Snow and weather reports posted on Friday 22nd February 2019
Tuesday 12th January 2016, 7:42am
It's a good cold morning in Madarao.
Winter-like, even! :)
Another 2-5cm being reported by the resort and yes, there has been 2cm since my last report at base.
Light snow has been continuing to fall early this morning, though in surrounding areas there are clearings in the clouds and even some sunshine - so maybe we will soon be getting some of that.
Different forecasts seem to be disagreeing about what to expect this week at the moment. Some have snow each day, some are expecting more clearer skies - sadly it's the latter forecast that is usually more accurate.
Though they all do agree though that it should be remaining cold, which in itself is a good thing as current snow conditions should remain decent.
Before my report, news of a new Giveaway on SnowJapan - this time the friendly folk down there have over 150 ski lift tickets to send out to SnowJapan readers, including 10 lovely Niseko All Mountain ticket vouchers. And indeed over 140 lift tickets from other ski-jo around Japan:
And a good morning to you from Niseko where... it has been snowing again. It has been doing quite a lot of that of late!
This morning I have another 12cm of fine quality snow to add to the tally. Right at this moment it's just cloudy but snow falling is something that can happen any time and indeed those forecasts are still telling us to expect snow today and over the coming days.
It also remains very cold.
I am a bit earlier with my report this morning (out of necessity), but as I take the webcam images at 7:53am there's a bunch of folk already waiting for that Hirafu lift. Niseko Village look to be reporting winds of up to 17m/s up top so we'll have to keep an eye on that - hopefully wind won't be an issue today.
It should be another excellent day.
It's time to take another excite look at some numbers.
In the first 12 reports of January 2016 I have observed 117cm of snowfall here at my Hirafu base (and 94cm over the last 7 days). Last year during the same 12 day start to January 2015, I actually recorded 162cm - so like-for-like we are actually behind on last year. And if you remember, at the end of December 2015 (for the season so far up to that point) we were also about 2.5m behind on the same period the previous season.
The poor ('late') start to the season is of course a big reason for the December numbers, and perhaps the big picture is just one more reflection of the generally 'mild winter' that Japan has been experiencing so far. Even though obviously no-one could call it mild up here at the moment - rather, it's actually really cold. But that's beside the point.
And of course we are still enjoying very respectful and regular refresh rates, so that's all great. So perhaps and we should just consider ourselves lucky given the prolonged poor early season in many other regions of the country.
I am no meteorologist (as you can no doubt tell) but I did see an interview on television yesterday with one who was saying that there is a good chance that Japan as a whole will be getting colder and brushing aside this 'mild winter' soon. That would be good for everyone.
It's exciting to think how January could end up for us here in Hokkaido if the consistency continues.
Oh yes, please remember everyone my observations are - and always have been - from my base here in Hirafu.
Following on from my comments yesterday, the King Number 2 quad lift at Niseko Grand Hirafu is being rested again from today, so it looks like it was a long holiday special.
Resort specific lift opening news at time of writing - subject to change during the day:
Typical winter pressure distribution (High in the west, Low in the east) continues. The wind is stagnating around 10-15m/s westerly at sea and in the sky. Intermittent gusts with heavy snowfall are making the snowdrifts and cornices grow slowly around 800m elevation. 120cm thick slab largely slid with the snow-cat pressure test, however seems stable with ski compaction. Looking at all data and observations, the avalanche hazard level under 1000m elevation is low. Peak gates will open as they’re ready. Please follow the patrol’s instructions and step out of the gates. Carrying avalanche transceivers (beacons) is not mandatory in Niseko, however it is strongly recommended to. It may save not only yours but other people’s lives.
The avalanche hazard level in areas above 1100m is moderate to high. 60cm thick slides are likely to occur with ski compaction. Better not stimulate slopes with knolls and cornices. Beware of frostbites and hypothermia. Overall good conditions this morning.
