Snow and weather reports posted on Wednesday 21st April 2021
Saturday 28th November 2015, 8:36am
Fine, some cloud moving on
Morning from Hirafu and the Niseko area.
I don't have much to report really this morning as the storm that other areas seem to be enjoying has cotinued to give us a miss. I wouldn't take it personally and it's still very early (etc etc), but obviously everyone here now is looking anxiously to the skies and itching to get the season started.
There may well have been some snowfall higher up on the mountain but no cm for me to report down here. As of yesterday Hirafu were reporting 30cm of snow on the upper areas of the resort.
As I have been writing this report the early morning cloudiness has been clearing up and all of a sudden from where I am I can now see parts of Mt Yotei with some cloud clinging to the slopes... but quite a lot of blue skies as well.
Snow is actually forecast to fall today with the chance of snowfall on and off through Monday. Moderate to strong winds also possible at times with currently wind coming in from the north west. We will just have to wait and see what nature provides.
Each season has its own story of course but for the moment just looking at the numbers: last year I observed 30cm in the month of November here at base in Niseko. So far this month I have observed 26cm. For the full story behind that and what happened in December, do look back over the archives which can be found lower down the Niseko Now page (on the main site).
Planned opening dates for the Niseko resorts:
Niseko Grand Hirafu: as soon as there's enough snow Niseko Annupuri: as soon as there's enough snow Niseko Village: Tuesday 1st December Niseko HANAZONO: Saturday 5th December
'Nighta' should be starting on Saturday 12th December Read more ...
Saturday 28th November 2015, 8:59am
Partly cloudy, some blue sky
It was really trying yesterday... trying to snow. And it did succeed in higher areas as well. Snow started falling from around mid-day in the Naeba area and on the mountains as well. Snowfall didn't quite reach the main town area of Yuzawa (as far as I experienced), where at times it was really raining very heavily.
This morning the rain has stopped and again we have some clouds amongst clearer blue skies at the moment, even though the local forecast is more for rain through the day again. Things seem somewhat unpredictable at the moment, as if nature can't make up its mind if it wants to get into that full on winter feeling yet.
Sitting here in the Ishiuchi area just to the north of central Yuzawa now, I can see that the top third of the slopes of Ishiuchi Maruyama, Yuzawa Kogen and the upper areas of Maiko Snow Resort are looking quite white with a blanket of snow. First time I have seen the snow get so close to town this season.
Over at Kagura they are reporting this morning 5cm of snowfall in the Mitsumata area, and presumably more up at Kagura. It's not enough to open Kagura though, so the choice remains just the Family run at Mitsumata for the moment. We can be sure that they will open up more as soon as possible.
This morning is forecast to be relatively mild - and it feels that way at about 6 degrees now - but temperatures are due to drop later on in the day and rain (with snow higher up) expected.
Planned opening dates for resorts in Yuzawa Town and Minamiuonuma City (by date):
Currently part open: Kagura (Mitsumata) - 1100m course at Mitsumata open with snow mats - no natural snow to ski on yet
Yesterday it was great to see some snow falling here in Nozawa and things starting to turn white around lunchtime.
Not much has changed in how things are looking this morning.
Early morning cloud has been clearing the last hour or so leaving us with bits of blue sky on show - for now. Rain or sleet or snow is forecast for the day today, with us obviously hoping for the latter. Temperatures are likely to top out around +5C midday though so perhaps we can realistically just hope for that later on tonight when things get colder. I wouldn't be too expectant though as it doesn't look set to get that cold.
There really isn't a huge amount of snow lined up on the weekly forecasts - just some here and there. Hopefully nature can surprise us soon.
We can only just be hopeful, sit tight and wait now.
Good morning from Hakuba. And a very good morning it is as well, as I bring good news.
As I write this report it is 9am on Saturday 28th November and it's officially going to be the first day of the season in Hakuba.
Yes, thanks to that lovely snowfall of yesterday, the top course at Hakuba Goryu is opening this morning from 10am! The Alps Daira Number 1 lift is going to be moving with Hakuba 47 Line E lift joining in the fun from tomorrow. (Entry only via Hakuba Goryu). Tickets are 2500 yen.
Happo-one resort is also planning to open from 12 noon with the Kokusai Number 3 lift and Panorama Pair lift due to move with the Panorama course set to open. Tickets are 2600 yen for adults and 1600 yen for children from the Gondola ticket office where the journey to the snow starts.
Can't see any news from Tsugaike Kogen just yet though they did report up to 20cm of snow at their bus stop.
Let's just rewind to yesterday where it was snowing down to the village from the morning, giving us generally around 10cm in many places, though it did let up by evening. It was of course great to see everything turn white and that winter feeling come flooding back.
And so to today and the start of the season. It's limited of course and still want much more snowfall, but turns on natural snow are available. And there's even a bit of sunshine at the moment as well.
I will do my best to keep you up-to-date each day with the latest lift movements and openings in this early season period. Things can change very quickly even within a day though at this stage of the season in particular, so if you are planning on getting out there I do highly recommend that you check the resort official websites for the latest.
Just a quick look at the forecast - not a huge amount of snow over the coming week and a good chance of rain in the village, so we are going to have to keep an eye on that as well.
Have fun if you are going to get out there!
Planned resort opening dates
Hakuba 47: On standby to open as soon as there is enough snow -- until 6th May
Some snowfall since yesterday, though not a huge amount... not enough to kick things into action this morning.
It does look like Kumanoyu will be opening tomorrow though with the help of man-made snow.
Right now the sun is shining and it's a mix of cloud and blue sky up there. Snow is on the forecast for today though so perhaps we can expect clouds to move in.
Over the coming days I am going to be doing my best to bring to you the latest opening news from around Shiga Kogen - sometimes even if you are here it is actually difficult to get clear information (it can be very frustrating!) and early season things often change very quickly. As such if you do intend to visit Shiga Kogen in this early season, I recommend you contact the places you are staying and the resorts for the very latest. Read more ...
Saturday 28th November 2015, 12:22pm
Blue patches have been in place all day, with patches of accompanying sunlight.
Furano resort up and running today
Sorry for the delay in reporting the weather to you - we were too busy skiing, a terrible excuse. Except not for us. We loved it.
Furano opened the resort this morning on the side accessible from the New Furano Prince Hotel. They always have a staged opening, and more lifts and gondolas will start operating gradually until the full mountain is humming in about two weeks.
There is about 60cm of snow up top which is a good base. We had considerable fluffy snow yesterday afternoon (following the morning's gluggy snowfall). Between natural melt, gluggy compression, and the fresh snow on top, 60cm is about right.
There was a very light breeze this morning at the base of the Kitanomine Zone, but up top just now, I didn't notice any wind.
Photo 1 is my usual 7am shot of the resort from Kitanomine Village. Photo 2 was taken at about midday today. It's fresh tracks (and first tracks of the season) at Furano Resort. Read more ...