Snow and weather reports posted on Sunday 17th December 2017
Saturday 3rd December 2016, 8:27am
Blue skies and sunny
A very good morning to you from here in sunny Hirafu.
Yesterday was something of a ride with the weather. It was calming down by the end of the day and making way for what is a beautiful morning here in Niseko. Apart from a few small clouds hanging around here and there, it's lovely blue skies all around and the sun is out. Very nice.
Winds were blowing the snow around yesterday, but I am going with 3cm as the snowfall since my last report and surely quite a bit more on places on the mountain. While it may be far from peak season conditions yet, of course, it should be fun out there this morning. As we approach 8:30am it looks like there are a fair few people lining up for the first lift at Grand Hirafu.
It is a fairly mild morning here and currently about 0C here at base and it should be a generally calm weekend. Once we get into next week though things are looking quite exciting from late Monday with some decent snowfall lined up. That's what we like.
Today is of course the first Saturday of December and more lifts and courses are scheduled to open from this morning - especially in the Hirafu area. This is where things start to get somewhat complicated regarding 'what's open', but I have tried my best to get the latest information pre-opening this morning from official sources and added it below. Remember, things can change and may well do so - and also that the snow is not particularly deep yet (surely no-one told you that?!), and so there are bushes and rocks and the like still showing through in places. I'll try to keep a track on it all each morning in the hope that sooner than later everywhere will be able to open!
Today marks the first day of operation for the new King Number 3 triple lift at Niseko Grand Hirafu and there will be a small ceremony there before it starts its never-ending journey. The new lift is mentioned in the resort introduction here, but basically the original triple lift has been changed into a new hooded quad and is a bit longer. Let's hope it is a worthy improvement.
What is planned to be open today?
Niseko Grand Hirafu & Hanazono
Lifts planned to be operating:
- Ace Number 2 Center Four - Ace Number 3 pair - Hirafu Gondola - King Number 3 triple - Swinging Monkey - Hanazono 1 quad - Hanazono 2 quad - Hanazono 3 quad
Planned season dates for the four main Niseko United ski resorts:
Niseko Grand Hirafu: until Sunday 7th May 2017 Niseko Annupuri: until Sunday 7th May 2017 Niseko Hanazono: until Sunday 2nd April 2017 Niseko Village: 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 ...
Shiga Kogen Now!
Saturday 3rd December 2016, 8:29am
Clear and sunny, blue skies
It is a fine morning for the opening ceremony for Shiga Kogen this morning. Lots of blue sky, lots of sunshine and just a few white clouds.
It's mild too and right now +2C.
Yakebitaiyama opens this morning - with the big help of snow making machines - to join the other three resort areas that are part open. There's not much natural snow on the ground at all yet, so the openings are all very limited.
A drop in temperatures and an appearance by snow clouds looks due around late Monday into Tuesday. Fingers crossed we'll get some decent snowfall...
Areas of Shiga Kogen currently open:
Ichinose Family The Number 2 pair A lift is operating with the lower main course area open.
Kumanoyu The Number 2 pair AB lift and Number 4 pair are operating with a 600m long run open.
Hello from Yuzawa and early on there is a lot of blue sky above the town with some cloud.
Yesterday things cleared up somewhat during the morning and this morning there is no (rain or) snow to report in the region.
From today the Panorama course at Kagura opens up and so now a large part of the main Kagura area of the resort is open. Good to hear, though remember that snow is still relatively thin on the ground. The Family Course at Mitsumata is 'snow mats with a bit of snow on top'.
Today was the day that Iwappara and Joetsu Kokusai were (rather ambitiously) looking to open, but of course with no snow yet on lower mountains that is not happening. They will both now open basically as soon as there is enough snow.
So, when will that be? Looking at the forecast, it seems that as we enter Tuesday we might be getting snowed on. As you can see from the data from 2014, it was around 6th-8th December when the snow really arrived in Yuzawa. I remember it well... what a month that turned out to be. More of that please!
The third image today (below) is the top webcam at Ishiuchi Maruyama, looking north up the Minamiuonuma valley.
What is planned to be open today at Kagura:
Open courses are:
- Kagura main course - Technical course - Giant course - Gondola course - Panorama - Family course (Mitsumata)
Operating lifts are:
- Mitsumata Ropeway - Mitsumata Number 1 quad - Mitsumata Number 2 romance pair - Kagura Gondola - Kagura Number 1 quad lift - Kagura Number 1 pair - Kagura Number 4 pair
Ski resorts currently open: Kagura - most of the main Kagura area open, via Mitsumata Ropeway
Planned opening dates for resorts in Yuzawa Town and Minamiuonuma City (by date):
As soon as there is enough snow: Iwappara Joetsu Kokusai
The snow kept coming yesterday and today's measurement is another 16cm. Substantially more than 16cm has fallen on the mountain which has meant the base has increased from 90cm to 120cm on the upper mountain! All this snow has allowed another lift to open, Furano Downhill Romance #3 chairlift, allowing access to the Panorama Course. The lower mountain now has enough coverage and Sailer Course is skiable all the way down to the Ropeway Base Station. To cap this all off we have clear blue skies with calm conditions except for a light breeze. It will be an absolutely fantastic day. Read more ...