Good morning from Zao and the story this morning isn't any better.
It's mild - even above zero up on the mountain - but at least it isn't raining. Not as I write this anyway.
There is a bit more snow scattered around the weekly forecast now so perhaps that is a sign of improvement.
What we really need of course is a few days of prolonged blizzard heavy-snow conditions, but it looks likely we are going to have to hold out a bit longer for some of that.
>b>The following lifts are not operating: Astraea Number 3 pair Kurohime Number 1 quad Onsen Number 2 quad Onsen Number 3 parallel AB Onsen Number 4 quad Zao Paradise Number 3 pair Zao Kokutai pair Ryuzan pair Karamatsu pair Sunrise pair AB Nakamori Number 1 triple Nakamori Number 2 pair Zao Paradise Number 3 pair Yokokura Number 1 pair A Yokokura Number 2 Astraea Number 1 pair Astraea Number 2 pair Omori quad
Official snow depths: Chuo - 50cm Utopia - 25cm Uwanodai - 15cm Paradise - 40cm
Juhyo 'Ice Monsters' Light Up night time Zao Ropeway operations
December 2016: 29th-31st January 2017: 1st-3rd, 7th, 8th, 14th, 15th, 21st, 22nd, 27th-31st February 2017: 1st-28th March 2017: 1st-5th
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 ...
Tuesday 27th December 2016, 8:16am
Raining in the village
Hello from Naeba!
Well unfortunately the rain predicted came true and has stuck with us throughout the night. Temperatures in the village has meant it is unable to turn to snow but up top it is colder so there is a fair chance that white stuff is falling there.
Slope conditions should still be pretty reasonable but be careful as the temperature drops and some ice patches are likely to appear.
Over the next couple of days we are expecting to see moderately consistent precipitation which will be a mix of rain and snow. AS time goes by snow will become more dominant. Read more ...
Tuesday 27th December 2016, 8:31am
Hello and good morning from my base here in Hirafu.
Yesterday... it did get a bit too mild for snowfall and... it rained.
It got really foggy too later in the day, or it did where I was anyway. I got caught up in it and quickly decided to head back to my base asap.
The good news is that the rain turned into snow and this morning I have a whopping 1cm to report to you. So you can probably take a decent guess at what conditions are going to be like this morning.
Around 16th/17th December I remember congratulating people who chose to be here at that time due to the lovely snow conditions we were having. Well, unfortunately the last week has been something of a let down after that. That is of course not to say that there is not a lot of fun to be had - of course; no misunderstandings please! - just that we have not been getting the regular refills that we expect and require. It just goes to show how quickly things can change as well; though once we get into the main season we rightly hope it's more 'on' than 'off'.
Taking another look at the updated forecast and it looks like we can expect light snow into tomorrow with perhaps heavier snow due around Thursday and into Friday.
Having said that, as I am writing this report it is snowing quite nicely. Continue please!
Today was that super special 'premium' early lift thing at Niseko Grand Hirafu, if I recall correctly. Wonder how that's going.
Niseko Avalanche Report:
Niseko base 6am: -3℃, no snowfall. Moiwa peak: no data. Annupuri 1150m: -11℃, NNE8m/s, light snowfall. Hirafu 1200m: -11℃, N10m/s, snowfall and small snowdrifts. Coastal data: Kamui cape ESE2m/s, 1009hPa, 1.3m waves.
Although under typical winter barometric pattern, the isobars are spread out and the weather is relatively calm this morning. Snowdrifts and cornices development is small. The general avalanche risk is low.
Too many people are ducking ropes with selfish interpretation. The gate system in Niseko is based on the premise that all users respect the Rules. Neglecting them is not good.
The resort is considering partial opening of gates soon, please be patient.
Moiwa gate 6 is scheduled to open this weekend as the rescue cat track has been groomed. However, the bushes are still thick. Make conservative decisions.
Resort specific opening news at time of writing (subject to change during the day):
The mountain is nearly (but not yet quite) fully open. Doesn't feel windy here at base but apparently a few top lifts are on hold at the start of the day due to windy conditions in upper areas.
