Strong southerly winds have brought warmer weather and put the upper lifts on hold. It is presently gusting to 90km/h at the summit. The Gondola, Nagamine #2 and Asari #2 will be on hold until the wind drops.
Base temperatures have risen to +4°C, while it is -2°C at the peak. The weather is unsettled with a mix of cloud and sunshine this morning. Cloud is expected to take over, with precipitation forecast, probably falling as rain at lower elevations. Read more ...
Wednesday 30th March 2016, 8:02am
Just two days left in the season for Madarao Kogen - yes, tomorrow really is the last day of the season (though Tangram plans to be open until April 3rd).
We might have some rain falling on us later on today, but other than that it's clear blue skies to start the day today and more sun predicted for tomorrow indeed through into the weekend as well.
Warmer temperatures are going to dominate as well through until the weekend as spring takes a firm grip on things.
Time to get out while we still can... got to be said that snow cover is good as well, so we're not struggling over the finishing line.
Tree runs open at Madarao: Kamoshika, Ninja, Powder Wave 2, Sawa
Madarao Kogen plans to be open until Thursday 31st March. Tangram Ski Circus plans to be open until Sunday 3rd April. Read more ...
Wednesday 30th March 2016, 8:33am
Good morning from Niseko.
There's more cloud around this morning and there's a good chance that rain will be falling by lunchtime today. Let's hope that it doesn't linger too long and moves on quickly. We are expecting a high of around 8 degrees here at base later on.
It's a bit windy this morning and that wind is set to disrupt planned lift operations at the start of the day at least - info as of 8:30am below.
Tomorrow and Friday at least we should be back to sunny skies. Is that some snow on the forecast for the mountain on Sunday (though rain at base)?
Here's some information from Niseko Grand Hirafu resort area and what they plan to have open from Monday 4th April:
Ace Family Pair (8:30am-4:30pm) - until 10th April Ace Number 2 Center Four Quad (8:30am-4:30pm) Ace Number 3 Pair (8:40am-4:30pm) Ace Number 4 Pair (8:50am-4:30pm) Holiday Number 1 Pair (8:30am-4:30pm) - until 10th April
As I previously mentioned they are also going to be 'upgrading' the King Number 3 triple lift in time for next season. The Hirafu Gondola as well as the King Number 3 and 4 lifts will all finish for the season this coming Sunday, as well as the Hanazono area. All being well though, the Hirafu area should be open until 5th May.
Niseko Village plans to be open daily until Sunday 3rd April, and then from 29th April until 5th May. Morino Chair currently rested. Niseko Annupuri plans to be open until Thursday 5th May.
Resort specific lift opening news at time of posting (subject to change during the day):
Niseko Grand Hirafu The top Ace Number 4 and King Number 4 lifts along with the Ace Number 3, King Number 3 and Swinging Monkey lifts are on hold at the start of the day due to strong winds up there.
Niseko HANAZONO Resort The top Hanazono Number 3 quad lift is on hold at the start of the day due to wind conditions.
Niseko Village The top Wonderland Chair lift is on hold at the start of the day due to wind conditions. Gondola operating at reduced speed.
Niseko Annupuri The top Jumbo Number 4 lift is on hold at the start of the day due to wind conditions. Gondola operating at reduced speed.
Official resort snow depths as of Wednesday 30th March 2016:
Niseko Grand Hirafu plans to be open until Thursday 5th May. King Number 1 lift currently rested. Niseko Hanazono plans to be open until Sunday 3rd April. Niseko Village plans to be open daily until Sunday 3rd April, and then from 29th April until 5th May. Morino Chair currently rested. Niseko Annupuri plans to be open until Thursday 5th May.
Night time floodlit skiing ('nighta') has now finished for the season.
Three days in a row the sun is shining at Grandeco.
The temperatures are rising and sunscreen and sunglasses are in order for the slopes today for sure. Be careful not to end up with a sunburn.
There are clouds in the forecast for late today, which may turn to some rain tomorrow.
All the courses are groomed packed snow warming up to spring conditions in the afternoon. The snow is melting little by little, but you can still ski from top to bottom on over 4km of vertical terrain.
Lift 4 has closed for the season, all other lifts operating
Resorts that remain open in the region are Grandeco, Nekoma and Minowa.
Nekoma will be closed between 19th-21st and 26th-28 April but these resorts all plan to be open until 5th May ---- whether they can do that or not will totally depend on the snow levels of course, which are less than usual and less than expected. Read more ...
Wednesday 30th March 2016, 8:44am
Morning to you all from Hakuba.
This morning it's a bit overcast, some blue sky on show in places and a generally hazy feel early on - currently 6 degrees here in the village and temperatures likely to rise up to around 13-14C later on. The warmth later may also be accompanied by some rain this evening.
We are probably going to be back to sunny skies by tomorrow morning though and more sun on Friday as well.
Sunday may bring some rain - or even snow higher up on the mountains - so it's probably a good idea to keep an eye on how that forecast develops over the next few days if you are planning to be here one day over the coming weekend.
