Snow and weather reports posted on Monday 18th December 2017
Saturday 7th January 2012, 7:56am
You'd be hard pressed to find someone who's not smiling as they tell you their ski experiences over the past few days. We've seen some great snow. Some of the earlier snow was heavy with a lighter topping on it. This is usually a fun mix because it is a supportive underlayer with a floaty light density snow above. If I had to guess some of the snow was 3-5% water density, which is about as light as it gets.
Weather is expected to worsen today. We are supposed to get snow and wind. Keep in mind this region has very volatile weather, so forecasting is a difficult job. The next few days should see snow as a low pressure system moves in and winds die down a bit.
To reiterate, the avalanche danger will be a bit high due to the wind loading. It's not a terrible idea to go into the backcountry, but if you are... bring gear! As in the previous report, you will want to use the buddy system, and make good decisions when looking at steep slopes.
The peak gates here are scheduled to open. So enjoy! The snow will be amazing out there.
Current Official Snow Depths:
Grand Hirafu / Hanazono: Top - 300cm Bottom - 150cm
Niseko Village: Top - 280cm Bottom - 180cm
Annupuri: Top - 285cm Bottom - 180cm
Niseko avalanche report reads:
Niseko base 6am: -5;, 10cm of crystal snow in the past 12 hours and 25cm of broken particle snow in the past 24 hours. No snowdrifts development can be observed at the base. Coastal data: NNE9m/s at Benkei cape, 1.3m waves and 1020hPa at Kamui cape. Annupuri peak wind: NNE15.7m/s. 285cm snowdepth at Annupuri ski resort 1000m altitude. The snowdrifts development is moderate and the general avalanche risk is lowering. However, risks remain high in knolls and cornice terrains (avalanche terrains). High chance of 80cm thick surface slab avalanche is still present in the Backbowl (coordinate F6&F7), O-sawa (F5) and Higashi-One (G7). The wind & snow is forecasted to pick up as the next low-pressure system approaches. New deposit of snowdrifts will start developing. It is highly recommended to remain in the trees and avoid terrains with heavy snowdrift (cornices and knolls are signs of heavy snow deposit). Valley bottom is to be avoided at all time; avalanches run through the valley line. Peak gates are scheduled to open today, ask the ski patrol’s advice before you step out of bounds. STAY AWAY FROM CORNICES AND SLOPES UNDERNEATH IT.
Looks like we are due for intermittent snow and sunshine tomorrow. It should be a relatively warm day and today was beautiful. If you didn't get out to ski I pity you! Tomorrow will be a better day to explore around the backcountry with slightly increased visibility. There is a possibility of a stronger low pressure system moving in. In this case, we will see stronger winds and heavier snowfall. Read more ...
Saturday 7th January 2012, 9:48am
Yesterday things really changed quickly. Blue skies opened up in the morning but by around 11am, while still fine and sunny, grey clouds started to appear and by early afternoon we were getting quite a bit of cloud cover. By late afternoon it was snowing again!
This morning I had about 10cm of snow on the top of my car. It wasn't actually in Yuzawa, but Minamiuonuma just to the north. I'm in Yuzawa now and would say that it's about the same here, maybe slightly more. Resorts are reporting a bit more than that though with the most unsurprisingly being reported at Kagura who say they have a fresh 30cm of snow this morning.
Right now it's.... snowing again! A little earlier it was easing off but right now coming down quite hard and visibility looks poor on the slopes even around town. The only signigicant resort news this morning seems to be that the Dragondola connecting Naeba with Tashiro is not operating. Apparently, winds are affecting that but they may well soon re-open. Other than that and a few courses at Naeba, it looks like it is open as usual.
Differing forecasts for tomorrow. Some say snow, some say light snow but with a chance of the sun coming out. So we'll just have to wait and see on that but I would guess better than today in terms of what you can see.
So, weekend it is then. And a 3 day weekend as well because Monday is a national holiday in Japan. Snow conditions in Yuzawa are really great and there's lots of it. All resorts on the list below now reporting over 2m of snow. What more could we want.
