So here we are, near the end of November and basically sitting here waiting for the snow to fall, everything on standby now!
Obviously we won't be seeing an opening this weekend, so all eyes over to the forecast.
Things are still looking encouraging for snowfall from late Monday onwards. It will probably remain rather mild until Monday when it may well start off as rain but come Tuesday we can hope for a cover of white once again.
Yesterday, Sapporo City officially announced it's intention to bid for the 2026 Winter Olympics.
Sapporo has of course been the host city for the Winter Olympics before in 1972. At that time as well as hosting some of the events in the city, like the ski jump and other events at Teine, they also actually created the downhill ski courses and facilities from scratch on the west slopes of Mt Eniwa to the south of the city - including a two-stage ropeway, ski lift, press centre, heliport and no doubt also somewhere where you could find some curry rice! All of those facilities were made specificially for the Olympics with the agreement that once the Olympics were over, the mountain would be restored to nature. Indeed, if you go there now there is hardly any trace at all to be found. The man-made stuff was all taken down and nature has once again reclaimed the area. You can just about see traces of where the two downhill courses were if you look at Mt Eniwa on the satellite images.
Apparently the Mens course was 2626m in length with an average gradient of 17 degrees and steepest slope of 37 degrees with a starting point at 1126m. The Womens course was 2108m in lenght with an average gradient of 14 degrees and a steepest slope of 35 degrees; starting point at 870m.
There are of course no details yet as to where events would be held in the event of another Sapporo Olympics but it will be very interesting to hear what the plans might be. I heard a report on the news last night that suggested that they would be looking at facilities in Hokkaido outside of Sapporo - and even maybe further afield in other areas of Japan; one report even seemed to be suggesting using some of the facilities used in the Nagano Olympics. Whatever, it seems that cost will (obviously) be a big factor, so I doubt we'll be seeing a rebuilding of the facilities at Mt Eniwa!
Anyway I have heard that there's already one or two decent ski places in Hokkaido... ;)
It's all very interesting stuff and no doubt we will hear more about that in time. I will of course let you know when I hear any more details in the future.
OK so back to the present...
Planned opening dates for the different resort areas on the mountain:
Niseko Grand Hirafu - will open as soon as there's enough snow Niseko Annupuri Kokusai - will open as soon as there's enough snow Niseko Village - Monday 1st December Niseko Hanazono - Saturday 6th December
Niseko Now ski lift operation notes:
No ski lifts moving yet. Waiting for snow.
Observed snowfall in the last 14 days
Observed snowfall in this season
Niseko Mountain Resort Grand Hirafu:
0cm snowfall in the last 7 days
30cm snowfall in November 2014
30cm snowfall since the beginning of the season