Snow and weather reports posted on Saturday 30th May 2020
Saturday 31st December 2016, 8:35am
Mostly cloudy, some blue sky
Good morning from Niseko on this New Years Eve morning.
Yesterday I enjoyed a really good 4 hours out in the snow. I found some very nice conditions though it was getting pretty windy out there in the afternoon and unfortunately the wind stopped some of the lifts. Hopefully today wind will be less of an issue. Yesterday was my last ski of the year as well, as I need to get myself off to Sapporo city this morning once the report is done.
So what is going on this morning? Light snow was falling again early on but that has now eased off and it is currently cloudy with more and more blue sky appearing and the sun starting to break through as well.
We have had about 5cm of fresh snowfall overnight here at base. Again, it's good quality snow by the looks, but we could just do with more on the quantity side of things. A look at the forecast shows there's really not much sign of huge dumpage on the forecast so it feels like we are perhaps going to have to make do with smaller installments. As long as they are regular.
There's a good crowd of folk lining up and waiting for the lifts to get going this morning. New Years Eve and all, there's a lot of people here now and there will no doubt be lots of celebrations going on tonight - including official fireworks, torch lit skiing and the like. Lots of people also means that tracks get filled in quicker so those regular top-ups are important.
Early next week I'll take another look back at the season so far.
All that remains for me this year is to thank everyone for reading these 'Niseko Now' reports, the good folk who run and develop SnowJapan.com - and let's all hope that 2017 proves to be a good one. For snow in Niseko, snow in Japan, and of course just generally. I'll see you then. Forgive me if my report tomorrow is a little later than usual... I can foresee some potential 'technical issues'. ;)
Niseko Avalanche Report:
Niseko base 6am: -5℃, 5cm snowfall in 12hours. Mikaeri ridge 800m: -10℃, W8m/s, 20cm snowfall with snowdrifts development. Annupuri 1150m: -11℃, W10-15m/s, snowdrifts developing. Hirafu 1200m: -12℃, W15m/s, snowdrifts developing on the east side. Coastal data: Kamui cape NW8m/s, 1018hPa, 2.4m waves.
Relatively strong westerly wind persists; cornices and snowdrifts are developing above 800m and are unstable during the morning. The avalanche risk in high elevation cornices slopes and knolls is high this morning. Gates 4 (Hirafu) & 5 (Hanazono) are opening today. Please listen to the ski patrols’ instructions before stepping out of the gates. The snow in the trees is good, but still shallow. Better not stimulate cornices and knolls, accidents mostly happen during and just after storms.
Niseko area has been working on accident prevention in the out of bounds and surrounds backcountry areas. This practice started as a result of necessity, but eventually played a big role on the tourism promotion of Niseko snow season. The Rules respects the freedom to ride, but also values the safety of all resort users. Some of the Niseko mountain area is included in the quasi-national park area. The Japanese Park Law’s fundamental principles bases on the protection of the environment and the adequate use of the land. Niseko Rules obviously respects these principles too.
We would like to point out that, when a private company borrows national/prefectural land to run a business, they should not make selfish interpretations and think they have exclusive rights to using a public land. If they did, they would be standing against the gist of the National Park Law.
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 ...
Saturday 31st December 2016, 8:42am
Some cloud, blue sky
Good morning from Hakuba.
There is no fresh snowfall to report this morning - either by myself here at base, or by the ski resorts.
At the moment there's a bank of white cloud hanging around the mountain backdrop, and a blob of grey sky above the village - but also quite a lot of blue sky as well.
It was very cold overnight and early morning but it is forecast to be a fairly mild day - perhaps a little too mild for our liking, but hopefully not getting above 4C at base. We can probably expect more sunshine than snow over the next few days, and expect snow perhaps around Tuesday.
Apparently strong winds were affecting the top areas of Hakuba Goryu and Hakuba 47 as I was about to post this report, but hopefully that will clear up soon and everywhere will be able to open as planned.
It's the last day of the 2016! This year - both the first few months and the start to this current season - has not been the best in terms of snowfall has it. I am very much hoping that we see something different happening in the coming weeks and months and for a fantastic season. Lots of people are expecting it, including myself. Starting next week please.
