Snow and weather reports posted on Friday 19th January 2018
Wednesday 3rd January 2018, 7:40am
Good Morning from Naeba! It's still snowing outside as "Storm Dougle" is giving us his best! The wind is breezing through the valley as a pace, so there are currently a number of lifts on standby this morning. This coupled with cool air temperatures will result in a chilly day. The fresh 53cm of snow will be fun on the pistes, particularly up at the top if Takenokoyama Pair Lift if they manage to open it today.
The forecast looking forwards is for "Storm Dougle" to stick around for another couple of days, with the heaviest snow falling throughout today. Skies are expected to clear somewhat on Friday, before the snow is back over the weekend.
A good 40+cm measured at base with the snowfall that we got through the day yesterday.
It is snowing this morning too though not expected to last the day. Maybe it will even clear up.
Bit of wind about but conditions this morning should be really great. Wrap up and enjoy!
Number 1 Gondola news
Regarding the Number 1 Gondola. Unfortunately, it sounds like some repair work is needed to get that operating again and it may well take about another month or so (as of the end of December), according to staff at the resort. The resort will of course be doing all they can to get it back up and running and I will of course keep you up to date on that as things happen.
With the Number 1 Gondola out of action it means that some areas of the resort are 'hike-up' - this includes the upper area of A1 course, A4 course and A6 course. They are available but you need to 'hike up' - and the same rules/restrictions as per the tree run courses apply. Please contact the resort about those. The Shooter 1-4 areas will be closed as long as the Number 1 Gondola is not moving.
Official snow depths:
Top: 320cm Base: 260cm
* All lifts scheduled to be operating apart from the Number 1 Gondola
Courses & Tree Runs:
* All main courses open apart from B2 today * The 'Rabbit' tree run course open - others yet to open
Nighta skiing operations are planned at Geto Kogen over New Year, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays until 25th February 2018.
Welcome to our new Geto Kogen Now daily reports section
Geto Kogen is a ski and snowboard resort in Iwate Prefecture in the northern Tohoku region of Honshu, the main island of Japan. It’s known for heavy snowfalls, quality snow and tree run courses. Hopefully we will be able to bring you some good snowy reports through this season.
For more information on Geto Kogen please check out these pages on SnowJapan:
A bit disappointing that there is only a small amount of fresh snow to report this morning. I was hoping for more and surely there will be more at higher elevations. Go high and seek, I say!
It's mostly cloudy at the moment though there is some blue sky appearing in places. It is a quite nice morning actually. Definitely colder overnight and at the start of the day, and we shouldn't be too surprised if some light snow falls during the day.
I don't have much else to report this morning, so over to my season recap waffle...
A look back at the season so far: December 2017
It’s time for me to look back at the season so far and see how we are doing, big-picture. Before I start, I want to remind you that all the numbers from my reports are available at any time on each of the archived Niseko Now reports (linked below) as well as by clicking on that lovely blue ‘Snowfall Analysis’ tab at the top of this page. I highly recommend that you have excite let’s checking sessions when you have a bit of time. You might get lost in it all; but in a good way. All very interesting.
Here’s the snowfall that I have measured myself here near the base of Hirafu over the last six years in the month of December:
December 2017: 406cm December 2016: 181cm December 2015: 244cm December 2014: 519cm December 2013: 275cm December 2012: 418cm
So, it turns out that in December 2017 I did not actually observe as much fresh snowfall as I did in December 2014 and in December 2012, but it was still jolly exciting with over 4m.
The numbers look more impressive when you add in the snowfall from November too; here’s my total observed snowfall through until the end of December over the last six seasons:
The season total up until the end of December 2017: 594cm The season total up until the end of December 2016: 293cm The season total up until the end of December 2015: 308cm The season total up until the end of December 2014: 549cm The season total up until the end of December 2013: 398cm The season total up until the end of December 2012: 536cm
Looking at the season as a whole so far, we are ‘winning’. Almost 6m of snowfall by the end of December. This is at base, so there will be more than that up on them there mountains.
