Snow and weather reports posted on Sunday 7th May 2017
Wednesday 30th November 2016, 8:27am
Blue skies, some cloud
What about this then? While it is always the most exciting to be able to report heavy snowfall, it's always good to be able to report some blue skies and sunshine as well. (Though admittedly, it's much better once everywhere is open and the season gets going properly, after 30cm of fresh snow overnight...! I know, I can be hard to please.)
Still, with 10cm of fresh snow overnight, it should be a good morning to get in some of those early turns. Niseko Grand Hirafu have added 15cm to the official snow depth up top this morning. Though seemingly resort operations at Niseko Grand Hirafu and Niseko Annupuri remain unchanged.
So yes, there is lots of blue sky around this morning with just a bit of cloud. A lovely morning. It's good and cold too, and calm. Perhaps I will see some of you out there in a short while.
After the fine weather of today, tomorrow is forecast to get milder but we should be seeing a return to snow clouds later in the day and on Friday. After Friday there doesn't seem to be much chance of snow on the forecast with milder conditions again over the weekend and into early next week, but let's deal with that later.
More people are seemingly arriving in the area by the day now, so expectations continue to rise. What will December bring us this year?
What should be open today?
Niseko Grand Hirafu plans to be part open from 8:30am with the Ace Number 2 Center Four quad lift taking folk up to the Ace Number 3 pair lift and the open Center Course. The last lift servicing the open run will be at 3:30pm and the last quad lift coming back down to base at 4pm. Lift tickets for 1 day are 2,000 yen for adults and 1,000 yen for children and seniors.
Niseko Annupuri also plans to be part open. The Annupuri Gondola starts moving at 8:30am, taking people up to the Jumbo Number 3 pair lift which is open from 8:45am until 3:15pm. The last Gondola down is at 3:30pm. 1 day lift tickets for this limited Niseko Annupuri opening are 2,100 yen for adults and seniors, and 1,300 yen for elementary school age children.
Official resort snow depths as of Wednesday 30th November 2016:
Planned season dates for the four main Niseko United ski resorts:
Niseko Grand Hirafu: partly open already, until Sunday 7th May 2017 Niseko Annupuri: partly open already, until Sunday 7th May 2017 Niseko Hanazono: Saturday 3rd December 2016 until Sunday 2nd April 2017 Niseko Village: Thursday 1st December 2016 until Sunday 2nd April 2017
Night skiing is planned from Saturday 10th December until Monday 20th March 2017 at the Annupuri, Grand Hirafu and Village resort areas. Read more ...
Wednesday 30th November 2016, 8:33am
Mostly clear blue sky, some early cloud
The sun is out this morning and it's a beauty.
Kagura on their blog are reporting 20cm of fresh snow on the slopes, though the official website is saying 3-5cm (perhaps the latter being the 'overnight' number? Not clear, I'm afraid). But anyway, it was definitely snowing higher up yesterday the photos from Kagura look nice.
Snow nearly reached town levels at times yesterday but we didn't end up with any white covering down here. It was rain and sometimes heavy rain falling for most of the time.
This morning is different though with blue skies and the sun out from early on. There are some early morning clouds hanging around in places but they seem to be quickly disappearing. It is fairly chilly early on, but will warm up to perhaps around 8C in town later on this afternoon.
Tomorrow is forecast to warm up further still and if anything falls into early next week, it will likely be rain - perhaps even higher up too. Looking at the weekly forecast, there isn't much mention of snow on there just at the moment.
But, it is still November! That argument goes from tomorrow though of course when the serious subject of December snowfall comes into focus. Last year - poor. The year before - amazing. The last two seasons have really been one extreme to the other and people are somewhat wary of what this year is going to bring. One thing for sure, it's going to be interesting.
You can see all the numbers for yourselves down below on this page and on the new 'Snowfall Analysis' page.
A recap on what is planned to be open today:
A 1,500m section of the main run at Kagura. The course is 30-50m in width and the natural snow has been helped on by snow making machines giving what the resort reports as 50cm snow depth.
