Snow and weather reports posted on Thursday 25th May 2017
Thursday 31st December 2015, 8:10am
Mostly blue skies
It's the last day of the year and the day has started with lovely blue skies and sunshine over the region.
It might not last as snow is due to be falling sometime later on today and into tomorrow. With slightly milder temperatures today, it might start off as sleet (hopefully not rain)!
Come Saturday though and milder conditions are expected to be back for the first few days of the new year. The forecasts are making those slightly worrying 'warmer than average' comments again for Sunday and early week, so we'll have to keep an eye on that.
For now though a lovely morning to be outside.
All of the ski and snowboard resorts around town are now open with many of them close to or actually fully open. As I think I said yesterday mostly the courses still not open will be steeper slopes that need more snow depth.
Hope you can enjoy the day and evening, and see you in 2016!
Resort operations (Thursday 31st December 2015) - subject to change:
Resorts in Yuzawa:
GALA Yuzawa The Central Area and most of the North Area are now open. The downhill Falcon course is also now open.
Kagura Almost all of Kagura is open. The only areas not open yet are the top pair lift (from 1st January) and the Mitsumata downhill course back to base. The Dragondola connecting Tashiro with Naeba is now operating.
Kandatsu Kogen Kandatsu Kogen is 90% open with all their planned lifts operating.
Welcome to our new ‘Grandeco Now' reports, exclusive to SnowJapan.
As with all our Now daily reports, it extremely important to us that the information we publish is useful, honest and correct and we’ll be doing everything we can to bring you some good info from this region. Grandeco is located in Kita Shiobara village in the north western region of Fukushima Prefecture - we are very pleased to be able to begin reporting from this region of Japan. More information on Grandeco can be found here and a Resort Spotlight on SnowJapan here. Read more ...
Thursday 31st December 2015, 8:38am
Cloudy and overcast
Good morning from Niseko.
Yesterday was as fine as I thought it would be. I think the people who were here experiencing it will have been satisfied. Beautiful conditions both in terms of weather and snow, with hardly any wind around either. Very nice.
It's a different start to the day this morning. Though it was clearer when I first got up, it's a much cloudier and overcast feel right now with light snow on and off expected this morning.
Oh yes, did I mention the 5cm or so that we have got overnight? Only 5cm! We want 20cm each day, where do I complain! Still, it's a quality 5cm and there is more on the way - the forecast for the next week is still looking good for regular snowfall topups and continued cold conditions. The wind might even behave. So it should be a good week.
Top Ace 4 at Hirafu is open this morning and as you can see in the Avalanche Report below some gates too. I think that from tomorrow I'll be able to start the new year not listing up the lifts that are moving, as we are pretty much there now.
New Years Eve already. I hope that you have fun tonight - remember to take care (see yesterdays report).
And I'll see you in the New Year. Forgive me if my report is slightly later than usual tomorrow morning.
Something I said in my report yesterday seems to have prompted quite a few people to send me messages. I really wasn't angling for that - honest! :)
But it is always great to hear feedback and comments about these reports... if we don't hear comments it's sometimes difficult to know what people are thinking. But anyway, a big sincere thank you to people who have sent on their thoughts. It makes it all even more worthwhile. And if you do want to contact me, or indeed SnowJapan in general, you can do so using the contact form. There's a link in the bottom menu area. Please note we cannot answer specific questions.
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Arigato gozaimasu. Thank you.
Niseko Avalanche Report:
Niseko base 6am: -6℃, 5cm of crystal snow in 12 hours, calm. Moiwa 800m: light breeze, -10℃, 10cm snowfall without snowdrift development. Annupuri 1000m: -10℃, calm. 1150m: W15m/s, moderate wind with snowdrift and light sprinkles. Coastal data: Benkei cape NW12m/s, Kamui cape WSW13m/s, 1012hPa, 1.0m waves.
Gates 4 (Fujiwara), 5 (Hanazono), 6 (Moiwa) and 10 (Ambetsu) are scheduled to open today. The lower sections are still bushy, better not venture too far. Follow the ski patrol’s instructions. There’s been tracks in yet to be open Annupuri Osawa area yesterday. Violators will be refused to further use ski resort facilities.
The Niseko Rules has been established in order to prevent accidents in the out of bounds area, however has also largely contributed in the Niseko snow-tourism’s promotion. We strongly demand all accommodations, guides and all snow related business in Niseko to acknowledge the Niseko Rules properly. The overall avalanche risk is relatively low today except in south-facing steep slopes, however strictly off-limits areas are closed at anytime, don’t duck ropes.
Planned resort operations (subject to change due to weather conditions during the day)
Niseko Grand Hirafu Lifts planned to be running: - All lifts except Ace Number 4 and King Number 2 - Night lifts: Ace Family Pair, Ace Number 2 Quad, Hirafu Gondola, Holiday Number 1 Courses planned to be open: - All open apart from Onsenzawa
Niseko HANAZONO Resort Lifts planned to be running: - All lifts - No night skiing in the Hanazono area Courses planned to be open: - All courses
Niseko Village Lifts planned to be operating: - All lifts planned to be operating (apart from Country Road Chair) - Night lifts: Community Chair, Banzai Chair Courses planned to be open: - All courses
Niseko Annupuri Lifts planned to be operating: - All lifts planned to be operating - Night lift: Jumbo Number 1 quad Courses planned to be open: - 11 out of the 13 courses are now open - Champion - Utopia - Shirakaba - Paradise - Junior - Family - Dynamic - Silver - Merchen - S-Ji - Challenge
Official resort snow depths as of Thursday 31st December 2015:
Hello and there's no new snowfall to report on this New Years Eve morning from Nozawa.
