Snow and weather reports posted on Saturday 16th December 2017
Friday 8th January 2016, 7:40am
Partly cloudy over us, blue sky
Now this is more like it!
A lovely morning with a sea of clouds in the valley below us, some blue skies above us,....and 20+cm of fresh snow on the ground.
Yes, I'm extremely pleased to be able to report a good new layer of snow this morning. It actually all came during the day yesterday rather than overnight. Lovely. With the early morning weather as well it should be a really great morning. I am going to be out there, that's for sure!
The even better news is that more snow is due later on today and into tomorrow and that snow around Monday as well is still on the cards. If we can just get a fairly decent amount over these next few days, there'll be lots of happy people.
Monday is a national holiday in Japan so it is long 3-day weekend coming up, and traditionally one of the more popular for people heading to the ski resorts. So it should be busy. And I expect there to be lots of people who have been waiting for fresh snow as well.
Clear to the east and south; clouds starting to come in from the west, and clouds to the north over the ocean.
Nice snowfall through the day yesterday, all the way down to the ocean.
We probably got 30cm or so at the base of Akakan, and it really looks nice to see things in white again. This also gives the ski areas a little breathing room, as things were getting pretty thin on the hills.
More snow is forecast for the rest of the day and on in through the weekend. Sorry to see the heavy snow previously forecast for the weekend being revised to moderate snow or snow showers, but let's just wait and see. These things do change a lot up in the mountains, right? And we're a lot more optimistic after this last snow.
There's more snow to report this morning, 11cm of new fresh around my place. I was kind of expecting more this morning with the continued snowfall, but let's perhaps not get too greedy.
Visibility looks more limited this morning as the snow continues to fall, sometimes heavier than others. As I write this report it is snowing lightly.
And that forecast... well, it is still showing consistent snowfall and low temperatures over the coming week. Conditions are really great at the moment and the regular top-ups over the coming week probably mean that the good times are going to continue.
We couldn't ask for much more than that.
Yesterday I mentioned the Niseko Grand Hirafu early morning service, so this morning I thought I would gather up the other similar things going on at the other resorts. Monday 11th January is a national holiday in Japan - 'Coming of Age Day' - and to celebrate Niseko Annupuri and Niseko Village resorts are also offering early services. And here are the details:
Niseko Grand Hirafu 'Early Morning' Dates: Saturday 9th January until Sunday 31st January 2016 Time: 8:00am until 8:20am Cost: 500 yen Details: Ace Number 2 Quad lift with the Super, Furiko, Green, Alpen and Sen-no-ki courses open
Niseko Annupuri 'First Run' Dates: Saturday 9th, Sunday 10th, Monday 11th January 2016 Time: 7:20am until 8:20am Cost: 1,000 yen Details: Gondola operation
Niseko Village 'Early Morning Gondola' Dates: Saturday 9th, Sunday 10th, Monday 11th January 2016 Time: 7:30am until 8:30am Cost: 1,300 yen Details: Gondola operation
It's important to note that these early morning lift operations require special tickets, which basically means that you have to pay extra for them. Season tickets and normal day passes cannot be used. So if you want to lay down first tracks up there, then you need to get out your change. In the case of bad weather conditions any or all of these may be cancelled.
Good timing with the snow and weather and it can be fantastic, I did it once myself. Personally though I can't help but feel that it would be good if they could all just open up early for everyone and drop the extra charges, but I suppose the 'premium' aspect then disappears doesn't it.
And talking of first runs...
Hirafu Ace Number 2 Quad lift early morning webcam watch!
Following on from my highly scientific observations yesterday, I thought I would give it another go this morning. I actually started putting this report together at 7:45am and there were no people there yet, other than staff. The first people arrived to wait for the lift at 7:59am and the line was longer than the photo could cope with by 8:12am. I wonder how long it gets by the time the lift starts. I must admit I haven't been there at the start of a day in quite a number of years (other things keep me busy around that time!)
Resort specific news/notes at time of writing - subject to change during the day:
Niseko Base 6am: -5℃, 10cm snowfall, light development of snowdrifts. Moiwa 800m: -8℃, 20cm snowfall with development of snowdrifts. Annupuri 1150m: -11℃, W15m/s, 10cm new snow on the courses and development of snowdrifts. Hirafu 1000m: -10℃, 15cm snowfall and snowdrifts developing slowly. Coastal data: Benkei cape NW17m/s, Kamui cape WSW12m/s, 1009hPa, 2.6m waves.
