Snow and weather reports posted on Sunday 26th May 2019
Monday 20th February 2017, 8:15am
Looks like it is going to be a fine morning
Good morning all from here in my secret Hirafu base.
Yey! There's more fresh snow this morning with another good 15cm on the ground. It's cold and the snow looks nice and dry.
Along with a handful of other people (!), I enjoyed playing in the fresh conditions yesterday and with this new top-up, I intend to do more of the same today.
The light snow that the resorts are reporting falling pre-toast this morning has eased off now and it actually looks like it is going to be a clear and fine day. Things are calm and lifts should be opening as normal this morning.
Anyway, I'm going to get out onto the lifts early this morning. Maybe see some of you. Take care out there.
Here's something I prepared earlier...
An answer to a question:
“If you say 20cm of fresh snow has fallen in your report, how come the snow depth at the resorts does not increase by a corresponding 20cm”?
There’s a few reasons for that. I’ll try to explain the best I can. Firstly, the two numbers are not connected – in my reports I am reporting fresh snowfall at base each morning, while the ski resorts have their own method of measuring their snow depth base. And different ski resorts do that in different places etc.
Snow also compacts, both under the weight of grooming machines, skiers, snowboarders - and also under its own weight. The prevailing weather conditions will have an impact on how that is happening too. The bottom section of the snow base is not going to be light and fluffy like the fresh snow that fell overnight. And can you imagine how tall those ski lift towers would have to be if snow just continued to pile up during a season and not compact?
Anyway, I hope that goes a little way to explaining it. No doubt some other folk would be able to give a much clearer and more scientific explanation of this kind of thing. (If you are one of those folk and reading this, please do feel free to contact me and I may share it up here).
A response to some comments that have been sent in:
Note: some words may have been slightly altered for effect (…though not this first one):
"Your reports are completely useless. They need to be posted before 7:30am to be of any use"
"You under-report the snowfall. It’s outrageous! I was there and there was a full 2cm more than you reported!!!!"
"You over-report the snowfall. It’s outrageous! I was there and there was a massive 2cm less than you reported!!!!"
"Your reports are too ‘negative’!!"
"Your reports are too ‘positive’!!"
As you can see, there are some real charming folk out there!
I think either myself or SnowJapan (in the general messages that they posted on these reports) have covered all of these issues in the reports so far this season, and so I won’t go into details again. I’ll just add a few bullet points:
** I don’t under-report or over-report. I report what I see with my own eyes and measure, no sugar added or taken away. It may be slightly different from what someone else sees nearby - and indeed we might both be right.
** I can’t post before 7:30am because a) there is not enough information to make a full report at that time, and b) on some days I might still be sleeping at that time. Or eating some toast. I like toast.
** If you are in Niseko and planning to ski, I highly recommend looking out of the window early morning to see what the weather is doing and how much snow has fallen where you are. (Make sure you do it before 7:30am!)
** Knowing full well that people have different expectations and different points of reference, I generally try to avoid trying to describe snow conditions in detail all the time. When I do talk about snow conditions, it is mostly when conditions are clearly excellent or clearly rubbish.
** I avoid cheesy marketing words, loaded adjectives in capital letters and the constant ‘everything is perfect’ descriptions on purpose. Because they're often an exaggeration and sometimes worse. And often horribly cringeworthy. You’ll be able to tell when I’m genuinely excited by conditions; and when I am, you’ll know that my excitement is worthy. (I may however say 'yey' and 'hurray' at times, sorry).
I’m curious why some of these seemingly very angry people still read these reports. Personally, if I don’t like something, I tend to avoid it. So if you don’t like my/our reports, please just don’t read them. I’m fine with that, and I’m sure SnowJapan will be fine with it too – save them some bandwidth! They may even give you a full refund of any monies paid if you ask them; they’re jolly reasonable folk. ;)
To all our friends - don’t worry folks, I am posting the above in a very light-hearted frame of mind and not taking it all too seriously. It can of course be disheartening to hear some of these comments when you are busy putting in the effort day after day (as you might reasonably expect).
I just sometimes wonder how we got to the sad point where people get to feel so entitled and/or just seem to think it’s ok to throw any semblance of decency and manners out of the window when it comes to ‘internet stuff’.
Niseko Avalanche Report:
Mountain base: -11°, 15cm new snow. Moiwa 800m: -9.1°, E1m/s, 20cm new snow, no snowdrift development. Annupuri 1150m, -14°, NE7m/s, 25cm new snow. Hirafu 1250m, -12°, E5m/s, 20cm new snow. Coastal data: Kamui Cape:W2m/s, 1007hPa, wave 1.2m.
The barometric pressure gradient is shallow, the mountain is not wind effected and trees are covered with light crystal snow. From observation the general avalanche risk is low, however on sharp steep slopes, a double layer slab on top of the 17 Feb layer will easily fracture. Take care. All peak gates are expected to open. Please listen to the patrols advice and be prepared before going out of bounds. Do not forget, once you pass through the gates the winter mountain is un-managed and there is many hidden dangers out there.
