Snow and weather reports posted on Friday 22nd February 2019
Wednesday 13th January 2016, 7:33am
Some cloud and blue sky
Good morning from Hakuba where there are some clouds around the mountain backdrop but generally it's lovely blue skies above the valley.
It's cold too, proper winter cold. The kind of cold we want on a fine winter morning. -5 degrees on my thermometer just earlier! The snow up there early morning should be good. Snow clouds are expected to move back over us during the day today and then hopefully it's snow later on and through the day tomorrow. Lots of snow please.
A fairly short and early report this morning as there's a few things I want to say...
A personal message - if you enjoy Hakuba Now and the other reports on SnowJapan, please take a few moments to read this
I just want to take this opportunity to thank the people who have sent in comments regarding these reports when they entered the current lift ticket Giveaway. It is always great to get feedback and lots of different comments.
One of the main talking points, as might be expected, seems to be the snow situation this season.
It has definitely been an odd early chunk of the season in Japan. Hokkaido had a late start but now seems to be doing well, but many parts of Honshu are still in need of more snow and recording much lower snowfall than usual. For many people reading this report who may be visiting from places that are not used to 'Japan normal' amounts of snow, what we have now is good enough and they are of course enjoying their holidays here. I certainly do not want to suggest otherwise.
Those of us who have been here for a long time though know that this season is not the norm, it has been an uncharacteristically late start and lean early season.
Perhaps us Japan long-timers are just so used to seeing large amounts of consistent and heavy snowfall that to not have that happening (yet) feels somehow... wrong. And perhaps we need to - for now - adjust our expectations with that in mind. There is still a lot of season left though and the pattern can definitely change. I'm sure we all agree that we would like to see lots more snow in the coming days and weeks.
It also seems that a lot of you value 'honesty' in reporting. That is absolutely THE most important thing for SnowJapan regarding it's reports, and if it's on SnowJapan you should take it for granted. (SnowJapan would absolutely like to hear about it if you thought that anything that was being posted on any of their reports was questionable in that respect).
SnowJapan is here to bring you honest and trustworthy information, not to sell you a holiday etc in Hakuba or Niseko or Yuzawa or any other area. That's what the website is all about and it will not be changing.
The following is a general comment rather than a Hakuba-specific one:
There are some people who would prefer that our reports were sugar-coated and essentially 'less honest' - perhaps conveniently leaving out information that was less palatable. 'Don't mention rain when it rains'. 'Round up snow numbers'. 'Just don't post anything that is less than positive'... we have been asked these things. Those people should be ashamed of themselves.
The people running SnowJapan (and myself included) believe that the people visiting the mountains want to know the truth - whether that truth be about huge amounts of powder snow, or not enough snow and heavy rain.
If you are one of those people who appreciates SnowJapan for these values - and I truly believe that we all should appreciate it - I encourage you to please let as many people know about the site and it's reports as possible. That is an easy and effective way to support this free service.
The guys over at SnowJapan HQ in Niigata didn't ask me to say any of this by the way, so I hope they don't mind me adding it to the report! Thank you again to everyone who has submitted comments. And thanks to SnowJapan for providing such an excellent service that is valued by many people.
Resort news as of 7:30am on Wednesday 13th January 2015 (where available, all subject to change due to weather conditions)
Apologies, it is too early this morning for some resort-specific details to be updated. I doubt there are many real changes this morning.
Hakuba 47: Hakuba 47 is reporting 0cm of fresh snowfall. 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 0cm of fresh snowfall. 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 0cm of new snowfall. 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 0cm of fresh snowfall. 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: 128cm 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.
I was just reading the Madarao Now report that has just gone up and what I have to say is pretty much the same...
It's a beautiful morning in the region with the sun out from early on this morning (though still casting shadows in the village) and lots of blue sky. And while there's no fresh snow to report (well other than the 1cm dusting on the upper areas), it is a cold morning. Feels like winter. All we need now is (more) snow, and fingers crossed we will get some tonight and tomorrow.