After the lovely start to the day yesterday, clouds moved in as the day progressed and a bit of snow started falling last night. This morning we have already seen changing conditions - a bit of snow, now cloudy, I can even see patches of blue sky appearing every now and again from behind the clouds. Oops, no... covered again. Those clouds are moving fast! So weather conditions today look difficult to pin down. There's a bit of a wind out there today with the trees around where I am now (Maruike) swaying back and forth. It does not seem to be affecting any lifts though.
Tomorrow looks like it should be clearer conditions though. It's going to keep cold though.
Today is the first day of a 3 day weekend here in Japan with Monday being a national holiday. So it should get fairly busy. Right now lift lines seem to be generally moving fast and smoothly.
Nighta operations this evening planned at the following resort areas:
- Ichinose Family - Ichinose Diamond - Kumanoyu
Official resort snow depths as of 7th January 2012 AM:
And a good start to the weekend as well. There was about 20cm of fresh snow this morning and with only a very slight wind and good visibility on the mountain it's great conditions for the weekend. Still a fair bit of cloud up there but definitely better visibility than we had yesterday and I can just about see the top of the mountain right now. Could it even be clearing up?
"Light Up" ropeway operatings will be happening tonight, tomorrow night and Monday night for a chance to see those developing Ice Monsters in the evening.
Monday is a national holiday and so quite a few visitors will be staying the two nights into Monday, so we can expect Monday to be a little busier than a usual weekday. Slopes don't look too busy today.
One tip for people visiting Zao by car on a weekend or other day of the season. For parking I often recommend people to go on the road up to the right of the mountain (as you look at the mountain) - there's a few car parks up there including Kurohime which isn't usually as busy as the village. The quad lift up from there is really fast as well.
For those starting their day down at the base near the village, often the Zao Ropeway is very busy. On a fine day in particular, I recommend not waiting there for the Ropeway but getting the normal ski lifts up to the same point as the top of the Ropeway. Four pair lifts will take you on that journey.
Have a fun weekend!
Official snow depths (7th January 12) Utopia - 155cm Chuo - 145cm Paradise - 150cm Uwanodai - 115cm
Operating lifts (7th January 12) All Ropeways (Skycable, Zao Chuo Ropeway, Zao Ropeway) operating. All the runs at Zao are now open/accessible. Read more ...
Saturday 7th January 2012, 10:39am
Cloud, light snow
It's the first day of a long weekend in Japan (Monday is a holiday) and we have new snow to prove it! OK, well, it doesn't prove it but it is certainly nicely timed as those fluffy conditions continue to get even fluffier out there. Winds are stopping the Dragondola from doing it's thing early on this morning so the connection between Naeba and Tashiro is cut at the moment but I would hope that they can get that going later on. Winds don't seem too bad at all, but that's down in the village. All of Kagura seems to be open as normal though.
At Naeba the Daishamen lift also is on "standby" as I write this. I think we can hopefully see that going as well soon. All normal runs officially open.
Anyway, about 10-15cm in Naeba and 30cm reported up at Kagura so it's going to be great snow out there once again.
I think we can expect weather conditions to clear up perhaps later in the day today and into tomorrow. It should be staying cold though.
Have a good weekend.
Resort Operations, 7th January (subject to change) Naeba: Dragondola closed early on and Daishamen pair on standby Kagura: Kagura operating as normal (apart from link to Naeba via Dragondola)
More snow again this morning to report from Madarao Kogen. The resort is reporting yet another 30-40cm of the stuff overnight and there was definitely 25cm+ on the top of the car this morning. It just keeps on coming down - a good thing, of course, unless you just want to take photos of the mountain! We haven't seen a huge amount of it this season so far.
Anyway official snow depth goes up a bit to 230cm (it doesn't go up by the same amount of the snow that fell because of things like packing, grooming, melting wind etc). When you get over 2m though it really doesn't make any difference to the people out there - but the more snow we have the potentially longer season we get, so we always want more.
The snow seems to be easing off this morning but visibility remains limited. Local forecast reports seem to be saying that we can expect conditions to clear up and better weather tomorrow.
Nighta at the resort tonight and tomorrow. Look out for the fireworks!