It's a mix of blue sky and cloudy early on, but it's a good cold start to the day. Hopefully it will keep cold and then we'll get some snow later on, perhaps as early as early afternoon. Then snow is forecast through the night and into tomorrow morning.
Most lifts at Nozawa are now springing into action - today, just the Kandahar and Nagasaka Four lifts are resting. That's all good to hear.
File the next bit under 'don't want to hear', but it seems that once we get into January, there's going to be a period of milder conditions from Sunday. Unfortunately it might bring with it rain in the village though even if that happens fingers crossed it'll be snow up top. We could do without rain though of course.
Anyway, a decent refresh tonight please - though perhaps ease off for when New Year Eve festivities are planned. No nighta on the Nagasaka area due to the snow conditions, but the festivities there are still scheduled to take place (Number 1 Car Park B Block) from 11pm. There should be a few fun things going on including a fireworks display. (Actual car parking ok in the Number 1 Car Park A Block).
Once that has finished, back to heavy snow please!
Thanks for reading the reports this year so far. I'm hoping there'll be lots of good snowy news January-March and beyond.
Please note that on Thursday 31st December, Saturday 2nd January and Sunday 3rd January, the lifts and gondolas at Nozawa Onsen will all be starting their day 30 minutes earlier than usual.
Official info at time of writing on Thursday 31st December 2015 (subject to change):
There's no new snow to report to you this morning though I hear earlier on it was snowing very lightly higher up. Lots of blue skies around now though with just a few small clouds lingering. A fine morning weather wise, and happily keeping cold.
The forecasts do have us down for snow today, so it could cloud over again any time and hopefully we will be getting snowed on later.
There will be lots of New Years Eve celebrations going on tonight so while we don't want the weather to hinder those, we of course all want snow to fall. Come New Year, we're going to be back to 'warmer than normal' conditions it looks like which is not what we want to be hearing. Definitely a lot of that this season so far.
But back to today and this lovely morning. Lots of people around, hopefully the resorts are coping keeping them happy!
I hope everyone can enjoy tonight - whether you are reading this from Hakuba or from the other side of the world. All the best, and I'll be back with you tomorrow morning.
Resort news as of 8:50am on Thursday 31st December (all subject to change due to weather conditions)
Hakuba 47: Hakuba 47 is reporting 0cm of fresh snowfall. All courses apart from Route 7 are now open. Lower Route 1 not recommended for beginners as there's not the best snow conditions. Tree Riding Zone not yet open for the season. Planned lifts: Gondola Line AB Line C Line E Official snow depth Upper: 90cm Base: 10cm
Hakuba Goryu: Hakuba Goryu is reporting 0cm of new snowfall. Upper areas, the main Toomi course and the Soft Cream course in the Iimori area are open. Nighta on Toomi 31st December - 3rd January. Planned lifts: Telecabin Gondola Alps Number 1 pair lift Alps Number 2/4 pair lift Alps Number 3 pair lift Toomi Sky Four lift Milky Four lift Official snow depth Alps: 120cm Toomi: 40cm Iimori: 25cm
Hakuba Happo-one: Usagidaira, Kurobishi, Panorama, Skyline and Kita One areas are open - lower course areas are still closed. Planned lifts: Adam Gondola Alpen quad lift Usagidaira pair lift Happo Riesen quad Nakiyama Number 3 triple Kurobishi Number 2 quad lift Kurobishi Number 3 pair lift Skyline Number 2 pair lift Kokusai Number 1 lift Kokusai Number 3 lift Panorama pair lift Kita One quad lift Kita One Number 3 pair lift Official snow depth Usagidaira: 70cm Nakiyama: 10cm Sakka: 10cm
Hakuba Cortina: Hakuba Cortina reporting 0cm of fresh snow. Courses open - Ikenota, Ikenota Forest (upper), Mt Hieda Forest, Mt Hieda 1 (lower), Itadaira, Itadaira Forest, Ipponmatsu. Planned lifts: Number 1 pair lift Number 2 quad lift Number 4 pair lift Number 5 pair lift Official snow depth Top: 75cm Base: 40cm
Tsugaike Kogen: Large sections of Tsugaike Kogen are now at least part open. Planned lifts: Most lifts now operating at Tsugaike Kogen Official snow depth Tsuga-no-mori: 122cm Kane-no-naru-oka: 30cm
Hakuba Iwatake Snow Field: The North, East and part of South runs are open. Planned lifts: Noah Gondola 3Sen North 4Sen Line East 5Sen South Line Lift Official snow depth Upper: 50cm Lower: 10cm
Tomorrow should be a cold start to the New Year and hopefully snow clouds will still be lingering, though we're not expecting much. As with other regions the start of the new year looks like it's going to be a bit warmer than usual which of course is not what we all want to hear. Next snow in the new year looks to be coming around Tuesday...
