Snow and weather reports posted on Wednesday 20th February 2019
Saturday 2nd January 2016, 8:30am
Good morning from Yuzawa.
There's no fresh cm of snowfall to report this morning though it was snowing for parts of yesterday, just nothing major.
Clouds remain over the region this morning though no snowfall is expected today. What we are expecting is mild conditons as later on today high of around 8 degeees might be reached. A similar situation is expected for tomorrow as well. Not the kind of thing we want to hear but avoiding rain during the warmer periods is a plus, so hopefully we can do that.
Temperatures should drop as we get to Tuesday and on that day we might get a new layer of snow.
Resort operations (Saturday 2nd January 2016) - subject to change:
Now that everywhere is open, from Monday we'll be bringing you official snow depths at resorts around Yuzawa and Minamiuonuma.
Resorts in Yuzawa:
GALA Yuzawa The Central Area and most of the North Area are now open. The downhill Falcon course is also now open.
Morning from Nozawa. No fresh snow to report this morning - it's mostly cloudy but some breaks in the cloud and the chance of some clearer skies later on. In fact, there's even a bit of sun breaking through the clouds now in places.
All lifts at the resort (apart from the Kandahar lift) are now operating as planned. More courses are available now including one that I really enjoy - Skyline. There's now less courses closed than open - at last - and so I have noted those in the information below.
The forecast has been telling us to expect warmer conditions today and tomorrow and it does feel like it's going to be mild after the early morning chill. Expect high temps around 5-6 degrees today and slightly higher tomorrow.
Next snowfall? Perhaps Tuesday, though there is a chance in there that it may rain before snow. But hopefully not.
Anyway, enjoy the day!
Please note that on Saturday 2nd January and Sunday 3rd January, the lifts and gondolas at Nozawa Onsen will all be starting their day 30 minutes earlier than usual.
Official info at time of writing on Saturday 2nd January 2016 (subject to change):
Hello and a very good morning to you from Hirafu base.
We had light snowfall during the day yesterday, though it didn't amount to much, and some more snow overnight - bringing us a total of 7cm of fresh according to my highly technical and complex measuring system (*a ruler). I actually ordered 20cm of snowfall every night, so I don't know what could have happened to the rest of the delivery. I'll lodge a complaint!
Niseko has in recent years become extremely popular... in large part of course due to the quality snow conditions that can often be enjoyed here. With popularity and reputation comes more and more people - and the need for regular fresh snow to refil tracks. It's like a hunger that never goes away. Luckily we often get that, though obviously not always. If you want empty slopes, Niseko perhaps isn't for you.
It is continuing to snow this morning - lightly as I write this - and I think there's a decent chance I'll be able to bring you bigger numbers tomorrow. It's not as cold this morning and temperatures may even rise into low positive numbers today. I see that many regions of Japan are going to be warming up over the next few days but here fingers crossed it will remain quite low and quickly get back down below zero.
While it doesn't feel particularly windy down here, it seems that some gusty winds higher up on the mountain are affecting top lifts at the time of writing - details added below.
The forecast remains good for snow every day in the coming week. Bring on those refils!
Resort specific news/notes at time of writing (subject to change during the day)
Niseko Grand Hirafu Top King Number 3 and Ace Number 4 lifts on hold early on due to wind conditions.
Niseko Village Top Wonderland Chair lift on hold early on due to wind conditions.
Niseko Annupuri Top Jumbo 4 lift on hold early on due to wind conditions. 12 of 13 courses now open. Early gondola from 7:20am-8:20am on 2nd, 3rd, 9th, 10th. Charge 1000 yen.
Niseko Avalanche Report:
Niseko base 6am: -2℃, light breeze and 5cm of low-pressure system generated snowfall. Moiwa 800m: -2℃, light breeze and 5cm snowfall. Annupuri 1150m: -4℃, NW12m/s, light snowfall. Coastal data: Benkei cape NWN8m/s, Kamui cape WSW11m/s, 1011hPa, 1.3m waves.
A passing pressure trough is generating snowfall since pre-dawn and shallow surface slab slides will be likely to occur as the snowpack grows in south facing steep slopes, triggered from Jan 1st surface layer. Today’s snowfall will remain as a notable layer in future snowpack.
Looking at the snowfall transition and observations, the snowdrifts development is minimal and the general avalanche risk remains low. The slopes have been moderately reset and are in decent condition. The visibility is bad due to the fog generated by the air mass displacement. Be conservative and ride safe. Prudence is key to prevent accidents. Gates 4, 5, 6 and 10 are scheduled to open. Please follow the patrol’s instructions and refrain from ducking ropes.
Official resort snow depths as of Saturday 2nd January 2016:
Grand Hirafu / Hanazono: Top - 255cm Base - 110cm
Niseko Village: Top - 185cm Base - 100cm
Niseko Annupuri: Top - 130cm Base - 100cm
Lifts planned to be open for night skiing:
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)
Good morning from Grandeco. Though I wish I could bring you better news.
There has been just a slight dusting of snow overnight - a few mm - and it is snowing this morning. Wet snow.