That’s rather impressive, don’t you think. It is almost double the amount of snow that I observed over the previous two seasons in the same period. Almost 6m of snowfall is also not that far off what I observed over the entire 2016-2017 season (688cm). Yikes.
Remember, the previous two seasons were generally/relatively disappointing as you can see if you do go back and read through my reports. And before I get a barrage of ‘outraged’ mail coming in because of that comment, I am of course not saying that the skiing was rubbish. I am just saying that in terms of snowfall, we did not get what we expect = disappointing. The reports are there if you want to read them.
2014 was interesting. Really heavy snowfall in the month of December 2014 making up for a disappointing November 2014. A big difference this season is how we have been enjoying regular snowfall right through since the middle of November - surely the preferred pattern.
If you look back at the lovely graphs that are displayed on each of the Niseko Now reports (they show the observed snowfall on each day over the 21 days before the date of the report), you’ll see just how consistent the snowfall has been this season. By my reckoning, since November 13th there have only been 11 days when I have not been able to report any fresh snowfall at base.
Something that has just caught my eye - 5 of those no-snow-to-report days have been over the last 11 days. Hopefully that is just a bit of a ‘blip’ in the excellent run of consistency. It has to be said though that as it currently stands the forecast for the coming week doesn't scream 'heavy snow'! We shall see.
Anyway, it has been a quality first part of the season in Niseko.
Can the season continue in the same way? Let us hope so!
What to expect from the month of January
Looking ahead, here’s how much snowfall I have recorded in the month of January over the last 5 seasons. The numbers in brackets show the total snowfall observed up until the end of January in each season.
January 2017: 152cm (445cm) January 2015: 303cm (611cm) January 2014: 257cm (806cm) January 2013: 461cm (859cm) January 2012: 443cm (979cm)
Conveniently ignoring January 2017 for the moment (!), we have generally seen between 2.5 and 4.5m of snow in January.
Lastly, as some extra data to take in, here is the data that the Japan Meteorological Agency report from their observation station in Kutchan town:
December 2017: 324cm December 2016: 235cm December 2015: 195cm December 2014: 387cm December 2013: 258cm December 2012: 306cm
The season total up until the end of December 2017: 493cm The season total up until the end of December 2016: 408cm The season total up until the end of December 2015: 230cm The season total up until the end of December 2014: 428cm The season total up until the end of December 2013: 357cm The season total up until the end of December 2012: 404cm
I will be with you each morning right through until the last lifts stop moving in May.
And let me just add: if you like what we do here, please do let other folk know about these reports and SnowJapan.com if you can. The support all helps keep us motivated to putting in all the effort! Thank you. :)
Niseko base 6am: light snowfall, calm. Moiwa800m: -7.6℃, NNW2.5m/s, snowdrifts developed overnight, light snowfall and calm. Annupuri1150m: -14℃, light NE breeze, 30cm snowdrifts in leeward aspects. Hirafu peak ridge: -13℃, light wind, 20cm snowfall with small snowdrifts. Coastal data: Benkei cape SSE2m/s, Kamui cape W3m/s, 1007hPa, 1.0m waves.
A small low-pressure system over the Sea of Japan is spreading the isobars, resulting in cold but mild wind condition. The overnight snowfall is small and surface hoar has formed in slopes below 600m. Snowdrifts have slowly developed in leeward slopes above 800m under yesterday’s snow & wind. 30cm of fresh deposit have smoothed out the slopes in leeward aspects. Today’s surface will turn into a potential avalanche trigger layer in the future snowpack.
The overall avalanche risk is relatively low today. Peak gates are expected to open from the morning. Better make the most of it in the morning as the weather is forecasted to deteriorate. Cracks also starting to open in many spots. Those cracks are not an imminent sign of a climax slide, however better stay away from its path.
Ski down the fall line, not across it. Cutting across knolls and steep slopes is an absolute stupid idea. It can easily cause an avalanche and bury people underneath you.
Some parts of the Backbowl sidewalls are forming hard slabs under the late easterly wind. Use extreme caution as those slabs could slide with light skiing impact.
Haru No Taki area is being patrolled regularly. Stay away from strictly off limits areas.
