Snow and weather reports posted on Sunday 1st April 2018

Yuzawa Now!

Monday 4th December 2017, 7:16am
Weather conditions: Fine, thin high cloud
New snowfall: 0cm
Snow depth: --
Morning from Yuzawa.

Yesterday indeed turned out to be a fine day weather wise and today is starting off with calm skies as well - a bit more thin high cloud around.

While it's going to be another fairly mild day today, clouds are expected to move in and before we get into tomorrow rain is forecast for town... with snow at higher elevations. There is a chance overnight of snow here in town too, so let's see if I can report anything good tomorrow.


Currently planned opening at Kagura (subject to change):

- Kagura Ropeway
- Mitsumata Number 1 quad
- Mitsumata Number 3 romance lift
- Kagura Gondola
- Kagura Number 1 quad
- Kagura Number 4 romance lift
- Kagura Number 1 romance lift (* operating only on weekends)
- Kagura Number 3 romance lift (* operating at busy times)

- Almost all of the runs at Kagura and Mitsumata are open; park items by the Kagura Number 1 romance lift.

Official snow depth at Kagura:

- Kagura area: 110cm
- Mitsumata area: 60cm

Kagura forecast:

Kagura snow and weather forecast


Other planned opening dates for ski resorts in Yuzawa and Minamiuonuma:

Saturday 9th December 2017
Kagura (via Tashiro)
Joetsu Kokusai

Friday 15th December 2017
Maiko Snow Resort
Muica Snow Resort
Yuzawa Park

Saturday 16th December 2017
GALA Yuzawa
Kandatsu Kogen
Yuzawa Kogen
Yuzawa Nakazato

Thursday 21st December 2017
Ishiuchi Maruyama

Friday 22nd December 2017
NASPA Ski Garden

Saturday 23rd December 2017
Muikamachi Hakkaisan   Read more ...

Nozawa Onsen Now!

Monday 4th December 2017, 7:25am
Weather conditions: Mostly clear
New snowfall: 0cm
Snow depth: --
Yesterday was a mild day in the region and as we expected, really great sunny skies.

There's more cloud this morning and the forecast tells us that more cloud is expected and perhaps rain by this evening -- and, fingers crossed, snow. And probably straight to snow on the open higher areas of the resort. Here's to lower temperatures.

The forecast is looking promising too...

The Uenotaira course is closed again now weekdays this week. Hopefully by the time next weekend rolls around we'll have a fair amount more snow and more of Nozawa Onsen will be able to open up.


Monday 4th December 2017

Operating lifts:

- Nagasaka Gondola (8:40am until 3:30pm)
- Yamabiko four lift (9:00am until 3:30pm)
- Yamabiko Number 2 lift (8:55am until 3:40pm)
- Uenotaira four lift (9:00am until 3:40pm)
- * Need to get the gondola back down to base

Planned open courses:

- Yamabiko A - 1,300m
- Yamabiko B - 800m
- Yamabiko C - 850m
- Yamabiko D - 1,250m
- Yamabiko E - 1,000m
- Yunomine B
- Bunabayashi course - 2,500

Fresh snowfall - reported by the resort:

- Yamabiko (1407m): 0cm
- Uenotaira (1230m): 0cm
- Hikage (660m): 0cm
- Nagasaka (615m): 0cm
- Karasawa (563m): 0cm

Official snow depth numbers:

- Yamabiko (1407m): 40cm
- Uenotaira (1230m): 35cm
- Hikage (660m): 10cm
- Nagasaka (615m): 10cm
- Karasawa (563m): 5cm (though I can only see ground!)   Read more ...

Geto Kogen Now!

Monday 4th December 2017, 7:30am
Weather conditions: Mostly cloudy
New snowfall: 0cm
Snow depth: --
Fresh snowfall measured at base: 0cm

Unfortunately, after a just cloudy morning, by evening yesterday it was raining lightly. This morning started off very cloudy again but there’s an increasing amount of blue sky and some sunshine now... the forecast is for generally cloudy skies during the day.

It’s still a little on the warmer side at the moment but hopefully colder conditions will be with us by tomorrow and hopefully a bit of fresh snow on the ground.


Official snow depths:

Top: 110cm
Base: 30cm

Operating lifts:

Number 1 Gondola (9:00am - 4:00pm)
Number 1 pair lift (8:30am – 4:30pm)

Courses & Tree Runs:

All courses are open!
Tree Run Areas are closed.

The Number 2 pair lift, Number 2 Gondola and Quad lift plan to open for the season from Saturday 16th December.

Nighta skiing operations are planned at Geto Kogen on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 22nd December 2017 until 25th February 2018.


Welcome to our new Geto Kogen Now daily reports section

Geto Kogen is a ski and snowboard resort in Iwate Prefecture in the northern Tohoku region of Honshu, the main island of Japan. It’s known for heavy snowfalls, quality snow and tree run courses. Hopefully we will be able to bring you some good snowy reports through this season.

For more information on Geto Kogen please check out these pages on SnowJapan:

Resort Spotlight on SnowJapan
Basic resort details on SnowJapan

As with all our daily ‘Now’ reports, the bottom line is that they are independent and honest – they are published by us, not by the resort. The new snowfall number is being measured at the base area of the resort.