Yesterday, Backbowl West ridge around 800m, a small avalanche occurred. This could also happen today, be aware. The halfpipes in the bottom of creeks are fun to ride but its wise not to go in them when its windy or snowing – these can be avalanche paths.
More people are getting lost in Anbetsu area out of Gate 10. In Niseko everybody is allowed to ride out of bounds, but as more and more inexperienced people are venturing out of the gates, the patrols advice before leaving to everyone is also becoming more important. In an effort to reduce the number of accidents on the mountain , we all need to examine our current safety systems to make sure we are doing best job we can. Snow is good today.
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 ...
Monday 20th February 2017, 8:20am
Cloudy for now
Morning from Naeba.
It is currently overcast and is not raining as it is down in Yuzawa town - but can it stay that way for the day? Fingers crossed that we go straight to snow rather than rain this morning... I think we might, though it will be interesting to see how things develop if it gets warmer during the day.
Whatever, potentially quite heavy snow is due overnight tonight so it should be a much clearer picture to report tomorrow morning. And hopefully a snowy one.
Light wet snow early this morning but as things get slightly warmer during the day time today there is a real chance of rain, but we should be back to snow later on and tonight with potentially decent snow falling.
This morning wind is affecting top lifts with the Nagasaka Gondola, Yamabiko quads, Uenotaira quad and Skyline connecting lifts at a standstill at the time of my report. If winds ease up, they will try to get them moving...
Lifts operations: - All lifts operating except: - Nagasaka Gondola (due to wind conditions) - Yamabiko quads (due to wind conditions) - Uenotaira quad (due to wind conditions) - Skyline connecting pair (due to wind conditions) - Yunomine pair (usually closed on weekdays) - Mizunashi triple (usually closed on weekdays) - Challenge pair (usually closed on weekdays) - Utopia pair (usually closed on weekdays)
Courses not open today are: - Grand Prix - Courses affected by top lifts closing due to weather conditions Read more ...
Monday 20th February 2017, 8:40am
Morning from Hakuba.
And we have some interesting conditions this morning. Not the coldest of mornings, but a bit wild.
Here's what Happo-one are saying:
"Due to electrical thunder storm & lighting this morning Happo-one has temporarily suspended all lift operations. Opening times of lifts are expected to be delayed."
Hakuba 47 is also on standby, as is the top of Hakuba Goryu - at the time of writing.
So it's pretty wild at the moment. Scary is a word I'm hearing as well!
The good news is that there's a layer of fresh snow on the ground - varying numbers being reported but up to 20-30cm being reported in places as we approach 9am - it's coming down thick and fast as well at the moment so I would expect more cm to be adding up quite quickly if this continues.
At least let's hope the stormy conditions ease off (not the snow) to let everywhere open up...
Resort news as of 8:30am on Monday 20th 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 10cm of fresh snowfall this morning. Opening delayed due to weather conditions. Official snow depth Upper: 260cm Base: 135cm
Hakuba Goryu: Hakuba Goryu is reporting 10cm of fresh snowfall on upper slopes. Opening of top areas delayed due to weather conditions. Official snow depth Alps: 330cm Toomi: 170cm Iimori: 130cm
Hakuba Happo-one: Hakuba Happo-one is reporting 10cm of fresh snowfall (Riesen quad top). Opening delayed due to weather conditions. Official snow depth: Usagidaira: 240cm Kurobishi: 280cm Lower: 150cm
Tsugaike Kogen: The resort appears to be opening as planned this morning - unconfirmed at the time of report -- please check! Official snow depth: Tsuga-no-mori: 330cm Han-no-ki: 315cm Maruyama: 160cm Oya-no-hara: 135cm Kane-no-naru-oka: 140cm
Hakuba Cortina: The resort is reporting 5-10cm of fresh snowfall. Some lifts affected by weather early morning. Official snow depth: Top: 340cm Base: 215cm
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 Katamatsu-Shirakaba area February 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 ...
Monday 20th February 2017, 8:43am
Morning from Yuzawa.
A dusting of snow earlier on, but that's gone now because unfortunately it is raining.
We never like rain in mid-winter of course, so really hoping that it will get colder and turn into snow asap. Looking like it might be this evening before we can realistically expect that to happen, but snow is forecast for the day tomorrow as it should be much colder during the day time.
Possibly some strong southerly winds at higher elevations during the day but resorts all look like they are opening as planned at the start of the day.
So it's not the best of news this morning, but there is snow to look forward to.
Official snow depth information as of Monday 20th February 2017
GALA Yuzawa Upper part of $2,600,000 closed today due to avalanche danger. Otherwise open as planned. Official snow depth: 370cm
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 ...
Monday 20th February 2017, 8:45am
Good morning from Grandeco.
Just a slight bit of snowfall last night and now it has started falling quite heavily. Though it is a little on the milder side of things this morning.
