Snow and weather reports posted on Sunday 7th May 2017
Monday 31st March 2014, 8:20am
Cloud, some blue sky
The weekend is over and we're back to a Monday morning as things get quieter still here in Niseko.
Yesterday we had a mixed bag of conditions - bit of rain, a bit of snow even.
There's lots of cloud this morning, but some blue sky as well and the sun out at times. Windy conditions are preventing those top lifts from opening as planned again unfortunately.
The Niseko Hanazono Resort and Niseko Village area plan to be open until Sunday April 6th, with the other areas soldiering on until Golden Week in early May (last date of the season planned for Tuesday May 6th).
Will it be snowing for that last weekend for those two resorts? If some forecasts are correct, it may well be! Keeping an eye on that particular forecast...
As noted below, today's Avalanche Report is the last one of the current season and as always many thanks to the Niseko Avalanche Institute.
We will continue to keep these Niseko Now reports updated though until the end of the season in May.
Niseko Avalanche Report:
Avalanches occurrence have causes, and some avalanches can be predicted by observations and weather datas, however the most unpredictable things are human actions. Chances of accidents to happen will rise as the more people go to potentially hazardous terrain, no matter how much caution is being called. Most of winter avalanche accidents occur during and just after storms. Niseko has been using a gate system, setting opening/closing criteria to prevent accidents.
Although the Rules has become common-sense and the accidents in Niseko diminished, the number of accidents in the surrounding area have increased. Even with 500 people in the out of bounds area, accidents hardly happens in Niseko, however accidents have kept happening in other areas such as Iwaonupuri and Mt Yotei. Spring has come and snow started to melt, but still many people enjoy the snow. Spring avalanches also has causes. Overloaded snowpack and temperature rise are some if it that can leaf full-depth slides. the reason why there are not many accidents is that there are simple not many people riding. Stay away from the bottom of large valleys such as the Backbowl, Osawa, Mikaerisawa and Higashi-one, and stay away from other steep slopes. Spring slides are extremely destructive to the point of changing the terrain on its path. Always be prudent and vigilant, accidents can be avoided if you do. this season's avalanche info ends today.
Very heavy rain yesterday evening and the rain along with some crazy sounding wind actually woke me up a few times overnight. No snow to show for it at all higher up (Kagura not reporting any snow anyway) and blustery winds are preventing most of Kagura from opening this morning -- just the Mitsumata area open. GALA Yuzawa is open as planned though this morning.
The rain has stopped though and we actually have some blue sky opening up above the town now and as I write this the sun is shining through the window. Clouds are moving fast though, so that might not last long.
Sunny conditions due tomorrow.
The link up between Yuzawa Kogen - GALA Yuzawa - Ishiuchi Maruyama ended for the season yesterday.
Here's the latest on when Yuzawa skijo intend to be open until:
It doesn't seem that long ago when I was starting up these reports for the season... but here I am wrapping them up on the last day of the season.
The sun is out this morning, there's still great snow cover, all courses are open and it should be a good last day. (The only thing that might spoil things is the fairly strong wind at times...)
I think most people would agree that it has been something of an odd season - not only here but in many surrounding areas as well. It somehow didn't seem to be as consistent as we are used to - though it's worth reminding ourselves of very high standards that we often expect and often get here!
There were many fine powder days though and I have some very fine memories of hitting the powder in those tree runs. It's always sad to think how long it will be before I can do that again.
The warm up will continue now and no doubt the snow will quickly start disappearing from the mountain. It's shocking how fast it does start to go once we get into April!
Of course Madarao is a fine place to be when there's no snow around as well - beautiful all year round and nice and cool in those hot summer months. There's usually a number of events going on as well which are worth looking up. (Get to the Madarao website via the links on Madarao Kogen resort page that is linked to from here).
Anyway, thank you for reading the Madarao Now reports this year, and I hope to see you in the run up to next season! Read more ...
Nozawa Onsen Now!
Monday 31st March 2014, 9:01am
Cloud, fog higher
Morning from Nozawa and welcome to the start of the last bit of the season.
What does that mean? Basically lower charges (as I mentioned a few days ago), fewer lifts operating and some courses closed off.
First up here's the lifts that have stopped running for the season:
Weekends will likely see more lifts moving, but for today it's weekday operations again and what I will do from now on is mention what lifts and courses plan to be open in the information below on each report.
We'll be continuing to update Nozawa Now right through until the end of the season in early May.
I almost forgot to mention the weather and the new snow! After that rain stuff yesterday, and quite a chilly night, this morning there is reportedly up to 8cm of fresh snow on the top Yamabiko course areas. Yey. Looks a bit foggy up there still though I expect it to clear up today.
Lifts Planned operating lifts for today (weekday operations): Nagasaka Gondola Yamabiko Four Yamabiko Number 2 Four Uenotaira Four Yu Road Hikage Triple
Courses Planned courses to be open: Yamabiko A Yamabiko C Yamabiko D Yamabiko E Uenotaira Paradise Bunabayashi Schneider Utopia Utopia 2 Challenge Hikage Hikage no kabe Nagasaka Isemiya Nagasaka connecting Read more ...
Monday 31st March 2014, 9:01am
Ah another Monday morning. Glad to get rid of that rainy day yesterday and welcome the sun this morning. A sprinkling of snow being reported higher up at Happo-one (2cm) but apart from Tsugaike Kogen's upper snow depth taking a big jump up to 300cm (surely some kind of mistake), nothing else to report. Let's just be happy that the rain has eased off.
So yes it's nice and sunny this morning and actually it was quite cold early on. While snow conditions may not be brilliant, it should be a fine day to be out on the mountain. Good spring ski weather conditions. Put on some sun screen and remember the sunglasses.
Seemas that strong winds on the mountain are preventing the Grad quad at the top of Happo from moving early morning.
Looking forward at the forecast, it's looking quite interesting. If we skip over the rain that seems likely around Thursday/Friday, there's currently snow linued up after that. A bit too early to get too excited about that, but it will be interesting to see how that develops. One final blast of winter anyone?!
Last day of the season today for the Hakuba Sanosaka and Hakuba Norikura Onsen resorts.
Official snow depth numbers and operations (as of 31st March 2014):
Hakuba Goryu: Plans to be open until early May. Upper - 225cm Toomi - 85cm Iimori - 50cm
Hakuba 47: Plans to be open until early May. Upper - 170cm Lower - 35cm
Happo-one: Plans to be open until early May. Usagidaira - 170cm Nakiyama - 30cm Sakka - 35cm
Tsugaike Kogen: Plans to be open until early May. Tsuganomori - 300cm Maruyama - 50cm Kanenonaruoka - 80cm
Hakuba Cortina: Plans to be open until 6th April. Upper - 250cm Lower - 140cm
Hakuba Iwatake and Hakuba Minekata are already closed.
Strong winds this morning preventing lots of lifts to open so it's really limited out there early on.
Should clear up tomorrow and be sunny for a few days.
I'm just looking ahead at the forecast... snow next weekend?!
Operating ski lifts at Zao (* subject to change):
Until 6th April: Onsen Number 1 Pair Onsen Number 1 Quad Nakamoro Number 1 Triple Mikaeri Pair
Sometime in April: Yokokura Number 1 Pair Kurohime Number 1 Quad
Until 6th May: Ropeways and Gondolas (open through the year) Chuo Number 1 Pair AB Chuo Number 2 Pair AB (every day until 14th April, then holidays) Katakai Triple (every day until 14th April, then holidays) Paradise Pair AB Utopia Number 2 Pair
Official snow depths (29th March 14): Utopia: 240cm Chuo: 210cm Paradise: 230cm Uwanodai: 130cm Read more ...
Shiga Kogen Now!
Monday 31st March 2014, 9:40am
We got rained on yesterday, but... it turned into snow for a while and there's just a thin layer to show for it and snow on the roads. It is still snowing lightly too, but feels like it is going to ease off and indeed the forecast has us down for some sunny conditions later today and tomorrow too.
It's the last day of the season for a number of resort areas and lifts today as noted below.
Shiga Kogen Now will continue to get updated until the end of the season, hopefully with at least a few reports each week.
Maruike: Until 31st March
Hasuike: Until 31st March
Nishitateyama: Until 31st March
Higashitateyama: Until 31st March
Sun Valley: Number 2 lift - closed Number 3 lift - until 31st March Number 1 lift - until 6th April
Tannenomori: Number 8 quad lift - until 3rd April and then 5th, 6th, 12th, 13th April; 26th April until 6th May
Giant: Until 6th April
Happo Bunadaira: Bunadaira quad - until 31st March Happo quad - until 6th April
Ichinose Diamond: Diamond triple lift - until 4th April Diamond quad lift - until 6th April; then on weekends and 26th April until 6th May. Connecting - until 31st March
Ichinose Family: Ichinose Number 2 Pair A - until 31st March Ichinose Number 3 quad - until 31st March Ichinose Number 2 Pair B - until 6th May Ichinose quad - until 6th May
Ichinose Yamanokami: Until 6th April and then weekends and 26th April until 6th May
Terakoya: Quad lift - until 31st March and then weekends and 26th April until 6th May Pair lift - until 31st March and then weekends and 26th April until 6th May
Mammoth: Number 3 pair lift - until 31st March Quad lift - until 6th April and then weekends and 26th April until 6th May Triple lift - until 6th April and then weekdays until 25th April; and then 3rd-6th May
Kidoike: Until 31st March
Okushiga Kogen: Number 6 pair lift - until 30th March Number 1 pair lift - until 6th April Number 4 pair lift - until 6th April and then 12th, 13th, 19th, 20th April and 26th April until 6th May Number 2 and 3 pair lifts - until 6th May Gondola - until 6th May
Yakebitaiyama, Yokoteyama and Kumanoyu are yet to announce details. Yokoteyama is usually able to remain open until late May. Read more ...
Monday 31st March 2014, 9:52am
With temperatures fluctuating over the last few days between warm and freezing, snow conditions on the mountain have been varying between icy and soft spring.
Today there has been a fresh dusting of new snow, but nothing to get too excited about.
Temperatures are cold so the slopes will be firm and frosty but may soften up if temperatures lift during the day.
Heavy cloud is enveloping the mountain down to base, so expect compromised visibility at times.
Kitanomine Zone is now closed for the season including the Link Lift and Link Course. Read more ...
Monday 31st March 2014, 13:09pm
Sunny blue skies
The official spring post-season has arrived with blue skies and high winds. Yesterday we had rain and high winds, so it's a nice change.
It looks like a great day to be out on the snow, in fact, and too bad that some of the resorts are now closed for the season.
It's been a strange one, to be honest. It looked like we'd lose most of our snow a couple of times throughout the season, with warm weather, wind and rain, but then the snow always seemed to come back. There was good powder out there, for sure; it just never seemed very 'Myoko-y' (meaning days of snow falling so heavy you can't see).
Lots more international visitors this season, and they seemed to come from all over. Lots of Europeans - which surprised the locals - lots of Australians, of course, and no real troubles at all. Many people told me that they came here because they really wanted to visit Japan and enjoy the culture, not just ski (but they did want good deep snow, of course). Maybe that's why people were pretty respectful, friendly and nice. So a lot of change for us here, but not unpleasant change.
We also had a lot more people getting into trouble by skiing where they shouldn't, and it wasn't all the imports doing it, either. Plenty of Japanese riding off course and into the wrong places. I hope more people learn that sidecountry really is backcountry, in that you can get killed in an avalanche just off the lifts as easily as way out in the hills. Trees are just as hard, too.
Anyway, a kind of strange season, but a good one, and it's not completely over yet (see below).
We'll keep the page updated every now and again for the rest of the season
Akakura Kanko: 240cm Spring operations: The Myoko Kogen Sky Cable gondola and hotel No. 3 lift will stay open until May 6, or whenever the snow runs out. You can still ski all the way to the bottom. Spring rates from March 24 are adults ¥2,500, junior high students and seniors ¥2,000, kids ¥1,500.
Akakura Onsen: Closed
Ikenotaira: 150cm Planning to stay open until Sunday, April 6; three lifts running.
Myoko Suginohara: Closed
Seki Onsen: 370cm Says it hopes to stay open until mid-May - at least for Golden Week, snow allowing.
Myoko Ski Park: 200cm Open until Sunday, April 6.
Myoko Kyukamura Runrun Closed
Madarao 160cm All lifts running. Last day today.
Tangram Ski Circus 155cm Running the No. 3 lift only until April 6. Read more ...