Good morning from Nozawa, where the resort are telling us of 26cm of new snowfall on the top runs where the official snow depth is now 130cm.
More snow down on lower slopes and base as well, though it does not look like more of the mountain will be open today so lifts and courses remain the same. At least for the moment.
Light snow at the moment though the local forecast does tell us to expect less today and perhaps even some clearing up. Tomorrow seems to be a mix of cloud and a chance of clearer weather.
After the poor visibility of the last few days on mountain, it will good to get a chance to see more up there.
There's much fewer people around early today, so should be a lot of new snow to discover. I'll let you know how it was!
Monday 16th December 2013:
Official snow depth: Yamabiko - 130cm Uenotaira - 110cm Lower slopes - no official snow depth data yet
Lifts Nagasaka Gondola Yamabiko Four lift Yamabiko Number 2 Four lift Skyline connecting lift Uenotaira quad
Courses Yamabiko A course Yamabiko B course Yamabiko C course Yamabiko D course Yamabiko E course Uenotaira course Bunabayashi course Yunomine B course Kokenashi Read more ...
Monday 16th December 2013, 8:49am
Snowing pretty much all day yesterday again, with the winds ever present and getting stronger especially later in the day.
There's another 15-20cm of new snowfall here in Hirafu since my last report. It's not quite as cold this morning, hovering around 0C at the moment, but the strong winds are still with us. At the time of writing, it looks like a few lifts are being affected - including the King Number 3 triple and Swinging Monkey at Hirafu, the top quad at Hanazono, and the Gondola at Niseko Village. Lifts at Annupuri don't seem to be operating yet, though that may well just be that the information hasn't been updated. Anyway the situation may well change depending on the weather conditions of course.
Clearer conditions seem likely tomorrow - we might even get to see the sun again sometime in the next few days.
Less people around now as we enter the week, but more and more will be arriving now as Christmas and New Year approaches.
Planned lift operations - may well be affected by wind today:
Grand Hirafu: Ace Family Pair Ace Number 3 Pair Ace Number 2 Quad Center Four King Number 3 Triple Swinging Monkey Hirafu Gondola Holiday Number 1 Pair
Hanazono: Hanazono Number 1 Quad Hanazono Number 2 Quad Hanazono Number 3 Quad
Niseko Village: Niseko Gondola Community Chair Banzai Chair Morino Chair
Annupuri: Gondola Jumbo Number 1 quad Jumbo Number 2 Jumbo Number 3
Niseko Avalanche Report
Niseko base 6am: 0C, 12 hours snowfall 20cm of hail & crushed crystal snow. Moiwa 500m: NE5m/s, -1C and no development of snowdrifts in the inbounds area. Coastal data: Benkei cape NE11m/s, Kamui cape E6m/s,1.7m waves (6m at midnight), 1009hPa.
The isobars are spacing out but the wind remains strong in high altitude. Heavy snowdrifts have developed in leeward slopes above 800m due to last night’s severe storm. 50cm thick slides are to be highly considered in steep slopes under 800m altitude, as the newly & drastically formed snowdrift-slabs are yet to stabilize. Potential sliding layer Dec 14th. The slab is heavy due to the incoming warm air and even small avalanches can be highly destructive. The snowpack is still insufficient and the setting of gates will take a little while. Do not duck ropes to seek fresh lines. The wind calmed down and the snow is good. Beware of hitting trees. The resorts are concerned about your safety, please respect the Niseko Rules and the ski patrol’s instructions. Have a nice day.
I can see the sky! After those few crazy days of snow, this morning there's some blue sky to see and the sun is showing up. It may seem calmer, but actually we have wind to deal with today. At the time of writing Happo-one is closed with the gondola unable to open up and it looks like the upper areas of Goryu are closed as well with their gondola standing still. Hopefully that situation may change... there's some really fine conditions to be found up there, seems such a waste not to be able to get up there.
More new snowfall to report. About 5cm in village, 47 reporting 10cm at base and up to 30cm higher up. The Usagidaira area of Usagidaira reporting 10cm.
Looks like we are on for a break in snowfall over the next few days, but it's due back Wednesday and then another storm lined up for the weekend.