I'll be back tomorrow but in the meantime thanks for reading the reports and please do read my message below.
Someone sent a mail to SnowJapan yesterday asking about the different snow depth numbers that I mention in my reports, so I just wanted to try and explain them all so it is clear.
The ‘headline number’ that I post in each report is how much snow I personally observe – on the ground – here at base. My base being close to the base of Happo-one ski resort. (Not wanting to complicate matters, but each morning I also am provided first hand numbers from trusted friends who are located close-by and use that as a sort of double-check…. and if there’s much difference in our numbers, I do a re-check of my measurements).
But essentially for the sake of consistency the measurements are coming from the same spot every day, and being observed by my very own eyes.
There’s almost always going to be more snow higher up on the mountains than there is falling at base. But unfortunately, I don’t live up on the top of the mountain and so am unable to give a first-hand report each day. So, as with all of the other “Now” reports on SnowJapan, the observed snowfall numbers are coming from base levels.
In addition to my personal observations of fresh snowfall on the ground in the village, in my reports I try to also always mention any fresh snowfall that is being reported by the ski resorts themselves around the valley. These are not my personal observations, but the numbers that the ski resorts publish. Please keep that in mind.
When I say ‘the valley’, I am referring to the main ski resorts that are located within Hakuba (village) and neighbouring Otari (village). It’s a 20km or so drive from Hakuba Goryu ski resort in the south to Hakuba Cortina ski resort, and as you might imagine there’s sometimes a considerable difference in the amount of snowfall – and indeed weather conditions - in each of those places. Micro-climates and all that.
Perhaps ideally there would be 5 or 6 different Hakuba Now reports each dealing just with one ski resort, but of course that is less than practical. So, we have these ‘Hakuba Now’ reports which are meant to be a general overview and introduction to what is happening in the Hakuba area every day.
These reports are meant to be a useful and fun reference/resource. One that is free from marketing talk and hype, and at all times honest and up front.
Hopefully everyone already realises this, but these reports are not here to try to convince you to visit Hakuba. They are not sponsored by or backed by any particular resort or business - and in fact there are some times when particular marketing types don't approve of our up-front honesty. They are meant to be an ongoing and trustworthy – and independent - general commentary of the season.
They are not (of course) a scientific study and sadly are never going to be ‘perfect’. But the intention is to do my best to bring you all the information that I have - in a consistent way - every morning of the season. Even though on some days I would dearly prefer to be out riding the first lifts in a morning, I will continue to provide this information right through until the last ski lift stops moving in early May.
(As much as I generally enjoy doing the reports, that always seems very daunting when it is still December!)
Anyway, for some more information on the Now daily reports on SnowJapan, please read this page if you haven’t already:
I hope what I have written above sheds more light on the numbers I am actually reporting each morning and wasn't too rembling. I have tried to edit it but at the same time keep the core of what I wanted to say!
Resort news as of 8:40am on Saturday 31st December 2016:
All information as available and subject to change during the day due to weather and snow conditions.