The forecast has been saying it will be raining to the south of Mt. Bandai but the Urabandai area it will be snowing.
A strong wind is forecast from this afternoon, so conditions are probably going to be better this morning...
- Gondola - Number 1 quad lift - Number 2 quad lift - Number 3 quad lift - Number 4 quad lift
All courses now open
Official snow depth: 280cm
Road Condition to Grandeco: Inawashiro through Goshikinuma: snow Goshukinuma through Grandeco: snow Read more ...
Monday 20th February 2017, 8:54am
Morning from Madarao.
It's a little warmer this morning but light - wet - snow is falling on the mountain and the resort reporting up to 5cm of snow on the slopes - better than lower down in the city where it is raining.
Unfortunately it will probably be getting a bit warmer during the day, and be wet here too. Hopefully we'll minimise that. And the good news is that it should be getting colder tonight and proper snow due.
There were some rather strong winds blowing about earlier on, but things seem to be calming down now a bit now so I expect the resort to be open as planned. Still might be quite windy out on the mountain though.
Here's to the snow tonight!
Operating status for the day at Madarao Kogen (at time of report):
- Number 1 lift - Number 2 quad lift - Number 3A 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 on 19th March)
Currently cloudy skies and a temperature of -4 outside my door. Some light snow falling and not so much wind. There’s quite a cloud/fog layer currently over the mountain which may lift in an hour or so.
Today also looks promising for snowfall with quite a few, maybe 20cm, coming late this afternoon and this evening. We’re expecting temperatures to lower even more tonight and into tomorrow to -11 . We my see the clouds disappear for a few hours tomorrow and the day after. Snowfall is expected throughout the week which will certainly help.
Overall the mountain is in good shape and the runs have a nice dusting of snow this morning.
Enjoy the day.
Planned operating lifts at time of report (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 Vista quad Nishimori
Yesterday was a fine day weather wise and temperatures remained pretty cold.
I am hearing word of rain at lower areas this morning, but here in Shiga Kogen it is snowing... and coming down quite heavily as well as I write this. Not the lightest driest snow, but definitely better than rain! Though forecasts do warn of the potential for it to be raining sometime today. Let's keep those temperatures down to avoid that!
There's a wind with us too today so it perhaps feels colder than it actually is.
Decent snow expected tonight so I should have a nice new layer to report tomorrow morning. Forecast looks decent through until the weekend too.
Official snow depths numbers reported by different areas of Shiga Kogen:
Please note that these numbers are the official numbers that ski resorts publish. Also that they often don't update daily and don't reflect the amount of fresh snow falling!
Ichinose Family: Every day until 25th March (6:30pm-9pm)
Ichinose Diamond: Every Saturday until 25th March and 19th March (6:30pm-9pm)
Yakebitaiyama: Every Saturday until 4th March (6pm-8pm)
Kumanoyu: Every Saturday until 25th March and 19th March (6:30pm-9pm) Read more ...
Monday 20th February 2017, 9:20am
It was cold overnight and early this morning but has already warmed up somewhat.
Just a dusting of snow overnight here at base, so no new cm to report.
There is a chance of rain here today with milder temps forecast during the daytime, but even if we get that it shouldn't last long with things getting colder later and snow due overnight tonight; possibly some strong winds as well.
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 - 125cm Paradise - 220cm Chuo - 220cm Utopia - 170cm Uwanodai - 130cm Yokokura - 155cm
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 ...
Monday 20th February 2017, 9:35am
Gray. Oh, it's gray.
This is one of those days when you would probably prefer that I offer you alternative facts about the weather.
The resorts, for example, are telling you that it is snowing, or snowing lightly. Which might be true at the very top of the lifts, but down here at base the precipitation is the wet, not white, kind.
There is the possibility of heavy snow later; the prefecture's prediction doesn't come out until 10am, so I don't know what might be possible (and the site is pretty good in its predictions).
So the morning is not a pretty one, but let's hope it changes soon!
It is a nice clear day with plenty of sunshine. We certainly have been fortunate with the large dumps of pow over the last couple of days. Unfortunately the forecast has changed and the heavy snow forecast for this evening will instead only be a light fall. However the snow be continuous for 3 days - Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Read more ...
Monday 20th February 2017, 20:33pm
Clear early, Rain in the afternoon, Heavy snow this evening
Great start to the morning with a couple of awesome runs at Tenjin after their closure yesterday. The snow was soft and really good until things warmed up and it rained later in the morning.
The mountain was a write off by noon as the rain continued till early evening, Its currently snowing and is forecast to be a big one. Things are cooling right off too so tomorrow should be really good.
Probably Hodaigi or Okutone the best picks in the area.
5cm Tenjin 0cm Hodaigi 0cm Okutone
Temps at 8am
Official snow depth:
380cm Tenjin 240cm Hodaigi 250cm Okutone
Resorts in Minakami (forecasts available from each page):
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 ...