It is snowing with a light breeze from the south. There is a small amount of accumulation of new snow on the ground in the village area. The day is cloudy with cloud sitting on the upper half of the mountain and the lower half clear at the moment. The light snow is forecast to continue until early afternoon and the high will be around -1c.
Furano Ropeway operation has been suspended as a measure to prevent the spread of Corona Virus.
6cm of fresh snowfall to report to you this morning. Yey!
It is relatively mild, so the snow doesn't look like top season fluffy light powder, but we'll take it.
There was lots of fog yesterday, this morning there is less but generally very cloudy and grey and while visibility is improved it's all a bit one-tone. And Annupuri are reporting fog this morning.
Here's lots more words...
What we do... What they do
* Todays version ;)
Just yesterday, more than 15 people sent emails to SnowJapan asking specific – and sometimes very detailed - questions about the status of various businesses in Niseko. Are specific hotels and restaurants open as normal? Are opening times changed? Are ski lessons being held? Have transportation timetables changed? That kind of thing.
As I have tried to explain before, this website is not directly involved in such businesses, and we are not a tourism advice bureau. Everyone involved in keeping this website running smoothly is very busy doing ‘what we do’.
If you have questions regarding a hotel or a restaurant, I suggest directing those questions directly to that hotel or restaurant. Perhaps you could also direct questions to the people/company you have booked your holiday/accommodation with... or the tourism association.
These people will surely be able to answer such questions. After all, that is part of ‘what they do’.
While I unfortunately cannot be of specific help, I do wish you all good luck.
And with regards to the ski resorts; I report on this every day - they are open as planned each morning.
The 2019-2020 season so far: through until the end of February 2020
The days and weeks and months whizz by, and here we are in March already. So once again it is time for me to take a look back on February and the season so far.
The usual up-front notes:
I take my measurements from close to the base of the Niseko Grand Hirafu area of our mountain. There is usually more snow at higher elevations; many locals often say there’s often ‘about 1.5 times the amount’ that there is at base. And often that seems reasonable. It is impossible for me to take measurements from the top of the mountain every morning for all sorts of practical reasons. The observed snowfall numbers on these Niseko Now reports over the years can all be compared like-for-like, because they are my observations and are coming from the same place each season. And it goes without saying that there's much more to the story than just bare numbers; they may be interesting, but they are not the complete picture. For a more complete idea of the season, please read the reports for each day!
This is how much snowfall I have measured during the month of February over the last eight winter seasons:
February 2020: 143cm February 2019: 198cm February 2018: 299cm February 2017: 160cm February 2016: 266cm February 2015: 196cm February 2014: 178cm February 2013: 316cm
The month got off to a decent start with snow on nine consecutive days from the 2nd. Not massive numbers, but some consistency. There was then a period of five reports when I had no fresh to report before another consistent period of snowfall between 17th and 25th February. The month ended with a three-day spell of no fresh snowfall, and then a bit on the ‘bonus’ 29th!
I was able to report snowfall here at base on 19 of the 29 days in the month. The most in one day was 19cm. I definitely remember being up there and seeing 40+cm on one day though.
So, I observed a total of 143cm of snowfall over the month of reports. That unfortunately was the least number for a February since I started these reports in 2013.
Here are my ‘season to date’ numbers, from the beginning of this season to the end of February 2020:
2019/2020 season up to end of February 2020: 659cm 2018/2019 season up to end of February 2019: 900cm 2017/2018 season up to end of February 2018: 1198cm 2016/2017 season up to end of February 2017: 605cm 2015/2016 season up to end of February 2016: 877cm 2014/2015 season up to end of February 2015: 1002cm 2013/2014 season up to end of February 2014: 1037cm 2012/2013 season up to end of February 2013: 1295cm
The total for the season is better than – but comparable with - with the 2016-2017 season.
Continuing from the comments last month, it really has been an odd season in Japan.
Considering some of the very low snowfall numbers from many ski resorts to our south – and an agonisingly bad season for parts of western Japan – we have done relatively well, and we should be thankful for that.
And while it is not classic by any means, we have had days of excellent conditions and many visitors I have met have enjoyed themselves.