Official resort snow depths as of Tuesday 12th January 2016:
It was snowing for a good part of the day yesterday, though it was mostly that kind of lazily falling light snow that doesn't really build up. Still resorts are reporting this morning up to 5cm of fresh snow since yesterday and the snowfall was welcome. Just 1cm down here in town. The snowfall eventually eased off in the evening.
Cloud has been forecast for the first part of today and there is cloud around but quite a bit of blue sky as well along with the sun breaking through the clouds in places. Very scenic. We are expecting snow clouds to be back over the region later on this afternoon.
It has been keeping colder too the last few and that looks set to continue. In fact, there seems to be a feeling that more winter-like weather should be with us from now and the chance of snow most days. Still, some forecasts do not have a huge amount of snowfall lined up for the coming 5-6 days. It's honestly a bit of a confused picture really - certainly not clear cut what we can expect.
We have just got to enjoy what we got! Which isn't deep but generally resorts are doing a good job at keeping things going well. The webcams and images this morning show some very inviting groomed runs on offer. (See the photos from Maiko this morning on the PC version of this report).
It's back to a normal weekday from today after that long weekend so resorts should be relatively quiet now. A fine time to be out on the slopes especially when there's fresh snow out there.
SnowJapan has a lot of Yuzawa and Minamiuonuma lift tickets to give to readers over the next few weeks. If you would like to enter the prize draw and win some lift tickets, more information here:
There's a lot of cloud up there but also some blue sky and the appearing at times too making for some dramatic scenery at times. It's keeping nice and cold too.
Only a bit of snow since the report yesterday really not much more than a dusting really. Snow is still expected to be back with us later on and a real mix of things on the forecast over the next week. Still hoping for regular snowfall amongst the clearer skies here and there. It does look like colder conditions are here to stay at least. Other than that, let's just keep watching for forecast to see where the journey takes us.
This morning though it should be very good to be up there on those upper areas.
Here we are back to weekdays and that means a number of ski lifts being rested, though the open course situation remains unchanged. Weekday and so less people around. The famous Fire Festival is coming soon though and so we always expect more people around for that.
If you would like to win a lift ticket for Nozawa Onsen (or other resorts as well), do check out the SnowJapan lift ticket giveaway, details here:
Yesterday was busy, cold and windy. The holiday crowd combined with limited open runs made for quite a squeeze on the hill yesterday. We did get a little snow on and off throughout the day which is certainly helping the base layer here. Todays sunny skies also brings another welcome surprise. They’re opening an additional run today! I know it's only one more but beggars can’t be choosers now can they.
The forecast for today calls for partly cloudy skies, temperatures still a chilly -6 to -10 at the base with very little if any snowfall. Now the crowds have all gone home you'll be able to enjoy a little more elbow room on the slopes.
The winds should die down a little but overall the next few days should be quite similar. We're looking for partly cloudy skies, relatively calm winds and temperatures hovering in the -8 to -10 range.
Currently planned operating lifts:
- Appi Gondola - Central Number 1 quad - Number 2 lift A - Number 2 lift B - Number 3 lift B - Number 4 lift - Sailer quad
Welcome to our brand new independent ‘Appi Kogen Now' daily report, exclusive to SnowJapan.
As with all the ‘Now’ daily reports on SnowJapan, it is extremely important to us that the information we publish is useful, totally honest and correct – we are not posting the reports to try and sell you something, and we certainly do not wish to mislead in any way. We’ll be doing everything we can to bring you good information from this popular region of Iwate.
Appi Kogen resort is located in Hachimantai in the north western area of Iwate Prefecture in the Tohoku region. We are very pleased to be able to start our daily reporting from this region of Japan. More information on Appi Kogen can be found here. Read more ...
Shiga Kogen Now!
Tuesday 12th January 2016, 8:44am
Sunny blue sky some cloud
It's a cold morning here in Shiga Kogen. A beautiful, cold morning.
There is no fresh cm of snow to report around base but the cold conditions are going to help us keep decent snow conditions.