Isobars are momentarily narrowing in the winter pressure distribution chart generating snowdrifts development above 800m elevation. The snowfall amount is not big but weak and easily collapsible new slabs have formed under cornices and knoll terrain above 900m elevation. Better not traverse or group-ride these features. The avalanche risk is considerable in 40°slopes above 1000m. Be well aware and prepared. The snow under treeline is wind-packed suitable for skiing, overhead conditions in some places. Cornices are unstable and could fall anytime. Most gates are scheduled to open, please follow the ski patrol’s instructions. Have a nice day.
Official resort snow depths as of Friday 8th January 2016:
Perhaps a little unexpected but it's a bright and sunny morning - up top anyway! There's a sea of cloud hovering low down this morning which is making things a bit more gloomy on lower areas but I would expect those clouds to disappear this morning and the sun to shine on base as well.
Yesterday of course we enjoyed some fresh snowfall. Not a huge amount and it never really got sustained 'full on' snowfall, but there is a new layer (10cm on Yamabiko) which is fingers crossed going to be supplemented tonight with some decent snowfall expected as we enter the weekend. Sunday-Monday is also still looking very promising. Enough of the promise, results please!
As Monday is a national holiday in Japan, this coming weekend is traditionally one of the more popular weekends of the season. The resort will be starting their lifts 30 minutes earlier than usual tomorrow, Sunday and on Monday as well. So the Gondolas will start spinning from 8:10am and the base lifts from 8am.
Here's to a great fresh-snow filled weekend.
A competition is being held on the Yunomine A course from today through Monday meaning that course will be closed to the public during that period.
Official info at time of writing on Friday 8th January 2016 (subject to change):
The sun?! I thought we are on for more snow. Well, never mind, we did get snow yesterday of course and about 5-10cm being reported around the region. I had the best part of 10cm outside my home.
We are expecting more snowfall though from later on today in fact and hopefully into tomorrow as well, and sometime later on in the day on Sunday and Monday. The forecast looks good so we hope it is right.
So for those visiting it should be a cold and often snowy weekend, with resorts trying to open up more as the snow arrives. Monday is a holiday in Japan, it is Coming of Age Day, and so it will be busier than a normal Monday.
Things are certainly improved this morning, but I would say that the 'Saiko no condition' (best conditions) that I see a resort area proclaiming is taking things considerably too far. If this is best conditions, then.... I'm off somewhere else! I'm happy to say things are 'best conditions' -- when they are! Not before. It comes across as disingenuous to do otherwise, surely. We are far from having best conditions so far. But of course everyone is hoping that this reality will change soon.
Official snow depths at Shiga Kogen resort areas (Friday 8th January 2016):
As if often the case, not many updates here even with some fresh snow... you'd think they might be eager to raise the numbers somewhat!
Yesterday brought a little snow but in typical fashion here the winds picked up significantly in the afternoon making the conditions unappetising to say the least. The good news today is more runs are open! The Central Sailer run (4km) has officially opened helping the intermediate and advance skiers/boarders have a little more fun on their own. We now have 10 of 21 runs officially open so we’re nearly half way there.
Today should bring mostly sunny skies with the wind again picking up in the early afternoon. We should also see a sprinkling of snow but none that will add anything realistic to the base amounts. The afternoon should bring more snow flurries with more accumulation possible throughout the evening and into the night. The hill conditions are actually quite good with no threadbare spots to mention although the night temperatures add an icy glaze on the groomed slopes it becomes better by mid morning.
We’re still keeping our eyes on the predicted deluge of snow that forecasters say is coming our way this weekend but so far they’ve been batting less than 50% on their predictions.
We have today added a total of 100cm of 'observed snowfall' to the reports, on top of the actual 1cm reported since yesterday.
This is the amount that we have conservatively estimated to have fallen at base since the beginning of the season, up until our reports started. Adding this observed snowfall will give us a complete picture of how much snow has fallen during the full season.
Unfortunately, it will all be logged for the month of January when most of it fell before January. The reason for this is because the reports only started in January and we are unable to backdate to December. This is of course not ideal, but we thought that the 'total amount' would be more interesting and valuable data come the end of the season.
We'll be sure to remind everyone about this particular issue later in the season as well.
Currently planned operating lifts:
- Appi Gondola - Central Number 1 quad - Number 2 lift A - Number 2 lift B - Number 3 lift B - Number 4 lift - Sailer quad
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. **
Very very light snowfall in the village (more higher up), but I do have some news and wanted to share it.