Resort news as of 8:40am on Wednesday 30th March 2016 (where available, all subject to change due to weather conditions)
Hakuba 47: All courses at Hakuba 47 remain open. The Tree Riding Zone is now closed for the season. Official snow depth: Upper: 175cm Base: 60cm
Hakuba Goryu: All courses open apart from Powder Snow, Snow Diving, Adventure, Cosmo River, Sunny Way and Straight Whisky at Iimori. The Toomi area will be open until 9:30pm tonight for 'nighta' - will continue until tomorrow night. Official snow depth Alps: 223cm Toomi: 80cm Iimori: 35cm
Hakuba Happo-one: The lower Nakiyama, Shirakaba North, Central Course, Kokusai, Sakka, Olympic Course II and Kita One areas are closed. The Nakiyama South and Shirakaba South lower courses remain open (very limited). All of upper mountain courses remain all open. Official snow depth: Usagidaira: 145cm Nakiyama: 35cm
Hakuba Cortina: Courses open - Ikenota, Mt Hieda Forest, Mt Hieda 1 and Itadaira. Official snow depth: Top: 130cm Base: 47cm
Tsugaike Kogen: Areas now closed: Uma-no-se, Kano-no-naru-oka. Champion and Rinkan just part open due to insufficient snow. The top Tsugaike Ropeway is now open for spring season (extra charge required). Official snow depth: Tsuga-no-mori: 197cm Maruyama: 35cm Kane-no-naru-oka: -cm
I'm writing the report this morning at 9am and it's 12 degrees out there, destined to rise to around 16C later on in the day. It's sunny to start the day off - with hazy overcast like skies rather than blue skies - though there may be some rain coming later on this afternoon or this evening. The sun will be back tomorrow morning though and we're expecting clear and sunny skies through until Saturday. Rain is forecast for Sunday, so if you are planning on a weekend visit Saturday would seem to be the best bet. Keep an eye on the forecasts.
You can almost see that snow line move up the mountainsides. NASPA Ski Garden were originally planning on being open until 10th April but brought that forward to 3rd April a few days ago. The warmth and snow melt is beating everyone though and yesterday they brought it forward to 31st March (tomorrow) with just one run open. There may even be a question mark on whether they can keep open that long. Full marks to perseverance!
I'm keeping a watch on those closing dates in the information area below. There may be changes in the coming few days.
Come next Monday, we'll be left with Kandatsu Kogen, GALA Yuzawa and Naeba (and possibly Maiko the following weekend) being the only areas remaining open.
Resort official snow depths (Wednesday 30th March 2016) and any specific news at time of writing:
Lower slopes now have little to no snow on them, though higher areas still enjoy good snow cover. Best to head high!
Resorts in Yuzawa and Minamiuonuma:
GALA Yuzawa Central Area and part of North Area remain open. Plans to be part open until Sunday 8th May 110cm
Iwappara Middle area only remains open Plans to be part open (upper areas only) daily until Sunday 3rd April 40cm
Joetsu Kokusai Plans to be part open daily until Sunday 3rd April 70cm
Kagura Plans to be open until 29th May (via Mitsumata; until 8th May via Tashiro) 160cm (Mitsumata) 190cm (Tashiro) 220cm (Kagura)
Tomorrow is the last day of the season for another handful of lifts at Zao, followed by more lifts closing at the end of Sunday. Once we get to Monday it really will feel like we are into the last stretch of the season, even if some of the lifts hope to be open into May. That still seems a long way off, and there really does not seem to be enough snow for that to happen. I would guess that there is a fair chance that skiing and snowboarding will have to finish up before then. Anyway, we'll just have to see the cards that nature deals to see how that goes.
Actually I just noticed that the resort calls it 'Final Season' and reduces the lift ticket price to 3000 yen for adults and 1500 yen for children (from Monday 4th).
I will continue posting reports from Zao. I'll be trying to post about 2-3 reports a week to keep you up to date on the latest weather and any news coming from the resort.
Information as of Wednesday 30th March 2016 (subject to change)
Planned closing dates of lifts at Zao Onsen (subject to change due to snow conditions)
Open until Thursday 31st March: Nakamori Number 1 triple lift Omori quad lift Yokokura Number 2 pair lift Astraea Number 1 pair lift Astraea Number 2 pair lift Astraea Number 3 pair lift
Open until Sunday 3rd April: Onsen Number 1 pair lift Onsen Number 2 quad lift Shobunuma Number 2 pair lift
Open until Sunday 10th April: Mikaeri pair lift Yokokura Number 1 pair AB lift
Open until Sunday 17th April: Kurohime Number 1 quad lift
Open until Thursday 5th May: Chuo Number 1 pair lift AB Chuo Number 2 pair lift AB (daily until 3rd April and then Sat/Sun and holidays only) Katakai triple lift (daily until 3rd April and then Sat/Sun and holidays only) Paradise pair AB lift (daily until 3rd April and then Sat/Sun and holidays only) Utopia Number 2 pair lift
The Zao Ropeway, Sky Cable gondola and Chuo Ropeway are all open throughout the year (apart from specific maintenance periods)
Lifts not mentioned in the above list have already closed for the season. Read more ...
