Happy happy morning of snow after yesterdays fizzer. Yesterday afternoon became quite warm which reversed some of the snow base which we didn't need. Last night wasn't much better with rain and high wind. Word late last night was, because of this, Kitanomine was most likely not to be running today. This morning has had a good run of light snow which will help the cause a tad. Snow is forcasted for the rest of the day but again will only be light. Read more ...
Sunday 21st December 2014, 8:44am
Unfortunately, it can't be great news every day.
Yesterday was mostly cloudy with the sun out from time to time and a bit of blue sky, but it didn't get quite as warm as we were expecting. A fair wind as well at times.
Later in the day it was raining and quite hard at times and it looks like it has been raining overnight as well... and continuing now though it is trying to snow with more like sleet at times. It's around +1C here at the moment and the forecast is confident that it will turn into snow. Snow is forecast for today and tomorrow, with tomorrow being slightly colder than today and looking the better bet for new cm.
The snow around my place has noticeably gone down in the last 24 hours. I'd say as much as 50cm or so. You'll notice that the snow depths at the resorts have mostly taken a hit as well. So the rain will have done no favours to the snow conditions out there for today, especially at lower town levels.
A good example of how quickly things can change and a reminder that we always want fresh snow!
Kagura are actually reporting 5cm of fresh snow this morning,so no doubt they will be the folks with the best conditions today.
Sobering news last night when it was reported on the local news that a snowboarder had died at the Muikamachi Hakkaisan resort in Minamiuonuma. It appears that he was had been out of bounds off the official courses and had suffocated after finding himself buried in a large amount of snow.
Sadly in the afternoon yesterday we got served up with rain which continued to fall overnight as well. Not the best introduction to Niseko for the many people who are probably here for their first taste of the resort that's for sure.
Happily this morning temperatures have dropped somewhat and it has been snowing... quite heavily in fact as I write this.
As well as the snow though, some strong winds as well this morning.
Take into account the less than perfect conditions due to the rain; the wind; the limited visibility and only a limited number of lifts and courses open this morning; and it all adds up to not one of the best days. Time for a soak in the onsen perhaps.
The good news is that now it has turned into snow it should continue today and tomorrow as well. In fact, it's generally snowy conditions forecast through the coming week, so conditions should hopefully improve quite quickly.
From today I have changed things up a bit in the report, and will note any resort-specific news in the area below if there is any that I can find to share.
Resort specific news at time of writing - subject to change during the day
Niseko Grand Hirafu: Just the low Holiday Number 1 lift and Ace Number 1 Pair lift moving at the moment due to weather conditions.
Niseko Village: The Niseko Gondola is not moving due to the winds. Community, Banzai and Morino Chair lifts open as normal.
Niseko Annupuri: All lifts on hold as of 8:30am due to strong wind conditions. They will open if and when conditions improve.
Niseko Avalanche Report
Moiwa base: -4C, heavy snowfall from before 6am. Moiwa 600m: westerly gusts, poor visibility and snowdrifts starting to develop. Annupuri 1150m: -12C, W15-25m/s with snowfall. Icy and dodgy condition from 400m altitude on down. Coastal data: Benkei cape NW19m/s at 5:25am, Kamui cape WSW21m/s, 999hPa and 1.8m waves. Westerly 25m/s winds are forecasted at 1500m level at noon.
The temperature dropped and a westerly storm started as the cold front passed around midnight. A 20-30m/s wind with heavy snowfall is blowing above 600m from 5am, snowdrifts will develop drastically and the avalanche hazard will rise accordingly. A track across the rope of closed gate 6, heading to Mikaeri area was found yesterday. Keep in mind that out of bounds access from ski resorts is still officially prohibited in Japan. Niseko’s gate system is quite unique and is actually still an experimental grey area. Respecting the Niseko Rules is the only way to protect the freedom to step out of bounds, as well as keeping the minimum safety of all guests. Many seem to understand the situation and remain patient until the gates open, but it is a shame to see that some still disregards a simple rule. "Freedom" is not easy to obtain and should not be misperceived.
Official snow depth numbers and any notes at time of writing:
Grand Hirafu / Hanazono: Top - 210cm Base - 90cm
Niseko Village: Top - 150cm Base - 100cm
Niseko Annupuri: Top - 135cm Base - 110cm
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. There is no night skiing at the Hanazono area.
Don't like using the word wet, but we have just a thin bit of wet snow on the ground this morning in places - though it's better than just rain I suppose. Did look like it was trying to snow last night but obviously didn't turn into much in the end.
Lots of 'gas' and cloud around this morning, but some blue sky as well. Bit of sun as well and mild conditions. We're forecast snow though and expecting potentially decent amounts of fresh snowfall over today and tomorrow. That would be good.
There has been a fairly strong wind early morning but it doesn't seem to be affecting resort openings at all.
New snow please!
Official snow depth numbers and operations as of 21st December 2014. Subject to change during the day:
Hakuba Goryu: Reporting 15cm of new snowfall at Alps Daira. All lifts operating except Alps Daira 2&4. All courses open except Adventure Course. Night skiing at Toomi - every day from tonight until 31st March.
