This general message is being posted on all our daily reports.
It is not specific to one report or region.
Thank you to everyone who contacted us after the general message we posted in these reports a few days ago.
It’s great to hear from people, and of course it makes us happy to hear so many messages of support. In the feedback, some questions and comments were brought up—and we would like to answer them in public. Here goes:
About 'official snow depth'
The “official snow depth” numbers displayed on our site come from the ski resorts themselves. The resorts provide their figure to a service, and SnowJapan has an agreement with that service so that we can display these figures. The numbers come as is - without details or explanations - and we have no control over them.
As far as we know, there are no rules or guidelines dictating where the ski resorts take their number from. The top? Middle? Base? Some spot where the wind piles up snow? We just don’t know, so, basically, we all must rely on their honesty.
Over the years, we have learned that many ski resorts are honest in their reporting, with realistic numbers and good information on other conditions. We like and respect that.
Other are…let’s be positive and say, “too optimistic”. There is a lot of exaggeration, if not outright falsehoods. We don’t like that.
A reader recently reported that, while our official number from a resort said 70cm, they discovered on arrival that there was just one run open with artificial snow. Of course, we are very sorry to hear that, and we know how upsetting that is. As we have previously noted, we’re skiers/boarders, too.
Our policy is to always be honest in what we do. With the official figures we’re reporting what you’ll see on each resort’s website and the figures posted by local tourist office and other organizations. That’s why we always tag them as “official snow depth”.
So, what is SnowJapan doing about this?
You’ll note that our reporters filing the Now daily reports do sometimes comment when the official figures are a bit questionable.
We think that the official figures do have meaning and value and we can’t be selective in which resorts we post. It’s all or none. We take them all in and provide them to you.
Perhaps think of them as a suggestion, to be taken with a healthy dose of salt. Take a look at other areas in the region and compare - knowing, though, that the terrain and location can make for very different snow conditions in relatively small areas.
Furthermore, it is often quite interesting to compare the official snow depth numbers with other seasons.
The ‘observed snowfall’ figure is 100-percent SnowJapan. Our reporters get out there and measure the snowfall they are seeing at base level. Not at the top of the hill or in a secret stash.
People in slightly different areas (in the same region) are sometimes going to see differences. That’s natural and unavoidable; and we’re not claiming that our reports are definitive or perfect.
But we stand by all our numbers.
Requests for specific recommendations
People often write to ask questions such as, “Should I cancel my planned trip to A and change to B?”
Because we wish to remain unbiased and fair, we strongly feel that it is not our place to make this kind of recommendation of one resort over another. Our independence is what lets us give you solid, unbiased information. We keep that kind of opinion to ourselves.
There is limited advertising on SnowJapan. Our website is an extremely effective place to reach large numbers of skiers and snowboarders who are interested in good information about Japan. But any company or organisation who joins us in that respect is told very clearly upfront that doing so gives them no editorial influence. There’s no exceptions to that and it is a fundamental part of our concept.
Requests for detailed information
People write in often - sometimes more than 50 mails a day - to ask about specific ski resorts, transportation, ski schools, accommodations, etc. Sometimes they are detailed requests to assist with bookings of hotels or ski lessons, or requests for detailed bus and train timetables. (And sometimes, I might add, without even a please or a thank you!)
We simply can’t provide this kind of information. Local tourist associations, booking firms, etc. are all geared to providing information and helping match your needs with services and organizations. We simply aren’t. Just running our website and collecting information from across the Japan ski world and posting it for you is more than a full-time job. (It feels like even more so than usual in this low-snow year!)
As we note on our Contact form we can’t answer specific questions. We certainly don’t mean to be rude when we don’t answer to questions sent to us, but we aren’t able to respond and still be unbiased…. or get our work done!
Anyway, that’s it for now. Thanks again and we hope you will keep reading SnowJapan and letting others know about us.
Comments welcome - we’re always trying to improve and it’s just good to hear from you, even if it’s just a quick ‘hi’.