Beautiful weather with not a cloud in the sky today.
One would not even have a clue about the devastation racking Northern areas of the country after the immense earthquakes yesterday afternoon by the look of things here this morning. They were felt even by backcountry skiers on top of 4 metres of snow in Tsugaike and caused building collapses, fires, power shortages, and a 10m tsunami wave that ravaged Sendai. Numerous aftershocks and even new earthquakes have followed since then including one in the North East Nagano and Niigata region - that one was felt here in Hakuba that and struck just after 4am in the morning.
As can be expected today is very slow on the mountain, a combination of highways etc being closed, and people probably wanting to stay put; it's also probably hard for some people to just go out and enjoy themselves after such a huge disaster nearby.
Skifields are all operating nearly as normal this morning, however the Gondolas are not running. As Goryu upper lifts can only be accessed by Gondola this means that the top runs of Goryu (Alps Daira) are closed and the 10cm of fresh snow reported up there can shine its white light towards the affected regions in peace.
Happo has everything except the Gondola running - I would recommend heading up Nakiyama and then the Riesen Quad to be the fastest way up the mountain today though Kokusai - Panorama isn't too bad nor Sakka 4 - Skyline.
Iwatake and Tsugaike... same story - no Gondola action; making your way up by lift and finding good fast lifts to ride is the best option.
As for new snow - Goryu reported 10cm since yesterday up top, 3 at the base, which is pretty consistent with what we saw on the car overnight though if you count all the snow that fell yesterday afternoon numbers would be higher.
The sun has brought warm temperatures - 4.5 degrees in the valley now, though -5 at 1400m, with only light winds from the NW.
Forecast is still for great weather tomorrow, rain on Monday with temperatures dropping through the week and more snow forecast for later next week.
Japan is well organised and responded quickly to this disaster and is receiving huge support and aid from outside countries, and citizens and groups are banding together to help with rescue and clean-up operations. Our thoughts and prayers go out to all those affected by this natural disaster and hope that the aftershocks cause as little damage as possible and the situations at that nuclear reactors see a manageable outcome.
Official snow depths and operations @ Saturday 12th March AM:
Toomi and Iimori areas only open today.
Goryu has 10cm of fresh up top and 3cm below Saturday morning.
No nighta tonight.
Alps daira - 315cm;
Toomi - 175cm;
Iimori - 130cm.
Most of the resort is open this morning.
Snow depth (upper) - 235cm.
Most of Happo is open as well today, though not the Gondola.
Usagidaira/Kurobishi - 240cm;
Sakka - 100cm;
Shirakaba - 100cm;
Nakiyama - 80cm.
Most of the resort is open though the Gondola/Ropeway not operating.
Tomorrow is the Tsugaike Kodomo Matsuri (Child Festival)
Snow depth - 330cm
Maruyama area - 160cm
Champion - 240cm
Upper - 190cm
Lower - 125cm
The resort is reporting 15cm of fresh snow on Saturday morning on the upper slopes and 10cm on the lower slopes. Resort mostly open today.
Upper - 420cm
Lower - 240cm