Lifts currently operating: All of Madarao is scheduled to be open today. Connection with Tangram Ski Circus open.
Mostly cloud over the mountain, but fair bit of blue sky
Good Morning everyone from Hakuba. It seems like a ton of you guys and gals have been having a great week so far thanks to the recent snowfalls we have been getting these past days. The slopes are looking quite busy this weekend as well.
We had a bit snowfall in the valley last night and resorts are reporting about 15cm new snow on top of the hills. Temperatures stayed cold overnight and are hanging around -3 degrees this morning in the village. It's all looking beautiful this morning though as dramatic looking clouds cover parts of the mountains but there is a fair amount of blue sky as well this morning and the sun casting shadows on all but the upper slopes from time to time. A chance of moderate winds higher up on the slopes as well, but not enough to affect lift operations it seems.
Because of the strong West wind, there are some wind slabs formed on higher elevation over to the north to south side of Happo BC area. You will be able to find some stashes on the side of the runs from past two days of snowstorms.
Taking a look at the local forecast, we can perhaps expect tomorrow to be cloudy but no new snowfall, other than perhaps sprinklings overnight, is expected. I suspect it might be one of those days that ends up with clearer blue skies, but don't quote me on that!
Monday is a national holiday in Japan and so today is the first day of a three-day weekend.
Official snow depths and operations @ Saturday 7th January 2012 AM:
Hakuba Goryu: 15cm reported on the upper slopes of Goryu and just a few on lower slopes. All lifts operating. Official snow depths: Alps daira - 215cm; Toomi - 100cm; Iimori - 100cm.
Hakuba 47: 5cm reported by Hakuba 47 this morning. All lifts operating. Official snow depth: Upper - 196cm Lower - 70cm
Happo-one: Ski lifts/courses: All lifts apart from top Grad lift operating at Happo. Official snow depth: Usagidaira/Kurobishi - 140cm; Sakka - 90cm; Nakiyama - 90cm.
Snow again today. Would those still praying for snow please stop.
More snow than we know what to do with at the moment. It is building up on the groomers as it falls steadily most of the day. Snow clearing is a non-stop chore at the moment. No sooner do you get an area clear than it fills in again.
Great snow conditions across all resorts but it is still deep out there so caution advised if heading off the groomers. Read more ...
Nozawa Onsen Now!
Saturday 7th January 2012, 13:53pm
It snowed again in Nozawa for most of the night depositing another Magic Foot of fresh powder on the slopes for this morning. It is still snowing in the village now and about another 10cm has accumulated since this morning.
Conditions on the mountain are nothing short of sublime for the powder hungry. A few people have already rolled down the hill and have tales of straight lining it down slopes in waist deep powder and plenty of face shots. What more could we want.
For a long weekend (Monday is a national holiday in Japan) crowds are not too bad either. The sun is doing its best to make an appearance but losing the battle with the snow.
Asked my neighbour when he thought it may stop.... he said Spring!
A steady snowfall overnight and into the morning made for excellent conditions on the ski slopes. There were and still are plenty of pockets of powder to be had all over the mountain, especially on the more challenging runs. Winds have been quiet all day, keeping the icy patches to a minimum. Temperatures are fairly warm at -3, and skies are mostly cloudy and free from snow showers, meaning visibility will be at a premium for the afternoon. The forecast calls for lows around -15 for the overnight hours, so be sure to bundle up if you head out for some night skiing. Read more ...
Saturday 7th January 2012, 14:47pm
Continued light to moderate snow, some fog
I'm almost getting tired of reporting that there's more good snow on the ground today, too.... OK, that's a lie; I never get tired of reporting that there is excellent powder snow out there today, and it's right now recharging itself, too. Snow has continued to fall through most of the morning, with just an occasional patch of blue and a sight of the sun to keep some variety in the day. A little bit of fog now and again, but nothing much (nothing Myoko-y, which can be deep and thick mists) to report.
The report below is based on the official figures; I'm keeping with Akakan for consistency in the depth fields, but today Akakura Onsen, Seki and Myoko Ski Park were much more accurate with their reporting of 30cm. I'd even say maybe more, but let's not get excited here....