Cloudy start to this Sunday morning as we enter March. A mild (I'm using that word too much aren't I, sorry!) 3 degrees now which is pretty much what it was through last night. Some strong winds as well at times, even woke me up at one time.
Yesterday was a fine day weather wise. Conditions nicer in the morning with that fresh snow to enjoy, a bit heavier work in the afternoon.
Today it's cloudy forecast for the morning with some rain forecast for later on which will very hopefully turn into snow by the end of the day.
Moderate to strong southerly winds are going to be a feature of today too, and already I can see that over at Kagura only the Mitsumata area is going to be open (ie none of Tashiro or the main central part of Kagura).
GALA Yuzawa is also unfortunately going to be closed today due to the wind conditions.
As far as I can tell as of 8am other resort areas will be open as normal.
Hopefully some good news on the snow front to report tomorrow morning.
If you take a look at the statistics gathered towards the bottom of this page you'll noticed a few interesting things.
First of all, at the end of February 2014 (last season), we had observed 637cm. At the end of February 2015, we had observed 1202cm. Same people, same place. That's one heck of a difference! You'll also see how we have observed more in each month from December. And December really made the biggest difference, with over 4 times the amount of last season. That was one impressive start to the season this time round!
Last season we observed 191cm additional snowfall at base in March, so hopefully we might get to see a similar amount (or preferably more of course) this month. The last week or two has really felt generally spring-like, so here's to some more blasts of winter this month.
Nighta 'night skiing' - where some slopes are floodlit for skiing and snowboarding in the evening - is available at the following resorts in the area.
Ishiuchi Maruyama: Every day until 21st March (until 8:50pm) Iwappara: Every day until 22nd March (until 8pm on weekdays and Sundays, 9pm on Saturdays) Joetsu Kokusai: Every day until 22nd March (until 9pm) Kandatsu Kogen: From 'all night' on Fridays and Saturdays (6pm or 10pm until 4am the next morning) Maiko Snow Resort: Every day until 14th March (until 8pm) Naeba: Every day until 29th March (until 9pm) All night on 14th March (10pm until 6am) NASPA Ski Garden (skiers only): Saturdays until 29th February (until 7pm) Yuzawa Nakazato: Saturdays until 14th March (until 8:30pm)
Chateaux Shiozawa also have nighta but only on certain days - no fixed schedule available. Resorts not mentioned above do not operate 'nighta' (or do not plan to have more this season). Some resorts offer tickets that include nighta, others need a special lift ticket.
Today is really much of the same with no new snow overnight. We are however expecting snow tonight which should reward us with quite a dump. Winds are slight but will remain steady today. So carving today with powder tomorrow Read more ...
Sunday 1st March 2015, 8:29am
Strong winds yesterday during the day but some good snow to be found.
Just a thin layer to add to that this morning and cloudy skies to start the day. Temperature just under 0 degrees here in the village.
Still due snowfall today though and hopefully into tomorrow. None is better than rain though so hopefully we'll get to avoid that.
Morning from the Niseko area and welcome to March!
No fresh snow to report this morning and clouds over the region. It's a rather grey morning actually after the fine and clearer start to the day yesterday. I managed to join the crowds and find myself some nice pockets of snow.
There's a light to moderate southerly wind in places, but not enough to be affecting the lifts at the start of the day.
We should be enjoying some more fresh snow as well soon, with it perhaps starting to fall before the lifts close for the day today and to continue at least through tomorrow. Fingers crossed for some decent numbers and it keeping on the colder side of what is forecast.
OK so as promised time to take a look at some numbers just for some fun.
Here's the snowfall observed by myself here by the base area in Hirafu...
February 2014: 178cm February 2015: 196cm
So a bit more snow last month than the same month last season. The last 5 days of the month really helped us out there!
Last season up until end of February 2014: 1037cm This season up until end of February 2015: 1002cm
We're just a bit behind the overall haul for the season so far as of the end of February, but managed to hit 10m of observed snowfall.
The big difference this season is December and January kind of 'swapping positions' - with lots more snowfall in December this season than last, but quite a bit less in January this season than last. It kind of adds up to there being quite a bit less 'fresh' in the first two months of 2015 than we had last season.
Looking at the other Now reports makes for interesting reading too, with a similar kind of story in quite a few areas.
Now on to the Japan Meteorological Agency statistics, coming to you from the Kutchan town area a bit lower down.
February 2014: 130cm February 2015: 167cm
So those numbers also reflecting slightly more this February than last.
How about March?
Last season I observed 113cm. Let's double that this season, ok Snow Gods?!
Remember there's always going to be more up on the mountain than down at base, and probably 1.5 times more is not too off the mark in general.