Then the coronavirus story appeared and over the last month or so has become louder and louder. Unfortunately, it has started to have a real effect on tourism and everyone involved. I don’t want to get into the gloom of all that, rather say that all we can do is hope that yhr situation clears quickly without there being too much further damage.
And of course, the current season is not over yet of course. Here’s how much snow I have observed over the month of March in previous seasons:
March 2019: 45cm March 2018: 49cm March 2017: 83cm March 2016: 109cm March 2015: 139cm March 2014: 113cm March 2013: 164cm
From 1st March 2019 until the end of that season: 51cm From 1st March 2018 until the end of that season: 62cm From 1st March 2017 until the end of that season: 83cm From 1st March 2016 until the end of that season: 115cm From 1st March 2015 until the end of that season: 142cm From 1st March 2014 until the end of that season: 126cm From 1st March 2013 until the end of that season: 198cm
That trend over recent years isn’t very encouraging, but we should be getting more snow. How much, we'll just have to wait and see.
Here is what the Japan Meteorological Agency have reported from their observation station in Kutchan town for the month of February over the last eight years:
February 2020: 158cm February 2019: 141cm February 2018: 202cm February 2017: 173cm February 2016: 210cm February 2015: 167cm February 2014: 130cm February 2013: 228cm
And these are the JMA numbers for the season so far up until the end of January 2020:
2019/2020 season up to end of February 2020: 609cm
2018/2019 season up to end of February 2019: 808cm 2017/2018 season up to end of February 2018: 954cm 2016/2017 season up to end of February 2017: 741cm 2015/2016 season up to end of February 2016: 698cm 2014/2015 season up to end of February 2015: 825cm 2013/2014 season up to end of February 2014: 804cm 2012/2013 season up to end of February 2013: 900cm
That’s about it from me today.
Stay positive, stay healthy and let’s skiing!
Next monthly recap in early April.
Niseko Avalanche Report
Mountain Base: -１°, 5cm new snow in last 12hrs. Moiwa 800m: NE 33 deg 1.6m/s, -3.8°, cloudy. Annupuri 1100m: N 10deg 5.0m/s, -6.8°. Yu no Sawa 1000m: NE 46deg 5.1m/s, -6.4°. Niseko Village 900m: NNE 21deg 0.2m/s, -5.2°. Hirafu 1000m :N 5deg 5.1m/s, -6.3°. Hanazono 720m: N 345deg 2.4m/s, -4.1°. Coastal data: Benkei Cape: light winds. Kamui Cape light winds, 1021hPa, wave 0.8m.
Winds are calm and there has been a small amount of new snow. From data and observation there is no obvious avalanche risk. All gates are expected to be open. The poor visibility above 600m continues due to fog. Take care going fast, hitting trees. The snow doesn't seem sun affected, but there is only a little new snow. The weather is calm this morning but watch for a sudden change. Have a good day.
Ski resort operation information: Tuesday 3rd March 2020
Official snow depth (reported by resort): - Peak: 190cm - Base: 110cm
All lifts normally operating EXCEPT: - Country Road Chair (normally rested)
Lifts scheduled for late operations: - Annupuri Village Gondola until 8:00pm - Village Express until 8:00pm - Banzai Chair until 8:00pm Read more ...
Nozawa Onsen Now!
Tuesday 3rd March 2020, 8:32am
I have to report some rain this morning - you can see it on the Nagasaka cam image below - though the resort is reporting 3cm of fresh snowfall on the upper Yamabiko and Uenotaira areas. Sounds like that is the place to head. Both are not due to continue for long this morning.
Still hoping for fresh snow on Thursday.
