Snow and weather reports posted on Saturday 18th May 2019
Sunday 16th February 2014, 8:15am
Yesterday was one of those days for sure.
Heavy snow, strong winds at times, blocked roads, shut down trains and roads... both train and road connections (including Route 17 which was blocked in the Mikuni area due to a snowslide I believe) to Tokyo were cut off for large parts of yesterday preventing people from getting here - and leaving as well.
It looks like the Kanetsu Expressway is still closed this morning to Yuzawa. The Shinkansen seems to be moving but some trains cancelled and some later than usual, so we are not back to normal yet.
So yes it was really coming down hard in the morning in particular and I reckon by the end of the day there was at least another 30cm for me to move. Overnight it had eased off as there's only a few more cm this morning. (So I'm going to put 32cm for the new snowfall town area today including what we got yesterday). We've had well over 50cm that's for sure and in some places I would expect considerably more.
The bottom line is that wherever you choose to ski today, you'll find lots of fresh snow.
But choice is more limited than normal. Yesterday evening Kagura were warning that only part would be open again today due to avalanche risk in places, but they are actually 100% closed this morning - citing strong wind as the reason and those winds up to 20m/s. Naeba is only having a limited opening this morning.
I see that GALA Yuzawa is also closed for the day due to the wind conditions up there.
Other lifts may be affected but I can't see any major news at the moment.... resorts lower down and at town level seem to be open.
So this morning... it is snowing now, but actually seems much wetter than the snow we had yesterday. It is actually above zero degrees as well now, which explains that, currently +1C. Snowy conditions likely to continue into tomorrow.
Official resort snow depths @ Sunday 16th February 2014, AM: Some not updated for the day yet Naeba: 250cm Kagura (Tashiro): 280cm Kagura (Mitsumata): 330cm NASPA Ski Garden: 270cm Gala Yuzawa: 330cm Iwappara: 260cm Yuzawa Kogen: 320cm Yuzawa Nakazato: 230cm Yuzawa Park: 220cm ---- Maiko Snow Resort: 320cm Ishiuchi Maruyama: 300cm Joetsu Kokusai: 250cm Read more ...
Sunday 16th February 2014, 8:19am
Well those winds tricked us yesterday and didn't lift as expected leaving us with the Gondola closed. This week we will see some more wind but right now the flags are still, the temperature is perfect and over night we got another easy 10cm of new snow. The snow should continue to lightly fall all morning changing to a cloudy afternoon.
We should be blessed with more snow over the next couple of days and hopefully the wind won't spoil things. However there is a chance that it could pick up as early as this afternoon but the likelihood is tomorrow will be the day most affected.
Crazy scenes continue down around Tokyo and surrounding prefectures in particular with some tales of epic snowfalls being recorded on the plains. It's not much use there is it?!
Anyway as that system moves north, we are being hit with strong winds and noticeably warmer temperatures as well - it's not all that colder than freezing point here this morning, but hopefully will be getting colder.
Oh yes, we do have about 10-15cm of fresh snow this morning, though I wouldn't rank it as classic Niseko snow, milder conditions explaining that.
It's generally just cloudy at the moment.
Stronger winds on the mountain are affecting the following lifts at the time of writing:
Niseko Grand Hirafu: King 3 and King 4, Ace 4 lifts Annupuri: Jumbo 4 lift Niseko Village: Wonderland Chair and Niseko Gondola
Very possibly that situation will change during the day.
Snow showers are forecast to continue over the next few days and as I said hopefully along with colder conditions.
Niseko Avalanche Report
Niseko base 6am: -3C, 20cm new snow in the last 12hrs, snowdrift development. Moiwa 800m: -6C, wind N15m/s, major snowdrift development. Annupuri 1150m: -6C, wind N20m/s, snowdrift development. Hirafu 1000m: -5C, snowdrift development. Annupuri peak 1308m: -8.8C, wind N13.8m/s. Cape Benkei: NNE6m/s, Cape Kamui: SSW2m/s, wave -calm, pressure 1015hPa.
The newly formed snowdrifts are unstable and will fracture easily. From observation and snowfall data the avalanche risk is high. On steep open leeward faces a fast running surface slab avalanche, with a fracture up it 50cm, is likely to occur. Drifts formed from low pressure snowfall are not well bonded and will collapse easily. Be careful around cornices, knolls and steep slopes above 800m.
Peak gates 2&3 will be closed today, Gate 6 yet to be decided. Please follow patrols advice.
Accidents can be avoided if you understand the dangers of snowdrifts correctly. Many accidents happen during and just after bad weather and storms. Avalanches are a natural occurrence and only become an accident if people are involved. The snow in the trees is getting better. Have a safe day. Take care hitting trees and falling into cracks.
