Snow and weather reports posted on Wednesday 21st March 2018

Naeba Now!

Saturday 6th January 2018, 7:13am
Weather conditions: Overcast
New snowfall: 0cm
Snow depth: --
Good morning from Naeba. There is currently a warm orange sunrise lighting up the mountain, however I'm not sure that the sun will be able to win out today. We should expect the cloud cover to drop later today, and there could be a few centimeters of fresh snow in the early evening and overnight. The pistes are well-groomed and, as it stands, all lifts are expected to be opening on time.

The forecast looking forwards suggests the next few days will be varied, with some clearer spells mixed with overcast conditions. The temperature is expected to rise above 0°C on Monday, potentially bringing with it some rain. This fortunately will turn to snow on Tuesday, with this storm system persisting until at least the middle of next week. Could this be "Storm Ezaruza" strutting into town?

Kichinto shita!   Read more ...

Furano Now!

Saturday 6th January 2018, 7:30am
Weather conditions: Fog
New snowfall: 5cm
Snow depth: --
It is a nice calm morning and overnight there has been some snow which I have measured to be 5cm. Looking above there are clear skies in the middle of a bit of cloud, and looking up to the ski hill itself there is some valley cloud sitting on the resort. I would expect that cloud on the ski area to lift and disappear during the morning, but while it is there there is going to the some limited visibility. While the resort is getting busier there still isn't much in the way of lift queues after the line for the first lift of the day has cleared. Monday is still forecast to be a bit warmer and bring some rain to lower elevations.   Read more ...

Nozawa Onsen Now!

Saturday 6th January 2018, 7:31am
Weather conditions: Cloud, some blue sky
New snowfall: 0cm
Snow depth: --
Good morning and a quick early report for you today.

No cm of snow to report; cloudy start to the day with some blue sky... though some forecasts still have the chance of snow today. The flag I can see from my window is being blown about as I write this - might be windy on the mountain today if that is any indication.

I think there is some chance of sun tomorrow.

More snow still on the forecast from Tuesday but we are probably going to have to put up with some rain before then on Monday when things are going to get a bit too warn.

Should be good before then though - and busy too on this popular long weekend (Monday is a holiday). For the long weekend lifts will be opening 30 minutes early.


Saturday 6th January 2018

Fresh snowfall since yesterday (as reported by the resort):

- Yamabiko (1407m): 0cm
- Uenotaira (1230m): 0cm
- Hikage (660m): 0cm
- Nagasaka (615m): 0cm
- Karasawa (563m): 0cm

Official snow depth numbers:

- Yamabiko (1407m): 305cm
- Uenotaira (1230m): 240cm
- Hikage (660m): 180cm
- Nagasaka (615m): 175cm
- Karasawa (563m): 150cm

All lifts operating except the following:

- All lifts should be operating

All courses open except the following:

- Challenge 39
- Grand Prix
- Kamoshika
- Kandahar   Read more ...

Madarao Now!

Saturday 6th January 2018, 7:37am
Weather conditions: Cloud, blue sky
New snowfall: 0cm
Snow depth: --
I need to get myself to Nagano city this morning so here is my early report; the resort has not yet posted information - which is a perhaps good demonstration of the main point made in the report about the timing of reports made yesterday.

Anyway, no fresh new snow to report and a mix of cloud and blue sky early on.

Probably sunshine tomorrow and unfortunately warmer conditions and rain on Monday. But snow following up beyond Tuesday.

3 day weekend starts today - it will probably be busy!


Official snow depth:

Operating lifts:

Unconfirmed at time of report but expect all to be open

Number 1 lift
Number 2 quad lift
Number 3A lift
Super quad lift
Number 11 lift
Number 12 lift
Number 13 lift
Number 15 lift

Powder Wave I
Powder Wave II
River Line
Adventure Aisle
Crystal Bowl

Kids Park
Snow Mobile Land

Planned nighta operations this season:

7th January 2018
11th February 2018
Every Saturday between 4th January and 24th March 2018   Read more ...

Niseko Now!

Saturday 6th January 2018, 8:32am
Weather conditions: Snowy
New snowfall: 5cm
Snow depth: --
Good morning.