Hakuba 47: The resort is reporting 0cm of fresh snowfall. The upper course connection with Goryu is open. Operating lifts and course info: - All lifts operating - All courses now open apart from Route 7. - The Tree Riding Zones are not yet open. Official snow depth Line C Upper: 110cm Base: 20cm
Hakuba Goryu: Hakuba Goryu is currently part open. The resort is reporting 0cm of fresh snowfall. The upper course connection with Hakuba 47 is open. Operating lifts and course info: - Gondola - Alps Number 1 - Alps Number 3 - Alps Number 2/4 - Toomi Sky Four - Toomi Number 1 pair - Toomi Number 2 pair - Milky Four The following courses are open: - Grand Prix - Panorama - Super - Toomi - Soft Cream Official snow depth Alps: 125cm Toomi: 35cm Iimori: 20cm
Hakuba Happo-one: Hakuba Happo-one is currently part open but more opening up now. You can now ski or board back down to base via the Riesen Slalom and Nakiyama courses. Downloading via Gondola or lift required in the other areas. The resort is reporting 0cm of fresh snowfall. Operating lifts and course info: - Gondola - Alpen quad - Riesen quad - Usagidaira pair - Nakiyama 3 triple - Panorama pair - Kokusai Number 1 - Kokusai Number 3 - Kurobishi Number 2 quad - Kurobishi Number 3 pair - Skyline Number 2 pair - Sakka Kita-one quad - Kita-one Number 3 pair The following courses are open: - Kurobishi - Usagidaira - Skyline - Riesen (part) - Panorama - Nakiyama South (part) - Kita-one 3 Official snow depth: Usagidaira: 90cm Kurobishi: 110cm Lower: 25cm
Tsugaike Kogen: Tsugaike Kogen is now mostly open. Operating lifts and course info: - Eve Gondola - Han-no-ki pair - Han-no-ki Number 3 quad - Tsuga Number 1 pair - Tsuga Number 2 pair - Shirakaba quad - Maruyama Number 1 quad - Tsugaike Number 1 pair - Tsugaike central triple - Karamatsu pair - Kane-no-naru-oka Skyliner II - Kane-no-naru-oka Skyliner III - Kane-no-naru-oka Skyliner IV - Kane-no-naru-oka Number 11 The following courses are open: - Most areas of Tsugaike Kogen is now open apart from Uma-no-se and Champion areas Official snow depth: Tsuga-no-mori: 130cm Han-no-ki: 110cm Oya-no-hara: 40cm Maruyama: 35cm Kane-no-naru-oka: 20cm
Hakuba Cortina: Hakuba Cortina is now mostly open. The resort is reporting up to 0cm of fresh snowfall. Operating lifts and course info: - Number 1 pair - Number 2 quad - Number 3 quad - Number 4 pair - Number 5 pair Official snow depth: Top: 128cm Base: 90cm
Hakuba Iwatake Snow Field: Hakuba Iwatake Snow Field is currently part open. Operating lifts and course info: - Gondola - Paradise triple - 3-sen North lift - 4-sen East lift The following courses are at least part open: - View C (part) - East - North - Paradise (part) - by1 Official snow depth: Top: 55cm Base: 30cm
Kashimayari: Kashimayari is currently part open. Operating lifts: - Number 1, 2, 3, 6, 7 and 10 lifts Official snow depth: Top: 35cm
Hakuba Norikura Onsen: Hakuba Norikura Onsen is currently part open. Lift info: - Most lifts are now operating with over 10 courses planned to be available today Official snow depth: Top: 90cm
Hakuba Sanosaka: Hakuba Sanosaka is now part open. Official snow depth: Top: 25cm
Please note that Yanaba ski hill will not be opening for the 2016-2017 season Read more ...
Nozawa Onsen Now!
Saturday 31st December 2016, 8:45am
Cloud, blue sky, sun
Happy New Years Eve from Nozawa!
And after that lovely snowfall that I reported on yesterday, here's what the resort reported on top of that:
So just a bit more during the day down at base and another 25cm up on Yamabiko... although they don't seem to be updating the snow depth for Yamabiko which seems odd. Anyway, this is what the resort is reporting. And as always, I feel compelled to get myself up there and make sure! :)
It was a great day to be out on the skis or board yesterday and with clearer skies today, it should be another very good one. It was a cold night last night and the day has started cold too. Temperatures are forecast to rise to just one or two above zero later on in the day.
Maybe a bit more snow overnight and then tomorrow for New Year we are expecting clearer and sunny skies.
Floodlit night skiing (nighta) started last night here in Nozawa. It'll be open every day now until Tuesday 3rd January and then on every Saturday until 25th March. As well as 8th January and 19th March. Good fun especially when there's a lot of fresh snow to play in. (Less so when it's icy!)
Saturday 31st December 2016
Lifts that are planned to be operating: All lifts appear to be operating except for: - Kandahar pair - Karasawa pair
Most courses at Nozawa Onsen are now open. Courses not yet open are: - Kurokura - Grandprix - Jumping - Hachiman - Mukobayashi - Kandahar East - Kandahar West
Fresh snow reported by resort since yesterday morning: - Yamabiko: 25cm - Uenotaira: 18cm - Hikage: 10cm - Nagasaka: 10cm - Karasawa: 5cm Read more ...