It also feels rather mild and set to get slightly warmer. It is 0C at base which is warmer than we expect and unfortunately it is still looking like it might rain this afternoon. All hope is that we might be lucky and it might keep snowing instead, but that hope might be in vain. Of course rain is the last thing that I want to be reporting and it is worrying as it won't do the snow conditions any favours.
There's lots of people about as well this morning - the resort is very busy. I am hearing that the car park is actually full. I just wish that it was snowing for everyone.
Still, from Tuesday onwards temperatures should be getting back down to something like normal again and snow is expected.
70% of the courses at the resort remain open with the course from the top to base 4000 meters long. The Snow Park is open on Lavender B course with 5 meters kicker, 5 meters tabletop and other box items.
All of the ski areas around Ura Bandai are really crowded with skiers/ boarders for the New Year. Keep your distance and play safe!
Gondola Number 1 quad Number 2 quad Number 3 quad
(A-a) Rainbow 3500 (A-b) Rainbow 3500 (A-c) Rainbow 3500 (B-a) Mint (B-c) Mint (C) Center (D-b) Lavender (F) Basil
Welcome to our new ‘Grandeco Now' reports, exclusive to SnowJapan.
As with all our Now daily reports, it extremely important to us that the information we publish is useful, honest and correct and we’ll be doing everything we can to bring you some good info from this region. Grandeco is located in Kita Shiobara village in the north western region of Fukushima Prefecture - we are very pleased to be able to begin reporting from this region of Japan. More information on Grandeco can be found here and a Resort Spotlight on SnowJapan here. Read more ...
Saturday 2nd January 2016, 9:27am
Clear at the moment; clouds likely later (but sunny again tomorrow. Blech.)
A late-ish report today; thought I'd wait until the full official report came out (and I'm not really feeling like going out on the snow today.... yesterday's hike in the woods, bushy as it was, was a lot of fun and featured some nice powder under the snowshoes).
The wind really picked up during the night, as was predicted. Luckily, it seems like it won't be blasting as hard as earlier forecasts had it. Also better than earlier predicted - but still not great - is that the freezing line will "only" be going up to about 1700 meters, not 2000 meters. Either way, this is not good news.
Wish I had better news for you! Things are running, it is a nice sunny day (although I think "nice" and "sunny" do not match here in Myoko) and people are having fun.
Good day on the slopes yesterday with that fresh snow, though I see in places it was rather busy. As you might expect at New Year!
Stroner winds on mountain is affecting some resort lifts this morning. The top Alps lifts at Hakuba Goryu, the top lift at Hakuba 47 and all of Happo-one closed/on standby due to the windy conditions. Cortina and Tsugaike Kogen seems to be open as planned. I would definitely check with resorts for the very latest if you plan to be out today. Hopefully the wind will ease off and allow places to open up.
In other news, over at Hakuba Goryu, the Champion Dynamic and Woody Courses have now opened which means there's a skiable connection between the upper and lower areas there - only recommended for advanced skiers due to the snow conditions. Still good to have them open of course.
The situation remains complicated and changeable!
Huge amount of snow would of course solve lots of the issues. We're going to have to sit tight for a while longer on that score though with today and tomorrow generally going to be on the warm side. With temperatures due to get up to around 8 degrees tomorrow, it's more of that 'unseasonably warm' thing going on again. Temperatures are due to drop again around Tuesday bringing with it a chance of snow.
Apologies for the report being a bit later today. Some people have asked why the reports are not posted very early in a morning. The main reason for that is that there is just so much information to gather each morning - and not all of it is available early. We are going for an ongoing commentary of the season, rather than a first-thing-in-the-morning report. Gambarimasu.
Resort news as of 9:10am on Saturday 2nd January (all subject to change due to weather conditions)
Hakuba 47: Hakuba 47 is reporting 0cm of fresh snowfall. All courses now officially open. However, top Line E lift apparently on hold at time of writing due to wind. Tree Riding Zone not yet open for the season. Official snow depth Upper: 110cm Base: 15cm
Hakuba Goryu: Hakuba Goryu is reporting 0cm of new snowfall. Upper areas, the main Toomi course and the Soft Cream course in the Iimori area are planned to be open. However, wind is affecting the top Alps lifts early this morning and they are on hold at the time of writing. The Champion Dynamic and Woody courses have opened up, connecting the upper and lower areas. Nighta on Toomi until 3rd January. Planned lifts: Telecabin Gondola Alps Number 1 pair lift - on hold Alps Number 2/4 pair lift - on hold Alps Number 3 pair lift - on hold Toomi Sky Four lift Toomi Number 1 pair lift Toomi Number 2 pair lift Milky Four lift Official snow depth Alps: 125cm Toomi: 45cm Iimori: 35cm
Hakuba Happo-one: Usagidaira, Kurobishi, Panorama, Skyline, Kita One and Riesen Slalom areas are now planned to be open with lower course areas are still closed. However, this morning strong winds mean that all lifts at Happo-one are on hold at the time of writing Planned lifts: Adam Gondola Alpen quad lift Usagidaira pair lift Happo Riesen quad Nakiyama Number 3 triple Kurobishi Number 2 quad lift Kurobishi Number 3 pair lift Skyline Number 2 pair lift Kokusai Number 1 lift Kokusai Number 3 lift Panorama pair lift Kita One quad lift Kita One Number 3 pair lift Official snow depth Usagidaira: 80cm Nakiyama: 30cm Sakka: 30cm
Hakuba Cortina: Hakuba Cortina reporting 0cm of fresh snow. Courses open - Ikenota, Ikenota Forest (upper), Mt Hieda Forest, Mt Hieda 1 (lower), Itadaira, Itadaira Forest, Ipponmatsu. Planned lifts: Number 1 pair lift Number 2 quad lift Number 4 pair lift Number 5 pair lift Number 6 pair lift Official snow depth Top: 100cm Base: 60cm
Tsugaike Kogen: Large sections of Tsugaike Kogen are now at least part open. Planned lifts: Most lifts now operating at Tsugaike Kogen Official snow depth Tsuga-no-mori: 133cm Kane-no-naru-oka: 40cm
Hakuba Iwatake Snow Field: Limited areas of the Mountain Side are currently open. Planned lifts: Noah Gondola 3Sen North 4Sen Line East 5Sen South Line Lift Official snow depth Upper: 70cm Lower: 20cm
It was a cloudy start to the day but generally looking and feeling like the skies are going to clear today. Indeed there is more blue sky appearing now and the sun is out.