Friday is the famous Dosojin Fire Festival in Nozawa which is probably the biggest date of the year for Nozawa. Events leading up to the main event on Friday begin from today. Here's a bit of background:
Dosojin Fire Festival
This festival is one of the three most famous fire festivals in Japan. It is held on January 15th every year to pray for a plentiful harvest, health and good fortune in the coming year. The festival dates back to 1863 and though the location has changed, the festivities remain the same. During this festival the twenty-five and forty-two year old men from the village play a very important role. An old belief in Japan dictates that, for men, these years are unlucky ages. The twenty-five and the forty-two year old men in their unlucky ages construct the shaden (shrine) from beech wood that reaches a height of 18 meters. Every year it takes 100 villagers to build the shrine. The trees are cut down in October and brought down from the mountain, through the village, on January 13th. After the shaden has been constructed, the priest from Kosuge shrine performs a ceremony to endow it with a God. Along with the shaden there are an average of five tôrô (dedicatory lantern poles) erected every year. These poles are made by a family in the village to celebrate the birth of the first son. The tôrô are offered to the Gods in a prayer for health and good fortune. The festivities begin with the lighting of the fire by the twenty-five and forty-two year old men. A small group of men carry a torch, which is lit by striking two stones together, from the Kôno residence to the festival grounds. The torch is used to start a bonfire from which the handmade torches, used to attack the shrine, are lit. The festival centers around the shaden, where the forty-two year olds sit on top and the twenty-five year olds stand guard at the base. Those who are 41 and 43 years old stand around the perimeter to protect the spectators. Torch bearing villagers of all ages attempt to break through the guards and light the shaden on fire. A dangerous and lively battle ensues. The defenders try to put out the fire by striking it with pine branches. The attack lasts for about one hour, after which the 42 year olds call an end to the ceremony and the shaden together with the tôrô are set on fire in an offering to the Gods. The entire festival can take up to four hours from the beginning to the end, but the main attraction is the battle between the guards and the torch bearing villagers.
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:
And it most certainly is a very good morning with a lovely 23cm of fresh dry and light snowfall to report to you from here at base. That might be 30+cm higher up. Nice. And it is continuing to snow as well and coming down at quite the rate as well at the moment.
The Niseko Grand Hirafu resort are now just 5cm off hitting an official upper mountain snow depth of 3m, not that official snow depths are quite as important as the fresh snow that we receive each day.
If I were so inclined just around now would be around the time when I'd be bringing out the clichéd and cheesy adjectives to describe conditions! :)
Yes, things are going very well indeed and the folk lining up for those first lifts of the day must be very excited about what's just ahead of them.
Unfortunately, top lifts were affected by strong wind and poor visibility across the mountain from around mid-morning yesterday, but while it continues to snow and visibility will probably be limited up there this morning it seems that wind is not going to be a factor this morning. As we all know though, that can change quickly.
Is that actually a break from snowfall I see on the forecast for around Sunday, and appropriately maybe a bit of sun? It might be (though it's probably back to snowfall from Monday). Until then we can expect further snow every day through until Saturday. I think we all love those beautiful clear sunny days and in a period like this we don't get that many here, so they are to be treasured. Having said that, it would almost be a shame for the consistent daily snowfall to take a break.
Please take a look at today's 'Hakuba Now' report. My friend down there posted something we should all read:
Niseko base 6.00am: -9°, 20cm new crystal snowfall. Moiwa 800m: -12°, wind NW8m/s, 20cm new snowfall, cornice and snowdrift development. Mikaeri 740m: -10.4°, wind SSE0.9m/s, 40cm new snowfall. Hirafu 1000m: -12°, light winds, 20cm new snowfall. Coastal data: Benkei Cape: NW 16m/s,. Kamui Cape WSW 13m/s, 1010hPa, wave 2.1m.
Currently the pressure gradient is shallow and with the approaching low pressure system crystal snow is falling. There has been minor cornice and snowdrift development and propagation from impact is not carrying a great distance. From observation and data analysis, general avalanche risk is low. All gates are expected to be open. Please follow the patrols instructions. Be careful of sudden changes in the weather.
The Moiwa to Annupuri via Mikaeri Ridge trail is now completed. This route is managed and maintained and by The Niseko Avalanche Institute for the purpose of snow research, by the Institute, and where necessary to, aid in rescues. During these times the route will be closed to the public Please take care over estimating your speed and hitting trees. Snow conditions are fantastic, have a good day.
Official resort snow depths as of Wednesday 13th January 2016:
Yesterday saw clouds moving in gradually after the fine start and even an attempt at snow falling. In keeping with the 'odd' theme to the season so far, on the news we saw that Tokyo got a bit of snowfall and there was also fairly heavy snow falling to the north of us in Niigata City. It's wasted up there, bring it down here...
This morning the clouds are still feeling some kind of allergy to our valley - once again staying to the north of our region - and we have clear blue skies all around. Beautiful! The sun is out and it's just a beautiful morning - the kind we would really be loving if we had a few more metres of snow lying around!
The really good thing this morning other than the views is that it is cold.
It was cold last night and it is cold this morning. And there was actually a dusting of snow around places as well as a frost early so hopefully that might translate into some cm on upper areas. On checking it looks like Kagura are reporting just a dusting while Maiko Snow Resort are reporting 2-3cm.