Shiga Kogen Now!
Wednesday 30th March 2016, 9:34am
Morning from Shiga Kogen where the clear skies and sunshine continue.
Cloud is forecast for later though and even the chance of some snow tonight! It's fairly warm this morning so it's going to have to get colder, but anyway I'll let you know how that goes tomorrow.
More sun on the forecast from tomorrow through until around Saturday.
Just 1 more day to go now until the end of the month and the end of the season for a number of lifts/areas of Shiga Kogen with more closing at the end of Sunday.
Spring season dates for Shiga Kogen resort areas (subject to change):
Sun Valley Both Sun Valley lifts plan to be operating until Sunday 3rd April.
Maruike The Number 1 triple lift plans to be operating until Sunday 3rd April. The Number 2 pair lift plans to be operating until Sunday 27th March.
Hasuike The triple lift and ropetow plan to be operating until Sunday 27th March.
Giant The pair lift plans to be operating until Sunday 3rd April.
Higashitateyama The Gondola plans to be operating until Sunday 3rd April.
Bunadaira The Hoppo quad lift plans to be operating until Sunday 3rd April.
Takamagahara Mammoth The quad lift plans to be operating until Sunday 8th May (* Saturdays and Sundays only from 11th April until 28th April). The triple lift plans to be operating until Thursday 31st March. The pair lift plans to be operating until Thursday 31st March (* Saturdays, Sundays and holidays only in March).
Nishitateyama The Nishitateyama lifts plan to be operating until Thursday 31st March.
Tannenomori Okojo The quad lift plans to be operating until Sunday 8th May.
Ichinose Family The Ichinose quad lift plans to be operating until Sunday 8th May. The Ichinose Number 2 pair A lift plans to be operating until Thursday 31st March. The Ichinose Number 2 pair B lift plans to be operating until Sunday 8th May. The Ichinose Number 3 quad lift plans to be operating until Sunday 27th March (* closed Tuesdays).
Terakoya The Terakoya lifts plan to be operating until Sunday 8th May (* Saturdays and Sundays only from 4th April until 28th April).
Ichinose Diamond The Ichinose Diamond quad lift plans to be operating until Sunday 8th May (* Saturdays and Sundays only from 4th April until 28th April). The Ichinose Diamond triple lift plans to be operating until Sunday 27th March (* Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays).
Ichinose Yamanokami The Ichinose Yamanokami plans to be open until Sunday 3rd April.
Yakebitaiyama Currently details are unconfirmed.
Okushiga Kogen The Okushiga Kogen Number 1 pair lift plans to be operating until Sunday 3rd April. The Okushiga Kogen Number 2, 3 and 4 pair lifts plan to be operating until Sunday 8th May. The Okushiga Kogen Number 6 pair lift plans to be operating until Sunday 24th April. The Okushiga Kogen Gondola lift plans to be operating until Sunday 8th May.
Kumanoyu The Kumanoyu Number 1 pair lift plans to be operating until Sunday 3rd April. The Kumanoyu Number 2 pair A and B lifts plan to be operating until Sunday 8th May. The Kumanoyu Number 3 quad lift plans to be operating until Sunday 3rd April; and then on 9th, 10th, 16th, 17th, 23rd, 24th April and from 29th April until 8th May.
Yokoteyama & Shibutoge The Yokoteyama Number 1 Sky A and B lifts plan to be operating until Sunday 8th May. The Yokoteyama Number 2 and 3 Sky lifts plan to be operating until Sunday 8th May (and perhaps beyond depending on snow conditions). The Yokoteyama Number 4 pair lift plans to be operating until Thursday 5th May. The Shibutoge lift plans to be operating until Sunday 8th May (and perhaps beyond depending on snow conditions).
The day has started out sunny with clear skies. Temperatures are really warm this morning so the snow conditions will be soft from the start. The clear skies are expected to give way to clouds which will bring some moderate rain in the afternoon, and then in the evening as the temperatures fall, light snow is forecast.
Lets hope that the rain event doesn't really get going as it is a truely pleasant spring morning at the moment. A little snow is forecast for tomorrow, and then on Friday things are looking great with lots of sunshine predicted.
Another day of spring skiing out there; another warm day. I'm at the desk today, but we're suddenly getting all the stinkbugs who were hibernating in cracks in the walls coming out in force. Which means it's warm.
Nothing much else to add, except wax your skis before you come out - that snow can get sticky in the afternoon! And the snow levels are coming down fast, and tomorrow will be the last day for Kyukamura and Madarao Kogen.
Akakura Kanko: 6° / 160cm; Sky Cable, No. 2 and 3 lifts; Champion side closed
Akakura Onsen: 5° / 130cm; running until April 3, with all the main lifts running; Ginrei section closed