From today through Monday warmer temperatures are forecast for the region. It does feel milder this morning that's for sure, and perhaps it'll warm up to around 5-6 degrees in the next few days during the daytime. Expect a fair bit of sunshine too.
What we want (and still need) though is snow, of course.
Tuesday would seem to be when we can look forward to a return to generally colder conditions and also some fresh snow. Fingers crossed!
We got some really nice snow falling yesterday morning along with some at times very windy conditions, but conditions clearer in the afternoon. No new snow overnight (the few I am adding today is from yesterday morning since my report).
Lots of cloud around earlier on but it has been clearing and this morning and just now thin cloud in front of some blue skies. The sun is out.
The region is forecast generally milder than usual temps over the next few days, hopefully keeping on the better side of 0 up here in Shiga Kogen.
Tuesday into Wednesday is when we expect more snow along with a return to more January-like temperatures.
Just a few notes on major connections that remain unopen at this time:
- the connection between Hasuike and Giant - the connection between Higashitateyama and Takamagahara - the Higashitateyama gondola is operating and you can ride it up and down though the Higashitateyama course is not open
Official snow depths at Shiga Kogen resort areas (Saturday 2nd January 2016):
Hello from Zao where it's cloudy (white-out in some on-mountain areas?). There's not much of a wind, not here in the village anyway, and no new snowfall to report.
All areas of Zao Onsen except the Ryuzan, Omori and Kotan areas remain at least part open.
I know I have said this before, and it looks like almost everywhere in Japan (apart from perhaps the Hokkaido areas) is saying the same thing, but... we need more snow.
We're all expecting the next few days to be unseasonably mild. I'm hoping that the rain seen on some forecasts is just a naughty tease and won't happen. Temps should dip once again on Tuesday when it should be getting nice and cold again. We can hope for snow as well and things are looking more promising for later in the week as well.
Information as of Saturday 2nd January 2016 (subject to change)
Clouds this morning have been clearing and it should be fine - and too warm - this afternoon.
Tomorrow the mild conditions are expected to continue. An unseasonably 11 degrees might be recorded back down in the town area sometime tomorrow. It won't be as warm higher up of course, but the unseasonal conditions remain. Freezing level might be rising up to as high as 1900m tomorrow and Monday. It should be back down to something more like come Tuesday though with snow forecast for that day.
All snow resorts in Minakami are now at least part open:
Afternoon and apologies for the late report today.
The day started off cloudy. Nice conditions this morning due to the snowfall of yesterday but we haven't been expecting snow today. Rather the clouds clearing and blue skies and sunshine. Milder temperatures as well, and more of the same is probable for tomorrow. Down in the Yuzawa town area it might even get close to 10 degrees tomorrow. It won't be as warm here, but warmer than we would expect (and like) for early January.
Next snowfall? Temps forecast to drop back down around Tuesday when fresh snow is expected.
Nighta until 9pm with the Number 4 Romance lift, and Number 3 and 5 high speed lifts operating.
I often struggle between what is moderate snow and what is heavy snow. I think it’s because I have skied the last decade in Japan plus I grew up in Canada plus I had a season’s pass in Colorado one year, plus a few other snowy experiences over the years.
So snow has to fall heavily against a ridiculous amount of criteria for me to consider it heavy. Completely subjective, of course! But for about the last 4 hours (my lunch break until now) it has been snowing heavily.
At 7am it was -5C at the top and -3C at the base. The snow base was listed by the resort as 205cm.
No wind as usual and there's no break in the snow forecast, which we mustn't grumble about.
Hope it's wonderful where you are and you have until tomorrow to get to a shrine in the first 3 days of the new year to wish it in.
Photo 1 is Kitanomine Zone from the comfort of the walkway from the restaurant. Taken about midday.
Photo 2 is the view from the street at the Kitanomine building Read more ...