Snow! Fresh snow! We saw some flakes falling steadily yesterday but nothing too major, a few centimetres here and there. Overnight however, we’ve recorded 10cm hitting the ground. It’s a marvellous looking day out there today with clear skies, fantastic light and the sun out to join us.
The weather should turn at some point today, as we’re in for some heavy snow from about lunchtime, then overnight and into tomorrow — about 20cm predicted tonight! So when the snowflakes replace the sunshine, let’s welcome them with open arms. We shall be gracious hosts.
Remember on a day like today its a race for fresh tracks - beat everyone and take a 5min walk from Gondola 2 and you have the pick of the mountain for unspoiled snow (while Gondola 1 is unavailable, the area is less accessible). Otherwise, stick to the trees — provided you’re rocking a helmet (safety is sexy).
Wednesday: heavy snow (30-40cm predicted!), moderate to strong winds, tops of -9C
Thursday: light to moderate snow (10-15cm), moderate to strong winds, tops of -8C
Friday: light snow (10-12cm), moderate to strong winds, tops of -9C
Gondola One Update:
According to the resort, they’re aiming for early February for the Gondola to be back up and running. Fingers crossed for the first week, but we’ll have to wait and see.
Zones open include Summit, Rabbit, Beech & Stream. At this stage Shooter will remain closed until the main gondola is open.
Official snow depths:
Nighta skiing operations are planned at Geto Kogen on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays until 25th February 2018.
Some more comments, observations and questions answered
This rather long message is being posted on all the daily ‘Now’ report pages on SnowJapan today, so it does not apply to any one report section. Long-time readers may well remember a similar message posted last season. This is a modified and updated re-write of that message.
As we head into what looks set to be a very exciting and snowy week in Japan, we wanted to share some comments and respond to some more frequently asked questions regarding the daily reports on SnowJapan.
Many people rely on our reporting to find out how the Japan winter season is shaping up. We take that responsibility very seriously and the integrity of our reports is extremely important to us.
The individuals who post the reports are told that it is fine to get very excited when conditions are excellent and there’s lots of snow falling. And hopefully you’ll see that in action this week!
But at the same time, we believe that it is essential to also report things that are less exciting; like crusty spring-like snow conditions in mid-January or nasty rain.
That kind of reporting is not ‘being negative’ - it’s simply reporting what is happening. Whatever is happening, that is what should be in the reports. Even if none of us particularly like it.
Forgive us for saying it again, but it’s important: one of the things that makes SnowJapan unique is the fact that we are not here to convince you to visit any one region of Japan. We’re not here to ask you to book accommodation, or to join tours, or to take ski lessons. We’re not asking you to buy anything. Rather, we are here to provide independent and correct information from around Japan – information that is free from the inevitable pressures of having to sell and market specific services.
Some people would seemingly prefer everyone believe that snow conditions are always close to what the marketing blurb says, whatever the actual reality is. By ignoring things when they are less than perfect or publishing information that is misleading, at best.
There was one good example yesterday. We were really disappointed to see a popular ski resort classifying their base area snow conditions as “powder” – after a week of almost no fresh snowfall, some rain and generally mild conditions. While it is absolutely true that different people have different standards and levels of expectation, no-one could reasonably describe those conditions as “powder”. We’re not going to get into naming names, but we think that’s a pretty bad thing to do.
We feel that (surely!) anyone visiting a ski resort would prefer to have honest reporting over something that just reads like a marketing brochure.
So, we just want to take this opportunity once again to assure our readers that even with ever increasing pressures to do otherwise, we won’t be changing the thinking behind our reports.
Each of our regional reports is written by a different person. So, it is natural that each has its own personality or character. Some of the reports are longer than others. Some of the reports are shorter than others. Some of the reports are more light-hearted in nature. Some of them cover one ski resort - like Madarao, Naeba, Furano. Some of them cover a much wider region - like Niseko, Hakuba and Yuzawa.
Posting a daily report every day through the season is a considerable commitment. Reports may sometimes appear later than usual, or a report might be missed, or might be shorter than usual, etc… We are not claiming that our reports are perfect and know that we will never satisfy everyone with our output, but we do try to provide the best reports possible.
** More on that kind of thing here.
While we are at it, here are a few other quick points that we made in our season end message last year.
About the SnowJapan ‘observed fresh snowfall’ data
The ‘observed fresh snowfall’ that we publish on each of our reports is the amount of snowfall that our reporters see with their own eyes and measure every day. It is taken from base area levels.
Why base areas? The reason for that is because it is the only place where a reliable measurement can be taken on a consistent basis every day throughout the season.
Does more snow fall at higher elevations on mountain than at base? In most cases - absolutely. And in some regions/resorts, much more so than others.
Within the text of our reports we try to report any fresh snowfall data that the ski resorts themselves are reporting from the mountain each morning - another reason why we want to wait for that information in a morning.
But it would be impossible for us to report from ‘higher up’ every day. Issues include the ability to get up top every morning (lifts might be closed); where exactly to take measurements from; how we would go about measuring ‘fresh snowfall’ over the period of 24 hours at a location. Remember, we’re not a ski resort.
So, the only place that we can reliably and consistently report from each morning is base.
”You under-report snow!” or ”You over-report snow!”
No, we really don’t. Our reporters report what they see with their own eyes and measure themselves. Yes, there will be more (or less) snow falling in areas nearby. Nature doesn’t evenly distribute snowfall. Someone visiting the same ski resort may well experience something slightly different. And actually, both may well be correct. Microclimates and the like. That’s nature for you.
Our measurements are coming to you from the same spot every day - generally very close to ski resort base lifts - and they are being reported by the same trusted individual who is not inclined to exaggerate.
Note: If you do feel something in our reports is wildly off the mark, please do let us know and we will certainly look into it.
“Why don’t you report more about actual quality of the snow?”
Different people have greatly different expectations and different points of reference when it comes to snow conditions so unless things are indisputably excellent or indisputably rubbish, we feel it’s probably best to avoid going into that kind of detail every day.
“Why is there more snow being reported on the ‘A Now’ report than ‘B Now’ report?”
That will be because more snow is being observed at base in ‘A’ than in ‘B’. It’s as simple as that.
Snowfall at higher elevations may well be a different matter - so please read the reports for such details...
We recommend you don’t spent much time comparing the snowfall numbers between regions
We totally understand the temptation to directly compare the snowfall numbers for the different areas, but we recommend that you don’t.
If you must though, at least be sure to look beyond just the headline numbers. Some regions simply get less snow at base than other regions - but base snowfall is far from being the full story.
If you are contemplating visiting one of the regions covered by our reports, we highly recommend that you spend time looking beyond just the headlines and read the full reports - including our archive reporting from previous seasons. Only that way will you get a true and detailed picture of what is happening and get an idea of how the snow falls in each of the regions and what to expect on-mountain.
This week looks like it is going to be a big week of snow in many regions. That’s what we all want. So here’s to some fresh deep conditions over the coming days, weeks and months. Thank you for reading!
If you want to contact us, you can do so here.