Niseko Grand Hirafu The top Ace Number 4 lift remains closed. King Number 4 lift is on stand-by at the start of the day, due to wind conditions.
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 ...
Tuesday 27th December 2016, 8:32am
Hello and good morning to you all, my friends.
Although it really isn't a good morning. I'm going to keep my report short in protest at this weather. And hopefully shame it into getting better!
It's raining. I've had to adjust what is open in the resort specific details below with some lifts having to stop and some courses having to close. It's all a bit grim.
But hopefully - surely, please - it is going to be snowing very soon. Around lunchtime maybe? That forecast still does actually look quite promising.
So fingers crossed that come the time of my report tomorrow I'll be in a much happier mood and able to tell you all about decent amounts of fresh snow on the ground and up on the mountain.
Resort news as of 8:40am on Tuesday 27th December 2016:
All information as available and subject to change during the day due to weather and snow conditions.
Hakuba 47: Hakuba 47 is now mostly open. The resort is reporting 0cm of fresh snowfall. Gondola downloading no longer required - you can ski/board to base. The upper course connection with Goryu is now open. Operating lifts and course info: - Gondola - Line A.B - Line C - Line E All courses now open apart from Route 7, Route 3 and lower part of Route 8 (the last two having closed again due to the snow conditions). The Tree Riding Zone is not yet open. Official snow depth Line C Upper: 90cm Base: 10cm
Hakuba Goryu: Hakuba Goryu is currently part open. The resort is reporting 0cm of fresh snowfall. Gondola downloading required back to base. The upper course connection with Hakuba 47 is now open. Operating lifts and course info: - Gondola - Alps Number 1 - Alps Number 3 - Toomi Sky Four - Toomi Number 1 pair - Milky Four The following courses are open: - Grand Prix - Panorama - Super - Toomi - Soft Cream Official snow depth Alps: 110cm Toomi: 30cm Iimori: 20cm
Hakuba Happo-one: Hakuba Happo-one is currently part open. Downloading via Gondola or Kokusai Number 1 pair lift required. Operating lifts and course info: - Gondola - Grat quad (for climbing) - Alpen quad - Usagidaira pair - Panorama pair - Kokusai Number 1 - Kokusai Number 3 - Kurobishi Number 2 quad - Skyline Number 2 pair - Sakka Kita-one quad The following courses are open: - Kurobishi (part) - Usagidaira (part) - Panorama (part) Official snow depth: Usagidaira: 60cm Kurobishi: 75cm
Tsugaike Kogen: Tsugaike Kogen is currently part open. Operating lifts and course info: - Eve Gondola - Han-no-ki pair - Tsuga Number 1 pair - Tsuga Number 2 pair The following courses are open: - Han-no-ki - Tsuga-no-mori Official snow depth: Tsuga-no-mori: 80cm Han-no-ki: 80cm Oya-no-hara: -cm Kane-no-naru-oka: -cm
Hakuba Cortina: Hakuba Cortina is currently part open. The resort is reporting 0cm of fresh snowfall. Operating lifts and course info: - Number 1 pair - Number 2 quad - Number 4 pair lift The following courses are at least part open: - Ikenoda - Mt Hieda 1 - Itadaria Official snow depth: Top: 80cm Base: 45cm
Hakuba Iwatake Snow Field: Hakuba Iwatake Snow Field is currently part open. Operating lifts and course info: - Gondola - 3-sen North lift - 4-sen East lift The following courses are at least part open: - East Official snow depth: Top: 30cm Base: -cm
Kashimayari: Kashimayari is currently part open. Operating lifts: - Number 2 pair - Number 6 quad Official snow depth: Top: 25cm
Hakuba Norikura Onsen: Hakuba Norikura Onsen is currently part open. Lift info: The Alps Number 1 and Number 4 pair lifts are operating with two courses open. Official snow depth: Top: 30cm
Please note that Yanaba ski hill will not be opening for the 2016-2017 season Read more ...
Nozawa Onsen Now!
Tuesday 27th December 2016, 8:32am
It's not a pretty picture this morning, I'm afraid.
Rain is falling and patches of ground starting to show on the lower areas. The resort have chopped 20cm off the snow depth for the Yamabiko area too. :(
I'm keeping this short as I look forward to my report tomorrow which will hopefully be full of fresh snow... it's what the forecast promises, and I believe them! :)
Time for a slow onsen and good meal out for me today though.
Tuesday 27th December 2016
Lifts that are planned to be operating: All lifts appear to be operating except for: - Kandahar pair - Hikage quad - Nagasaka quad - Nagasaka pair - Karasawa pair
Courses that are planned to be open: - Yamabiko A course - Yamabiko B course - Yamabiko C course - Yamabiko D course - Yamabiko E course - Kokenashi course - Uenotaira course - Paradise course - Paradise link - Mizunashi A - Mizunashi B - Bunabayashi course - Yunomine A course - Yunomine B course - Rinkan course - Challenge course - Hikage
Fresh snow reported by resort since yesterday morning: - Yamabiko: 0cm - Uenotaira: 0cm - Hikage: 0cm - Nagasaka: 0cm - Karasawa: 0cm Read more ...
Tuesday 27th December 2016, 8:33am
It was forecast, and it's happening.
Sadly, I have to report rain this morning.
But quickly trying to get away from that, forecasts do have this wetness turning into snow from around midday today and to continue into tomorrow. So I'm looking forward to bringing you news of fresh snow on the ground in my report tomorrow.
Operating status for the day at Madarao Kogen (at time of report):
- Number 1 lift - Number 2 quad lift - Super quad lift - Number 11 lift - Number 12 lift - Number 15 lift - Moving walkway - Kids Park - Free ride Park
I was reading some of the other reports just now, and it's a similar picture and mood here.
We are being rained on again (even at higher resort areas early morning) but expecting the rain to turn into snow sometime around lunchtime. It really can't come soon enough as we continue to see the snow line move back up the mountains with a feeling of shock and hurt!
The choice of courses that are open at lower levels are restricted now anyway, but there is still (relatively) decent snow at higher resorts like GALA Yuzawa, Yuzawa Kogen and Kagura and so they are the inevitable recommendations in terms of snow cover for those heading out at the moment.
Long time readers and people who know this area will know how quickly things can change. So we might be looking at a whole different picture very soon...
Resort-specific info as of Tuesday 27th December 2016
GALA Yuzawa 9 courses in the Central and North areas are open. Official snow depth: 90cm
Ishiuchi Maruyama The lift from the Kanko base (and a total of 7 lifts) are operating. Official snow depth: 50cm
Iwappara Iwappara is part open. 5 lifts and 13 courses are open. Official snow depth: 30cm
Joetsu Kokusai Part of Panorama area of Joetsu Kokusai is open with 6 lifts operating and 3 courses up there open. Official snow depth: 30cm
Kagura All areas of Kagura are generally open. The top Kagura Number 5 pair lift and course will open from 1st January 2017. The Dragondola connecting Kagura with Naeba is not yet open. Official snow depth: Kagura - 150cm Mitsumata - 110cm Tashiro - 130cm
Kandatsu Kogen Kandatsu Kogen is part open with three lifts operating. Official snow depth: 45cm
Naeba The Prince Number 2 Gondola, Takenokodaira pair, Number 3, 4 and 5 high speed lifts and Number 4 romance pair lifts are operating. Official snow depth: 50cm
Maiko Snow Resort The Gondola and Okusoeji quad and pair lifts are operating. 7 courses open in total. Official snow depth: Upper - 50cm Base - cm
Muikamachi Hakkaisan The Ropeway and Number 3 romance pair lifts are operating. Official snow depth: 50cm
NASPA Ski Garden NASPA Ski Garden is open with 2 courses and lifts 3, 4 and 5 operating. Official snow depth: 30cm
Yuzawa Kogen Yuzawa Kogen is part open. The lower Nunoba area is closed. The Ropeway, Cosmos pair lift, Summit pair lift and Kogen Express lifts are operating. Official snow depth: Top - 60cm Base - 0cm
Yuzawa Park Yuzawa Park is part open with the Number 7 lift operating. Official snow depth: 15cm
Yuzawa Nakazato Yuzawa Nakazato is part open with 3 lifts operating. Official snow depth: 15cm
'Nighta' (floodlit night operations)
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 between 29th December 2016 and 1st April 2017. The nighta opening times on those days is from 6pm until 4am the following morning.
Maiko Snow Resort Daily from 28th December 2016 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. Part of the lower area of the resort is usually open for nighta.
NASPA Ski Garden 'Thanks' (extended) opening on Saturdays in December, January and February and also on 23rd December and from 30th December until 8th January 2017. On those days the Number 1 lift is open until 6pm.
Yuzawa Nakazato Every Saturday from 7th January until 11th March 2017, 29th December until 3rd January, 8th January 2017. Nighta is from 5pm until 8:30pm. The Number 2 pair lift operates during nighta. Read more ...
Tuesday 27th December 2016, 9:14am
It is looking like another great powder day with 6cm of new snow overnight and heavy snow falling at the moment. The flakes coming down are large and very fluffy, and accumulation is building quickly on the ground. There are very light winds and the snow coming down means that visibility is okay but not great. It should improve as the snow fall eases off.
All lifts are operating and all courses are expected to be open except for Premium Zone and Giant Course, which looks to be in great shape but has a few dips in the piste.
The snow will ease off this morning and no snow is expected on Wednesday. From Thursday through Saturday continuos light to moderate falls are forecast. Read more ...
Shiga Kogen Now!
Tuesday 27th December 2016, 9:20am
It looks like rain is falling in many areas of Japan this morning and unfortunately even we are not escaping it. Drizzly rain falling earlier but it's actually coming down harder at the moment... but hopefully not for long. It's mild at the start of the day but should be getting colder and hopefully by this afternoon it will be snow that is falling. Odd weather patterns continue and sadly they're not changes to our liking.
Still, being as positive as can be, tomorrow I should be bringing you news of fresh snow. And can we hope for a decent amount too? I think we can, but I don't want to jinx it!
I'll see you again tomorrow. For now, I'm going to have a quiet day dreaming of snow.
Areas of Shiga Kogen currently open and official snow depths:
The majority of ski lifts in Shiga Kogen are now open not all areas/courses are fully open yet.
Some snowfall around the Gondola peak station, but it was rain last night at base area and so there is no new snow to record today...
Temperature remain a little warm this morning but according to the forecast, it will get colder and snow is due tonight.
Three ski resorts are open today in the region - Minowa, Nekoma and Grandeco. The ski resorts located to the south of Mt. Bandai will decide to open or not tomorrow after the snowfall tonight.
Something of interest to English-speaking folk. The Fukushima government is having a campaign for foreigners and here's some details:
People who were born between 1993-1998, foreign passport holders can get a free lift pass during 1 Dec. 2016 - 31 Mar. 2017. Australian passport holders of all ages can get a one day lift ticket for 2,000 yen per person during 1 Dec. 2016 - 31 Mar. 2017. (Hey, what about other nationalities!?)
Anyway if you are eligible and want to take advantage of this, show your passport when you go to buy a ticket.
22 ski hills in Fukushima prefecture are taking part in this campaign but quite a few aren't used to dealing with English-speaking folk, so be sure to learn a few phrases! Grandeco resort is one of the more well-equipped to deal with overseas guests and more than welcoming!
Gondola Number 1 quad lift Number 2 quad lift
[A-a] Rainbow 3500 [A-b] Rainbow 3500 [B-c] Mint C [C] Center [D-b] Lavender B
Official snow depth: 50cm
Road condition to Grandeco: Inawashiro through Goshikinuma : no snow. Goshikinuma through Grandeco : icy, snow tires are necessary. Read more ...
Tuesday 27th December 2016, 11:33am
Overcast, light rain
Light rain here today but from what I am hearing from Hakuba, we are being spared the worst of it. Temps though are inverted so its colder down in the valley than up higher so it remains to be seen what happens to the snow. T
he forecast is for this weather to turn snowy today and continue to snow through Thursday.
If it comes through as predicted, looks like we are in for a lot of snow. Please!
Official snow depths:
90cm Tenjin 50cm Hodaigi 15cm Okutone
Resorts in Minakami (forecasts available from each page):