It's a cloudy morning here in Niseko, as the forecast told us to expect really. A small amount of snow during the day yesterday and there's a chance of light snow during the day today but it won't be anything major at all.
Limited visibility up on the mountain is preventing top lifts from opening first thing this morning, hopefully that situation might change during the morning with gates looking like they are expected to be open today.
That snowfall that we have all been eyeing up the last few days is still due to be with us from tomorrow. I so much want to get back to writing reports of large volumes of fresh snow. (Though I could do without strong winds!) Whatever, such conditions do seem likely over the weekend so be ready.
That's about it for today I think. Until tomorrow, have a good day wherever you may be.
Resort specific news as of 8:30am - subject to change during the day
Niseko Grand Hirafu: Top King Number 4 and Ace Number 4 lifts on hold due to poor visibility. 'Early Morning' lift available daily until 1st February (for 500 yen, Ace Quad Number 2 lift from 8am until 8:20am).
Niseko Village: Top Wonderland lift on hold due to poor weather conditions. 'Early Morning Gondola' available Saturdays and Sundays until February 8th (for 1300 yen, Gondola open from 7:30am until 8:30am).
Niseko base 6am: -5C, 5cm new crystal snow in the last 12hrs, calm. Moiwa 800m: -7C, wind SW 5m/s, trace of new snow. Annupuri 1150m: -7C, wind SW8m/s, trace of new snow, poor visibility at times. Hirafu Peak Ridge light winds, -10C, trace of new snow, minor snowdrift development. Cape Benkei: SW5m/s, Cape Kamui: S6m/s, wave 0..8m, pressure 1020hPa.
The pressure gradient is low and the mountain conditions are calm. From observation 10cm of new light crystal snow above 600m, snow pack is stable and the general avalanche risk is low. Yesterdays tracks still remain but the snow is good. Peak gates are expected to be open. Please respect the patrols advice when using the gates. Always be aware and take care on open steep slopes and cornice slopes around 1000m. When you cause an avalanche people below will be in danger. There has been increase in lost people out of bounds. The gates are there for everyone to use, but if you blindly follow someone else's tracks you may not come back.
Niseko respects peoples right to ride out of bounds and also tries to maintain a certain level of safety, however the mountain has many dangers still. Take care , have a safe day.
Official resort snow depths:
Grand Hirafu / Hanazono: Top - 370cm Base - 140cm
Niseko Village: Top - 280cm Base - 180cm
Niseko Annupuri: Top - 270cm Base - 160cm
Lifts open for night skiing (planned):
Niseko Grand Hirafu Ace Family Pair lift, Ace Number 2 Center Four lift, Hirafu Gondola, Holiday Number 1 Pair lift
Niseko Hanazono Resort No night skiing at the Hanazono area