It's calmer this morning now that storm has passed but there's still lots of cloud hanging around for the moment. So it's not sunny from the start of the day, but we are still expecting conditions to clear up as the day moves on.
A cold start though it's -3 here in the village and Yamabiko area reporting a temperature of -8 degrees as of 8am.
Tomorrow looks set to be milder and we may some rain falling at lower levels before it hopefully ends up snowing once again with snow forecast for Sunday. I don't think we're expecting a snow storm anything like what we seen over the last few days though.
No confirmed news of the resort opening up more tomorrow. With more people surely going to turn up this weekend, I'm expecting the resort to be as good as fully open. Let me emphasise that's just a guess at this stage. I will update this report later in the day if and when I have more firm news on that front.
UPDATE @ EVENING
Yes, so tomorrow will be the Grand Opening of the resort. Which means a few event like things going on and more importantly... the resort will be almost all opened up. All but a few steeper areas seem to be planning to be open tomorrow. I'll have more info in the morning.
A few photos added below from today. What a fine day it was too.
Yamabiko A Yamabiko B Yamabiko C Yamabiko D Yamabiko E Kokenashi Uenotaira Mizunashi A Mizunashi B Bunabayashi Yunomine B Ushikubi Nagasaka Nagasaka connect
Nagasaka Gondola Yamabiko Four Lift Yamabiko Number 2 Four Lift Uenotaira Four Yu Road (Moving walkway)
Hello from Yuzawa and for once it's not snowing. Locals breath a sigh of relief as they continue to dig themselves out of their houses and find their cars under all of the snow. I didn't move the snow from my car yesterday and I think I can just about make it out under a huge blob of marshmallow outside my house.
Yesterday while it snowed for most of the day once again it wasn't quite as full on as it was the previous day. Still, another 40-50cm or so I would say.
Kagura report 80cm since yesterday.
For the moment it is mostly cloudy and overcast over the town area but quite bright. I can see that down in the Naeba area there's some blue sky and the sun seems to be shining down on the lower slopes of the resort. And there's just now some blue sky visible from here in town as well. Perhaps it will clear up today here too?
More resorts opening for the first time this morning. Or should I say 'pre-open' with some, which kind of seems to mean 'open a bit'. Or maybe even 'part open'. Sounds like an event though! Though I do see that at Kandatsu Kogen this morning... it's free! Yes, a full day of free skiing on offer over there which can't be bad. It's good to see Kandatsu Kogen back after a year with the lifts taking a rest. I think it was a bit of a shock for Kandatsu not to be open. But anyway, back to normal now.
And more resorts opening tomorrow as well as can be seen in the list below. In fact, come tomorrow there'll only be a few places left to get open for the season (one of those being the famous Mt Granview).
Just looking round for information and as expected from tomorrow more lifts and courses will be open. Maiko Snow Resort, for example, will have all of the top Okusoeji area open and also the Nagamine area with part of the Maiko area... basically most of the resort.
I can't see much reason why resorts that are open at at least close to fully open from tomorrow and it would surprise me if places continued to hold back. There's enough snow!
Tomorrow it will warm up slightly - highs as high as 8 degrees in town? Rain in the evening? Nooooo! If we get that rain lets hope it quickly turns into snow - which is what is forecast to happen. Wouldn't want to spoil all of this lovely fluffy light snow that we have.
Resorts currently open: * Apologies - at the time of writing this report it is proving difficult to confirm full details for the resorts that are opening for the first time this morning
Kagura - fully open Naeba - part open Iwappara - part open, 2 central area lifts operating Joetsu Kokusai - part open, 5 lifts operating Maiko Snow Resort - part open, top Okusoeji area, Gondola and 2 Okusoeji lifts operating Ishiuchi Maruyama - lots open Muikamachi Ski Resort Yuzawa Nakazato Yuzawa Kogen Yuzawa Park
A bit of relative calm after the storm is the feeling this morning.
Was a bit wild yesterday with the wind messing around with lift movements.
Less wind this morning, less snow falling, and not quite as cold either. 'Just' -3 here at base according to my trusty thermometer, and indeed the resorts report similar temperature at their base levels, Niseko Village recording -7C on their upper slopes.
Snow is forecast to ease off during the day today - might the sun make a bit of an appearance? - and a milder conditions due tomorrow. Looks like it might even rain a bit before turning into snow later in the day tomorrow. Let's hope not.