Regular snowfall remains on the forecast for the coming week with some due later on in the day today, perhaps tonight, and into tomorrow. Though - just as this morning - there's a good chance of some sunshine tomorrow morning as well.
Regardless of the actual amount of snowfall that we get, the cold winter-like temperatures should be continuing through the week at least and hopefully beyond.
Have a great morning.
Official snow depths at Shiga Kogen resort areas (Tuesday 12th January 2016):
This morning there is no wind, some blue sky and it is very cold. Very beautiful.
There's also 8cm of fresh snowfall here at base.
It is looking like today and tomorrow the snow will be taking a break, but snowfall is expected every day from 14th until 18th and potentially some heavy snowfall in there as well.
The advanced course beside No.4 quad lift and Lavender 28 (28 degree moguls) are still closed at Grandeco, but the resort is now preparing to open these course and lift this weekend! If they can get that done, at last the resort will be fully open. Put it in your diaries, planned open from 15th!
Gondola Number 1 quad Number 2 quad Number 3 quad
(A-a) Rainbow 3500 (A-b) Rainbow 3500 (A-c) Rainbow 3500 (B-a) Mint (B-c) Mint (C) Center (D-b) Lavender (E) Melissa (F) Basil (H) Center 33
The Snow Park (Decodaira E Park) is open on Lavender B course with a 5m kicker, 5m table top and other box items.
Some news of interest to most people reading my reports this morning - SnowJapan has a bunch of Hakuba Valley and Happo-one lift tickets to send out to lucky site readers. If you would like to win a Hakuba lift ticket, check out the link below for more information and details:
A few cm or so of fresh snow perhaps on the mountain during the day yesterday and there were some good conditions to be enjoyed up there. It felt something like a mid-winter day, which is what most days should feel like right now of course. A good thing!
Slopes and lifts were less busy as well, certainly over at 47 where I was in the afternoon, as lots of people started making their way back home after the long weekend. It should be much quieter from today.
This morning it is pretty cold here in the village with a dusting of new snow around base areas and light snow falling early. It's mostly cloudy right now with some blue sky to be seen in places and even the sun trying to break through as well.
Snow remains on the forecast over the coming week - hopefully decent amounts and regular as well, obviously. The colder conditions are should stay with us as well.
Resort news as of 8:45am on Tuesday 12th January 2015 (all subject to change due to weather conditions)
Hakuba 47: Hakuba 47 is reporting 0cm of fresh snowfall at base and 3cm up top. All courses apart from Route 7 officially open. Tree Riding Zone not yet open for the season. Official snow depth Upper: 145cm Base: 25cm
Hakuba Goryu: Hakuba Goryu is reporting 1-3cm of fresh snowfall at base and 3cm on upper areas. Panorama, Grand Prix, Super Course, Champion Dynamic and Woody Courses in upper area; the main Toomi course and the Soft Cream course in the Iimori area are planned to be open today. Planned lifts: Telecabin Gondola Alps Number 1 pair lift Alps Number 3 pair lift Toomi Sky Four lift Toomi Number 1 pair lift Toomi Number 2 pair lift Milky Four lift Official snow depth Alps: 150cm Toomi: 45cm Iimori: 40cm
Hakuba Happo-one: Hakuba Happo-one is reporting 5cm of new snowfall on upper areas. Grat (part), Usagidaira, Kurobishi, Panorama, Skyline, Kita One and Riesen Slalom areas are planned to be open, lower course areas still closed. Take one of the Gondola, Kokusai Number 1 pair, Sakka Kita-one quad or Nakiyama Number 3 triple lifts to get back down to base. Planned lifts: Adam Gondola Grat quad lift Alpen quad lift Usagidaira pair lift Happo Riesen quad Nakiyama Number 3 triple Kurobishi Number 2 quad lift Kurobishi Number 3 pair lift Skyline Number 2 pair lift Kokusai Number 1 lift Kokusai Number 3 lift Panorama pair lift Kita One quad lift Kita One Number 3 pair lift Official snow depth Usagidaira: 100cm Nakiyama: 35cm Sakka: 15cm
