Today is the last day of the season for Nozawa Onsen snow resort and the season has ended with quite cold, wet and foggy conditions.
On Tuesday 3rd, Wednesday 4th and Thursday 5th of May, the Nagasaka Gondola will be operating, and you can hop on it for free as well. There'll be no snow to ski or board on at the top, but it sounds like there will be a few small events and the Resthouse Yamabiko will also be open for business. If the weather is nice, always a good place to be.
No doubt soon after that things will start heating up as we head into summer, and before you know it thoughts will turn to next winter.
But how about this past winter?
2015/2016 winter season was definitely a relatively poor season for most snow regions of Japan, including the northern region of Nagano.
Please note that I said a relatively poor season. I know lots of people who visited from overseas and were able to have a blast and really loved their time here in Nozawa. While the season started later than planned and ended sooner than planned, there was no unseasonal closing down of lifts and courses necessary etc. It's just that for those of us who know what a 'normal' Nozawa season offers... well, we are probably very spoilt!
The positive to take from it is that it was abnormal, so hopefully we can get back to something more like normal next winter season.
A 'normal' season here in Nozawa sees us getting very large amounts of regular, consistent snowfall. 30cm and more snowfall overnight in the village is a fairly regular thing in a normal season. During the 2015/2016 season we didn't get much of that at all, and unusually we were often looking at the skies and the forecasts and wondering when the next snow might fall. In my Nozawa Now reports for the season, it is telling that I observed less than half the amount of snowfall down here in the village compared with the previous season (472cm compared with 1044cm in 2014/2015). That's a big difference.
If you are reading this report and going about researching Nozawa - and indeed the other regions covered in the SnowJapan daily Now reports - I strongly recommend that you take a good look through the archive reports from previous seasons and not just this most recent season. That way you will get a good idea of how things have been at certain points over a number of years. There are archived reports available going way back to 2002, so you'll need a fair bit of time to get through them!
The archive reports can be found at the bottom of the Nozawa Now report pages on the main desktop site. If you are viewing this report on the mobile version of SnowJapan, click on the link to get over to the main site.
Anyway, that is it from me and the Nozawa Now reports for this season.
Remember, Nozawa is a fine place to be through the year so perhaps some of you will be visiting before next winter season.
I'll be back with Nozawa Now reports in late autumn in the run up to next season, which will probably be due to start in late November 2016. You might see a few changes to the reports as well, though we'll bring you more news on that kind of thing nearer the time. The guys have been busy for over 3 months now working on new developments for the site.
Fingers crossed 2016/2017 will be a good one and we be able to enjoy lots of the Nozawa-rashii (-like) qualities that we love so much.
Thanks for reading and see you later in the year. I hope that you have a good May to November wherever in the world you might be.