OK anyway so 30cm or so of fresh snowfall to report since yesterday. It's diffucult to read this morning with all of the wind that we had yesterday blowing it around. Just think lots of fresh snow to play in and you've pretty much got the picture.
Over the last week or two it has been getting gradually busier in Niseko, from now on there'll be more and more people arriving daily so I would expect things to be noticeably busier. With everyone hopefully having the time of their lives, it should be a fun atmosphere. Make it so, everyone!
Niseko Avalanche Report
Moiwa base: -3C, 15cm of crystal snow in 12hours. Moiwa 600m: -4C, calm wind and 25cm of broken crystal snow with development of snowdrifts. Coastal data: Benkei cape NW 12m/s, Kamui cape WNW7m/s, 1023hPa, 1.9m waves. Annupuri 1150m: -6℃, mild NW wind, good groomers conditions and snowdrift development. The current snowpack is 130cm at Annupuri 1000m.
The atmospheric pressure gradient is small over the Sea of Japan, and the wind is mild around Niseko area. Yesterday’s northerly wind made snowdrifts develop slowly above 800m altitude. The Backbowl’s sidewalls are loaded with heavy snowdrifts. The avalanche hazard is high around 1100m Kozan no sawa (Backbowl) slopes, 900m Osawa cornice slopes. The gates are yet to open and peak hike is still restricted. The snow in the trees is a bit humid and in good condition. Beware of over-speeding and hitting trees. Do not duck ropes; one track left under a rope will lead many others to follow and unnecessarily increase the chances of accidents to happen. Crossing ropes is severely prohibited by the Niseko Rules. We’d like to call all accommodation facilities to inform their guests about the Niseko Rules. Have a nice day.
Lifts planned to be operating, subject to change due to weather conditions. Any news at time of writing is noted in the main report above:
Niseko Grand Hirafu Lifts: Ace Family Lift, Ace Number 2 Center Four lift, Ace Number 3 lift, Holiday Number 1 Pair lift, Hirafu Gondola, King Number 3 Triple lift, Swinging Monkey. Night skiing lifts: Ace Family Pair lift, Ace Number 2 Center Four lift, Hirafu Gondola, Holiday Number 1 Pair lift
Niseko Hanazono Lifts: Hanazono Number 1, Hanazono Number 2, Hanazono Number 3 Night skiing lifts: No night skiing at Hanazono
Niseko Village Lifts: Niseko Gondola, Community Chair, Banzai Chair, Morino Chair. Night skiing lifts: Community Chair and Banzai Chair
Niseko Annupuri Lifts: Annupuri Gondola, Jumbo Number 1 Quad, Jumbo Number 2 Pair, Jumbo Number 3 Pair Night skiing lift: Jumbo Number 1 Quad
Official snow depth numbers at the time of writing:
Clear for the moment, although clouds look likely!
Cold and clear this morning; Akakan and Ikenotaira picked the perfect day to start the season! Just a little extra snow overnight—maybe 25-30cm (funny when a foot of snow seems like "just a little").
It probably won't last, though, as the forecast for the near future is for continued snowfall. Read more ...
Friday 19th December 2014, 8:52am
Partly cloudy, blue sky too
Madarao is open! Hurray! And doesn't it look lovely (see photos below).
Yes, here we are once again at the beginning of a new season.
Not much to say really other than it's a close to perfect start to the season with the large amounts of snow (another 30-50cm) and weather this morning. Some cloud around but clearing up with some blue sky as well.
Nice and cold so the snow conditions will remain excellent.
I almost don't want to say this but before the snow that's due again on Sunday, there's a chance it might rain. Whoever's in charge of the weather, please no!
More lifts open tomorrow.
Number 1 lift Number 2 quad lift
Special price today of 2000 yen for adults and seniors, 1000 yen for elementary school age children
Planned open lifts: -Shirakaba Quad -Maruyama Number 1 Quad -Tsugaike Chuo Triple -Karamatsu high speed pair
Open course areas:: -Shirakaba -Oya-no-hara -Maruyama
Hakuba Cortina Cortina reporting 10-13cm of fresh snow this morning. Back to how we were before the storm. Just more snow! Sorry, yesterday I had the base at 2000cm of snow - Cortina is famous for getting lots of snow but that would be shocking! The correct number was 200cm of course. I've changed that for the record.
Kashimayari Part open, fully open from this weekend.
