Niseko Now daily snow and weather - Monday 4th January 2021

Niseko Now (Archive Report)

Independent and trustworthy daily snow and weather reports from Niseko region, Japan
ARCHIVE REPORT: Posted at 8:17am on Monday 4th January 2021
Current weather conditions
Observed fresh snowfall AT BASE
weather condition
Snow
Base temp:
-7°C

Top temp:
-12°C
Precipitation Wind Visibility
precipitation condition
Light-moderate
wind condition
W
visibility condition
Limited
PLEASE READ THIS
This report
Monday 4th January 2021, 8:17am
14cm
Sunday 3rd January 2021, 8:33am 18cm
Saturday 2nd January 2021, 8:25am 24cm
Friday 1st January 2021, 8:33am 18cm
Thursday 31st December 2020, 8:30am 34cm
Wednesday 30th December 2020, 8:33am 8cm
Tuesday 29th December 2020, 8:33am 4cm
Last 7 reports (total): 120cm
Last 14 reports (total): 191cm
Current month (January 2021) total: 74cm
2020/2021 season so far total: 484cm

Archive report: Posted at 8:17am on Monday 4th January 2021
The latest Niseko Now report can be found here

Good morning from Niseko.

So what have we got this morning. Oh yes, some more snow.

It is interesting to see the range of snow being reported by the ski areas this morning... 10-45cm across the areas (both base and top), and the Avalanche Report has some larger numbers too. While varying numbers are common - and not necessarily 'mistakes' - I'm wondering if there might be some typo stuff going on there or not. 45cm does sound nice though! Perhaps an investigation is required. It's very cold again though, so pre-ski toast is a must.

I am reporting 14cm.

And now here's something I prepared earlier.

-----

The 2020-2021 season so far: until the end December 2020

As we start on the journey that is 2021 it is the time for me to take a bit of a look back at the season so far and make a few observations.

As always, I’d like to start by reminding everyone that I take my measurements from close to the base of Niseko Grand Hirafu. And while base elevations vary at different resorts around Japan, that is the same concept for all the Now reports this website.

Here in Niseko, there is usually more snow at higher elevations, but it is impossible for me to take measurements from the top of the mountain every morning for all sorts of practical reasons. My numbers on these Niseko Now reports over the years can be compared like-for-like, because they are my observations and are coming from the same place each season.

This is how much snowfall I have measured during the month of December over the last nine years:

December 2020: 348cm
December 2019: 207cm
December 2018: 333cm
December 2017: 406cm
December 2016: 181cm
December 2015: 244cm
December 2014: 519cm
December 2013: 275cm
December 2012: 418cm

I make the average number over those 9 years to be 326cm. So that means this season the December snowfall was just over average – for Niseko – and certainly an improvement on last season. (Average seems a poor choice of word, as ‘average’ in Niseko is usually rather good!)

Here are my season-to-date numbers, from the beginning of this season to the end of December 2020:

2020/2021 season up to end of December 2020: 410cm
2019/2020 season up to end of December 2019: 292cm
2018/2019 season up to end of December 2018: 417cm
2017/2018 season up to end of December 2017: 594cm
2016/2017 season up to end of December 2016: 293cm
2015/2016 season up to end of December 2015: 308cm
2014/2015 season up to end of December 2014: 549cm
2013/2014 season up to end of December 2013: 398cm
2012/2013 season up to end of December 2012: 536cm

The average of those numbers is 422cm, so we are actually falling a little behind the average there due to less snow recorded in the month of November.

Since 13th December there has only been one report when I have not been able to report any cm of fresh snowfall here at base in Niseko (23rd December) and snowfall has been consistent since that last day of November.

There have been some excellent conditions to enjoy with a steady supply of snow to fill in tracks.

While some lucky people have been able to enjoy this snow, snow is just one of the main stories of the season. In some ways, it is the secondary story. Because 2020-2021 is, of course, like no other normal season.

Many of you reading this were probably planning on being here to enjoy Niseko this season… but unfortunately are unable to.

Over the last few decades Niseko has grown to increasingly enjoy a very healthy ‘inbound’ international market. Having that big chunk of business effectively cut off at short notice is something of a shock to the system. With the coronavirus situation in Hokkaido meaning that there are also fewer Japanese people travelling as well, it all adds up to a uniquely (relatively) quiet Niseko.

I have heard more than a few locals and regular Japan-residing visitors comment on how this season in some ways feels like a ‘time travel’ trip back a decade or two. There are considerably fewer people around than normal and I would say a more generally relaxed kind of vibe going on. The unique circumstances this season have certainly given it a different feel and atmosphere. Some are really soaking that up and making the most of it; others are impatiently praying for things to get back on track.

I have no doubt that when international travel opens back up, Niseko will quickly get back to its usual bustling and supremely confident self. And while some people might bemoan some of the modern changes to Niseko of late, I can’t think of anyone who doesn’t want for life to return to some kind of ‘normal’.

Back to snow numbers...