Wednesday 3rd January 2018
Resort specific information (operations subject to change):
Lifts scheduled to be operating: - All lifts except Country Road Chair are operating
Official snow depth: - Top: 250cm - Base: 170cm
Floodlit 'nighta' skiing:
Night skiing is planned for every evening at the Niseko Grand Hirafu, Niseko Village and Niseko Annupuri areas. There is no nighta at the Niseko HANAZONO area. Ski lifts that are scheduled to be operating for nighta are noted below (subject to change):
* Niseko Grand Hirafu - Ace Family quad, Ace Number 2 quad, Hirafu Gondola, Holiday Number 1 pair * Niseko Annupuri - Jumbo Number 1 quad lift * Niseko Village - Village Express, Upper Village Gondola, Community Chair, Banzai Chair Read more ...
Wednesday 3rd January 2018, 8:36am
Clouds, snow and fog
A stormy night, with lightning and one big thunderclap - a sure sign that we’re going to get heavy snow, and that it likely will be graupel, or soft hail. And that’s what we got, little pellets of snow, and what’s still coming down.
Pretty strong winds from the northeast at moments; it’s also getting pretty foggy out there as I write today’s report.
Over 40 cm of fresh again today, but that’s dense stuff that’s no fun to slog through in the backcountry. Can be hard to go downhill unless you have a steep slope! No problem, of course, on the groomers - probably a better choice today!
We have a lot of fresh snowfall to report to you this morning. Trying to get this out as early as possible, but there is a lot of information to gather and put together.
Fresh snowfall numbers from the ski resorts themselves:
Naeba: 30-50cm Maiko: 40cm Kagura areas: 60cm
I am measuring 43cm, though I need to add that strong winds are blowing it around so there are snowdrifts and there'll be more/less in different places. I think that number is representative of about how much has fallen though.
Unfortunately because of the strong winds this morning, GALA Yuzawa is closed today.
The Kagura Area and Tashiro Area of the Kagura resort will also be closed - so it's just the Mitsumata area open there.
The Gondola and top lifts at Maiko Snow Resort are also on hold at the start of the day.
Other lifts at other resorts in the region may also be affected.
So it's a bit wild out there. Check out the Yuzawa IC image below! If you are going to brave the conditions, go out prepared and take care.
The heavy snow we are due to continue getting through today and into tomorrow though is most welcome. Once the storm passes conditions should be really great.
Images today from GALA Yuzawa, NASPA Ski Garden and Yuzawa IC.
Updated: Wednesday 3rd January 2018
** Official snow depths (where available) and resort specific information. Note that while we manually check this information each morning, sometimes official information is updated later than the time of these reports and so at times there may be an apparent delay.
Ski resorts in Yuzawa:
GALA Yuzawa - GALA Yuzawa is closed today due to strong winds - 210cm
It's a mad busy one. Mostly due to what nature is delivering - which is snow and wind.
The snow bit is great. The wind bit... less so.
Due to the wind the Nagasaka Gondola is not moving at the start of the day but all other lifts seem to be managing - though there may be some reduced speed operations going on out there.
Visibility on the slopes, especially the upper ones, is limited. Wind is probably not making it feel particularly friendly out there - as happy as we are to see good snow falling. I think some will be sitting this one out; perhaps soaking it out in an onsen.
Snow is forecast for tomorrow as well though perhaps lighter and the winds will have eased off. So it should be a good day.
Take care out there everyone.
Wednesday 3rd January 2018
Fresh snowfall since yesterday afternoon (as reported by the resort):
- Nagasaka Gondola on hold due to wind conditions - All other lifts operating
All courses now at least part open except the following:
- Challenge 39 wall - Mukobayashi - Grand Prix - Kamoshika - Kandahar East Read more ...
Wednesday 3rd January 2018, 9:01am
A very good morning to you.
And yes, we got that heavy snow. :)
30+cm of it, with more due during the day today.
Along with the snow we have strong gusty winds - as well as feeling cold, they're affecting the Number 13 lift and possibly others.