Saturday 31st December 2016, 8:55am
Snow clouds and fog
Things cleared up during the day yesterday leaving us to enjoy some blue skies and fantastic scenery.
The clouds are back this morning though and light snow is falling early on.
The only main areas of Zao Onsen that remain closed now are Kurohime, Omori, Ryuzan, Kotan and Kokutai. But please remember that even on the areas that are open, snow is generally still thin on the ground and we could still do with a lot more. Special care needs to be taken out there until things get deep.
>b>The following lifts are not operating: Kurohime Number 1 quad 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 Omori quad
Official snow depths: Chuo - 60cm Utopia - 35cm Uwanodai - 25cm Paradise - 50cm
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 ...
Saturday 31st December 2016, 8:55am
Good morning from a snowy Grandeco.
It kept snowing on and off during the night last night, but there's just about 3cm of good quality fresh snow to show for it this morning. It is still falling at this moment 8am.
The forecast is for cloudy conditions this afternoon with a return to snowfall again later tonight.
Usually, the weather in the Urabandai region in winter is like it is today - regular snowfall on and off, almost always a covering of fresh snow... and not so much blue skies. We'd like more of this.
Unfortunately, the resort has decided to close Mint A course and the Number 3 lift today because more than 5000 people were on this course yesterday and there's not really enough snow yet to maintain it.
So we are still in need of more snow.
Good news this morning in that is Deco Land is now open. It is a separated area for beginners and kid's with snow escalators.
Most ski resort in Bandai area is open today but please check how many courses / lifts do they open on each website before you go. Have a nice New Years Eve and see you in 2017.
Snow park information: 4m straight rail, 4m down box, 4 formed cask, drum can, 6 meters down box and 6 meters straight wide box.
- 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: 70cm
Road condition to Grandeco: Inawashiro through Goshikinuma : snow. Goshikinuma through Grandeco : snow. Snow tires are necessary. Read more ...
Saturday 31st December 2016, 9:04am
Good snowfall through the day yesterday; partly cloudy this morning and looks almost like more could fall.
The snow continued falling yesterday in the daytime but it didn't really amount to much more on the ground (in town anyway) with just a few more cm, and surely a bit more at higher elevations.
Resorts around town are this morning not reporting any fresh snowfall - apart from the top area of Kagura which is reporting 2cm.
It is a cloudy start to this last day of 2016 here in Yuzawa, and while it was a chilly start the forecast is saying mild temperatures of up to around 5C later on -- with precipitation due this afternoon. Rain or snow? Unfortunately it might start with the former, especially at town level, but hopefully quickly change to the latter as it gets colder again. We'll just have to hope that we can avoid rain...
2016 has definitely not been a classic year of snowfall for the region (and generally Japan it seems). Far from it. Now we are going to see the end of the year, we can all look forward and hope for a better outlook in 2017. Loads of snow please!
The daily reports will of course continue, but let me take this opportunity to thank you all for reading and hope you will continue to enjoy all of the reports on SnowJapan in 2017. And let's hope that all of the reports have lots of regular snow to report to you.