I have a bit more fresh snow to report this morning, I am measuring 5cm so it's not a deep layer to completely cover tracks (unless much more fell up top), but is of course welcome. Hopefully there'll be some real-time filling in continuing through the day today ---- and actually, since I started putting this report together it has started coming down very nicely. Come on! Visibility is looking rather limited at the moment as well.

After today, no snow expected during the day tomorrow but we should enjoy a return to snow come in the first part of the week, though it may be preceded by some unseasonably mild conditions around Monday. (Fingers crossed we don't get any rain).

Monday is 'Coming of Age Day' in Japan and a national holiday which means that it is a three day weekend which makes this weekend as one of the most popular of the season - with Japanese guests anyway.


From this morning Niseko Grand Hirafu started it's 'Early Morning' service. This is basically the resort operating the Ace Number 2 Center Four quad lift from 8:00am until 8:20am with the Super, Furiko, Green, Alpen and Sen-no-ki courses available. And charging 500 yen for it. This 'premium' lift operation is available daily until 28th January. Note that you cannot use any other tickets (including season ticket) for this.

The Niseko Annupuri resort area is also opening early over this long weekend. They will operate the Annupuri Gondola from 7:20am until 8:20am and charge 1000 yen to use it.

And Niseko Village are also operating their Gondola early this weekend. Their special lift ticket is 1400 yen.

I have conflicting feelings about these services. I can understand people wanting to get out for some early fresh snow on some days (of course). But the charges seem a bit mean to me, especially as they even apply for season ticket owners. But there you go... 'it's business' and all that. I might also be a bit blue about it because I am sat here writing these reports every day at that time! Doh. ;)

I have added details about the early morning services to the individual resort info bits below.

Apologies for not mentioning this yesterday; and yes, I am aware that by the time this report appears normal daytime operations will have started.

Gomen, ne.


Niseko Avalanche Report:

Niseko base 6am: -4℃, 3cm snowfall, clam. Moiwa800m: -5.5℃, W4m/s, 5cm snowfall with light snowdrift development. Annupuri1150: -7℃, WNW8m/s, 10cm snowfall, light snowdrifts. Hirafu1250m: -8℃, light breeze, 10cm snowfall. Coastal data: Benkei cape NW7m/s, Kamui cape W2m/s, 1006hPa, 0.8m waves.

The isobars are spread out and the weather is calm on the ocean and the mountains. Scarce snowfall throughout the area and development of snowdrifts and cornices above 1000m is also minimal. According to observations, test and various data, the general avalanche risk is low. All gates will open from the morning. Ask for advice from the ski patrol before stepping out of the gates. Yesterday’s tracks are remaining, but still pretty good condition for riding. Intermittent snowfall is forecasted to continue. Light is weak and the snow surface is hard to see. Beware of loosing control, hitting obstacles, falling into cracks/holes, they’re difficult to notice until last second.

Large crown avalanches are unlikely to occur in the current snowpack, however stimulating snowdrift slopes (under cornices), riding one slope simultaneously or traversing across the whole slope can trigger an avalanche anytime.

Airbags will not float if turned off. Just like beacons, simply carrying it will not save your life. Be prepared, be vigilant. Accidents can be avoided by using caution. Have a nice day.


Saturday 6th January 2018

Resort specific information (operations subject to change):

Niseko Grand Hirafu & Niseko HANAZONO Resort

Lifts scheduled to be operating:
- All lifts are operating
- 'Early Morning' services from 8:00am until 8:20am (Ace Number 2 Center Four quad lift). Until 28th January. 500 yen special ticket required.

Official snow depth:
- Top: 325cm
- Base: 145cm

Niseko Annupuri Kokusai

Lifts scheduled to be operating:
- All lifts are operating
- 'First Run Early Morning' services from 7:20am until 8:20am (Annupuri Gondola). Until 8th January. 1,000 yen special ticket required.

Official snow depth:
- Top: 250cm
- Base: 140cm

Niseko Village

Lifts scheduled to be operating:
- All lifts except Country Road Chair are operating
- 'Early Gondola' service from 7:30am until 8:30am (Niseko Gondola). January 6th-8th, 13th-14th, 20th-21st, 27th-28th; February 3rd-4th. 1,400 yen special ticket required.