Here is how much of the total snowfall for a season we have already had fall on by the end of December in previous seasons:

By the end of December 2019, as a % of the season total: about 40%
By the end of December 2018, as a % of the season total: about 44%
By the end of December 2017, as a % of the season total: about 47%
By the end of December 2016, as a % of the season total: about 43%
By the end of December 2015, as a % of the season total: about 31%
By the end of December 2014, as a % of the season total: about 48%
By the end of December 2013, as a % of the season total: about 34%
By the end of December 2012, as a % of the season total: about 36%

January 2020 has started well with 60cm already recorded and what looks like consistent snowfall on the horizon as well.

Here’s how much snowfall I have recorded during the month of January in the last seven winter seasons. (The numbers in brackets show the total observed snowfall up until the end of January in each of those respective seasons).

January 2020: 224cm (516cm)
January 2019: 285cm (702cm)
January 2018: 305cm (899cm)
January 2017: 152cm (445cm)
January 2016: 303cm (611cm)
January 2015: 257cm (806cm)
January 2014: 461cm (859cm)
January 2013: 443cm (979cm)

Looking at those numbers in recent Januarys we have seen a minimum of 152cm and a maximum of 461cm. That’s some range. I prefer the latter!

The other piece of data that I always look at is the snowfall numbers that the Japan Meteorological Agency report from their observation station in Kutchan town. Here is what they have reported for the month of December over recent years.

December 2020: 303cm
December 2019: 217cm
December 2018: 310cm
December 2017: 324cm
December 2016: 235cm
December 2015: 195cm
December 2014: 387cm
December 2013: 258cm
December 2012: 306cm

These are the JMA numbers for the season so far up until the end of December 2020:

2020/2021 season up to end of December 2020: 364cm
2019/2020 season up to end of December 2019: 303cm
2018/2019 season up to end of December 2018: 414cm
2017/2018 season up to end of December 2017: 493cm
2016/2017 season up to end of December 2016: 408cm
2015/2016 season up to end of December 2015: 230cm
2014/2015 season up to end of December 2014: 428cm
2013/2014 season up to end of December 2013: 357cm
2012/2013 season up to end of December 2012: 404cm

Remember, all the numbers I post in my reports – as well as archive reports - can be found on this page and via the 'Snowfall Analysis' tab at the top.

Next monthly recap in early February.

-----

Niseko Avalanche Report

Coastal Data. Cape Benkei: NNW14m/s. Cape Kamui: WSW12m/s, 1020hPa, wave 1.8m. Hanazono 1000m: -13.5℃. Hanazono 720: -11.1℃, NNW3.3m/s. Mizuno no Sawa 900m: -13.4℃, WNW2.1m/s. Moiwa 800m: -11.8℃, NNW6.8m/s. Annupuri 1100m: -14.9℃, WNW4.2m/s. Kutchan Town: -7.4℃, WSW3.2m/s, snow depth 123cm, 1020.6hPa. Moiwa base: -9, snowfall 30cm in last 12hrs, light winds, good visibility.

Currently we are in a weak west high/east low pressure system, with lots of snowfall. Below 1100m, with winds under 15m/s, the amount of slab formation has been small. Light crystal snow has fallen, 40cm on the west side in 6hrs, 50cm on the east. Below 1100m the avalanche risk is low. Above 1250m with exposure to strong winds and low temperatures avalanche risk due to slabs collapsing continues. Slabs are fracturing on 30 Dec layer. Do not traverse cornice slopes. South facing steep slopes around 900m, like Haru no Taki, have had heavy accumulations of snow over the last 10 days the danger of large avalanches continues as entire areas have formed single slabs. Predicted fracture layer 23 Dec or ground level. Do not duck rope and stimulate knolls in off limits areas.

Peak gates and Mizuno no Sawa gates are expected to be open. Please listen to the patrols instructions. To go out of bounds you must use the gates. Out of Bounds areas are not managed, to prevent accidents always be cautious, there is no guarantee of safety in the mountains. Although the snow is deep, it is light and good. Expect changing weather and poor visibility at times today. Don't forget helmet beacon, probe and shovel. Your beacon can save someone else's life too. Have a good day.

-----

Planned ski area operations: Monday 4th January 2021
The below information is manually checked each morning and believed to be correct at time of report.

Niseko Grand Hirafu

Official snow depth (reported by the ski area):
- Peak: 285cm (+30cm)
- Base: 150cm (+0cm)

Ski lifts operating:
- All planned lifts operating (see note below)
- Ace Family Quad, Ace Number 2 Center Four open for night skiing

Courses:
- All courses open

-----

Niseko HANAZONO Resort

Official snow depth (reported by the ski area):
- Peak: 205cm (+5cm)
- Base: 150cm (+0cm)

Ski lifts operating:
- All lifts operating
- No night skiing

-----

Niseko Annupuri

Official snow depth (reported by the ski area):
- Peak: 175cm (+0cm)
- Base: 135cm (+0cm)

Ski lifts operating:
- All lifts operating during the daytime
- Jumbo Number 1 quad opens for night skiing

-----

Niseko Village

Official snow depth (reported by the ski area):
- Peak: 185cm (+5cm)
- Base: 125cm (+5cm)

Ski lifts operating:
- Niseko Gondola
- Village Express [*]
- Community Chair [*]
- Banzai Chair [*]
- Wonderland Chair

-----

Night time operations are available in the Niseko Grand Hirafu, Niseko Village and Niseko Annupuri areas until 7th March 2021.
Lifts marked [*] are scheduled to be operating during night skiing, until 8:00pm.
There is no night skiing in the Niseko HANAZONO area.

