Below are details of the planned 'nighta' operations at ski and snowboards resorts around Yuzawa and Minamiuonuma this season. This information is subject to change due to snow and weather conditions. *** Please note that this section will not be updated every day.
Ishiuchi Maruyama Daily until 19th March 2017. Nighta is from 5pm until 8:50pm. The Chuo Number 1, Chuo Number 2 and Kanko Number 3 Express lifts are open daily. The Kanko Number 1 Express lift, Hatsukaishi Entrance lift and Hatsukaishi Number 2 pair lifts are also open on weekends and holidays.
Iwappara Daily until 20th March 2017. Nighta is from 5pm until 9pm on Saturdays and until 8pm on weekdays and Sundays. The Main course, Grand course and West courses are open during nighta.
Joetsu Kokusai Daily until 20th March 2017. Nighta is from 5pm until 9pm. The area in front of the main base hotel is open for nighta.
Kandatsu Kogen 'Hobo All Night' ('Almost All Night') is on Fridays, Saturdays and nights before holidays until 1st April 2017. The nighta opening times on those days is from 6pm until 4am the following morning.
Maiko Snow Resort Daily until 19th March 2017. Nighta is from 4pm until 8pm. The Maiko center quad lift on the Maiko Side of the resort operates for nighta.
Naeba Daily until 26th March 2017. Nighta is from 4pm until 8:30pm.
NASPA Ski Garden 'Thanks' (extended) opening on Saturdays in January and February. On those days the Number 1 lift is open until 6pm.
Yuzawa Nakazato Every Saturday until 11th March 2017. Nighta is from 5pm until 8:30pm. The Number 2 pair lift operates during nighta. Read more ...
Wednesday 1st February 2017, 8:02am
Cloudy, some sun in places, generally fine feeling for now
Good morning everyone and welcome to February.
You can see my commentary on January below; I prepared that yesterday. And what better way to follow on from that than being able to report that February is off to a very good start! :)
It is nice and cold and I measured 19cm of fresh snow here at base. Good quality stuff too.
Resorts should be opening as normal this morning and so I am off to try and get some fairly early lifts.
Snow is on the forecast for later on but for right now the sun is out and it is a fine morning.
So now let’s have a look at January 2017 and the total snowfall for the season so far. Remember, this is the amount of snowfall that I personally observe near the base of Niseko Grand Hirafu. Also, remember that more snow falls at higher elevations; this is not a scientific paper; etc, etc. OK? Yosh--, here we go.
January 2017: 152cm January 2016: 303cm January 2015: 257cm January 2014: 461cm January 2013: 442cm
Unfortunately, unless we roped in some ‘alternative facts’, I don’t think even the most cunning of marketing types could make that comparison look particularly exciting.
Of course, quantity alone does not paint the whole picture.
Indeed, it is surely for the most part the quality of the snow that makes Niseko what it is, and we are rightly proud of it. And quality-wise, we did enjoy some moments in January 2017.
As per my comments last week about the Australian family who helped remind me how much I should appreciate living here (and I do, very much so), different people have different ideas of ‘quality’. Depending on their experiences, what they are used to, where they are from, etc.
Myself, I am used to ‘Niseko quality’ (and ‘Niseko quantity’) so that’s the benchmark for my reports… and while I did enjoy some excellent days, it is hard not to class January as anything other than a disappointment.
I was looking back at the individual data for each day, and the most I observed in one report was 18cm (on 13th January). Most of the other days when I reported any snowfall, it was maxing out at around 10cm. So we were just not seeing particularly large amounts of snowfall that gave us total resets. After that first dry part of the month though it was fairly regular, and that obviously is a good thing.
Let’s now take a look at the total snowfall observed from the beginning of the season until the end of January over the last handful of seasons:
2016/2017 season until the end of January 2017: 445cm 2015/2016 season until the end of January 2016: 611cm 2014/2015 season until the end of January 2015: 806cm 2013/2014 season until the end of January 2014: 850cm 2012/2013 season until the end of January 2013: 979cm
And if we look at that number as a percentage of the total snowfall for the whole season:
2016/2017 % of total season snowfall by end of January 2016: ** remains to be seen ** 2015/2016 % of total season snowfall by end of January 2016: about 62% 2014/2015 % of total season snowfall by end of January 2015: about 70% 2013/2014 % of total season snowfall by end of January 2014: about 74% 2012/2013 % of total season snowfall by end of January 2013: about 66%
So over the previous five seasons, by the end of January we had already observed between around two-thirds and three-quarters of the total snowfall for the whole season. (At base - another important point to remember is that especially in early and late season, it is more likely to be snowing at higher elevations and not down at base where my observations are made ).
Looking forward, here’s what the months of February and March have brought us in the last few seasons.
February 2016: 266cm February 2015: 196cm February 2014: 178cm February 2013: 316cm
March 2016: 109cm March 2015: 139cm March 2014: 113cm March 2013: 164cm
I’m sure everyone reading this is very much hoping that we can surpass those numbers this season. A bumper February and March please!
A good friend pointed out to me yesterday that we are not yet even half way through the season. The lifts have now been open for a bit more than two months. With some operating through until early May, that means that there is actually a full three months left to go.