Official snow depth:
- Top: 250cm
- Base: 160cm


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 ...

Yuzawa Now!

Saturday 6th January 2018, 8:34am
Weather conditions: Cloud, some blue sky...
New snowfall: 0cm
Snow depth: --
Good morning from Yuzawa.

A thin layer of snow overnight - I am measuring 3cm - and resorts are reporting similar amounts (Kagura are reporting 1-3cm and Maiko Snow Resort is reporting 5cm).

At the moment it is cloudy with some blue sky and light snow also falling in places around the area. It's not feeling particularly cold this morning but there's a bit of wind blowing at the start of the day, though all resorts appear to be planning on opening as scheduled.

Perhaps more snow and some more cm later on today and tonight and we can perhaps expect to see some sunshine during the day tomorrow.

Monday is a national holiday here and it seems it is going to warm up a bit with a good chance of rain. We could do without that, but the good news is that it shouldn't last long and be followed by snow from Tuesday.

In the meantime, the popular resorts will likely be crowded this long weekend.

Take care and have fun!


Images today from GALA Yuzawa, NASPA Ski Garden and Maiko Snow Resort.


Updated: Saturday 6th 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
- 280cm

- 185cm

- Kagura area: 320cm
- Mitsumata area: 220cm
- Tashiro area: 270cm

Kandatsu Kogen
- 215cm

- 220cm (base)

NASPA Ski Garden
- 235cm

Yuzawa Kogen
- Top: 220cm
- Base: 160cm

Yuzawa Park
- 180cm

Yuzawa Nakazato
- 160cm


Ski resorts in Minamiuonuma (just to the north of Yuzawa):

Ishiuchi Maruyama
- 220cm

Joetsu Kokusai
- 180cm

Maiko Snow Resort
- Top: 245cm
- Base: 145cm

Muikamachi Hakkaisan
- Closed on Wednesdays between 10th Jan and 14th Mar (!)
- 240cm   Read more ...

Geto Kogen Now!

Saturday 6th January 2018, 8:41am
Weather conditions: Cloudy
New snowfall: 5cm
Snow depth: --
We saw a fairly mild day yesterday with temperatures hitting a high of -3C and some cloud passing across the resort throughout the day with light snow here and there.

5cm of snow into this morning with conditions looking a little chilly out there with some wind to blow the snow around a bit.

Tops of -6C but with some moderate to strong south easterly winds it’s going to leave us with a wind chill around -20C at times.

Light snow throughout the morning and into the evening. Visibility is varied with the wind causing a flurry of snow here and there, but over all good vis.


SUNDAY: snow showers, moderate to strong winds, tops of -5C
MONDAY: cloudy with possible light snow, light to moderate winds, tops of 0C
TUESDAY: light snow, moderate to strong winds, tops of 1C


Zones open include Summit, Rabbit, Beech & Stream. At this stage Shooter will remain closed until the main gondola is open.

News on Main Gondola:

At this time unfortunately the Main Gondola (Gondola 1) is closed for repair. The resort is working on the repairs, but it will require the next few weeks until it is back in operation. They estimate late January, early February for it to be back in action.


Official snow depths:

Top: 320cm
Base: 240cm

Nighta skiing operations are planned at Geto Kogen on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays until 25th February 2018.   Read more ...

Hakuba Now!

Saturday 6th January 2018, 8:46am
Weather conditions: Mostly cloudy
New snowfall: 0cm
Snow depth: --
Good morning from Hakuba.

A fine day yesterday. Lots of cloud hanging on but the sun getting to shine through at times as well.

There is no fresh snow to report on this first day of the long weekend - Monday is the 'Coming of Age' national holiday in Japan. So it is going to be a popular and busy weekend here and at other ski resorts around Japan.

The day has started off generally cold and cloudy with some blue sky as well. There may be some snow before my next report tomorrow morning and sunny skies are forecast for tomorrow.

The forecast is looking very promising for late Monday onwards with potential heavy snow over at least a few days.

(Unfortunately, Monday itself looks like it might well be a bit dodgy with rain on the forecast. Hopefully if that does happen it'll be minimised and quickly turn into snow. Obviously!)

In the meantime, let's enjoy the weekend. Have fun out there.