Resort-specific info as of Saturday 31st December 2016
GALA Yuzawa 10 courses in the Central and North areas are open. Official snow depth: 130cm
Ishiuchi Maruyama Lifts from all three base areas are now operating. All but one lift operating and all course areas are now available. Nighta operations have also started. Official snow depth: 100cm
Iwappara Iwappara is part open. 7 lifts and 14 courses are open. Nighta is now available. Official snow depth: 60cm
Joetsu Kokusai More of Joetsu Kokusai is now open with 17 lifts operating and 16 courses up there open. Official snow depth: 60cm
Kagura All areas of Kagura are open. The top Kagura Number 5 lift will be open from 1st January. Official snow depth: Kagura - 170cm Mitsumata - 150cm Tashiro - 130cm
Kandatsu Kogen Kandatsu Kogen is now mostly open with 5 lifts planned to be operating. Nighta from 6pm until 4am tomorrow morning. Official snow depth: 85cm
Naeba Most lifts operating. Please see Naeba Now report for more specific details. Official snow depth: 80cm
Maiko Snow Resort Maiko is now mostly open with 10 lifts and 17 courses available. 'Nighta' (floodlit night skiing) operations at Maiko Snow Resort from tonight. Official snow depth: Upper - 120cm Base - 40cm
Muikamachi Hakkaisan The Ropeway, Number 1 and Number 3 romance pair lifts are operating. Official snow depth: 100cm
NASPA Ski Garden NASPA Ski Garden is open. All lifts are operating and all courses (apart from the mogul course) are open. Official snow depth: 85cm
Yuzawa Kogen Yuzawa Kogen is mostly open including the lower Nunoba area. All lifts operating. Official snow depth: Top - 100cm Base - 40cm
Yuzawa Park Yuzawa Park is part open with the Number 1, 2, 3 and 7 lifts operating. Official snow depth: 55cm
Yuzawa Nakazato Yuzawa Nakazato is part open with all operating. Official snow depth: 55cm
'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 ...
Appi Kogen Now!
Saturday 31st December 2016, 9:32am
Cloud, (some blue sky)
Hello from Appi,
Well it is the last day of the year and Appi has opened up two more runs today. One of the Sailer runs opening and the main gondola operation will certainly make people a little happier today and there’s another run off the second lift open too. Look out for stronger winds potentially affecting operations though.
We did get a little snow last night but nothing too serious. We can expect the wind to pick up later this afternoon and if you’re heading out on the slopes today expect some fairly chilly temperatures.
Not much change in store for the next few days weather wise. A little snow forecast and temperatures ranging from -3 at the base to -10 or so at the summit.
There will be a spectacular fireworks display tonight - warm clothes recommended!
Currently planned operating lifts:
Gondola Central quad Central number 1 Central number 3a Central number 2 Central number 5
I hope some of you were able to get out and enjoy the conditions yesterday. I enjoyed a good part of the day out there with snow continuing to fall in the day before easing off - and a bit more snow to report on the ground.
It was a chilly start to the morning in Madarao. At the moment we have blue skies and just a bit of cloud over the mountain. The sun is shining down through my window. It should be another good day out on the slopes, if not busy... there's a lot of people around to enjoy it all, as you would expect as we are now in the new year holidays.
The weather is expected to be clearer and a bit milder (hopefully not too much) over the next couple of days with the next snowfall probably going to fall sometime early week.
Extended night skiing tonight - until 11:30pm - and a firework display to enjoy at midnight. Look out for the torch lit skiing display which I believe is scheduled to begin at 9pm. No doubt there will be some other New Year festivities going on as well.
It is of course the last day of 2016 already. I hope you all have a good day/night and I'll see you again when we get into 2017. May 2017 be a year of very regular and outrageously heavy snowfalls. Preferably overnight, keeping cold but some sunshine during the daytime. Not much to ask for!
Operating status for the day at Madarao Kogen (at time of report):
- Number 1 lift - Number 2 quad lift - Number 3A lift - Number 5 - Super quad lift - Number 11 lift - Number 12 lift - Number 13 lift - Number 15 lift - Moving walkway - Kids Park - Snow Mobile Land - Free ride Park
- Powder Wave II - River Line - Powder Theater - Adventure Aisle - Crystal Bowl - Ninja - Sawa - Rabbit - Kamoshika - Bear
Official snow depth:
Lifts currently operating at Tangram Ski Circus:
- Number 1 - Number 2 - Number 3 - Number 5 - Number 6 Read more ...
Saturday 31st December 2016, 10:38am
What a great day it is to farewell 2016. There was low light in the first part of the morning but the cloud has lifted to reveal mostly blue sky, and as a result the visibility is now perfect. We have had 13cm of new snow in the village and about 20cm at mid mountain level. The resort has left a lot of terrain ungroomed on the Kitanomine side, so there is plenty of opportunity to enjoy the powder today. There is wind on the mountain, not constantly, more the occasional gust. However when the wind does hit it makes things feel pretty cold.