A bit of snowfall to report this morning though it's just small numbers again, I'm afraid. This morning Kagura are reporting 0-2 cm of fresh snow and Maiko are reporting 5cm; and it looks like Naeba are reporting 3cm.
I seem to have said this so many times this season but that is less snow than we were expecting again (the local Niigata local forecast told us to expect 10cm), with just 3cm on the ground this morning around town. Quite why those snow clouds are not coming that bit further south to our lovely little area is quite the puzzle.
And I definitely know that I have reported this before only for us to be disappointed, but early next week is really - REALLY! - looking good for some decent snowfall. I'm not going to say anything else about that other than to just keep your eye on the forecast and let's see where it goes. Fingers crossed.
For now though this morning resorts will have received a thin layer of snow on top of what they had with no major changes expected.
Lots of cloud around this morning but it is quite bright and as we approach 8am there's a bit of blue sky to be seen to. It's thankfully keeping fairly cold without the proper warm-up thing that we had going on a while back.
Weather for the weekend looks set to be... well, it's again really difficult to read and different forecasts tell different stories. Cloud and light snow maybe tomorrow morning, though quite a few days when we have had that forecast have ended up being clear and sunny, so who knows!
A few people have asked why we keep on mentioning the amount of fresh snow at Kagura and Maiko Snow Resort in particular and not other resorts. A good question and there's a really simple answer - they are the ones that report such numbers. Most other resorts just stick to their 'snow depth' which often doesn't change and don't mention how much snow has fallen over the last 24 hours. Seems to me that the fresh snow number is the most important number there is. It's the number I want to know each morning and odd that many resorts don't mention it. You might think that it is just this season because there's not as much snowfall, but it's actually something that has always been the case. It's the fresh snow we want to know about every day, right? So that is why those resorts are mentioned.
And they are actually pretty good ones to report location wise as Kagura is the highest resort in Yuzawa town and Maiko is nicely positioned right on the border of Yuzawa and Minamiuonuma (and physically very close to Iwappara).
I can only report on the amount of snow that has fallen at base in town here. Unfortunately I am not able to up to the top of resorts each morning with a measuring stick!
Resort official snow depths (Friday 15th 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.
My oh my, we really are enjoying a superb patch right now, aren't we?
There's 24cm of beautiful fresh new snowfall piled up round the back of my place this morning after the impressive snow that we had yesterday. Given that the mountain is often thought to get up to one and a half the amount we get here in the village area, that means we can very probably expect 30-35cm up there this morning. Out of duty I think I will have to force myself to make my way up there this morning right after posting this report, just so that I can check for myself and confirm. I already have most of my gear on!
It's the kind of morning that I love as well. The sun is out and there's increasingly more blue sky as well.
A beautiful morning... in so many ways.
Niseko Grand Hirafu today breaks the 3m barrier for official snow depth up top. And oh yes, snowfall still on the forecast every day over the next week with some sun still a possibility on Sunday.
How many of you felt the earthquake yesterday at 12:31pm?
It was quite a bit one as well - magnitude 6.7. The biggest shaking was felt in eastern parts of Hakodate city and along the coastline to the south east of Sapporo. Parts of Sapporo got a fair shake too. Here in the Niseko region a 'shindo 3' was recorded. The Japanese 'shindo' seismic intensity scale is actually very interesting and gives you a much better idea of how an earthquake affects people in different places on the ground rather than the simple magnitude number. It is measured in units which basically describe the degree of shaking at a point on the ground. Shindo 1 is a bit of wobble and some people might not notice it. The strongest Shindo 7 is a violent, destructive and terrifying earthquake. Wikipedia explains shindo 3 as being 'felt by most to all people indoors - some people are frightened' and 'objects inside rattle noticeably and can fall off tables'.
Shindo 3 isn't destructive at all and so there were no problems here that I am aware of.
Anyway, nothing to worry about.
Resort specific lift opening news at time of writing - subject to change during the day:
Niseko base 6am: -8℃, 30cm snowfall. Moiwa 800m: -10℃, E5m/s, 40cm of wind-compacted snow. Mikaeri 740m: NW8m/s at 4am, 40cm snowfall with development of snowdrifts. Annupuri 1150m: -13℃, 50cm wind-affected slabs/ Hirafu 1000m: -10℃, mild wind, 30cm snowfall. Coastal data; Benkei cape S3m/s, Kamui cape ENE4m/s, 1014hPa, 1.5m waves.
Heavy snowfall continued in the western areas above 800m until late night and snowdrifts have largely developed, however the wind calmed down after 1am and no real snowfall since then. Looking at the weather transition and snow observations, the snowpack is stabilizing and the overall avalanche hazard level is lowering, however risk remains high in leeside slopes above 1000m. Stay away from Osawa (Annupuri bowl) cornice/knolls and Higashi-One (East ridge above Hanazono) cornices/knolls. 50cm thick slab slides are still highly likely to occur.
The snow is deep, beware of being stuck. Good idea to carry snowshoes/skins. Peak gates will open, please follow the patrol’s instructions.
The snow is wind-affected, bit heavy, good consistency. Beware of collisions and cracks. Most accidents can be avoided by being prudent. Have a great day!
Official resort snow depths as of Friday 15th January 2016:
Well it’s snowing here again today and Appi has lifted the official base depth to a whopping 50cm.