Ski resort opening status on Saturday 6th January 2018:

Hakuba Happo-one

Operating lifts:
- All lifts are operating

Courses open:
- All course are now open
- Only the Kurobishi Off-Piste Area remains closed

Official snow depth:
- Kurobishi: 280cm
- Usagidaira: 145cm
- Lower: 90cm


Hakuba Goryu

Operating lifts:
- All lifts operating as planned

Courses open:
- All courses are open (Adventure after safety checks)

Official snow depth:
- Top: 290cm
- Toomi: 120cm
- Iimori: 65cm


Hakuba 47

Operating lifts:
- All lifts are operating (apart from Line D - which usually only operates when the Gondola is closed)

Courses open:
- All courses available
- The Tree Riding Zone is now open

Official snow depth:
- Top: 250cm
- Base: 95cm


Tsugaike Kogen

Operating lifts:
- All lifts apart from Kane-no-naru-oka Skyliner I operating
- Top part of gondola maintenance at the start of the day

Courses open:
- All course areas are open

Official snow depth:
- Tsuga-no-mori: 250cm
- Han-no-ki: 250cm
- Maruyama: 110cm
- Shirakaba: 230cm
- Oya-no-hara: 130cm
- Kane-no-naru-oka: 125cm


Hakuba Cortina

Operating lifts:
- All lifts operating

Courses open:
- All courses open

Official snow depth:
- Top: 300cm
- Base: 175cm


Hakuba Iwatake Snow Field

Operating lifts:
- Most lifts are operating with most courses open

Official snow depth:
- Top: 170cm
- Base: 90cm


Hakuba Norikura Onsen

Operating lifts:
- All lifts apart from Alps Number 7 are operating

Official snow depth:
- 230cm


Hakuba Valley Kashimayari

Operating lifts:
- Number 1, 2, 3, 5, 6 and 7 lifts are operating

Official snow depth:
- 140cm


Hakuba Sanosaka

Operating lifts:
- All three lifts are operating

Official snow depth:
- 110cm   Read more ...

Shiga Kogen Now!

Saturday 6th January 2018, 9:01am
Weather conditions: Cloudy, blue sky, sun mix
New snowfall: 1cm
Snow depth: --
Good morning from Shiga Kogen.

I was just over in the Kumanoyu area and there was lovely bright sunshine and blue skies over there. Back here at Maruike it's more of a 'cloudy' look, so varied conditions early on this morning. Feels like it should be a fine day though, with the chance of some snow later on and then back to sunshine tomorrow.

Late Monday into Tuesday and beyond shows some exciting snow potential after some milder conditions on Monday. Lower down in the valley they will probably get rained on - hopefully up here we'll miss out on that. One of the advantages of your 'base' being high up!

Still a few courses not open but Shiga Kogen is nearly at the 'fully open' stage.

Monday being a national holiday (Coming of Age Day) means that we're on for a 3-day holiday for many people. Usually one of the more popular weekends of the season.


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.



Ichinose Family

Ichinose Diamond




Okushiga Kogen

Sun Valley

Takamagahara Mammoth



170cm   Read more ...

Zao Now!

Saturday 6th January 2018, 9:14am
Weather conditions: Cloud, sun
New snowfall: 0cm
Snow depth: --
Good morning from a lively Zao. Lots of cars coming up this morning at the start of this long weekend - Monday is the 'Coming of Age' national holiday.

The sun is shining through my window at the moment, though still a lot of cloud around.

Forecasts show the chance of some light snow later today/tonight but we are expecting more sun than snow during the day tomorrow.

Monday will bring a bit of a peak in temperatures going into positive numbers but dive back down by Tuesday and also bring some good snow on Wednesday. That's what the forecasts show anyway.

Enjoy the weekend.


Lifts and courses:

- All lifts operating

Official snow depths:

- Summit area: 120cm
- Paradise area: 140cm
- Chuo area: 140cm
- Utopia area: 150cm
- Uwanodai area: 80cm
- Oomori area: 85cm


Zao Onsen forecast:

Zao Onsen 6-day snow and weather forecast

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 ...

Myoko Now!