Hakuba Happo-one will be starting up their top Grat Quad lift and opening the Riesen Grat course from tomorrow (Saturday) at 8am. Hurray!
Now.... lots more snow please...
Original morning report:
Snow was falling yesterday and really coming down up on the slopes in some area - at least at times. I'm not usually into white-out situations myself, but it was great to experience them up at 47 yesterday afternoon. It apparently eased off up there later in the day with not much more overnight.
So what was the haul? Let's see what the resorts are officially reporting, this is the information as available (which is unfortunately sometimes reported in a 'less than clear' and consistent fashion):
Hakuba 47 - 15cm on upper slopes during the day, an additional 10-15cm overnight and 1cm at base overnight. Hakuba Goryu - 10cm on upper slopes and 5cm on lower slopes Happo-one - 20cm yesterday, reporting 5cm more this morning Hakuba Cortina - 20-30cm of fresh snowfall
So generally it looks like there'll be a decent fresh layer up there this morning from yesterday. No doubt if you are actually in Hakuba at the moment you'll already be up there by the time this gets posted. (Hope you have a good morning).
It is fantastic to see fresh snow of course and be able to play in some fresh. And something of a relief as well, though of course we really need much more as it is not enough to transform the (mostly) limited opening status of resorts. The main change I can notice this morning is that Hakuba Cortina have their Number 1, 5 and 6 lifts moving once again along with a few more courses opening.
What we need is that regular, consistent, prolonged, full-on snowstorm feel - something that has been lacking this season so far. (And I don't just mean in Hakuba but in many regions of Honshu). So with that in mind let's have a look at how the forecast is shaping up.
Looking good for more snow later on today, on and off tomorrow with perhaps some sunshine mixed in there and then more snow is due on Sunday and Monday. Temperatures don't look likely to be getting too low which is perhaps a point of concern, but let's ignore that and remain cautiously very optimistic about the upcoming snowfall. :)
Monday is a holiday in Japan so we are about to enter a three-day weekend. Traditionally this coming weekend is one of the most popular (read: rather busy!) weekends of the season, so do expect lots of people to be around especially with fresh snow on the menu. An early start is recommended.
Resort news as of 8:50am on Friday 8th January 2015 (all subject to change due to weather conditions)
Hakuba 47: Hakuba 47 is reporting, er, varying amounts of fresh snowfall. All courses apart from Route 7 officially open. Tree Riding Zone not yet open for the season. Official snow depth Upper: 105cm Base: 10cm
Hakuba Goryu: Hakuba Goryu is reporting 5-10cm 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: 125cm Toomi: 40cm Iimori: 30cm
Hakuba Happo-one: Hakuba Happo-one is reporting 5cm of new snowfall this morning but was reporting 20cm yesterday during the day. 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: 70cm Nakiyama: 20cm Sakka: 10cm
Hakuba Cortina: Hakuba Cortina reporting 20cm of fresh snow and have their Number 1, 5 and 6 lifts moving once again. Courses open - Ikenota, Ikenota Forest (upper), Mt Hieda Forest, Mt Hieda 1, Itadaira, Itadaira Forest, Giant, Ipponmatsu. Planned lifts: Number 1 pair lift Number 2 quad lift Number 4 pair lift Number 5 pair lift Number 6 pair lift Official snow depth Top: 115cm Base: 75cm
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: 123cm Kane-no-naru-oka: 25cm
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: 60cm Lower: 10cm
Hakuba Norikura Onsen: Official snow depth 40cm 3 lifts are operating and 3 courses are now open at Hakuba Norikura Onsen.
Welcome to Friday. Not only is it shaping up to be a great weekend here in Furano, it is going to be a great Friday as well. The main thing to be excited about is fresh snow, and yet again we have a nice fresh layer of 9cm that has fallen earlier this morning.
It is wintery cold sitting at around -6c at base at the moment but the thermometer is likely to rise a couple of degrees during the day. There is a light trickle of snow falling at the moment and this is forecast to continue right throughout the day. Actually the forecast for the next 6 days is showing continuous snowfall for Furano!
The Premium Zone is open today from 10:30-14:00 and that would be the place to be around the opening time to get some of that new snow in your face.
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 ...
Friday 8th January 2016, 9:13am
Almost perfectly clear conditions today to go out riding.
Good morning from Naeba everybody.
Today conditions couldn't be much more beautiful. With hardly a cloud in the sky today is pretty much a perfect blue bird. Along with the snow that we received yesterday this has created probably the best day so far this season to go out riding. With today's weather sunglasses and suncream are a must. Goggle tan enthusiasts have a good chance to skill up today also.