Tuesday 3rd March 2020
Fresh snowfall recorded by resort since yesterday morning:
- All lifts are operating - All courses in the Central and Northern Area are open - The Batman and Eliza courses in the Southern Area are open - The Ropeway connecting GALA Yuzawa with Yuzawa Kogen is operating - Downhill Falcon course is closed - Official snow depth: 170cm
- All areas of Kagura are open - Top Kagura Number 5 lift is now open until 2pm and the Kagura-Tashiro course open until 3:30pm - The Dragondola connecting the Tashiro Area with Naeba is operating - Official snow depth: 220cm
- The top area via Yuzawa Kogen Ropeway is fully open - The base areas is also open - The downhill course is closed - The Ropeway connecting Yuzawa Kogen with the Southern Area of GALA Yuzawa is operating - Official snow depth: 120cm (Kogen); 30cm (base)
Originally planned night time operations at the Shiga Kogen ski areas are as follows; subject to change, so please check with the resorts. Note that separate lift tickets are required.
Ichinose Diamond 20th-21st March 2020 Quad lift 6:30pm until 9:00pm
Ichinose Family Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays until 21st March 2020 Number 2 pair B lift 6:30pm until 9:00pm
Kumanoyu Every Saturday until 28th March 2020 20th March 2020 Number 1 pair lift 6:30pm until 9:00pm
Takamagahara Mammoth Saturdays until 21st March 2020 20th March 2020 Number 2 triple lift 6:30pm until 8:30pm
The section of road connecting the southern area of Shiga Kogen (from Yokoteyama onwards) with Gunma Prefecture is now closed for the season. It will be closed until 24th April 2020. Approach Shiga Kogen using Route 292 from the west (Nagano/Nakano/Yamanouchi) Read more ...
Tuesday 3rd March 2020, 8:46am
Morning from Zao.
Lots of cloud this morning and looking at the cams it looks like trees above a certain altitude have a bit of a frosted look so perhaps a bit of snow up there?
The resort itself is reporting cloud at all elevations early morning and just one change on the official snow depth numbers - Utopia appears to have increased by 5cm.
The forecast currently still shows snowfall due around Thursday along with the chance of strong winds.
All lifts are now normally operating apart from the following:
- Zao Paradise Number 3 pair - Astraea Number 3 pair - Diamond Number 1 pair - Ryuzan pair - Karamatsu pair - Yokokura Number 2 pair
- All courses are now mostly open - Yokokura and Omori part open
Night time operations:
** Subject to change. Please check with the resort! **
Nighta in the Uwanodai area is scheduled for 7th, 14th, 20th and 21st March 2020. 5:00pm until 9:00pm.
Nighta in the Yokokura area is scheduled for Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through 7th March 2020. 5:00pm until 9:00pm. Read more ...
Tuesday 3rd March 2020, 8:49am
Limited visibility this morning, according to the webcam image and my friend who is in Madarao. I'm out of town this morning so relying on them.
The forecast that Tangram uses shows sun this morning so perhaps the clouds will clear up?
Thursday still looking to be that bit colder with the chance of decent snowfall. Got to wonder how many more times we'll see it... but staying positive!
Current operations: Tuesday 3rd March 2020
- All lifts apart from Number 5 should be operating - Powder Wave closed - Other tree run courses open - Official snow depth: 120cm
Tangram Ski Circus:
- All lifts are operating - Most courses open - Official snow depth: 90cm Read more ...
Tuesday 3rd March 2020, 8:51am
Good morning from Naeba.
Lots of cloud around again this morning and it's a rather grey. Theres rain falling in Yuzawa as well this morning and I see that Kagura are reporting 1cm of snow on the top area of that resort.
We all want fresh snow and looking to Thursday to bring it.
Official snow depth:
Planned operating lifts:
- Prince Number 2 Gondola - Takenokodaira romance pair lift - Takenokoyama romance pair lift - Number 4 romance pair lift - Number 3 high speed lift - Number 5 high speed lift (open for nighta until 8:30pm) - Hiuchi Number 1 romance pair lift - Dragondola
Courses planned to be open:
- 19 of 22 courses are normally open - The Dragondola is operating to get over to the Tashiro Area of the Kagura resort Read more ...
Tuesday 3rd March 2020, 9:10am
Cloud, some blue sky
Good morning from Hakuba.
Some strong winds yesterday and overnight and it seems calmer this morning with a lot of cloud but some blue sky too and the sun making an appearance.