Official Snow depth: 130cm
Hakuba Norikura Onsen Part open
Official Snow depth: 230cm
Other planned opening dates:
Hakuba Sanosaka - Saturday 20th December
SnowJapan is running a lift ticket prize draw with 400+ lift tickets to send out to site members - 50 of those are for resorts in the Hakuba area, so lots to win. For details on the prize draw, check out this page:
The snow has now come to a stop with 50cm in the Valley and 200cm in the Upper Mountains, overcast with light winds.
Looking at a sunny morning tomorrow with snow showers beginning from the afternoon through till Monday night.
Valley 20cm Upper Mountains 20cm
Valley 50cm Upper Mountains 200cm
Planned opening dates:
Tenjindaira - OPEN Houdaigi - part OPEN Norn Minakami - part OPEN White Valley- OPEN Okutone - OPEN Minakami Kogen - December 20th Read more ...
Shiga Kogen Now!
Friday 19th December 2014, 9:56am
Cloud but lots of blue sky and sun
More snow overnight and it's calmer this morning.
Lovely conditions in fact. Not only lots of fresh snow for us to play in, but also the sun is out this morning. Keeping cold hopefully for the day.
Expected to get a bit warmer tomorrow but possibly windy as well. But we may get more sun to enjoy as well.
Snow clouds are forecast to be back in the evening (tomorrow) and snowfall for Sunday.
Resort areas status with official snow depths:
Okushiga Kogen: 70cm Part open
Yakebitaiyama: 100cm Part open
Ichinose Family 90cm Part open
Ichinose Yamanokami: 90cm Part open
Ichinose Diamond: 90cm Part open
Takamagahara Mammoth: 90cm Part open
Terakoya: Part open
Higashitateyama: Plans to open on 20th December
Giant: Plans to open on 20th December
Nishitateyama: Plans to open on 20th December
Bundaraia: Plans to open on 20th December
Sun Valley: Plans to open to public on 14th December
Maruike: Plans to open on 20th December
Hasuike: Plans to open on 20th December
Kumanoyu: 110cm Almost all open (note: skiers only resort area)
Yokoteyama: 110cm Most open now. Shibutoge not yet open.
Planned night floodlit skiing at Shiga Kogen resort areas this season:
Sun Valley: December 20th, 29th-30th; January 1st-2nd, 11th; Every Saturday from January 3rd to March 21st
Maruike: December 29th-31st; January 1st-3rd, 10th, 11th
Takamagahara Mammoth: December 20th-22nd, 27th-31st; January 1st-3rd
Ichinose Family: Every day from December 20th until March 29th
Ichinose Diamond: December 27th-31st; January 1st-3rd, 11th; Every Saturday from January 3rd until March 28th
Yakebitaiyama: December 27th-31st; January 1st-3rd, 11th; Every Saturday from January 3rd until February 21st
Kumanoyu: December 20th-23rd, 27th-31st; January 1st-3rd; Every Saturday from January 3rd until March 28th Read more ...
Friday 19th December 2014, 10:04am
Wild conditions yesterday. Is it really still what we might call mid December?
Tons of fresh snow out there. I even heard someone complain that it was 'too deep'. Silly person! ;)
Cloudy and calmer this morning with more lifts back open.
From tomorrow all of the mountain and lifts should be open, so it's full season ahead!
May it be a classic. Certainly early season is a good start for that.
Planned operating lifts today (subject to change):
Sky Cable Gondola Zao Chuo Ropeway Zao Ropeway Onsen Number 1 pair lift Onsen Number 2 quad Mikaeri pair lift Chuo Number 1 pair lift Chuo Number 2 pair lift Katakai triple lift Diamond Number 1 pair lift Diamond Number 2 Zao Paradise Pair AB lift Yokokura Number 1 pair lift Yokokura Number 2 pair lift Utopia Number 2 pair lift Kurohime Number 1 Quattro lift
Uwanodai area: From Sunday 21st December until 22nd March
Yokokura area: From Friday 26th December until 4th January; Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from Friday 9th January until 15th March
Open times from 5pm until 9pm and the cost is 2000 yen for adults and 1000 yen for children. Read more ...
Friday 19th December 2014, 13:29pm
Another cold day in Furano with overcast skies but there is no new snow to report overnight. The good news is that there is little wind, and all the snow that fell over the last couple of days has allowed the resort to open Sailer Course from top to bottom. This is great news for the intermediates and advanced skiers who can now get in a few kilometres of turns in the one run. Night skiing is operating until 8pm tonight on the Prince Romance chair. Read more ...