Snow and weather reports posted on Monday 20th November 2017
Thursday 7th January 2016, 7:59am
Yesterday I said we were hoping for snow overnight, and we have had some. Just another 5cm so far but it is still snowing now and hopefully it should be for the day and then more over the coming days as well.
So conditions should be getting better each day now through into the weekend.
That's all I will say for this morning. Lots of snow please...
(Note the webcam image is actually from just now, not 1904!) ;)
Oh dear, I noticed yesterday afternoon that fairly soon after I had posted my morning report (when I was saying that all resorts were planning on being open as normal), wind was affecting some lifts around the resorts.
Over at Annupuri early on it was the top Jumbo 4 lift; at Hirafu it was the top King Number 4 and Ace Number 3 lifts; and at Niseko Village the top Wonderland Chair. Later in the day around lunchtime the Annupuri Gondola and Jumbo Number 3 lift at Annupuri also stopped, with the Jumbo 3 lift starting up again fairly soon after. Hanazono also stopped their top Hanazono 3 quad mid afternoon. So, in the end we were affected by the wind. Sorry about that! I always try and give you the latest available information at the time of posting my report, and around 8:30am is usually a good time to be able to do that. But conditions (both nature and resort operations) can of course change quickly and alas I am not online all day doing live reports.
Anyway, on to this morning and I have another respectable 14cm of fresh snow to report to you from by my base here in Hirafu.
It's nice and cold and there seems to be less wind on mountain this morning, so fingers crossed resorts and lifts will be open as planned and able to stay all open for the day.
It should be another excellent day out there and the forecast remains regular snowfall right through the coming week. Things are shaping up very nicely.
This morning I thought it would be quite interesting to check out the Hirafu Ace Number 2 Quad lift webcam early in order to see when people start lining up for it. The first people in the queue seemed to arrive just before 7:50am and by 8am the line was long enough for it to fill the webcam image. That lift starts moving at 8:30am. I am referring to the third webcam image that can be found here by the way.
I may be wrong but I'd be surprised if there were many ski resorts in Japan where people are queuing for a ski lift over 30 minutes before it opens.
Niseko Grand Hirafu will start their 'Early Morning' (*rumours of it being re-named 'Early Moaning' are unconfirmed right now) service from January 9th and that should continue through until 31st January 2016. Basically they start up the Ace Quad lift Number 2 earlier than normal from 8am to 8:20am with the Super, Furiko, Green, Alpen and Sen-no-ki courses open. A special ticket is required for that 20 minutes and it costs 500 yen - it can be bought from the .Base lift ticket counter. Note that normal lift tickets will not get you a ride on the lifts during this special early time.
Resort specific news/notes at time of writing (subject to change during the day):
Niseko Grand Hirafu Resort appears to be opening as planned this morning. Hopefully it will stay that way!
Niseko Village Resort appears to be opening as planned this morning. Hopefully it will stay that way!
Niseko Annupuri Resort appears to be opening as planned this morning. Hopefully it will stay that way!
Niseko Avalanche Report:
Niseko base 6am: -7℃, 15cm snowfall, no development of snowdrifts. Moiwa 800m: NW8m/s, 60cm of snowdrifts. Annupuri 1150m: -12℃, WNW15m/s. Coastal data: Benkei cape NNW12m/s, Kamui cape WNW10m/s, 1019hPa, 2.1m waves.
Typical winter pressure distribution is generating intermittent westerly wind with snowfall above 600m elevation. Looking at snow cat’s fracture test, the newly formed 50cm thick slab’s shock propagation is relatively small, showing that the snowdrifts are developing while stabilizing itself. The overall avalanche risk is relatively small in areas below 1000m elevation. The storm is stronger above 1000m and the wind-chill can easily lead to hypothermia. Wool base layers are recommended when touring.
Gates 3 (Hirafu peak) and 2 (Annupuri peak) are scheduled to open today. Please follow the ski patrol’s instructions. Traversing across under cornices is as if trying to deliberately triggering an avalanche. DO NOT! Many hazards are present in the mountains, but can be avoided if you are aware of them and stay prudent. Never underestimate the dangers, always remain humble and think safety first. The snow is in a wonderful condition today.
Official resort snow depths as of Thursday 7th January 2016:
Grand Hirafu / Hanazono: Top - 270cm Base - 120cm
Niseko Village: Top - 190cm Base - 110cm
Niseko Annupuri: Top - 140cm Base - 100cm
Lifts planned to be open for night skiing:
Niseko Grand Hirafu: Ace Family Pair lift, Ace Number 2 Center Four lift, Hirafu Gondola, Holiday Number 1 Pair lift (There is no night skiing at the Hanazono area)
Morning from Nozawa and I am happy to report that it is snowing.
