About another 5-10cm of snow to add this morning. I say about as the wind has been at work and been blowing it all about again.
Yesterday winds affected lift operations on the mountain, causing a few bottlenecks at times. Unfortunately it looks like it's going to be a similar story today.
Let's try to forget the wind though and talk about the snow. It was snowing for most of the day and some nice deep to be found.
Snow is forecast through the coming week, with temperatures set to drop over New Year and potentially heavy snowfall on the way. Come prepared!
For December 2012, the JMA (Japan Meteorological Agency) reported 306cm of snowfall in the town of Kutchan. This month, with two days to go including today, they are on 252cm. So just over 50cm to go before we can match last years number. (Not that it actually really matters of course!) And remember that is for Kutchan town, not up on the mountains which get more.
Looking at our own numbers from our Niseko Now reports - we have recorded 383cm of snowfall since the beginning of this season including 260cm during the month of December. These numbers coming from the Hirafu base area and can be found towards the bottom of each report. Last year for the month of December we recorded 418cm, and a total of 536cm for November-December.
Niseko Avalanche Report
Niseko base 6am: -4C, 10cm of crushed crystal snow. Moiwa 800m:-7C, WSW20m/s, snowdrift development of up to 100cm. Annupuri 1150m: NW25m/s, heavy snowdrift developments, -11C. Annupuri peak 1308m: wind data n/a, -8.5C. Coastal data: Benkei cape NW19m/s, Kamui cape WSW16m/s, 2.3m waves, 1001hPa. 1500m wind forecast at noon: westerly 20m/s.
Wintry pressure pattern persists, generating strong westerly wind above 800m altitude. Extreme avalanche hazard in the Back bowl, Osawa, Higashi-One’s leeward cornice slopes and steep faces. All peak gates will be closed, please respect the ski patrol’s instructions.
Wishful thinking can be dangerous. Overconfidence and presumption lead to accidents. The reason for opening/closing the gates is not to restrict the freedom of out of bounds skiing but to ensure minimum safety of all resort users. We strongly demand everybody to respect the Niseko Rules. Do not duck ropes. The snow in the trees is in excellent condition. Be safe and have a nice day.
Official snow depth numbers and lift news at time of writing:
Grand Hirafu / Hanazono: Top - 260cm Base - 95cm King Number 3 and 4; all Hanazono lifts not operating due to wind conditions.
Niseko Village: Top - 150cm Base - 110cm Niseko Gondola and Wonderland Chair lifts not operating at the moment due to wind. Up to 25m/s according to the resort.
Annupuri: Top - 125cm Base - 130cm Unable to confirm at time of writing. Read more ...
Monday 30th December 2013, 8:06am
Yesterdays flurries ended up as great falls and that continued over night. There will be many smiley faces today with an extra 10cm added to the base and plenty of powder to get your feet stuck in.
With this snow and Grooming overnight, any small grass coming through will now be covered and the Kitanomine side will be great for lessons.
Snow will continue at a good rate today before settling down tomorrow and temps are pleasant without being cold.
It clouded over a fair bit yesterday during the day, especially in the afternoon, with the sun making it's last appearence of the day around mid-afternoon.
It's a cloudier start to the day as well this morning. Some patches of blue sky up there, just a light wind. Temperatures dipped to around -4 degrees in the village overnight and at 8:30am it is about -3 degrees. More sun is forecast for later and a high of around +2.
Overnight we got just a few cm or so of new snow at base with up to 10cm being reported by resorts on upper runs this morning. Hopefully there will be more snow to report tomorrow morning as well. Latest forecasts still tell us to expect a particularly cold and snowy New Years Day.
Official snow depth numbers and operations (as of 30th December 2013):
Hakuba Goryu: Reporting 4cm of new snowfall at Iimoro, 3cm at Toomi and 5cm up top. Upper - 260cm Toomi - 150cm Iimori - 100cm
Hakuba 47: Reporting 5cm of new snowfall on lower slopes and 10cm on upper areas. Upper - 190cm Lower - 70cm
Happo-one: Reporting 8cm of new snowfall on Usagidaira. Usagidaira - 225cm Nakiyama - 65cm Sakka - 100cm
It's sunny this morning in Myoko, but the wind is coming up a bit, with some dark clouds over the peaks.
I think we're about ready fr a reset on the snow; in the backcountry, there is still a lot of brush and small trees, making things less than a lot of fun at best, dangerous at worst (think grape vines = cables).
Yesterday was a very fine day indeed. The weather was excellent and snow conditions were not half bad too. Yes, a very good day.
Lots of people out to enjoy it as well. Luckily Nozawa is big enough to cope with crowds, and it's actually good to see lots of people here - weekdays can get really quite quiet out there! Not that you ever want to be stuck in lifts queues of course, but from what I say yesterday they were manageable.
This morning there's much more cloud above Nozawa though it isn't snowing and nothing really due to snow today. No new to report.
The resort has brought the snow depth on the top slopes back down to 190cm this morning after that fine day yesterday. We want more. New Years Day still looks set to deliver, but get wrapped up well and bring the googles. Hopefully we will bring in the new year in snowy style.
All lifts open. All courses (apart from the Kandahara runs) open! See you out there.
A few more cm of fresh snowfall this morning to report from Zao Onsen. At the moment it isn't snowing but it's very cloudy with generally poor visibility. It's quite windy as well, though lift operations do not seem to be affected at all.
Snow due every day over the next week, with particularly heavy snowfall likely on New Years Day along with strong winds if the forecast turns out to be correct. Might be a good excuse to party that bit more tomorrow night and then have a good soak the next morning in an onsen.
For now though, it's busy here in Zao. Very nice snow conditions. Enjoy.
Official snow depths (30th December 13): Utopia: 150cm Chuo: 145cm Paradise: 150cm Uwanodai: 90cm Read more ...
Monday 30th December 2013, 12:34pm
A cold clear night last night followed by a sunny day today with a midday temperature of 5 dg C at the valley level.
There is some light snow forecast from midnight tonight through to tomorrow mid-morning but probably only around 10cm will eventuate.
Tomorrow is forecast for another sunny afternoon with warm temps and no wind, so a great day to get up there and enjoy the last day of the year!