Yesterday was as advertised but no real accumulation because of the gusty wind conditions. After taking a peek at some of the closed runs yesterday they remain threadbare in places, especially near the summit, and in all rights should remain closed for a while. How long before they’re open is anyone's guess unfortunately.
We did get an additional 3cm of snowfall overnight and with it forecast to snow most of the day here at least we’ve something to be Appi for. The winds should be fairly light most of the day and into tomorrow with base temperatures steady around -7 and we should see a ‘forecast’ 4-6cm of accumulation.
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 - Sailer Number 2 - Sailer connecting Read more ...
Nozawa Onsen Now!
Friday 15th January 2016, 8:43am
The snowfall was somewhat disappointing yesterday with not a whole lot to show for it. I so want the season to get going properly. And while we do have some snow possible today and tomorrow, it's Monday through the middle of next week that we should be excited about. The forecasts that matter still show us down for heavy snow around Tuesday-Wednesday.
Nozawa-like snowfall please!
For the coming weekend the forecasts give us a mix of cloud and light snowfall at times, and happily it will be keeping decently cold.
Hope those of you in Nozawa now enjoy the festival. Take care, enjoy the local traditions and have fun.
Official info at time of writing on Friday 15th January 2016 (subject to change):
Snow was falling for much of the day yesterday on mountain and this morning resorts are again reporting some new cm of fresh - mostly quite similar amounts to what they were yesterday. Here in the village base areas just a few cm.
With this gradual arrival of fresh snow at higher elevations in particular, resorts are gradually being able to open up a bit more as well. This morning I can see that Route 7 at Hakuba 47 is now open as well as (part of) the Merry Land course at Hakuba Goryu. A few more courses have also opened up at the Hakuba Iwatake resort.
Of course we are still in need of (a lot) more snow. Could it be on the way soon?
That forecast I was mentioning yesterday - it's still looking very good indeed for the first part of next week. Take a look here:
Before then we can most likely expect calm weather conditions over the weekend.
Resort news as of 8:45am on Friday 15th January 2015 (where available, all subject to change due to weather conditions)
Hakuba 47: Hakuba 47 is reporting 5cm of fresh snowfall on lower areas and 10cm on upper areas. All courses are now officially open. Tree Riding Zone not yet open for the season. Official snow depth Upper: 160cm Base: 30cm
Hakuba Goryu: Hakuba Goryu is reporting 3-5cm of fresh snowfall on lower areas and 10cm on upper area. Panorama, Grand Prix, Super Course, Champion Dynamic and Woody Courses in upper area; the main Toomi course and the Soft Cream and Merry Land courses in the Iimori area are planned to be open. 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: 155cm Toomi: 50cm Iimori: 45cm
Hakuba Happo-one: Hakuba Happo-one is reporting 5cm 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: 110cm Nakiyama: 35cm Sakka: 15cm
Hakuba Cortina: Hakuba Cortina reporting 5cm 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: 135cm 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: 144cm Maruyama: 40cm Kane-no-naru-oka: 30cm
Hakuba Iwatake Snow Field: Reporting up to 5cm of fresh snowfall. The View C, View D, North and East courses on Mountain Side are currently open. Planned lifts: Noah Gondola View 2 3Sen Line North 4Sen Line East Line Lift Official snow depth Upper: 80cm Lower: 20cm
Hakuba Norikura Onsen: Official snow depth 50cm All lifts apart from Number 8 lift are operating and 8 of the 12 courses are open at Hakuba Norikura Onsen.
Hakuba Sanosaka: Official snow depth 25cm Part open with the Number 1 triple lift, Number 2 quad and Number 5 pair lifts operating. Read more ...
Shiga Kogen Now!
Friday 15th January 2016, 9:02am
Mostly cloudy, some blue sky in places
Snow was falling overnight but it had cleared up by early morning and there was quite a bit of blue sky amongst the clouds. Less so now as I write this and it is mostly cloudy.
My friend was last night telling me about how in 1962 there was hardly any snow even by the end of January. But then here in Shiga Kogen we got over 3m of snowfall in not much more than a week. It sounds like a fantastic story and I can imagine people going from moaning about no snow to too much snow in a very short period of time!
But could we be on for another similar kind of surprise? The forecast is certainly looking very exciting in terms of snowfall at the end of the weekend and into next week.
There sure would be lots of happy people. Not just here in Shiga Kogen but many other regions of Japan that are experiencing much less snow than usual this season so far.
Official snow depths at Shiga Kogen resort areas (Friday 15th January 2016):
Today there is a mixture of thick cloud cover in certain places and blue skies in others.
Good morning from Naeba everybody.
Again we've had a small amount of snow over night although again it's not a massive amount. 3 cm of fresh snow has fallen since yesterday with light snow having fallen for most of the morning although it has now stopped.
The weather forecast is currently saying light snow over the next few days with a big dump of snow starting as of Monday and finishing who knows when. Hopefully this comes through.
Hello from Zao where it is a cloudy and calm morning.
We can maybe expect some light snow today and tomorrow too, though the sun might be with us tomorrow as well. Whatever happens in the skies, it should keep very cold.
I was taking a quick look at the other Now reports as well as forecasts for other regions. It looks like there's a winter snow storm on the way to many regions early next week.
You can just imagine how many people - ski resort owners, hotel owners, skiers, snowboarders, snow removal truck drivers... - are looking to the skies and hoping and wishing that it happens!
Count me in as one of those people; and no doubt all of you reading this are feeling exactly the same. Bring it on!
Information as of Friday 15th 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 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.