Not much more than a dusting down here at base and the resort is reporting 3cm on the upper areas, but most importantly it should be snowing for most of today and then more snow is due later tomorrow going into the weekend.
Basically we are expecting snowfall on each of the days going into early next week. It just remains to be seen how much we can get out of it. Forecasts remain promising so let's just hope it all happens...
I'm looking forward to the hopefully good news that can report tomorrow morning.
Official info at time of writing on Thursday 7th January 2016 (subject to change):
After a cloudy day yesterday, it is snowing this morning folks. Don't sound surprised! ;)
Resorts are reporting up to 10-15cm on upper areas so far and it is coming down right now too - and due to continue. Could this be the start of something really good? I feel a song coming on...
I'm trying to contain the excitement after some disappointments, but it is all looking like things could be improving quickly now with regular snow due today, tomorrow and also into early next week. It may not be back to what we expect early January temperature-wise, yet but it's fairly cold and going to continue that way hopefully getting back down into negative numbers.
It should be good to get out and ride on some fresh snow this morning. From the webcam images just now it looks like it's snowing pretty good up there as well. :)
Here's to lots of snow and what I will be able to report over the next run of days.
Resort news as of 8:50am on Thursday 7th January 2015 (all subject to change due to weather conditions)
Hakuba 47: Hakuba 47 is reporting 5-15cm of fresh snowfall. All courses apart from Route 7 officially open. Tree Riding Zone not yet open for the season. Official snow depth Upper: 100cm Base: 10cm
Hakuba Goryu: Hakuba Goryu is reporting 1-2cm of new snowfall. Panorama, Grand Prix, Super Course in upper area, the main Toomi course and the Soft Cream course in the Iimori area are planned to be open. The upper-lower connecting Champion Dynamic and Woody courses are unfortunately closed due to the snow conditions. Planned lifts: Telecabin Gondola Alps Number 1 pair lift Alps Number 2/4 pair lift Alps Number 3 pair lift Toomi Sky Four lift Toomi Number 1 pair lift Toomi Number 2 pair lift Milky Four lift Official snow depth Alps: 115cm Toomi: 35cm Iimori: 25cm
Hakuba Happo-one: Hakuba Happo-one is reporting 5cm of new snowfall. Usagidaira, Kurobishi, Panorama, Skyline, Kita One and Riesen Slalom areas are planned to be open with lower course areas still closed. Take one of the Gondola, Kokusai Number 1 pair, Sakka Kitaone quad or Nakiyama Number 3 triple lifts to get back down to base. Planned lifts: Adam Gondola Alpen quad lift Usagidaira pair lift Happo Riesen quad Nakiyama Number 3 triple Kurobishi Number 2 quad lift Kurobishi Number 3 pair lift Skyline Number 2 pair lift Kokusai Number 1 lift Kokusai Number 3 lift Panorama pair lift Kita One quad lift Kita One Number 3 pair lift Official snow depth Usagidaira: 65cm Nakiyama: 10cm Sakka: 5cm
Hakuba Cortina: Hakuba Cortina reporting 5cm of fresh snow. Courses open - Ikenota, Ikenota Forest (upper), Mt Hieda Forest, Mt Hieda 1 (lower), Itadaira, Itadaira Forest. Planned lifts: Number 2 quad lift Number 4 pair lift Number 5 pair lift Official snow depth Top: 90cm Base: 40cm
Tsugaike Kogen: Large sections of Tsugaike Kogen are now at least part open. Planned lifts: 7 lifts currently operating at Tsugaike Kogen. Part of the upper area and part of the lower area of the resort is open - middle areas not open as we wait for more snow. Use the Gondola to get back town from upper areas. Official snow depth Tsuga-no-mori: 112cm Kane-no-naru-oka: 20cm
Hakuba Iwatake Snow Field: Very limited area of the Mountain Side (East course) is currently open. Planned lifts: Noah Gondola 4Sen Line East Line Lift Official snow depth Upper: 50cm Lower: 10cm
Hakuba Norikura Onsen: Official snow depth 40cm 3 lifts are operating and 3 courses are now open at Hakuba Norikura Onsen.
Finally: a Myoko-style snowfall, with reduced visibility, and covered-up car windows.
It's not much yet, really, by local standards, but man it looks good.
I'm not even going to write that much; I wanted to get the report out, so you (and maybe me) can get out into that good soft snow!
More snow is forecast for the coming days, even perhaps some heavy stuff over the weekend, so things are looking better. Doesn't have to be a record snow year to have some good skiing (just nice to not be bouncing off grass and rocks). Probably 15cm now, and counting.
4cm of fresh at base to report and more up top on the mountain, perhaps not as much as we were hoping for but still a nice new layer with more promised.
It's still a little of the mild side and not as cold as we expect but a drop in temperatures is due over the coming days as well as that consistent snowfall that we are promised. Snow is expected every day going though into early next week.
The top to base 4000m long course remains open with some of the advanced courses remaining closed... waiting for the snow, one decent snowfall should see them open up.
Recap - the three ski resorts in Ura Bandai (Grandeco, Nekoma, Ura Bandai) are all open. The areas to the south of Mt Bandai (Inawashiro and Bantai town) are not having it as good... Inawashiro & Minero ski areas are closed between 4-8 Jan and Inawashiro Resort ski area is closed. Alts Bandai ski remains open but it is very limited.
Basically everyone remains waiting for snow!
Gondola Number 1 quad Number 2 quad Number 3 quad
(A-a) Rainbow 3500 (A-b) Rainbow 3500 (A-c) Rainbow 3500 (B-a) Mint (B-c) Mint (C) Center (D-b) Lavender (F) Basil
Welcome to our new ‘Grandeco Now' reports, exclusive to SnowJapan.
As with all our Now daily reports, it extremely important to us that the information we publish is useful, honest and correct and we’ll be doing everything we can to bring you some good info from this region. Grandeco is located in Kita Shiobara village in the north western region of Fukushima Prefecture - we are very pleased to be able to begin reporting from this region of Japan. More information on Grandeco can be found here and a Resort Spotlight on SnowJapan here. Read more ...
Appi Kogen Now!
Thursday 7th January 2016, 9:06am
Yesterday was a day of continuous snowfall, albeit light snowfall.
This morning brings another steady stream of light snow which later in the afternoon should become steadier. The gusty winds have abated again this morning and should further decrease during the week. The forecast is looking extremely promising with a supposed 5+cm coating today and further accumulations all through the weekend hopefully enabling Appi to open more runs.
The mountain still only has 8 of 21 runs open so we’ll need quite a dumping of snow to open up the higher level and Southerly runs.
Fun Fact of the Day:
While Appi seems to have two names for the same runs on the mountain there is indeed only one that is correct. The Sailer (correct spelling) is the right name for the runs on the south eastern side of the mountain, not sailor. These runs are named after Toni Sailer, an Austrian, who was the first skier to win 3 gold medals in the same Olympic games... what a feat! Perhaps Appi could use the snowfaring version instead of the seafaring one when correctly name the runs, Toni Sailer deserves the respect after all! :)
Currently planned operating lifts:
- Appi Gondola - Central Number 1 quad - Number 2 lift A - Number 2 lift B - Number 3 lift B * currently suspended - Number 4 lift * currently suspended
Welcome to our brand new independent ‘Appi Kogen Now' daily report… exclusive to SnowJapan.
As with all the ‘Now’ daily reports on SnowJapan, it is extremely important to us that the information we publish is useful, totally honest and correct – we are not posting the reports to try and sell you something, and we certainly do not wish to mislead in any way. We’ll be doing everything we can to bring you good information from this popular region of Iwate.
Appi Kogen resort is located in Hachimantai in the north western area of Iwate Prefecture in the Tohoku region. We are very pleased to be able to start our daily reporting from this region of Japan. More information on Appi Kogen can be found here.
** Please note that there may be a few glitches early on but please bear with us while we settle in this new report section to the site. Thank you. ** Read more ...
Thursday 7th January 2016, 9:10am
Good morning from Zao Onsen where there's just another 1cm or so of snow on the ground since yesterday. There will be more up there on the courses.
Precious-as-gold snow that we need should be falling through today, though it's just light at the moment, and then as we get into the weekend it will be getting colder still (almost like mid-winter!).
If the forecast is correct, by the end of the weekend things should be looking very different. I really hope so!
Unfortunately with news of the snow situation man accommodations have been seeing cancellations etc. Not enough snow pretty much affects everyone. There's be smiles on faces when the snow arrives in style.
Information as of Thursday 7th January 2016 (subject to change)
Most of the lifts at Zao Onsen are now operating. Most areas of Zao Onsen are now at least part open but snow is pretty thin on the ground and patchy in lower areas of the resort. The areas that remain 'closed' are Ryuzan, Omori, Kotan and the central run by the Nakamori lifts.
There's a moderate amount of fog about the base area today. Likely to be thicker fog up the top of the Gondola.
Hello and good news from Naeba everybody.
The snow has begun to fall again. We've received a solid 5 cm of snow overnight with the white stuff still falling thick and fast. The weather forecast for today is predicting at least another 5cm to fall throughout the day and it's looking like this will most likely happen at the moment.
Before this most recent snowfall we did have a few patches of the slope where grass was beginning to show through. Whilst this will now be covered please do bare in mind that it will be possible to hit turf on some parts of the mountain so it's still a good idea to stay only on the marked runs.
Also please bare in mind that whilst the official resort depth of snow is 80 cm, this is only in certain areas. Most areas have less snow than this.