Saturday 6th January 2018, 9:57am
Weather conditions: Still mostly sunny
New snowfall: 0cm
Snow depth: --
Lots of sun to start this Saturday; snow may be coming later, but it’s a nice day for those who like blue skies and white snow (we prefer it when everything is white, but that’s just because we like that powder very fresh. Raw, even.)

Best to enjoy today and tomorrow, before Monday and a weird warm front moving in with (gasp) heavy rain at night. Should go right back to cold and snow, so not that bad, really.

Ice on several bays of Lake Nojiri, reflecting the continuing cold temperatures here; looks like it got down to about -10°C last night. So really a great first week of 2018.


Akakura Kanko:
270 cm, -6°

Akakura Onsen:
300cm, -7°

Ikenotaira Onsen:
240cm, -7°

Myoko Suginohara:
220cm, -9° (top)

Seki Onsen:
290 cm, -3°

Myoko Ski Park:
250 cm, -2°

Kyukamura RunRun:
300 cm, -3°

Tangram Ski Circus:
200 cm, -5°

Madarao Kogen:
210 cm, -5°

Read more ...

Grandeco Now!

Saturday 6th January 2018, 10:46am
Weather conditions: Cloud, blue sky
New snowfall: 0cm
Snow depth: --
Good morning from Grandeco.

It will be a crowded day again today through Monday because of the three days holiday.

There is new snow to report this morning.

According to the forecast, some snow may fall later on today, some tomorrow... and some wet snow on Monday.

Temperature will get somewhat warmer on Monday - today or tomorrow is probably going to be the better choice of the weekend.


Lifts operating:

- All lifts now operating

Courses open:

- All courses now open

Official snow depth:
- 190cm

- Grandeco snow and weather forecast   Read more ...

Appi Kogen Now!

Saturday 6th January 2018, 10:55am
Weather conditions: Mostly clear skies
New snowfall: 0cm
Snow depth: --
Good morning from Appi,

Just a few clouds interrupting blue skies this morning. A fairly warm -3 outside my door.

On and off sunshine most of the day then the clouds will roll in bring perhaps a few cm of snow overnight. Temperatures are fairly stable at -5 or so over the weekend then a warming slightly to perhaps the dreaded plus zone on Monday or Tuesday. Let's wait and see.

Thankfully it's the weekend and Appi has opened ALL runs and all lifts/gondolas are in operation.

Have a great weekend.


Official snow depth:

190cm   Read more ...

Minakami Now!

Saturday 6th January 2018, 18:05pm
Weather conditions: Snow
New snowfall: 1cm
Snow depth: --
Super light snow kicked in at some point overnight and laid a couple of centimeters down in various spots but it was negligible. Today was generally clear with a light breeze, noteworthy as Tenjin opened their cat track to the bottom for the first time this season. I saw a piston bully on the back of a truck going up there with the big parts elsewhere the other day. I assume its been put back together and is now functional. Looks like we are on from here on when avalanche danger allows.

Late report today due to the damn universe and it's occasional propensity to pound on me at this time of year but there is a little snow forecast and its actually coming in somewhere between moderate and heavy. We've had 5cm in the past hour and a half and if this keeps it up, things could be quite fluffy tomorrow. I will base the observed snowfall on the morning measurement.


Photo: looking up at Machigasawa today


Ski resorts in Minakami:

Minakami Hodaigi
Minakami Kogen Fujiwara
Minakami Kogen Ski Resort
Norn Minakami
Okutone Snow Park
Tanigawadake Tenjindaira
Tanigawa Onsen White Valley


Resort Spotlights with more detail:

Norn Minakami
Okutone Snow Park


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 ...

SnowJapan Daily 'Now' reports

Myoko Now
21st Mar, 15:50pm
Naeba Now
21st Mar, 10:19
Zao Now
21st Mar, 9:32
Madarao Now
21st Mar, 8:38
Grandeco Now
21st Mar, 8:31
Shiga Kogen Now
21st Mar, 8:00
Hakuba Now
21st Mar, 7:57
Furano Now
21st Mar, 7:47
Minakami Now
21st Mar, 7:35
Appi Kogen Now
21st Mar, 7:26
Niseko Now
21st Mar, 7:24
Geto Kogen Now
21st Mar, 7:03
Nozawa Onsen Now
21st Mar, 7:01
Yuzawa Now
21st Mar, 6:52