It's Friday morning and I have good news - snowfall to report! Yes, it's back to snow. Actually, it was back to the snow during the day yesterday...
It's not knee deep alas, but 10cm or so here in the village area and as you can see below from the Avalanche Report today 20cm being reported from the mountain there. Yey, as they say.
We are told not to expect much snow today - if any, the light snow seems to have eased off now and there's more and more blue sky appearing now - but snow is forecast for the over the weekend and into early next week. Some forecasts say it'll be tomorrow and some say Sunday.
It is currently -6 degrees here in Hirafu and while it should get very cold overnight tonight, tomorrow is expected to be somewhat milder than today with highs closing in on freezing point. Especially if we end up with the sun that some forecasts tell us might happen.
So kind of a mixed outlook really and difficult to read. I'll tell you exactly what is happening tomorrow morning... tomorrow morning.
In the meantime, I must get out and enjoy that new fresh layer we have. Looks like lots of people have the same idea!
Niseko Avalanche Report
Niseko base 6am: -8C, 20cm in the last 12hrs. Moiwa 800m: -12C, Wind NW12m/s, 20cm new snow, snowdrift development. Annupuri 1150m: -15C, wind NW15m/s, 20cm new snow, snowdrift development. Hirafu 1000m: -11C, light winds, 10cm new snow. Annupuri peak 1308m: -16.2C, wind WNW7.8m/s. Cape Benkei: NW15m/s, Cape Kamui: WSW10m/s, wave 1.4m, pressure 1026hPa.
A high pressure system is bringing strong westerly winds into the area, this has caused movement of snow and snowdrift development on leeward slopes . On steep slopes and knolls above 1000m the avalanche risk is higher. The snow in forest although not deep, is reset and should be good. Snow flurries and gusting winds are expected to continue today. Avoid riding steep slopes(>40deg) above 1000m as there is possibility of up to 50cm fracture and avalanche to occur. Opening of peak gates yet to be decided. Please respect the patrols decision.
Newly formed snowdrifts are very weak and prone to collapse easily, causing surface avalanches. In the Niseko area, once winds reach 18m/s the avalanche risk rises dramatically. Accidents can be avoided by recognising the changing conditions and taking appropriate actions. A slope that was save yesterday may not be today.
Official snow depth numbers and lift news at time of writing:
Friday morning and it's Valentines day which means... chocolate, of course.
Traditionally in Japan it's the guys that receive chocolate from the ladies (and the reverse a month later on 'White Day'). Today at Nozawa though you should find lots of chocolatey goings on including some 'chocolate fondue service'. Sounds good that, doesn't it? Hikage area, 10:30am. Be there for chocolate fondue.
OK so let's get back to non-chocolatey and many might say much more important issues. We need to talk more about snow, right?
Well, there's none new to report this morning yet but as I said in yesterdays report it would seem that the main even, post chocolate, is going to start later on today. Currently -4 degrees and cloudy.
Depending on the forecasts you read, we could be in for some decent snow tonight and through tomorrow... or some very, very decent snow as a storm hits the wider region as a whole. I'm hoping for the latter. Curiously, it looks like tomorrow is going to be relatively mild with temperatures perhaps even creeping above zero during the day. Hmmm.
So without getting too excited about it just for the moment, just be prepared for potentially stormy conditions in terms of snow and possibly wind conditions as well.
Snowfall is due through into early in the week so fingers crossed we're on for a major refresh. Hey snow clouds, this way please!
No new snow to report on this Friday morning, but it is just been starting to snow now down to village level and hopefully this is the start of a decent delivery of fresh powder to the slopes around the village. Snow forecast for the rest of today and tomorrow as well, probably into Sunday as well. It's not going to be particularly cold today and should remain relatively mild through the weekend as well. Keep on the colder side please.
We might have some moderate winds and stormy conditions tomorrow but hopefully it won't be enough to close lifts. Keep an eye on the forecasts if you are planning on being here early tomorrow morning.
Anyway I look forward to bringing good news tomorrow morning!
Official snow depth numbers and operations (as of 14th February 2014):
Hakuba Goryu: Reporting 0cm of new snowfall. Upper - 270cm Toomi - 165cm Iimori - 140cm
Hakuba 47: Reporting 0cm of new snowfall. Upper - 265cm Lower - 80cm
Happo-one: Reporting 0cm of new snowfall. Usagidaira - 215cm Nakiyama - 90cm Sakka - 90cm
Cloudy this morning and a light wind. The fairly calm before the coming storm?
If forecasts are to be believed, from tonight it's heavy snow and very strong winds in the region - and there's every chance that the strong winds will affect lifts on the mountain. Obviously I can't say what conditions are going to be before it happens but from the forecasts as they are now, tomorrow might be one to avoid/change if you have that choice. I would certainly advise checking weather forecasts late today and very early tomorrow before making any trip just to be sure. Don't want to make the journey and arrive to a closed mountain, however good the onsen are.
Anyway, Sunday is currently forecast to be less wild though moderate to strong winds may prevail.
Official snow depths (14th February 14): Utopia: 270cm Chuo: 220cm Paradise: 240cm Uwanodai: 160cm Read more ...
Friday 14th February 2014, 9:01am
Light snow on and off again this morning so far - just a few cm overnight and that's pretty much what the skijo are reporting as well, including Kagura.
As I write this, it's just cloudy and about -3 degrees in the Yuzawa town area.
Are we on for a storm and heavy snow in the next 48 hours? There are warnings of snow on the Kanto plains again today and Tokyo might once again be in for snowfall. Last time that happened we didn't get a huge amount here. What about this time?
It's difficult to say, some of the forecasts are looking very promising for decent snowfall tonight and through tomorrow as well. But others are less optimistic about the snow and even tell us of the chance of sleet or rain down in town during the day tomorrow when it should remain oddly mild. (Some forecasts even having temps rising to +6 in the afternoon tomorrow!)
So it's really not clear what's going to happen. We hope for the heavy snow, obviously. It's useless and only trouble in Tokyo - so bring it over here! What is clear is that tomorrow morning I'll update this and let you know how things are going.
Snow and limited visibility this morning out on the slopes. Not huge amounts from yesterday but we're bracing ourselves (excitedly) for some heavy snowfall later today through tomorrow. The storm may also bring with it strong winds, so need to keep an eye on that and how it might affect lifts around the area.
Heavy snow. Sounds good to me. Onegai shimasu.
Official snow depth data, as of Friday 14th February 2014):
Wet snow falling in Minakami as a front moves in from the south. Up to 40cm of fresh expected by tomorrow morning but temps are expected to rise by midday and the lower resorts may get some rain combined with high winds.
Sunday is looking a little better but if the rain does eventuate on Saturday the snow conditions may be heavy.