It gives us a lot of time for a large quantity of quality snowfall.
And it means I have a lots more words to type. I’ll try not to ramble on too much!
Just to throw some other numbers into the mix, below are the numbers that the Japan Meteorological Agency have recorded in Kutchan Town for January and the season so far:
January 2017: 160cm January 2016: 258cm January 2015: 230cm January 2014: 317cm January 2013: 268cm
2016/2017 season until the end of January 2017: 568cm 2015/2016 season until the end of January 2016: 488cm 2014/2015 season until the end of January 2015: 658cm 2013/2014 season until the end of January 2014: 674cm 2012/2013 season until the end of January 2013: 672cm
Their particularly large number for December still puzzles me… usually there’s more snowfall up here at Hirafu base than at their Kutchan town measuring point.
Moderate snowfall amount under the typical winter pressure chart. The 60cm thick surface layer is sintered and stable. The new snowdrifts are consolidating uniformly and the general avalanche risk is low. Yesterday’s tracks are mostly reset and the snow is in really good shape. Better not over-estimate your equipment and/or skills. The valley streams aren’t fully buried and are hard to notice. Some cracks due to geothermal heat are also present. All gates are scheduled to open from the morning. Seek for advice from the ski patrol at the gates.
Wearing avalanche beacons are strongly recommended. It will allow others to find you, and you will be able to search your friends. Helmets are also strongly recommended as injuries on the head are more likely to be critical.
Resort specific opening news at time of writing (subject to change during the day):
Night skiing is planned until Monday 20th March 2017 at the Niseko Annupuri, Niseko Grand Hirafu and Niseko Village resort areas. There is no nighta in the Hanazono area. Read more ...
Appi Kogen Now!
Wednesday 1st February 2017, 8:42am
Sunny blue skies, set to cloud over
Good morning from Appi,
Bright blue skies this morning and very light winds will make for an ideal day on the mountain if you’re taking in the view of the surrounding area. A temperature of -2 outside my door. Although the morning is starting off great the clouds will probably roll in by noonish and then the snowfall starts.
We are expecting around 20+cm this afternoon and tonight and with that comes a drastic reduction in temperature to around -14.
Thursday and Friday will bring intermittent snowfall and hopefully by Saturday the temperatures should start rising again to make it more manageable on the slopes. Overall the runs are in good shape with very little traffic on them most of the week.
Currently planned operating lifts (subject to change due to weather conditions):
Appi Gondola Central quad Central number 2 Central number 3a Central number 4 Central number 5 Central number 6 Sailer Gondola Sailer quad Sailer connecting Vista quad Nishimori
The sun is out and it is a cold morning here in Shiga Kogen on this first day of February.
More snow is forecast for tonight and tomorrow. Following that, perhaps a few days of clearer weather -- and then more snow late Sunday into Monday.
Be sure to click on the Snowfall Analysis tab at the top of this page and have a look at how we are doing so far this season.
Last season was perhaps not the best to compare with, but I have already this season so far observed over twice the amount of snow compared with this time last year... and already over 2 metres more snowfall than during the whole of last season. The comparisons look good!
Let's hope that February and the rest of the season can also deliver.
Official snow depths numbers reported by different areas of Shiga Kogen:
Most of ski lifts and courses in Shiga Kogen are now open. Please note that these numbers are the official numbers that ski resorts publish.
The morning is looking most attractive with mostly blue sky and sun over the resort. Yesterday delivered some fresh snow onto the slopes which will mean the groomed runs will have nice powder on them today. Some of the off piste runs that have had heavy traffic on them are quite bumpy and firm and will be pretty hard on the knees.
The clear conditions are likely to turn into snow from around midday, and moderate rates of precipation are expected from this evening through to Thurday evening. Read more ...
Wednesday 1st February 2017, 9:20am
Good morning from Grandeco on this first day of February.
And it is a lovely morning. Very cold but very bright with lovely blue skies.
According to weather forecast it should be snowing by this evening.
A slight covering of snow on the courses and conditions should be good.
It is a good day for snowshoeing up to Mt. Nishidaiten or Dekodaira Marshland..
- Gondola - Number 1 quad lift - Number 2 quad lift - Number 3 quad lift - Number 4 quad lift
All courses now open
Official snow depth: 210cm
Road Condition to Grandeco: Inawashiro through Goshikinuma: snow and ice Goshukinuma through Grandeco: snow and ice Read more ...
Wednesday 1st February 2017, 9:57am
Mostly clear; increasing high clouds
Light snow continued to fall through the day yesterday; we could see the sun shining across the way toward Madarao and on to Nozawa, but we stayed in the shade, meaning there should be some great snow out there this morning.
It is sunny and blue out there, with just enough clouds drifting around to remind us that the weather will be changing shortly, and that snow will be returning.
It's nice and cold, too, despite that warm sun. I'm still hoping that warm sun will finally get that lingering, massive snow on my roof hanging on from our few-days-two-meter fall of about two weeks ago. Waiting for that, so I can clear the sides of the building! Scary while it hangs over our heads.