The varied forecasts all agree that we should get some fresh snow tomorrow, but disagree on when it might arrive - this afternoon? tonight? tomorrow?
I'll give you the latest of course tomorrow morning.
For now though it's a very fine morning to be out on the slopes.
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:
Resort official snow depths (Wednesday 13th January 2016) and any specific news:
All resorts in the area are now generally open for the season, though please note that some areas and courses are not yet open. Generally steeper slopes that need more snow are still closed and some lower slopes are patchy.
Morning from Zao where it seems that more courses have now opened up this morning with less of the 'part open' on the official course map. It looks like we are at the stage where can say that almost all of the resort is open. I will need to go and do some investigative work this morning I think!
It is a mix of cloud and blue sky this morning so some decent visibility to enjoy as well.
There's not much of a wind at all, it is keeping cold and there is 4cm of fresh snow outside my place here by the base.
Most snowfall is actually on the forecast for today and hopefully tomorrow too.
We have received gradual and fairly modest snowfall this last week or so but we still need more...
If you would like to win some lift tickets for Zao Onsen (along with lots of other tickets for other ski resorts around Japan), please check out the Lift Ticket Giveaway that SnowJapan have put together. Information and entry here:
Information as of Wednesday 13th 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 mostly 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.
It's very cold. I would say very probably the coldest morning of the season so far. (That's a good thing, not a moan!)
It's also a very fine clear morning. Blue skies, sun,... beautiful bluebird. And happily, something like normal rather than all this talk of the 'mild winter'. Long may it continue!
We could of course still do with lots more snow. It's on the forecast that snow is due later on today/tonight and through tomorrow.
It has got to be said though that unfortunately there is no major dump to be seen on the weekly forecast right now. We're going to have to keep on taking the fresh snow bit by bit it would seem, for the moment anyway.
Still, the cold is a very good thing and that looks set to continue.
Official snow depths at Shiga Kogen resort areas (Wednesday 13th January 2016):
Please note that resort areas in Shiga Kogen are not known for adjusting their official snow depths on a daily basis!
It is a beautiful sunny morning here at Appi with relatively calm winds.
Yesterday was cold, a little blustery in the afternoon with occasional flurries most of the day. The wind did pick up mid afternoon as advertised and coupled with the -11 temperatures made for a chilly afternoon on-piste.
Today should bring mostly sunny skies with temperatures at the base hovering in the -6 to -8 range. The winds have finally calmed more today so it should be a relatively decent day on the mountain. We still have only 11 of 21 runs open unfortunately and even with the 20+ cm of snow over the weekend there’s been no official word of more runs being opened any time soon.
The forecast for the next few days calls for steady winds, mostly cloudy skies and the occasional snow flurry. Like everyone else here we’re still wondering if this season is really going to get started any time soon.
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 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 ...
Wednesday 13th January 2016, 9:04am
Good morning from Grandeco.
This morning is actually quite similar to yesterday - there are almost no wind, very light snow falling and some blue sky at times... and still keeping very cold.
There has been another 8cm of fresh snowfall here at base overnight. Snow conditions should be good in the morning particularly with new snow on the packed powder.
The resort is still preparing to open the Number 4 quad lift and advanced course by it this weekend.
There is snow on the forecast over the next few days along with continued cold conditions and so we all look set to see the resort 'fully open' this weekend. Fingers crossed!
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.
Weather conditions are absolutely beautiful today.
Good morning from Naeba squadron.
We've got yet another bluebird on the go today with hardly a cloud in the sky. There's a chill in the air this morning with pretty hard pack conditions on the slopes.
Although we have been receiving fresh snow every day these past few days, it has mostly been very light snow that has not really built up at all.
Weather looks like it's going to stay fairly consistent over the next few days with light snow over Thursday and Friday, then a dry weekend and a larger amount of snow predicted for Monday night. Read more ...
Wednesday 13th January 2016, 9:41am
It is going to be a great Wednesday with the sun already starting to break through the cloud and the resort sparkling in the sun. Dont be fooled by the suns rays though, it is still very cold out there with -12c recorded at base this morning. It is snowing really lightly at the moment but it looks like it may stop anytime.
There isnt much to report in the way of new snow since yesterday - it feels unusual to say that given the snow bonanza Furano has had over the last couple of weeks. There is just a light dusting in the village but it is likely that there will be at least a few cenimetres on the resort itself. More cloud should lift in the morning revealing more sun until late afternoon. Tomorrow will be cloudy again with incresing precipitation of snow, and Friday and Saturday are forecast to be at least partially sunny.