The weather forecast for the next few days is looking like we'll get a decent amount of snow between now and Tuesday. Let's hope this comes through!
I woke up to the sound of... heavy rain. Yes, 5:30am and it was pounding down on the roof of my house. Not what I wanted to hear.
But now that I have got that less than happy news out of the way, onto the better news... it is snowing now!
It's still pretty wet snow and it hasn't yet made it to 'new cm' here in town, but it is continuing to snow and should hopefully be snowing for the day and we will get some new cm to report down here in town.
Kagura this morning are reporting 3-5cm of fresh snow on their upper slopes and Maiko Snow Resort report 3cm on their upper Okusoeji area.
The forecast is still telling us to expect decent snowfall tomorrow night into Saturday and later on Sunday as well.
Temperatures really aren't looking like they will be dropping quite as much as we might like, so just how will this turn out? I think the next few days are going to be crucial because if we don't get the decent snowfall and have more rain and/or warm conditions next week (just for example), some resorts are going to be in real danger of having to close. Let's very much hope it doesn't come to that.
Positive thinking, let's will it to snow!
A recap, as posted yesterday:
Most resorts are struggling with the lack of snow. Some lower courses are now either not open or getting narrow and struggling to remain open and might have to if there is no refill soon. Here's some few resort specific information, by no means complete but hopefully of help to get an idea of where resorts are at this moment:
The Kagura resort areas remain (close to) fully open; A fair section of Naeba is open, connection with Tashiro remains just about open; The Central and North areas of GALA Yuzawa are mostly open (the downhill Falcon course is not open); All of the lifts and six out of eight courses at Yuzawa Kogen are open; Most of the courses at Kandatsu Kogen are open; Most of the central area of Iwappara is open (top area not open); Four courses at NASPA Ski Garden area open with four lifts operating; Most of Ishiuchi Maruyama is open but some lower areas closed (in those places get the lift back down); The upper Okusoeji area and part of the Maiko area of Maiko Snow Resort are open (get the gondola back down from Okusoeji); Large parts of Joetsu Kokusai are open.
Resort official snow depths (Thursday 7th January 2016) and any specific news:
All resorts in the area are now generally open for the season, though please note that some areas and courses are not open. Generally steeper slopes that need more snow are still closed. The lack of fresh snow and warmer conditions we have been experiencing also means that some lower areas are getting increasingly patchy.
It's so good to see them falling from the sky this morning. I missed them!
There's not a huge amount so far but it snowing really nicely at the moment and this should result in a good new layer of snow if it continues. And it should as well, at least through the day today. And hopefully maybe after a break tomorrow morning, sometime tomorrow into Sunday as well. There's more due on Monday as well. So the forecast is in place, now we just need to sign off on the delivery!
Everyone will be very happy if this continues. Perhaps even the monkeys down there in the Jigokudani Monkey Park. Actually, I wonder if they like the snow...?!
Hopefully I'll be able to bring you a good report tomorrow morning too...
Official snow depths at Shiga Kogen resort areas (Thursday 7th January 2016):
Snow clouds with blue breaks. No actual sunshine I have experienced, but blue sky nonetheless.
Back to the dry, light snow we know and love.
Last night I had a night ski and was pleased and relieved to find dry and light Central Hokkaido snow under my skis and falling all around.
I have been loving the powder until now but with warmer low temperatures, it hasn't always been the ultra dry snow you cannot pack or roll snow-abdomens and craniums with. It's been great, but it hasn't been what we're used to.
Last night there was still knee deep snow on the side of the runs right down low in Kitanomine zone. That's pretty awesome and tells me the powder stashes and pockets up high must be really deep.
I took photos today at 1.30pm and it was very bright, blue sky to the east. Then 30 minutes later when I walked back after lunch, it was misty with low cloud to the west (towards the resort). Now, 30 minutes after that, it is bright towards town with moderate snow is falling.
At 7am today, 5cm of fresh had fallen since the previous 7am check. Just in the hour I skied last night at least 2cm fell. But it compacts and drifts around.
The resort is now (at 7am) estimating the top of the resort's base at 2.6m which is great.
This morning it was -10C up top and -8C at the base of the resort. Now it's about -5C in Kitanomine Village which I reckon is perfect. No wind so it doesn't feel cold and it's cold enough to keep the snow fluffy.
We would just like to mention that we noticed some inaccuracies in the ‘observed snowfall’ number data that had been logged in some of the Furano reports over the last few weeks. It appears that there were a few (of course unintentionally) incorrect numbers added for this number, which represents the amount of snowfall observed at base areas.
We have made appropriate checks and adjustments and feel that these numbers have now been corrected.
It is of course very important to us that what is published on SnowJapan reports is accurate and as such would like to apologise for this situation. Thank you! Read more ...