The snow is due to keep falling through tomorrow so more numbers to report tomorrow. It looks like there's a good chance things will be calmer tomorrow, so maybe a good day go be out enjoying this fresh powder...
Official snow depth: 200cm (not increased, even with the fresh snowfall)
Number 1 lift Number 2 quad lift Number 3A lift Super quad lift Number 11 lift Number 12 lift Number 15 lift
Powder Wave II Free Ride Park River Line Adventure Aisle Crystal Bowl Ninja Sawa Rabbit Kamoshika
Kids Park Snow Mobile Land
Planned nighta operations this season:
Daily until 3rd January 2018 7th January 2018 11th February 2018 Every Saturday between 4th January and 24th March 2018 Read more ...
Wednesday 3rd January 2018, 9:12am
Good morning from Zao.
Yesterday afternoon turned out to be lovely with blue skies and good visibility.
The snow clouds moved back over the area though and this morning there is over 20cm of fresh snowfall to report from base. I'm a bit surprised to see how little the official snow depths have increased (see below), but there you go...
All of the lifts and courses are open. Poor visibility and wind means you need to go out prepared. And take extra care too.
Things should be calmer tomorrow followed by less snowy days on the forecast. So basically, the more the better during the day today.
Floodlit night skiing for the 2017-2018 season is planned as follows:
In the Uwanodai area: Daily until Sunday 4th March 2018 Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays only from Friday 9th March until Sunday 18th March 2018.
In the Yokokura area: Daily until Monday 8th January 2018 Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays only from Friday 12th January until Sunday 18th February 2018. Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays only from Friday 2nd March until Sunday 11th March 2018.
Night time 'light up' sightseeing ropeway is planned for the following dates:
January 2018: 1st-7th, 13th-14th, 20th-21st, 27th-31st February 2018: every day March 2018: 1st-4th Read more ...
Shiga Kogen Now!
Wednesday 3rd January 2018, 9:13am
It's snow storm time in Shiga Kogen this morning.
Heavy snow, blowing winds and limited visibility.
Okushiga Kogen is reporting a whopping 50-60cm of fresh snowfall.
I am measuring an average of 39cm from my three points.
Strong winds are blowing it all around, so it is one of those days when measuring is... difficult.
Information is limited early on but expect some disruption to the operation of some lifts. Check with the resorts if you plan on being out.
I suspect many will be sitting it out and checking out an onsen, just like the monkeys.
Official snow depths numbers reported by different areas of Shiga Kogen:
Please note that these numbers are the official numbers that ski resorts publish and we check and update them each morning.
Nearly clear blue skies today with very light winds. The crowds are going home after the holiday weekend and with the sun coming out it will be a great day out there.
The rest of the week brings no significant changes really with light winds, steady temperatures around-6 and sporadic sunshine. We may see a little sprinkling of snow before the weekend but nothing like the last few days.
Sunscreen a must today. Enjoy the mountain.
Planned lift operations on Wednesday 3rd January 2018 (subject to change):
- APPI Gondola - Central quad - Central number 2 lift - Central number 3 lift A - Central number 4 lift - Central number 5 lift - Central number 6 lift - Sailer gondola - Sailer quad - Vista quad - Nishimori lift
Note: The Sailer Gondola, Central Number 4 lift and Vista quad are usually rested on weekdays
I was wondering whether this storm might pass us by but that has not been the case. This morning at 6am there was half a meter on the car park, with four guys clearing it all morning there is about another 30cm on their right now and it's not even noon. The storm started out warm and the snow was a bit wet. The temp late last night was around -1C but here at midday now its -6C. The snow quality generally is excellent but the roads and everything else are far from it.
Tenjin is closed, Hodaigi has their top lifts closed and as usual, Okutone is business as usual and there are plenty of people down there enjoying the conditons, or what they can see of them.
The storm is supposed to run its course by midnight in Minakami with a little more snow around noon tomorrow. Up here at Tenjindaira, I expect we won't see a break in the weather until tomorrow evening
Please note that the snowfall numbers posted in this report will be observed from close to the base Tenjindaira Ropeway station - which is often much more than in the central town area of Minakami. Read more ...