Hakuba 47: Reporting 5cm of new snowfall yesterday afternoon by Line C; this morning 5cm of wet snow at base. All courses open. Tree Riding Zone not open yet.
- Upper - 190cm - Lower - 110cm
Happo-one: Reporting 10cm of new snowfall. Most courses at Happo-one are now open. Happo Banks The Snow Park not yet open. Snow Chao Kids Park is open but only able to operate the moving carpet, ski zone and sleigh zone.
Hakuba Cortina: Reporting 0cm of new snowfall. Lifts 3, 5 and 7 not open - resort part open. Night skiing every day until 31st March.
- Upper - 275cm - Lower - 180cm
Tsugaike Kogen: Most areas of Tsugaike Kogen are now open, most notably the Uma-no-se course not yet open. Next night skiing is from 27th December through 1st January in both Kane-no-naru-oka and Karamatsu-Shirakaba areas.
It's just cloudy at the moment over Nozawa, with some fog covering higher areas of the mountain.
Better than the rain that we had later in the day yesterday, and quickly looking forward and trying not to dwell on that, we are hoping for snow to be falling today. Temperatures currently hovering around 0 degrees so slightly colder than yesterday but still could do with being colder which is where we should be heading. Today and tomorrow snow is forecast though not the strength of the winter patterns we saw last week.
Anyone get to janken with Nasuki yesterday? ;)
All courses now open except:
Hikage no kabe Grand Prix course Jumping Course Mukoubayashi Challenge 39 Kandahara West Kandahara East Kamoshika Course
Lifts open (subject to weather conditions):
All lifts operating except:
Kandahar Pair Shinyu Pair Hikage Number 2 Pair A line
The Snow Japan weather forecast hits it! As predicted, an afternoon/evening of rain and wind yesterday, followed by colder temperatures and very light snow this morning. Doesn't look like there will be a major fall in the coming days. but snow will be falling. We're already far ahead of most years anyway!
Rain came and did it's thing last night unfortunately, and looking at the positives from that the groomers will be nice and fast this morning. How dare rain come and dampen the excitement of all that snow!
Anyway, it's not raining now and just cloudy in the region. Keeping quite mild but we're expecting snow clouds to be here soon with snow forecast for today and tomorrow.
So I hope to bring news of a new layer of snow in my report tomorrow.
Number 1 lift Number 2 quad lift Super quad lift Number 11 lift Number 12 lift Number 15 lift Moving Walkway
Tree runs - expected to open... but early morning reports has them closed: POWDER WAVE RIVER LINE USAGI KAMOSHIKA CRYSTAL BOWL POWDER WAVE I POWDER WAVE II NINJA
1cm of snow to report this morning from Zao, which is nice to report as it rained here last night.
Quite strong winds are persisting this morning though here in the village it feels fairly mild. It may well be different up on the slopes where visibility also seems very limited in places.
Snowfall expected through into tomorrow, with moderate to strong winds also a feature to expect.
I have added the 'Light Up' dates for the 2014/2015 season below and will keep those on the report each day until that is finished. On those operating days, the Zao Ropeway operates in the evening and the . Subject to weather conditions. Your ski lift ticket isn't valid for this and while it's not cheap to go up there I think it's definitely worth taking a look once on a night when the weather conditions are clear.
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.
Juhyo 'Ice Monsters' Light Up night time ropeway operations
December 2014: 27th-31st January 2015: 1st-4th, 10th-12th, 17th-18th, 24th-31st February 2015: 1st-28th
Operating from 5pm until 9pm; last ropeway up at 7:50pm. Ropeway return charges are 2600 yen for adults and 1300 yen for children. In the event of poor weather conditions, operations are sometimes cancelled. Read more ...
Shiga Kogen Now!
Sunday 21st December 2014, 10:20am
Cloud, fog, gas
Strong winds during the day yesterday affecting some lifts.
No snow earlier - just cloud and gas - but it has started snowing again now (actually quite heavily in the last few minutes) and fingers crossed we're on for a few days of snowfall that will bring new cm to the area.
Poor visibility in places this morning.
Yesterday was the first evening of the season when the floodlights were on and some lifts moving. Good to see nighta back!
Resort areas status with official snow depths:
Okushiga Kogen: 70cm Most open, more open from today (note: skiers only resort area)
Yakebitaiyama: 100cm Most open
Ichinose Family 90cm Most open
Ichinose Yamanokami: 90cm Open
Ichinose Diamond: 90cm Part open
Takamagahara Mammoth: 90cm Open
Terakoya: 110cm Open
Higashitateyama: 90cm Open
Giant: 80cm Open
Nishitateyama: 90cm Most open
Happo Bundaraia: 90cm Open
Sun Valley: 60cm Open
Maruike: 60cm Open
Hasuike: 60cm Open
Kumanoyu: 110cm Open (note: skiers only resort area)
Yokoteyama: 110cm Most open. Shibutoge area not yet open.
Planned night floodlit skiing at Shiga Kogen resort areas this season:
Sun Valley: December 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 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 ...