Hello from Niseko and it's not a good morning I'm afraid.
And unfortunately it's probably going to be raining for lots of the day today. And to make things worse, heavy rain and stormy windy conditions are forecast for tomorrow too.
I'm posting this a bit early today (going to escape to Otaru), but strong winds probably also mean that (at least) the top lifts are probably going to be affected this morning (and tomorrow too).
This kind of weather situation is not unexpected, and a mid season bit of rain isn't that uncommon either actually. Still, it doesn't make it any nicer or easier to accept!
The good news?
Well, there's two things really. First of all, this not nice weather is a good chance/excuse to try and get something 'cultural' in, or just do something other than sit on a ski lift being rained on.
More importantly, you can enjoy doing those things knowing that fresh snow is going to be back with us soon - hopefully as soon as tomorrow evening - and temperatures are going to drop right down there once again.
So we've just got to get through today and most of tomorrow really. You never know, it might not end up being as bad as the forecasts tell us (...but don't think so).
Resort specific lift opening news at time of writing (subject to change during the day):
Niseko base 6am: +3℃, misty rain and thawing. Mikaeri 740m: +1.3℃, NE1.3m/s. Hirafu ridge +1℃, strong wind and thick fog. Coastal data Benkei cape: S6m/s, Kamui cape S18m/s, 1012hPa, 1.1m waves.
A Low is passing through the sea of Japan, making warm southerly air flowing in. Rain and thaw will make new cracks to form in steep slopes and ground avalanche hazard will potentially rise.
The out of bounds condition is poor, better stick on-piste today. Peak gates will be closed. Do not break the Rules and step out when gates are shut. Heavy surface slab slides are likely to occur even inbounds in steep spots under lift-lines or course sides. Getting buried in this type of avalanche can easily be fatal. Many of the critical accidents occur during poor weather. Be smart and adjust your plans with the conditions.
It is recommended to call it a day early and chill at an onsen today. Roads are treacherous, drive safe!
Official resort snow depths as of Saturday 13th February 2016: