I mentioned three lifts in the report yesterday... we are down to two lifts this morning - the lower Number 5 high speed lift and the Number 4 romance lift. Presumably wind that is affecting the Tashiro area of Kagura is also stopping our gondola here in Naeba from operating this morning.
Rain is also expected though forecasts vary on how much and timing...
Official snow depth:
Planned operating lifts:
- Number 5 high speed lift - Number 4 romance lift
Courses planned to be open:
- Naeba plans to be open until Sunday 5th April
About the coronavirus situation and our daily reports:
There is more thin cloud around this morning but some light blue sky on show and it should be another mild day.
And here's something that I prepared earlier...
The 2019-2020 season so far: through until the end of March 2020
It’s the start of another month and so that means that it is time for me to look back on March 2020 and the statistics for the season so far.
As always, the usual up-front notes. (Shamelessly copied from last month):
I take my measurements from close to the base of the Niseko Grand Hirafu area of our mountain. There is usually more snow at higher elevations; many locals often say there’s often ‘about 1.5 times the amount’ that there is at base. And often that seems reasonable. It is impossible for me to take measurements from the top of the mountain every morning for all sorts of practical reasons. The observed snowfall numbers on these Niseko Now reports over the years can all be compared like-for-like, because they are my observations and are coming from the same place each season. And it goes without saying that there's much more to the story than just bare numbers; they may be interesting, but they are not the complete picture. For a more complete idea of the season, please read the reports for each day.
OK so here goes.
This is how much snowfall I have measured during the month of March over the last eight winter seasons:
March 2020: 59cm March 2019: 45cm March 2018: 49cm March 2017: 83cm March 2016: 109cm March 2015: 139cm March 2014: 113cm March 2013: 164cm
Not huge numbers but we beat the previous two months this year. Hurray! (I’ll take the win).
I was able to record some snowfall on 12 of the 31 days in March 2020. Most of those were in the first half of the month, perhaps as you might expect with spring fast approaching. Having said that, the most over one 24-hour period was on the 17th March when I measured 10cm down at base.
Now on to the ‘season to date’ numbers, from the beginning of this season up until 31st March 2020:
2019/2020 season up to end of March 2020: 718cm 2018/2019 season up to end of March 2019: 945cm 2017/2018 season up to end of March 2018: 1,247cm 2016/2017 season up to end of March 2017: 688cm 2015/2016 season up to end of March 2016: 986cm 2014/2015 season up to end of March 2015: 1,141cm 2013/2014 season up to end of March 2014: 1,150cm 2012/2013 season up to end of March 2013: 1,459cm
There is no significant change of note to the ongoing commentary of the season really.
There has been less snow than we usually expect, but we have fared (much) better than lots of Japan.
I have met more than a few people out on the lifts this season who had holidays planned elsewhere in Japan and then decided to change and come up here to the better snow conditions.
The coronavirus topic and associated mess that the world increasingly finds itself in has of course become the unavoidable topic of March 2020. The Hokkaido government ‘state of emergency’ came and went... all the while, the ski resorts remained open. And of course, they still are. With the ramped up controls on people coming over from overseas, Niseko has become abnormally quiet. Which has been very nice for some people who have been able to enjoy some uncharacteristically quiet slopes, and giving things a rather different feel from usual.
And I must admit, with the knowledge that people are not well and close to home some of my own family in other countries are in ‘lockdown’, it feels rather strange to be sitting down each morning posting weather reports from a ski resort. Of course, we (meaning this website) certainly do not wish to be in any way insensitive. We are here to document the season from the start until the end and this is undoubtedly part of that story, so we feel it is appropriate to document the full season.
Most of you reading this probably aren’t here in Niseko, but there are still many people reading the reports every morning. (Hi! Thanks!)
There is another 5 weeks left of the (planned) ski season here in Niseko. We usually get a bit of snow down to base, with perhaps a bit more on the mountain. Here’s my observed base numbers from previous Aprils.
April 2019: 6cm April 2018: 13cm April 2017: 0cm April 2016: 6cm April 2015: 3cm April 2014: 13cm April 2013: 32cm
And as always, the Japan Meteorological Agency statistics from their observation station in Kutchan town for the month of March over the last eight years:
March 2020: 75cm March 2019: 59cm March 2018: 59cm March 2017: 90cm March 2016: 125cm March 2015: 141cm March 2014: 118cm March 2013: 124cm
The JMA numbers for the season so far up until the end of March shape up like this:
2019/2020 season up to end of March 2020: 684cm 2018/2019 season up to end of February 2019: 867cm 2017/2018 season up to end of February 2018: 1,013cm 2016/2017 season up to end of February 2017: 831cm 2015/2016 season up to end of February 2016: 823cm 2014/2015 season up to end of February 2015: 966cm 2013/2014 season up to end of February 2014: 922cm 2012/2013 season up to end of February 2013: 1,024cm
I’ll make on final season recap once it is all over.
If that all goes to plan, it will be on 6th May!
Until then, see you every morning.
Planned ski resort operation information: Wednesday 1st April 2020
Fine weather and warmth yesterday and lots of cloud this morning. Still feels fairly bright though and a few breaks in the cloud. We are expecting some rain though later on today and overnight - perhaps heavy at times. Hopefully that will mostly happen overnight.
From today just Naeba, GALA Yuzawa and Kagura remain open.
But... with some strong winds forecast, GALA Yuzawa is actually going to be closed for the day today. The Tashiro Area of Kagura is also closed along with the top Kagura Number 5 romance lift in the main area.
Individual ski resort information: Wednesday 1st April 2020 The below ski areas remain open. All information is checked and updated manually for each report. Subject to change.
There's not much to report to you this morning as we enter April.
Cloudy skies and rain is due as temperatures remain quite warm.
Looks like it might be quite heavy rain overnight and that might wipe out the remaining snow around base areas.
Still officially reporting 175cm up top though and good snow cover up there...
I wonder where Nasuki/Naski goes when the snow has gone from Hikage. I'm sure our fave skiing bright green vegetable would be keen to get up to the top of the mountain. We should start a petition...
Wednesday 1st April 2020
Fresh snowfall recorded by resort since yesterday:
- Yamabiko (1407m): 0cm - Uenotaira (1230m): 0cm - Lower areas are not reporting any more
Official snow depth numbers (reported by resort):
- Yamabiko (1407m): 175cm - Uenotaira (1230m): 100cm - Lower areas are not reporting any more
The following lifts are operating:
- Nagasaka gondola [8:10am until 3:00pm; last one down 3:40pm] - Yamabiko quad [8:30am until 3:20pm] - Yamabiko Number 2 quad [8:25am until 3:30pm] - Uenotaira quad [8:30am until 3:30pm] - Paradise quad [8:30am until 3:40pm]
The following courses remain open:
- Yamabiko A - Yamabiko B - Yamabiko C - Yamabiko D - Yamabiko E - Kogenashi A - Kogenashi B - Uenotaira - Paradise - Bunabayashi - Schneider (to mid point) - Rinkan
About the coronavirus situation and our daily reports:
There was a little rain last night. This morning mostly cloudy skies and some blue sky. There is more rain lined up there on the forecast though and we'd probably be lucky to avoid it... hopefully that will drain out of the system before tomorrow.
Some parts of Shiga Kogen are now closed for the season. Please refer to the list below as to what is planned to remain open over the coming weeks.
From now on I plan to post updates to this Shiga Kogen Now report a few times a week this month. I will aim to get a report up before the weekend and early in the week.
Photos: Kumanoyu and Hasuike Junction
Shiga Kogen resort info: Wednesday 1st April 2020
The below information is manually checked - but the report is too early for any changes today Official snow depth numbers are as reported by the ski resorts themselves.
Giant: Open on Saturday 4th April and Sunday 5th April
Takamagahara Mammoth: Quad lift open until Sunday 5th April and then on 11th, 12th, 18th, 19th, 25th, 26th April and 29th April until 6th May
Tannenomori Okojo: 4th, 5th, 11th, 12th April and 29th April until 6th May
Ichinose Family: Ichinose quad and Ichinose Number 2 pair B line open until 6th May
Terakoya: 4th, 5th, 11th, 12th, 18th, 19th, 25th, 26th April and 29th April until 6th May
Ichinose Diamond: Until 5th April and then 11th, 12th, 18th, 19th, 25th, 26th April and 29th April until 6th May
Yakebitaiyama: Number 1 Gondola until 6th May Number 2 Gondola until 5th April Number 2 high speed until 5th April and then 11th, 12th, 18th, 19th, 25th, 26th April and 29th April until 6th May
Okushiga Kogen: Number 1 pair lift and Gondola until 5th April Number 2 and 3 high speed pairs until 6th May Number 4 and 6 pairs until 5th April and then 11th, 12th, 18th, 19th April and 25th April until 6th May
Kumanoyu: Number 1 pair until 5th April Number 3 quad until 5th April and then 11th, 12th, 18th, 19th, 25th, 26th April and 29th April until 6th May Number 2 pair A line until 10th May
Yokoteyama & Shibutoge Until 6th May and possibly beyond that
The section of road connecting the southern area of Shiga Kogen (from Yokoteyama onwards) with Gunma Prefecture is now closed for the season. It will be closed until 24th April 2020. Approach Shiga Kogen using Route 292 from the west (Nagano/Nakano/Yamanouchi)
About the coronavirus situation and our daily reports:
About the data in the above ‘snowfall as reported by ski resorts’ table * The table within the above report contains data that is published by individual ski resorts * The data shown is the amount of snowfall that the ski resorts are themselves reporting each 24 hour period on the upper areas of their mountain * The source ‘new snowfall’ data and ‘total accumulation’ data is not updated at the same time * The ‘new snowfall’ data is updated in the morning * The ‘accumulation’ data is apparently updated/refreshed at midnight * That means that there is a time lag between the two numbers being updated * We manually check and update the data just before we publish each Hakuba Now report - so the data in each Hakuba Now report table is what is available at that time * Any odd-looking numbers are due to the source data. We are not responsible for and have no control over the data. We are simply sharing the data with you * Just to be extra clear, unlike our own ‘observed snowfall’ data from base that we show at the top of each report, the data in the table is not an independent observation by SnowJapan * A more in-depth introduction and explanation can be found in this reportRead more ...
Wednesday 1st April 2020, 10:47am
Bright but cloudy
Things are not exactly clear around here, information-wise-speaking, but it is clear that resorts are closing and the snow is disappearing really fast.
There's been a fairly strong southwest wind that took away 20cm overnight in my little test area.... The Akakura resorts are reporting a bit more snow than is probably out there; Seki Onsen is definitely not covered in 280cm of snow at -1°C; and I doubt Arai has the depths of snow it's reporting.
It wasn't clear at first what Ikenotaira was doing; the section of the website that I always look at still tells which lifts are open, and then I looked at the news column, and they have been closed for a few days. Sorry about that (but I will shift the blame to those providing the information).
I think it's countdown to the end now, not really snow reports any more!