Official snow depth numbers and lift news at time of writing:
Heavy snowfall has continued. But the weather conditions - strong winds, all that snow, and checking for safety - are causing some problems at resorts with some lifts at most of the resorts either delayed or just not moving.
If you are out today, checking before going is a good idea.
Back to yesterday. Heavy snowfall in the morning and after easing off in the afternoon a bit, it was coming down again during nighta in the evening. There's varying numbers from around the resorts this morning, but basically... a lot.
Hakuba 47 are recording 40cm of snow since yesterday morning; 30cm at Cortina.
In terms of snowfall numbers, this mid-February storm is treating us really well. It's all great and exciting to get all of this new snow of course, but at the same time extreme caution is advised out there as all this sudden snowfall poses real avalanche dangers outside of the resorts areas. Today is really not the day to go exploring. There's plenty of untouched snow on the resorts courses this weekend - especially with the traffic problems that are still preventing lots of people from actually getting here.
The snow is expected to ease off today and while we might still have some snow showers, we might also get to see a bit of the sun later tomorrow.
Take care out there.
Official snow depth numbers and operations (as of 16th February 2014):
Hakuba Goryu: Reporting 15cm of new snowfall on Iimori, 10cm on Toomi and 30cm up top. Upper - 300cm Toomi - 190cm Iimori - 160cm
Hakuba 47: Reporting 30-40cm of new snowfall. Upper - 285cm Lower - 120cm
Happo-one: Reporting 15cm of new snowfall. Usagidaira - 240cm Nakiyama - 120cm Sakka - 140cm
It's no surprise, I guess, to tell you that it's snowing, and the wind is blowing.
So much so (the latter) that Akakan's early snow report at about 8:20am showed that they're waiting to move on the lifts. Considering that Tokyo was pretty much shut off, and all the Shinkansens were stopped, it's not so unusual. At least the roads are open here and we can more or less get around.
A quick note on the backcountry: with this wind, heavy snowfall and mild temperatures, it's going to be pretty heavy going downhill as well as up, unless you're on a steep slope. And a quick snow test while digging out the house showed some weird layers in the snow that could signal some serious avalanche danger (you can learn a lot while digging out roofs around the base). Hakuba reports state extreme avy danger, and recommend staying on piste. We're not as Alpine, but that info is very much worth keeping in mind here as well. Avalanches can and do happen in Myoko.
Unfortunately, I can't get out to do more on-snow tests; day two of hobbling around on damaged knee. Arrgh.
Not sure that we were all expecting quite as much as this, perhaps just hoping. But the heavy snowfall has continued and here's what we have had since my report yesterday. This all official numbers coming from the resort:
...since yesterday morning. The official snow depths have all taken a big jump.
Those are big numbers and exciting to look at but do bring on their own set of problems. One of the most important ones being dangers of avalanche. Probably best to stick to the courses - there's tons of fresh snow to play in. Venturing outside invites risk.
Yesterday, I mentioned that Skyline was closed. It did open, though during the day Rinkan, Kamoshika and Tanuki closed no doube due to dangers and the resort made the call. They remain closed today it seems.
This morning the snow continues to fall. The forecast says that later on in the day today it might ease up and we will end the day with just cloud but there's a decent chance of more snow tomorrow.
Transportation issues (non running Shinkansen and closed Expressways) due to the unexpected snow mainly in the Kanto regions stopped people from getting to Nozawa yesterday and issues remain today.
Courses All courses open except: Grand Prix Kandahar West Kandahar East Kamoshika Tanuki Read more ...
Sunday 16th February 2014, 9:59am
Strong winds continue in Zao this morning and it's a fluid situation but there are a few limited lifts operating as of 10am including a few base pairs and the Chuo pairs. More might open if things calm down.
Tons of new snow. With the winds blowing it all around it's almost impossible to put a number on it. But I will anyway, 50cm. Ask the next person and they'll probably tell you another story!
Official snow depths (16th February 14): Utopia: 310cm Chuo: 260cm Paradise: 270cm Uwanodai: 180cm Read more ...
Shiga Kogen Now!
Sunday 16th February 2014, 10:05am
It all looks a bit limited in Shiga Kogen this morning. Strong winds, heavy snow and poor visibility have a fair few lifts closed. For those who manage to get here (transportation network problems!), there's not much choice and honestly you would have to be really keen. I think that an onsen is probably a good idea this morning as there's close to zero visibility out there and not nice.
The only lifts moving - as far as the official site updates tell me anyway - are a few at Sun Valley, Tannenomori and Yakebitaiyama (though some of that info might not be the latest as they don't seem to update it real time.
Can't say we were expecting such a huge storm. Though it has been bringing us lots of new snow which once things have settled should be good to enjoy.
Official snow depth data, as of Sunday 16th February 2014):