We still need more snow though of course and the weather forecast for the coming week is still predicting snow on most days with the heaviest snow coming overnight on Sunday/Monday morning. Let's hope this comes through!
This morning there is no wind... it's just snowing. Nice!
There's 8cm of fresh snowfall here at base and around 10cm of snow on upper areas of the resort this morning.
The snow continues to fall this morning and it's expected to continue today, and actually regularly through into mid-week next week.
Expect particularly cold conditions early week and perhaps the heaviest snowfall later Sunday into Monday. But yes, snowfall is expected every day now for at least the next six days.
Let's hope we get a lot of it. Let it snow, let it snow!
Rainbow 3500, Mint B-a, Mint B-c, Center, Lavender D-b, Basil are open with other advance courses remaining closed. Hoping that will soon change once we get another decent amount of snow on the slopes.
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) still have less snow - Inawashiro, Minero and Inawashiro Resort ski areas have announced that they will be continue to be closed on 9th January.
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
The Snow Park (Decodaira E Park) is open on Lavender B course with 5 meters kicker, 5 meters tabletop and other box items.
Good morning from Yuzawa... and what a beautiful morning it is!
The sun is out and it's mostly blue skies over Yuzawa and Minamiuonuma with just a few clouds hanging on here and there. There's more cloud just to the north and if the forecast of a cloudy day with snow due to fall later on in the day comes through, they may be about to move in on our area. Somehow it doesn't feel like they will though - not just yet.
But you want to know about the snowfall yesterday, don't you?
Here's the headlines:
Kagura reporting 10-15cm this morning (unclear how that fits in with the 15-20cm they were reporting early afternoon yesterday!) Naeba reporting 20cm Maiko Snow Resort reporting 10cm. A few resorts upping their official snow depths by up to 20cm today.
Me? 6cm fell outside my place. The snow eased off later in the evening.
So, not a huge amount and certainly not 'enough', but of course a very welcome refresh and it was good to see it snowing. It was quite heavy at times, though those times didn't last long enough. One characteristic of the snowfall this season has been just that... we've not enjoyed full-on blizzard like snowfall for prolonged periods.
But might we get some of that this coming weekend? Maybe.
There's more snowfall forecast for later today (from this afternoon?) and as we enter tomorrow. Sunday may start with sunshine but some potentially decent snowfall is on the forecast again for later in the day and for Monday. The main thing is if it can get - and keep - good and cold.
It's a 3-day weekend coming up in Japan as Monday is 'Coming of Age Day'. Usually this is one of the popular weekends of the season and so I would expect resorts to be busy, a good early start is recommended.
A recap on the status of major resort areas:
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. They were reporting 15-20cm of fresh up top by early afternoon yesterday, and 10-15cm this morning; A fair section of Naeba is open with a decent refresh yesterday, connection with Tashiro remains 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 (90% of the area); 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); 12 courses at Joetsu Kokusai are open.
Resort official snow depths (Friday 8th 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 snow yesterday helped but we're still low on snow, especially lower course areas.
Blue sky day, perfect weather and Tenjin has snow!
Total of 30cm up top by yesterday afternoon followed by an unknown amount overnight. Very nice to see the base back to 1m with a top of nice fluffy, dry powder snow. Hodaigi had 5cm yesterday and Minakami as a whole is expecting more snow this evening followed by a decent looking dump on Sunday and Monday.
Enjoy the long weekend... Monday is a holiday in Japan.
Strong winds and blowy conditions out on the slopes yesterday, but some improved conditions especially on upper slopes areas with snow continuing to fall... and it was cold too.
This morning there's 12cm of fresh snow outside since my last report. This new snow has covered some of the patchy lower slopes and things certainly look better, though we of course in need of more snow.
I have heard from a friend that the lower Nakamori area is actually skiable but the lifts on that area still appear to be closed (and officially the area is not open).
It's calmer this morning and lots of grey cloud around as I am writing this report. Snowfall is expected today and tomorrow... and through the weekend into early week as well. Sunday in particular is looking good for some potentially heavy snowfall. I can't wait to see some of that! It might also be pretty stormy and windy out there with the potential to affect lift operations, hopefully not but something to keep an eye on.
Monday 11th January is a national holiday in Japan, making this weekend a popular one so I would expect Zao to be busy.
A snowy weekend please!
Information as of Friday 8th January 2016 (subject to change)
Most of the lifts at Zao Onsen are now operating. Most areas of Zao Onsen are at least part open but snow is still 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.