The information in this table is data reported by the ski resorts
New snowfall (lower)
New snowfall (upper)
TOTAL ACCUMULATION (UPPER)
IMPORTANT: See below for an explanation of the above data
To get a good idea of how things are looking, be sure to check the photos in the report each day - they can be found below. I don't think I need to write a commentary on those every day...
47 (not in the photos) still looking pretty good down to base, they always seem to be able to keep it going well.
Individual ski resort information The below information is checked from official sources and manually adjusted each morning.
Operating lifts: - All lifts apart from the lifts noted below are normally operating: - Nakiyama Number 2 pair - Shirakaba Number 1 pair - Shirakaba Number 2 pair - Central pair - Sakka Number 2 pair - Sakka Number 3 triple
Courses open: - All courses apart from the following are at least part open: - Central - Olympic II - Kita-one - Kokusai - Nakiyama Wall/North - Shirakaba North - Sakka - Omusubi - Kurobishi - Nakiyama South and Shirakaba South base areas are open; others closed - You can also take the Gondola or other lifts back down to base
Official snow depth: - Tsuga-no-mori: 192cm - Maruyama: 45cm - Kane-no-naru-oka: 30cm - All course areas apart from Uma-no-se and Lower Forest course are at least part open - Lower Kane-no-naru and Champion areas are part open - DBD gates: Closed at the start of the day, may open later
About the data in the above ‘snowfall as reported by ski resorts’ table * The table within the above report contains data that is published by individual ski resorts * The data shown is the amount of snowfall that the ski resorts are themselves reporting each 24 hour period on the upper areas of their mountain * The source ‘new snowfall’ data and ‘total accumulation’ data is not updated at the same time * The ‘new snowfall’ data is updated in the morning * The ‘accumulation’ data is apparently updated/refreshed at midnight * That means that there is a time lag between the two numbers being updated * We manually check and update the data just before we publish each Hakuba Now report - so the data in each Hakuba Now report table is what is available at that time * Any odd-looking numbers are due to the source data. We are not responsible for and have no control over the data. We are simply sharing the data with you * Just to be extra clear, unlike our own ‘observed snowfall’ data from base that we show at the top of each report, the data in the table is not an independent observation by SnowJapan * A more in-depth introduction and explanation can be found in this report Read more ...
Appi Kogen Now!
Tuesday 3rd March 2020, 9:24am
Good morning from Appi.
It started snowing here around 3pm yesterday and hasn’t stopped since. We are currently at 21cm of fresh powder.
It is slightly warmer today so around the base the snow is a bit heavier, but it’s cloud nine up the top. Currently at 0 degrees at the base with no wind and cloudy skies.
Today all lifts are operating as normal.
The Sailer quad lift will not be operating through Thursday this week - some kind of maintenance. In the meantime, the Sailer Number 2 lift will be operating.
APPI is open with the following lifts normally operating (subject to change):
- Appi Gondola - Central quad lift - Central Number 2 lift - Central Number 3A lift - Central Number 5 lift - Nishimori lift - Sailer Number 2 lift - Vista quad lift
- All normal courses at APPI are open - Dragon tail, Cruise 1, Cruise 2, Bravo, Attack tree run courses are normally open - Subject to lift operations & weather conditions
Snowfall numbers The below numbers are reported by the resort
The snowfall recorded in this report is measured from the base area of Tenjindaira (which is higher than the town area of Minakami). Read more ...
Tuesday 3rd March 2020, 10:13am
It's snowing! Kind of a surprise to wake up and see some wet white stuff. Not a lot; not really beautiful snow (it's turning to slush almost instantly) but it is snow and every cm is needed.I see most resorts are showing a slow decline in snowpack (apart from one place that miraculously still has way more than three meters on the ground. Ha).
The Yama no Kami at Akakan on March 9, which was opened to the public last year (and was a lot of fun; a little ceremony out at the mini-shrine in the woods just about the Akakura Kanko) is, unfortunately, a victim of the corona virus. Just a handful of locals will risk infection to ask the kami for safety on the hill, and maybe more snow (don't know if the yama no kami handles weather, too). Probably smart, but I'll miss the big luncheon event inside the Kanko Hotel...