For mid December, conditions are excellent and there's a lot of snow to play in. It's easy to get excited about it all, but we need to remember to keep safe and always keep in mind there are dangers out there.
Official snow depth numbers and operations (as of 16th December 2013):
Hakuba Goryu Reporting 10cm of new snowfall on upper slopes and 5cm at base. Upper - 235cm Toomi - 100cm Iimori - 65cm
Hakuba 47: Reporting 30cm of new snowfall on upper slopes and 10cm at base. Upper - 220cm Lower - 50cm
Happo-one: Reporting 10cm of new snowfall at Usagidaira. Usagidaira - 190cm Nakiyama - -cm Sakka - -cm
Hakuba Cortina: Reporting 10-25cm of new snowfall since yesterday Upper - 200cm Lower - 125cm
Other resorts planned opening dates: Hakuba Iwatake - 20th December Read more ...
Shiga Kogen Now!
Monday 16th December 2013, 9:30am
It's snowing still here. Windy too with the snow being blown about all over the place this morning, so difficult to put a number on it. There has been about 10cm on the tops of cars though and that is what some resorts are adding to their snow depths.
There seem to be a few lifts around the area starting late or perhaps even not starting yet this morning - looking at Okushiga Kogen and Kumanoyu at the moment.
Less people around on this Monday morning. It's a cold one though, with the wind making it feel even colder - minus double digits in places, brrr.
Tomorrow should be calmer and the sun might show up.
Resort info and lift operations (as of Monday 16th December 2013, 9am):
Sun Valley: Reporting 50cm of snow depth; -7C Number 1 quad
Maruike: Reporting 50cm of snow depth; -7C Maruike Number 1 triple
Ichinose Yamanokami: Reporting 50cm snow depth; -7.8C Number 2 lift
Yakebitaiyama: Reporting 60cm snow depth; -13C Number 2 Gondola Number 2 lift
Okushiga Kogen: Reporting 75cm snow depth; -7C Number 1 pair Number 2 pair Number 3 pair Gondola
Kumanoyu (skiers only): Reporting 60cm snow depth; -9C Number 1 pair Number 2 pair lift A/B
Yokoteyama: Reporting 55cm snow depth; -12C Number 1 Sky B Number 2 Sky Number 3 Number 5 Read more ...
Monday 16th December 2013, 10:30am
And yes, more snow this morning. About another 20cm or so at base areas though it is just cloudy at the moment though the forecast is for cloud and snow on and off through the day.
It boggles the mind how they still only have 50cm at Uwanodai officially - I suppose they must just be compacting it like crazy. Take it with a pinch of salt though as there's much more than that falling. They have 130cm as the number coming from Utopia which is more like it... but then again, there's more!
Not quite as cold this morning in Zao, but still -3. Up top temp of -8 reported by the resort.
From today the Astraea Number 3 lift, Utopia Number 2 lift and the Omori quad lift join in the fun as more of the mountain opens. Though the Chuo Number 2 and Katakai lift will be closed until Friday. It's all very complicated!
From Friday lots of the remaining lifts plan to open and then the resort will pretty much be fully open I would expect.
The cheaper early season lift tickets are on sale until the 20th, after which it's normal season prices.
Official snow depths (16th December 13): Utopia: 130cm Chuo: 90cm Paradise: 95cm Uwanodai: 50cm
Planned operating lifts until Thursday this week: Ropeways and Gondolas Onsen Number 1 pair Onsen Number 2 quad Onsen Number 3 parallel Miaeri pair Chuo Number 1 pair Diamond Number 2 Zao Paradise Pair Shobunuma Number 1 triple / 2 pair Omori quad Yokokura Number 1 pair Yokokura Number 2 pair Astraea Number 1 pair Astraea Number 2 pair Astraea Number 3 pair Utopia Number 1 pair Utopia Number 2 pair Kurohime Number 1 quad Read more ...
Monday 16th December 2013, 12:04pm
Furano was hit by a serious snow storm last night that dumped another 40cm at village level.
This has changed things dramatically and we expect more of the mountain to open up over the rest of the week. The most significant change for today is that Downhill Romance #3 chair is now operating which opens up access to more challenging terrain. The snow that has fallen is very heavy compared to the normal Furano light powder and is perfect for bulking up the base.