.
All lifts go! I am about to get out on one myself. Should be great.
Kagura is reporting 15cm of fresh snowfall overnight, but strong winds mean that the Mitsumata Station is open from the Ropeway to the Number 1 pair lift and the Tashiro Station is just open from the Ropeway to the Number 1 quad.
A strong northerly wind at Naeba, where they report 10-20cm, is affecting some lifts over there too.
It's windy here too but resorts around the town area don't seem to be as affected, and we have had more like 5-10cm of snowfall around base areas so nothing major really for this region this morning. Obviously that could change at any time.
The snow is coming down this morning though so fingers crossed we can build up some more before it eases off - which the forecast tells us should be later today. Poor visibility for the most part this morning as it falls. A small price to pay!
40cm. Oh yes. 40cm here in the car park outside and I am more than happy to get out there and shovel it (though hopefully if I wait long enough someone else might come along and do it for me!)
But anyway, yes, it has been very snowy since my last report. Can't say I was expecting to say we have so much new snow this morning, but I'll take it!
It's a cold morning probably feeling more so because of the strong wind.
I'm just going by the official updates here, but it would seem that the only lifts to be affected by the wind at the moment are the Number 1 quad lift at Kurohime and the upper part of the Zao Ropeway going up to the summit.
Things should calm down for tomorrow when there will probably be clearer skies.
Official snow depths (2nd January 14): Utopia: 190cm Chuo: 160cm Paradise: 180cm Uwanodai: 100cm Read more ...
Shiga Kogen Now!
Thursday 2nd January 2014, 10:30am
It's a snowy, windy morning in Shiga Kogen. From what I can tell skijo around Shiga Kogen are open as planned.
By the end of the day the snowfall will have probably eased off and then it would seem we can expect a few days of clearer skies and maybe some sun.
As much snow today as possible please!
Official snow depth data, as of Thursday 2nd January 2014, 9am):
There has been at least 20cm of new snow fall in the village since yesterday and it is still forecast to snow through until Saturday morning. The ski area is in prime condition this morning and visibility is very good. Expect snow on and off during the day and the place to head would be the Premium Zone which will have an amazing amount of powder.
Some great snow to get the new year really going; Akakan says 55cm and I'm not disagreeing. Puts things back into the holiday mood. The courses were a bit bumpy, though, because the snow is still pretty young—it has a lot of moisture in it. Typical Myoko powder, full-bodied and rich.
I have to apologize for writing late, but it was for a very good reason. A snowboarder going sidecountry decided to keep on going and keep on going until he ended at the bottom of a massive valley, down a slope so steep it could almost be called a cliff. A few members from the local search and rescue (including your writer) went out last night to try and find his location; then we went up early in the morning to try again, and were there the whole day. It doesn't look good.
So a big request, reminder, educational tidbit: if think you're a hot powder rider and you head off without knowing where you are going (ski area maps are not acceptable), with clothes for the piste (like cotton) and not something that could keep you alive overnight, and without telling anyone, you are not smart and you could kill yourself. There's a lot of stuff that you should also carry if you're going to sidecountry - an avalanche set of transceiver, shovel and probe would be a good place to start - but we'll leave that to you, as I am getting long-winded.
We do care about you, people, and when a search and rescue for someone who made a huge mistake doing the same fun we like, and doesn't end well, it makes you feel terrible.