In the meantime, thanks for reading the reports this year. I am very much hoping that it's going to be a smoother and snowier January.
Enjoy New Years Eve.
Information as of Thursday 31st December 2015 (subject to change)
Yesterday turned into a stunning day. The clouds parted around lunch time making it one of those rare days with blue skies and fresh powder.
Today brings another light dusting, with 3cm falling overnight with more due to fall today in occasional flurries. The clouds seem like they will persist today, however I thought that yesterday and it turned into a cracking day! Temperatures have warmed up, especially at the base with -6°C reported this morning.
Speaking to Patrol and Mountain Club staff yesterday, they would like to remind guests that ducking ropes is strictly prohibited at Kiroro. Yesterday saw a lot of people breaking the rules and receiving warnings for their transgressions, a few people did not head these warnings and promptly went back under the ropes, loosing their pass in the process. Mountain Club staff will happily discuss this policy if anyone has questions.
That brings 2015's reports to an end, have a good New Years celebration and we will see you next year for some more powder! Read more ...
Thursday 31st December 2015, 9:36am
It has turned into a beautiful morning.
There's new snow to report. Blue skies and sun to report.
I wish it were snowing, but if we can't have more snow just now this will do for this morning. And I certainly would not call it 'best condition' as I am hearing from elsewhere - if what we have now really is is 'best conditions', what do you call it when we have relentlesss snow over a period of a week and truly deep conditions?
After some more snow that is expected tonight we can expect clearer skies again and (alas) a trend towards milder conditions. This is not just here but in the wider area (and lots of Japan in general?)
Anyway, torchlit skiing and firewords should end the day today as we proceed into January.
Here's to us delving deep into the goods that we know winter can provide - we have honestly only seen a hint of them so far this season...
Really sunny, nice (and a little bit scary—need snow!)
Another really sunny day to end up 2015. Yes, we enjoy a sunny day. In Spring. Right now we need that pounding, day-in day-out snow that Myoko can produce.
It's interesting that the snow is heavier here on the Onsen/Akakan/Seki side, and a lot lower at neighboring Ikenotaira and Suginohara. I did a quick inspection over at Ikenotaira, and it's definitely true (but the skiing was good, too, just a bit more grass and rocks that I'd like).
The forecast says we should get a little more snow today, and we need it. As I mentioned yesterday, it's going to get windy and warm over the coming days and especially on the 2nd. It's looking a little better than a few days ago—when reports had the freezing line moving up to 2000 meters and 80km/hr winds at night high up! But in a lot of ways we haven't really settled into the winter yet.
After yesterday's check, there's one more advisory to be made: wait to go backcountry. Your writer enjoyed crashing through vines and jumping over small trees at a tremendously slow speed, but I doubt anyone else would. It's literally unskiable in many places, almost impossible to get turns in and very likely to misdirect you to the wrong place. And the snow hasn't settled, so trees pop up and holes suddenly emerge. Work on your technique on the slopes, keep looking longingly at the peaks, and the right time will come.
A fine and sunny morning in Naeba, though we are expecting clouds to move back in this afternoon - and snow by tonight and into tomorrow morning. For the moment the resort is open as it has been this morning - we need another decent snowfall or two to open up the remaining areas.
The forecast? After the snow tonight things are going to clear up somewhat and we will have a period of slightly warmer conditions - hopefully not by too much.
It is New Years Eve today of course and a lot of people around. There's going to be some festivities tonight! Take care and have fun out there.
It's 31st December already, I can't quite believe it. December has been an odd one this year and a very slow start to the season - not just here in Shiga Kogen but in many areas of Japan it seems. Last season was generally heavy snow; this season... how will it turn out? We'll just have to sit tight and see. Here's to January bringing with it much more snow than December!
OK on to this morning. The sun is out, blue skies all around and the sun is shining down on us. No fresh snow to report and generally similar resort operations as yesterday I believe. The only thing I can notice is that while the Higashitateyama 'egg' gondola is moving, the Higashitateyama courses themselves are not.
Next progress will surely be made once we have another decent delivery of fresh. We are hoping for snow later today and overnight into tomorrow, but after that there's not much on the radar into early next week. Areas lower down in the valley are probably going to see warmer conditions in the coming week though up here we should be spared of too much of a warmup.
Have a great New Years Eve!
Official snow depths at Shiga Kogen resort areas (Thursday 31st December):
There was blue around the edges for a while today, but mostly cloudy and now snowing.
Good day but everyone is pleased it's snowing.
Very popular today and good skiing to be had but snow started falling around 2pm and the fresh will make tomorrow nice. Let's wait and see how much.
No wind today, -8 in town, -11 on resort.
Have a great New Year's Eve - Furano is traditional so most restaurants are closed today and tomorrow.
The New Furano Prince Hotel has fireworks at midnight, three restaurants and a top floor bar that will have a pretty awesome view tonight. Just sort your transport home before you bundle the fam over there. Read more ...