Hakuba Cortina: Hakuba Cortina reporting 2cm of fresh snow at base and 8cm on upper areas. The courses at Cortina that remain closed are: Mt Hieda Ridge, Mt Hieda 2 and 3, Itadaria Ridge and Giant. All other courses are now open. Planned lifts: All lifts apart from Number 7 pair lift now operating Official snow depth Top: 130cm Base: 75cm
Tsugaike Kogen: Most areas of Tsugaike Kogen are now at least part open. Planned lifts: Almost all of the lifts at Tsugaike Kogen are now operating. Official snow depth Tsuga-no-mori: 131cm Maruyama: 40cm Kane-no-naru-oka: 35cm
Hakuba Iwatake Snow Field: The North and East courses on Mountain Side are currently open. Planned lifts: Noah Gondola 3Sen Line North 4Sen Line East Line Lift Official snow depth Upper: 60cm Lower: 20cm
Hakuba Norikura Onsen: Official snow depth 40cm 7 lifts are operating and 7 courses are open at Hakuba Norikura Onsen.
Wow, at -12c in the village it is feeling really cold, but luckily there is no wind whipping around today. Since yesterday there has been another 5cm of new snow meaning yet again it will be a day with a nice coating of fresh all over the mountain. We certainly have been lucky this winter with fresh snow a daily occurance since Christmas.
The weather is overcast all over the resort and it doesn't look like the sun will break through today. The lower valley fog may lift and give a view of the town mid morning. Tomorrow the forecast is predicting very light snow through the day with broken cloud and possibly the sun making and appearance.
All lifts are operating except the Downhil Swift Lift No.1 in the Furano Zone. It seems this may be out of action for a while pending repairs.
White-out conditions again, higher up in particular, this morning.... and another cold day is on the cards.
Cold conditions, snow falling on and off and some gusty wind as well especially up there on the higher slopes.
Snow is expected to ease or just be light for the rest of the day today and tomorrow until later on in the day tomorrow - decent snowfall Thursday and Friday? Looking likely... expect the cold temps to continue as well.
Consistent mid-winter like conditions sounds good!
If you would like to win some lift tickets for Zao Onsen, along with lots of other tickets, please check out the Lift Ticket Giveaway that SnowJapan have put together. Information and entry here:
Those of you in Japan may have seen Zao on the 9pm news on NHK last night. The weather forecast lady was seen taking the Ropeway up to the top of the resort and commenting on how the 'juhyo' ice monsters are still relative babies this year. Still growing and hopefully making some good growth spurts soon.
The resort staff that she was with also mentioned how there is 1/4 (one quarter) of the usual amount of snow up there. It was good to hear them being up front about it.
Still, it looked pretty good up there even if a strong wind was blowing and it looked mighty cold. It certainly looked mid-winter in terms of weather conditions.
Information as of Tuesday 12th January 2016 (subject to change)
All of the lifts at Zao Onsen are operating (except the Karamatsu pair lift which is closed weekdays). All areas of Zao Onsen are now at least part open. Note that there is still less snow than usual and it is thin on the ground especially on lower course areas of the resort.
Fine sunny weather this morning which is unfortunate from a snow perspective but beautiful all the same.
Things have clouded over now and its lightly snowing with brisk winds from the North and markedly lower temperatures. At this point there is no indication it will be a substantial snowfall but that remains to be seen.
The forecast ahead is cold and snowy though not much in terms of real size indicated aside from a moderate amount Thursday night.
Tenjin resort was quiet today but conditions are pretty good and only the cat track to the base is not open for business. Hodaigi still running the two lifts and needing substantially more snow, along with other resorts in the area.
All snow resorts in Minakami were at least part open, but with the recent weather some are now closed waiting for more snowfall: