Snow and weather reports posted on Friday 23rd March 2018
Friday 2nd March 2018, 6:47am
Yesterday was extremely windy even at base with lots of horizontal snow blowing around and warm temperatures that were into he positives. Even last night water was evident running down the outside of windows. Overnight there has been 31cm of new snow. Due to strong winds this snow measure will vary greatly, but there is a lot of it on the ground no matter where you go. The snow is extremely wet and heavy, this is not powder but simply fresh snow. It may be better quality high up where is has been colder. The winds are still significant, temperatures warm and it is snowing moderately. The snow will continue through the day and winds should have reduced by tomorrow morning. Like yesterday the winds are likely to affect lift operations and weather wise it doesn't look like the nicest day to brave the elements. Read more ...
Geto Kogen Now!
Friday 2nd March 2018, 7:14am
Mother Nature certainly got the memo that yesterday was the first day of spring.
Yesterday we saw top temps of 4 degrees with high winds and moderate to heavy areas of rain lasting throughout the morning and into the afternoon. We did see some overnight snowfall but it was dampened by the rain which came into play early morning.
Overnight we saw around 5cm of fresh but similar to yesterday the winds were a factor blowing at 105 km/h on the peaks. As for today we’re in for a drop in temperature and wind seeing tops of -6 at the base of the mountain with light snow showers spanning across the day. As we head into the afternoon we should see the winds decreasing further with a centimetre or so of snowfall at the base of the mountain.
Looking toward the first weekend of spring, we’re in for some nice partly cloudy conditions on Saturday morning with some clear skies to look forward to come Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning.
Friday: Cloudy with high winds and tops of -4 degrees, with snow showers Saturday: mostly clear skies, tops of 4 degrees with light to moderate winds Sunday: Tops of 11 degrees, moderate winds with afternoon rain
Official snow depths:
Top: 535cm Base: 365cm
Night skiing operations have finished for the season. Read more ...
Friday 2nd March 2018, 7:29am
Quick morning report to be updated later:
Official sources show all lifts on standby early on due to weather conditions.
The resort may get to part open if and when conditions improve.
Lifts and course info:
- All lifts on standby due to weather conditions - Note: the Karamatsu pair lift usually only operates on weekends - All areas open
Yesterday we were treated to rain, wet snow, very strong winds, lift closures and frankly really horrid blizzard conditions.
I can't imagine anyone wanting to be out skiing or snowboarding in this - even if the lifts were open and transportation was operating as normal (which it isn't). While up here we are prepared for serious winter weather, such conditions put even Hokkaido to the test. I highly recommend staying put - and you probably won't have any choice with all lifts starting the day on hold. Soaking in an onsen or just taking it easy for the day. Things should have calmed down by tomorrow.
There is actually some fresh snow to report (9cm, though the snow has been blowing in all directions so who's to know actually how much there has been). And also lots of ice. Everything is iced up. Including the ice.
In the meantime, here's something I prepared yesterday...
A look back at the season so far: February 2018
It’s time to prepare some toast along with your choice of jam and a cup of coffee or tea and sit down to read my hopefully interesting and surely balanced ramblings about the month of February and the season so far here in Niseko.
And as is the tradition, I would like to remind you that all the numbers from these reports are available at any time on each of the archived Niseko Now report pages. They are linked below with all data relative to the particular report. And don’t forget that big blue ‘Snowfall Analysis’ tab at the top of this page. It’s really cool.
So here we go with February 2018.
Here’s the snowfall that I have measured myself here near the base of Niseko Grand Hirafu over the last six seasons over the month of February:
February 2018: 299cm February 2017: 160cm February 2016: 266cm February 2015: 196cm February 2014: 178cm February 2013: 316cm
In the end I observed almost spot on 3m of snowfall. That’s almost double what I observed during February last year (* Epic!) and a fair bit more than each of the three seasons before that too.
I’m pleased to be able to point out that I was able to report fresh snowfall (remember: here at base) in 24 of my 28 reports for the month. The four reports where I was not able to report any snow were all in the first week of the month. In fact, we didn’t see much snowfall at all in that first week of February making us wonder if February might end up being disappointing. Thankfully, that turned out to not be the case.
Because from the second week onwards we got some really good – and regular - snowfall. Yey!
February is of course top peak season and we expect Niseko to be pumping. It has been a very busy month, especially over the Chinese New Year holiday period. A prolonged dry spell around that time is really bad news, so the regular resets this season filling in tracks were just what we needed. Wind did mess around with top lifts on some days, but I don’t feel there was too much of that and I have previously experienced more disruption.
Observed snowfall at base for the season up until the end of February:
So how is the season looking as a whole?
It’s looking good.
17/18 season total up until the end of February 2018: 1198cm 16/17 season total up until the end of February 2017: 605cm (about 88% of the season total) 15/16 season total up until the end of February 2016: 877cm (about 88% of the season total) 14/15 season total up until the end of February 2015: 1002cm (about 88% of the season total) 13/14 season total up until the end of February 2014: 1037cm (about 89% of the season total) 12/13 season total up until the end of February 2013: 1295cm (about 87% of the season total)
An impressive 12m of snowfall observed at base.
...and almost exactly double what I had observed by the end of February last season (* Bottomless!)
...and already more than the total observed snowfall during the whole season in the most recent four winters.
Interestingly, over the most recent 5 seasons the snowfall that I had observed here at base by the end of February always ended up being around 88% of the total snowfall observed for the whole season. Spooky!
And so, just for the giggles, if we apply that ‘88%’ number to this season we might expect another 160cm or so of snowfall at base this season. Wouldn’t that be nice!
What to expect from the month of March
Here’s how much actual snowfall I have observed in the month of March over the last five winters. The numbers in brackets show the total snowfall observed up until the end of March in each season.
March 2017: 83cm (688cm) March 2016: 109cm (986cm) March 2015: 139cm (1141cm) March 2014: 113cm (1150cm) March 2013: 164cm (1459cm)
And lastly here is the data that the Japan Meteorological Agency report from their observation station in Kutchan town:
February 2018: 195cm February 2017: 173cm February 2016: 210cm February 2015: 167cm February 2014: 130cm February 2013: 228cm
17/18 season total up until the end of February 2017: 947cm 16/17 season total up until the end of February 2016: 741cm 15/16 season total up until the end of February 2015: 698cm 14/15 season total up until the end of February 2014: 825cm 13/14 season total up until the end of February 2013: 804cm 12/13 season total up until the end of February 2012: 900cm
And so here we are in March. Already!
There’s still over two months left, but inevitably talk of spring starts to get louder. Spring is often a lot of fun with generally more clearer skies and comfortable temperatures to make up for less fresh snow. March in particular has been known to offer up some surprises and so it’ll be fun to see how the month shapes up in 2018.
I’ll be with you every day of course right through until those last ski lifts finish up for the season on 6th May. Please remember, you are contractually obliged to read each and every one of my reports until then, ok? Arigato!
"West High East Low" winter pressure pattern has set in as the low pressure moved east. Heavy storm conditions at the base, peak and the ocean. The wave height in the Sea of Japan is still small, however this is due to the strong SE swells from yesterday’s wind are moving against the current strong westerly wind. The wave height is forecasted to rise today. Snow conditions at Moiwa peak to Mikaeri area were not possible to observe due to heavy storm. The cat track between Moiwa and Annupuri has not been groomed.
The developing snowdrifts are growing huge and are extremely unstable. The new snow accumulation in leeward slopes is drastic and uneven and can collapse in thick slabs from yesterday’s low-pressure snowfall layer. Today’s avalanche danger is extremely high. Better stay indoors today. The avalanche hazard will persist through to tomorrow after the wind settles down below 10m/s. Better not rush out to the back country too soon after the storm calms down.
Many of the avalanche accidents occur during and just after storms. Be flexible and plan according to the weather. Beware of whiteouts, snowdrifts and oncoming cars on the road to Onsens.
Have a good day.
Friday 2nd March 2018
Resort specific information (operations subject to change):
Lifts scheduled to be operating: - Weather conditions affecting all lifts
Official snow depth: - Top: 420cm - Base: 280cm
Floodlit 'nighta' skiing:
Night skiing is planned for every evening at the Niseko Grand Hirafu, Niseko Village and Niseko Annupuri areas. There is no nighta at the Niseko HANAZONO area. Ski lifts that are scheduled to be operating for nighta are noted below (subject to change):
* Niseko Grand Hirafu - Ace Family quad, Ace Number 2 quad, Hirafu Gondola, Holiday Number 1 pair * Niseko Annupuri - Jumbo Number 1 quad lift * Niseko Village - Village Express, Upper Village Gondola, Community Chair Read more ...
Friday 2nd March 2018, 8:18am
Good morning from Yuzawa.
Yesterday we actually saw a bit of blue sky and sunshine for a short time during the day, amongst the nastiness of early morning and later stronger winds.
But this morning I am happy to be able to report fresh snowfall. Here is what ski resorts are saying this morning:
Kagura: 10cm Maiko Snow Resort: 20cm
It's good to see some fresh snow on the ground and feel colder conditions too. There was 5cm on the top of my car which was parked just to the north of Ishiuchi Maruyama overnight and 8cm at our usual measuring point. And it is snowing now - rather windy too.
Due to the winds it looks like Yuzawa Kogen is closed this morning as well as the Tashiro area of Kagura (and Kagura is open up until the Gondola). Other ski resorts appear to be planning on opening as normal. With these weather conditions though, there may well need to be adjustments or disruptions. Not the friendliest of weather conditions!
Tomorrow is expected to be much calmer and sunny from the start. And warm too, with Sunday getting even warmer. (Quite possibly alarmingly so!)
Images today from GALA Yuzawa, NASPA Ski Garden and Yuzawa IC (Route 17).
Updated: Friday 2nd March February 2018
Ski resorts in Yuzawa:
Checked and updated every morning. Note that some ski resorts may not have updated their own info at the time this report is published.
Hopefully things will start calming down during the day today and they might get going.
By tomorrow morning things should be looking rather different. The sun should be out and it will be calmer. And warmer once again. It looks like it is going to be a very spring-like weekend with temperatures rising into low-mid teens. Thankfully we're looking at a drop in the temps again from Monday and while we might get some more rain it should be turning into snow.
Friday 2nd March 2018
Fresh snowfall since yesterday (as reported by the resort):
Unfortunately, strong winds are still blowing and the resort is unable to open as planned! If the winds calm down a bit - maybe by around ten o’clock - lifts may open from that time. If not, the report will be closed for the whole day today.
The good news is that we have fresh snow on the ground.
According to the forecast, it should be gentler and a warm sunny day tomorrow.
Nearby Nekoma ski hill is also closed for the day today.
All lifts and courses including the kids park are closed because of the wind
Good morning from a very blustery Naeba! The air temperature is reading -5°C, but there is a strong wind accompanied by blowing snow meaning that the wind chill will be significant today. The accumulation of new snow is a difficult figure to report, as with this wind, the snow is falling in all directions and being blown about after deposition. Many lifts are on standby due to the wind, with just the chairlifts at the bottom open currently. The wind will hopefully ease off into this afternoon, however it isn't expected to fully blow out of the valley until tonight. Air temperatures are predicted to stay below 0°C throughout today and overnight tonight. The pistes will have windblown fresh snow, which will be accumulating far quicker on the leeward (southern) faces.
Looking forwards, the forecast is still very changeable. Tomorrow is predicted to be a sunny, clear and calm day, with air temperatures somewhat above 0°C. Sunday is predicted to be rather anomalous, with air temperatures pushing up even higher, to 13°C in the daytime at the base. There will be little wind to cool down the 'feels like' temperature, and the sun is forecast to be blazing down on us. On Monday, the warmer temperatures continue, accompanied by some rain in the afternoon, which turns to snow as temperatures finally drop on Monday night. The amount of snow forecast is changing regularly, so we will have to wait and see what is in store for us closer to the time. Read more ...
Friday 2nd March 2018, 9:02am
Morning from Madarao.
It's snowing again! Nice to see fresh snow after the, er, generally less than nice weather yesterday. Not a huge amount the resort is reporting 5cm and I can add 4cm to my reports.
It looks like most of the tree run courses are closed this morning, according to the official website at the time of this report going up.
Come tomorrow, the weather should be much more settled. And as we have been seeing on the forecast this week --- warm. Temperatures may well rise into double digits especially come Sunday.
Oh yes, and back to cold early next week.
Official snow depth: 220cm
Number 1 lift Number 2 quad lift Number 3A lift Super quad lift Number 11 lift Number 12 lift Number 13 lift Number 15 lift
That wind keeps on blowing; once again, it’s shifted from the north to the southwest, and the snow that north wind was bringing has now ended. Not a lot overnight; my snow study boards blew over so I’m estimating on the fresh (but it’s just a bit). It did snow through the day higher up, so the areas are reporting up to 15cm of fresh on their higher runs.
Offpiste things could be a little tricky today, with that mush from yesterday gaining some fresh stuff that could slide (we might already be in the season for soft snow slides; noticed a higher danger level at the Japan Avalanche Network).
The temperatures are colder than yesterday, but I have a feeling things will warm up quickly today, and continue through the weekend.
So much for the start of Spring, back to snow here and plenty of wind came with it overnight.
Tenjin has been shut all day causing headaches for the diggers who were looking to put the final touches on the banked slalom course. Looks like they have been able to get up there this afternoon so everything should be good to go tomorrow. It's still snowing here mid-afternoon but winds appear to have died off.
Just a word on overall conditions, the rain from a couple days ago caused a lot of slides down to the ground so there is significant avi debris in the gullies at Tenjin. For those planning the big drop, caution is the way forward.
The forecast is for clear weather this weekend, some rain on Sunday night which is forecast to turn to snow. If the forecast holds, Monday may well be a closure up on the mountain and Tuesday is likely to be the day. It's all the same to me though, looking forward to a very uncrowded, big snow day, early next week.
Please note that the snowfall numbers posted in this report will be observed from close to the base Tenjindaira Ropeway station - which is often much more than in the central town area of Minakami. Read more ...