Lifts operations: All lifts plan to be operating apart from: - Yunomine pair - Mizunashi triple - Challenge pair - Utopia pair
Most courses at Nozawa Onsen are open. Courses not open are: - Grand Prix Read more ...
Wednesday 1st February 2017, 10:34am
It is a cloudy day here in Zao.
A cold start but it has warmed up a bit and doesn't feel too chilly here at base now but the top station is reporting -10C as of 10:30am. Should be nice snow conditions.
More snow is due tonight and probably through tomorrow as well and if the forecasts are correct we can probably also expect some moderate to strong winds.
Be prepared if you plan to be here tomorrow!
All lifts apart from the following appear to be operating today: Paradise Number 3 pair Karamatsu pair
All courses apart from Kotan are open.
Official snow depths (as published by the resort itself): Summit - 100cm Paradise - 175cm Chuo - 175cm Utopia - 130cm Uwanodai - 110cm Yokokura - 120cm
Juhyo 'Ice Monsters' Light Up night time Zao Ropeway operations
Every day until 5th March 2017. Operating from 5pm until 9pm; last ropeway up at 7:50pm. Ropeway return charges are 2,600 yen for adults and 1,300 yen for children. In the event of poor weather conditions, operations are sometimes cancelled. Read more ...
Wednesday 1st February 2017, 11:50am
Clear skies have clouded over by lunchtime
Good morning from Hakuba... it's just about still morning as I write the report today - my apologies!
It has been a beautiful morning, starting off with mostly clear blue skies and cloud gradually increasing as the morning went on. There's still a bit of blue sky to be seen now but lots of cloud and we're expecting more this afternoon... and then hopefully straight to snowfall.
Tomorrow should be cold and very snowy. It looks like we can perhaps expect a decent amount of fresh snow through the day tomorrow.
It does look like due to strong winds as of 12 noon, upper lifts at Happo-one have been suspended.
Weather is changing! Bring on the snow for a nice reset.
Resort news as of 11:45am on Wednesday 1st February 2017:
All information as available and subject to change during the day due to weather and snow conditions.
Hakuba 47: Hakuba 47 is reporting 0cm of fresh snowfall. All planned lifts are operating. Tree Riding Zones should be open today. Official snow depth Upper: 280cm Base: 140cm
Hakuba Goryu: Hakuba Goryu is reporting 0cm of fresh snowfall. All scheduled lifts plan to be operating. Official snow depth Alps: 305cm Toomi: 145cm Iimori: 130cm
Hakuba Happo-one: Hakuba Happo-one is reporting 0cm of fresh snowfall. Top lifts suspended as of 12 noon due to strong winds. All courses open. The Kurobishi off-piste area is open. Official snow depth: Usagidaira: 195cm Kurobishi: 195cm Lower: 120cm
Tsugaike Kogen: All courses are open. Official snow depth: Tsuga-no-mori: 285cm Han-no-ki: 280cm Maruyama: 170cm Oya-no-hara: 130cm Kane-no-naru-oka: 135cm
Hakuba Cortina: The resort is reporting 0cm of fresh snowfall. Official snow depth: Top: 290cm Base: 190cm
Planned nighta operations - be sure to check with resorts for latest:
Hakuba Goryu: Planned to be open daily from 6pm until 9:30pm
Tsugaike Kogen: Planned at the Kane-no-naru-oka area on February 4th, 11th (6pm until 8:50pm) Planned at the Katamatsu-Shirakaba area February 11th, 18th; March 4th, 11th, 18th, 19th (6pm until 9pm)
Hakuba Cortina: Planned to be open daily from 5pm until 8pm (until 9pm on Saturdays)
Hakuba Happo-one: Planned to be open daily until 9pm on the Nakiyama area.
Kashimayari: Planned to be open daily.
There is no night skiing at the other resorts in the area. Read more ...
Wednesday 1st February 2017, 12:52pm
Blue skies and sun
* This report was written at around 9am (photo from 12:47pm) *
Good morning from Madarao, and it is a fine start to the day today.
Looks like we will be able to enjoy the snow with blue skies and sunshine - at least for this morning. Snow is still due sometime tonight so expect things to cloud over this afternoon. Snow is due to be falling through the day tomorrow as well. Wrap up well and be prepared to ride as it snows tomorrow.
At the moment the forecast shows us milder conditions as we enter the weekend but further snowfall due back as we enter next week.
Operating status for the day at Madarao Kogen (at time of report):
- Number 1 lift - Number 2 quad lift - Number 3A - Number 5 lift - Super quad lift - Number 11 lift - Number 12 lift - Number 13 lift - Number 15 lift - Moving walkway - Kids Park - Free Ride Park
- Powder Wave I - Powder Wave II - River Line - Powder Theater - Adventure Aisle - Crystal Bowl - Ninja - Sawa - Rabbit - Kamoshika - Bear
- Nighta at Madarao Kogen is every Saturday until 25th March (and also 8th January and 19th March)
Please note that the fresh snowfall number being reported on this report is taken from the ‘base area’ of Tenjindaira - which is just by the top station of the Ropeway at that resort. Other snowfall numbers and commentary will be mentioned within each report when available. Read more ...