Resort specific news as of 8:30am - subject to change during the day
Niseko base 6am: -5C, no new snow. Moiwa 800m: light winds, no new snow, -7C. Annupuri 1000m: snowpack 315cm. Hirafu 1000m: SW5m/s, -7C, no new snow. Annupuri peak 1308m: wind SW 10.8m/s, -10.0C. Cape Benkei: SSW3m/s, Cape Kamui: S8m/s, pressure 1020hPa, wave 0.7m.
The pressure gradient is shallow and the sea and mountains are calm. Snow is stable and general avalanche risk is low. All peak gates are expected to be open. Do not play around cornices, they might suddenly collapse. Making a kicker out in the forest is fun, but think about if there is an injury, how will you get out? Will rescuers be able to get to you and help?
Avalanches are not the only danger in the mountains. This information is issued for the prevention of all accidents. Do not try and sneak past the patrol to duck ropes. If you want to go out of bounds you must use the gates. Have a good day.
Official resort snow depths:
Grand Hirafu / Hanazono: Top - 400cm Base - 140cm
Niseko Village: Top - 300cm Base - 180cm
Niseko Annupuri: Top - 370cm Base - 180cm
Lifts open for night skiing (planned):
Niseko Grand Hirafu Ace Family Pair lift, Ace Number 2 Center Four lift, Hirafu Gondola, Holiday Number 1 Pair lift
Niseko Hanazono Resort No night skiing at the Hanazono area
It was a fine day yesterday with just some thin cloud around and the sun out warming things up during the day.
There were some nice fun conditions to be found especially in the morning and more fresh than seemed to have been reported as well which was a nice surprise. The sun did warm things up by the afternoon though making for another spring-like feel to the day.
There has been another small amount of snow overnight and light snow is falling this morning. Temperature hovering around zero but hoping it'll stay around there and the snow will keep falling into tomorrow as the forecast tells us it might.
You might have noticed the statistics that are now presented at the bottom of the report page here.
I have observed more snowfall here at base each month since December than in the same month last season.
Compared with some other regions, the Hakuba numbers aren't on the face of it quite as impressive. Obviously we don't get as much down at base as some other places. But as you can see on the page explaining the data, that's only part of the story of course - what with our significant vertical and often getting considerably more snowfall higher up than at base. And of course it says nothing about quality one way or the other. Unfortunately there's no fixed first-hand data to report each morning from those higher areas.
What's more important than comparing place to place probably is how the season is going compared with last season and in that respect so far the numbers are up.
Anyway let's hope for a good March!
Official snow depth numbers and operations at time of writing on Sunday 1st March 2015. Subject to change during the day:
Hakuba Goryu: Reporting 1cm of new snowfall at Alps Daira; 3cm on lower areas. All courses planned to be open (except Adventure Course).
Hakuba Goryu: Toomi area every day until 31st March. 6pm until 9:30pm. Hakuba Happo-one: Nakiyama area every day until mid March. 5pm until 9pm. Hakuba Cortina: Every day until 31st March. 5pm until 8pm. Tsugaike Kogen: Karamatsu-Shirakaba on February 28th; Saturdays in March. 6pm until 9pm. Kashimayari: Every day until 15th March. 4:30pm until 9:30pm. Read more ...
Sunday 1st March 2015, 9:41am
Good morning from Naeba.
If your hitting the slopes today wrap up warm as today’s weather is not so pleasant, with high winds, quite low temperatures and light snow.
The high winds are currently causing disruption to the higher lifts. The Dragondola, and both gondolas to the top of the mountain are all currently closed. With the winds only looking like they will get stronger as the day goes on, bringing some more snow this evening.
Tomorrows weather is looking like more of the same, starting to settle down later in the afternoon.
The Dragondola over to Tashiro is closed. Only the Mitsumata area of Kagura is open this morning.
Official snow depths:
Naeba: 280cm Kagura: 370cm
15-30cm Naeba 30cm Kagura ---
This Naeba Now report started updating for the 2014/2015 season on 31st January 2015. As such, the 'observed snowfall season' numbers shown at the bottom of the report will only reflect data from that date onwards. Please read our Yuzawa Now daily reports section for more information on the first part of the season in the Yuzawa region. Read more ...
Sunday 1st March 2015, 10:03am
The resort are a little late reporting in this morning (sore heads?!), and indeed I got up late too. My excuse is a bad cold though rather than being out and enjoying the events going on last night. Which I missed. I'm going to be off the slopes as well for a day or two I expexct.
Anyway, enough of that. You want to know about the snow!
Well, no fresh to report this morning though later on today snow - possible rain before - it forecast.
Some gusty southerly winds around as well this morning. You can kind of feel the winter and spring battling it out. I'm supporting winter! Come on!!
Lifts planned to be open:
Number 1 lift Number 2 quad lift Number 3A Number 5 Super quad lift Number 11 lift Number 12 lift Number 13 lift Number 15 lift Moving Walkway Kids Park Freeride Park Tree Run Courses should be open today.
Night skiing at Madarao is every Saturday until 21st March 2015.