Operating lifts are:
- Mitsumata Ropeway - Mitsumata Number 1 quad - Mitsumata Number 2 romance pair - Kagura Gondola - Kagura Number 1 quad lift
All but the Kagura quad lift are basically operating to get people over to the course area that is open. The lifts can be used to get back down as well, which means that there is no shuttle bus needed. The Mitsumata Ropeway plans to be operating from 8am until 5pm, with the last one going up at 4:30pm.
Ski resorts currently open: Kagura via Mitsumata Ropeway - a 1,500m long run is now open at the main Kagura area
Planned opening dates for resorts in Yuzawa Town and Minamiuonuma City (by date):
This morning the sun is out and there is lots of blue sky, some low cloud and clouds around mid-mountain, but I reckon lots of those will probably be gone fairly quickly.
There has been just a dusting of snow really since my report yesterday down here, though surely more up top. Hopefully those top areas now have their base for the season and the snow will build up from there. There's still not much sign of snowfall though - even at higher elevations - into the first part of next week.
Tomorrow temperatures are going to rise perhaps into low double digits and rain is likely. After that it's a bit up and down over the weekend.
Nozawa Onsen will open as soon as there is enough snow. Read more ...
Wednesday 30th November 2016, 9:00am
2cm more fresh snow to report from Zao Onsen.
Clearer conditions this morning after the snowy clouds of yesterday. There's still a lot of cloud around but the sun is out and it feels like it is going to be a fine day.
Lower slopes by the village area here have some snow on them but not a complete cover, so it's pretty thin on the ground.
As I mentioned in my report yesterday, there's not much snow action expected in the coming in the next 6 days... and tomorrow we will probably get rained on and we'll be experiencing milder conditions.
Zao Onsen will open as soon as there is enough snow. Read more ...
Wednesday 30th November 2016, 9:01am
Fine with clouds
Good morning from Hakuba and the sun is out as I write this report.
There's a fair bit of cloud around too but a good share of blue skies too and I think it will turn into a generally fine day weather-wise. It was fairly cold early on this morning but things are going to warm up during the day today with a top temperature of around 7C expected this afternoon.
It will probably warm up a bit more still tomorrow, with rain expected. After that and through into early next week it looks as if high temperatures in the village are going to be lingering around the 8C-10C area.
There is perhaps a chance of snowfall at higher elevations tomorrow (when we get rained on down here), but apart from that it's looking fairly dry as we go into December.
Below are the official planned season opening dates for the ski and snowboard resorts in the Hakuba region. There are all subject to change depending on what happens weather-wise:
Hakuba Happo-one: as soon as there is enough snow Hakuba 47: as soon as there is enough snow Hakuba Goryu: as soon as there is enough snow Tsugaike Kogen: as soon as there is enough snow Hakuba Cortina: from 10th December Hakuba Iwatake Snow Field: from 16th December Hakuba Norikura Onsen: from mid December Hakuba Sanosaka: from mid December
Reports will be posted daily once the lifts get moving. Read more ...
Wednesday 30th November 2016, 9:40am
Today is one of those days that seems perfect in every way. The resort is surrounded by blue sky with just the odd cloud sitting in the sea of blue. There is no significant wind and the sun is out in full strength. The cream on the pudding of course is the 11cm of new snow that has been received since yesterday's report was written. The slopes are in superb condition and there will be plenty of the new powder to have a play in today.
Tomorrow we will have warm temperatures into positive territory and that will bring with it rain at least at village level. Heavy snow is forecast from Thursday evening into Friday so hopefully that will eventuate and it may allow the resort to open the slopes back to the resort base.
Furano Zone is partially open with Furano Ropeway operating to upload and download skiers to and from the upper mountain. It is not possible to ski from the top to bottom of the mountain yet. The skiable lift is Downhill Romance no.2 chair and the skiable courses are the upper part of Sailer and Spies Course, and Shirakaba Course. Restaurant Downhill is open.