The Ace Pair Number 1, 3 and 4, King Pair Number 1 lift and King Quad Number 2 lifts are being rested for the season at Niseko Grand Hirafu.

Archive report: Posted at 8:17am on Monday 4th January 2021
The latest Niseko Now report can be found here

Niseko Now ski lift operation notes:

All areas of Niseko are open

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REPORTS ON 7th MARCH
Due to some server/maintenance work scheduled for Sunday 7th March, some of our of our daily Now reports will be late appearing on that day. The reports will appear...eventually.

Apologies in advance for any delays.
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Japan snowfall data
(updated daily during winter)
Nearby accommodation
Lessons in English
Niseko Now observed snowfall data (at base): Recent Niseko Now reports
The data displayed is correct up to and including Monday 4th January 2021
This graph shows the amount of observed snowfall recorded at base in the 21 Niseko Now reports up until Monday 4th January 2021
(View the latest Niseko Now report here :: View more analysis here)
Niseko Now observed snowfall data (at base): Recent season comparisons
The data displayed is correct up to and including Monday 4th January 2021
This table shows the amount of observed snowfall recorded at base in the Niseko Now reports during same period over the last three seasons
(View the latest Niseko Now report here :: View more analysis here)
  2020/2021
*as of Monday 4th January 2021
2019/2020
Season
2018/2019
Season
4th January 14cm 15cm 1cm
3rd January 18cm 5cm 12cm
2nd January 24cm 26cm 15cm
1st January 18cm 15cm 10cm
31st December 34cm 0cm 11cm
30th December 8cm 0cm 17cm
29th December 4cm 12cm 32cm
Previous 7 days total 120cm 73cm 98cm
Previous 14 days total 191cm 123cm 171cm
November observed snowfall total 62cm 85cm 84cm
December observed snowfall total 348cm 207cm 333cm
January observed snowfall total 74cm 224cm 285cm
February observed snowfall total - 143cm 198cm
March observed snowfall total - 59cm 45cm
April observed snowfall total - 10cm 6cm
May observed snowfall total - - 0cm
Season observed snowfall total 484cm 728cm 951cm
Niseko Now observed snowfall data (at base): Monthly and annual accumulation
The data displayed is correct up to and including Monday 4th January 2021
This table shows the amount of observed snowfall recorded at base in the Niseko Now reports for each month and total season accumulation
(View the latest Niseko Now report here :: View more analysis here)
  October November December January February March April May
2020/2021 season 0cm
[0cm]
62cm
[62cm]
348cm
[410cm]
74cm
[484cm]
-
[484cm]
-
[484cm]
-
[484cm]
-
[484cm]
2019/2020 season - 85cm
[85cm]
207cm
[292cm]
224cm
[516cm]
143cm
[659cm]
59cm
[718cm]
10cm
[728cm]
-
2018/2019 season 0cm
[0cm]
84cm
[84cm]
333cm
[417cm]
285cm
[702cm]
198cm
[900cm]
45cm
[945cm]
6cm
[951cm]
0cm
[951cm]
2017/2018 season - 188cm
[188cm]
406cm
[594cm]
305cm
[899cm]
299cm
[1198cm]
49cm
[1247cm]
13cm
[1260cm]
0cm
[1260cm]
2016/2017 season 2cm
[2cm]
110cm
[112cm]
181cm
[293cm]
152cm
[445cm]
160cm
[605cm]
83cm
[688cm]
0cm
[688cm]
0cm
[688cm]
2015/2016 season 3cm
[3cm]
61cm
[64cm]
244cm
[308cm]
303cm
[611cm]
266cm
[877cm]
109cm
[986cm]
6cm
[992cm]
0cm
[992cm]
2014/2015 season 0cm
[0cm]
30cm
[30cm]
519cm
[549cm]
257cm
[806cm]
196cm
[1002cm]
139cm
[1141cm]
3cm
[1144cm]
0cm
[1144cm]
2013/2014 season 0cm
[0cm]
123cm
[123cm]
275cm
[398cm]
461cm
[859cm]
178cm
[1037cm]
113cm
[1150cm]
13cm
[1163cm]
0cm
[1163cm]
2012/2013 season 0cm
[0cm]
118cm
[118cm]
418cm
[536cm]
443cm
[979cm]
316cm
[1295cm]
164cm
[1459cm]
32cm
[1491cm]
2cm
[1493cm]
  October November December January February March April May
Niseko Now reports before Monday 4th January 2021
Niseko Now reports from the same period last season
Niseko Now archived reporting
View previous reports posted to Niseko Now by clicking on the month

2021

2020

2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002