This is a brand new section involves people new to the process and so it may take a short while for us all to get used to it all. So please bear with us as we get into the gear!   Read more ...

Zao Now!

Monday 4th December 2017, 7:31am
Weather conditions: Mostly cloudy
New snowfall: 0cm
Snow depth: --
Good morning from Zao.

More cloud around this morning and noticeably less snow on the lower slopes - one of the downsides of the fine weather yesterday.

There is some snow on the current forecast, though there's a good chance of some rain today before that happens.

It doesn't look like there's a 'dump' to expect in the next few days... perhaps the most snow can be expected around Friday.

Let's see.


Operating lifts:
- Chuo Number 1 pair lift
- Zao Ropeway
- Zao Chuo Ropeway
- Sky Cable

Open course areas:
- Summit
- Chuo
- Utopia

Official snow depths:

- Summit area: 35cm
- Paradise area: 40cm
- Chuo area: 40cm
- Utopia area: 35cm
- Uwanodai area: 10cm
- Oomori area: 5cm


Zao Onsen forecast:

Zao Onsen 6-day snow and weather forecast

Floodlit night skiing for the 2017-2018 season is planned as follows:

In the Uwanodai area:
Daily from Saturday 23rd December 2017 until Sunday 4th March 2018
Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays only from Friday 9th March until Sunday 18th March 2018.

In the Yokokura area:
Daily from Saturday 23rd December 2017 until Monday 8th January 2018
Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays only from Friday 12th January until Sunday 18th February 2018.
Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays only from Friday 2nd March until Sunday 11th March 2018.

Night time 'light up' sightseeing ropeway is planned for the following dates:

December 2017: 23rd-24th, 29th-31st
January 2018: 1st-7th, 13th-14th, 20th-21st, 27th-31st
February 2018: every day
March 2018: 1st-4th   Read more ...

Hakuba Now!

Monday 4th December 2017, 7:33am
Weather conditions: Another lovely early morning
New snowfall: 0cm
Snow depth: --
I have to post an early report this morning because I need to get myself to Nagano city.

Luckily for me, it's quite an an easy one.

After the blue skies and mild conditions yesterday, it's another lovely morning in the region.

Things look set to change though with temperatures set to drop from tonight.

We might well get some rain here in base areas but it should be snowing before long and I hope to be able to bring good news tomorrow. The forecast is looking pretty good too and it looks like we might be on for some decent snowfall before we get to the weekend.

Sounds good to me!


Ski resort opening status on Monday 4th December 2017:

Early update - and so perhaps a bit more 'subject to change' than usual!

Hakuba Happo-one

Operating lifts:
- Gondola Adam
- Panorama pair lift
- Alpen quad lift
- Kokusai Number 1 pair lift
- Kokusai Number 3 pair lift
- Kurobishi Number 2 quad lift
- Skyline Number 2 pair lift

Courses open:
- Panorama area
- Usagidaira area
- Kurobishi area
- Skyline area

Official snow depth:
- Usagidaira: 100cm
- Kurobishi: 130cm

Hakuba Goryu

Operating lifts:
- Goryu Telecabin (gondola)
- Alps Number 1 pair lift
- Alps Number 3 pair lift

Courses open:
- Panorama
- Grand Prix
- Technical
- Super

Official snow depth:
- Top: 105cm
- Toomi: 0cm

Hakuba 47

Operating lifts:
- Line 8 Gondola
- Line AB pair lift
- Line C quad lift
- Line E high speed pair lift

Courses open:
- Route 1 (* upper area only)
- Route 2
- Route 3
- Route 4
- Route 5
- Route 6
- Route 8

Official snow depth:
- Top: 90cm
- Base: 10cm

Tsugaike Kogen

Operating lifts
- EVE Gondola
- Tsuga Number 2 pair lift
- Han-no-ki high speed pair lift

Courses open:
- Tsuga-no-mori
- Han-kou

Official snow depth:
- Top: 80cm


Other official planned ski resort opening dates:

Friday 15th December 2017
Hakuba Iwatake Snow Field

Saturday 16th December 2017
Hakuba Cortina
Hakuba Valley Kashimayari

Mid December 2017
Hakuba Norikura Onsen
Hakuba Sanosaka


Click on the 'Forecast' tab at the top of the page for the latest snow and weather forecast for Hakuba Happo-one. Forecasts for individual resorts are available on the respective resort pages within SnowJapan.   Read more ...

Furano Now!

Monday 4th December 2017, 7:49am
Weather conditions: Overcast
New snowfall: 5cm
Snow depth: --
It is a nice calm day with light overcast skies. Temperatures are a mild -3c at the moment and will warm up a little more than that during the middle of the day. The snow radar says there won't be much in the way of snow today but there are a few flake swallowing downwards from the sky right now. Overnight there has been 5cm of fresh snow. Tomorrow looks promising with moderate snowfalls forecast. The skiable area is still limited to the upper mountain on the Furano Zone.   Read more ...

Grandeco Now!

Monday 4th December 2017, 8:07am
Weather conditions: Mostly cloudy
New snowfall: 0cm
Snow depth: --
Good morning from Grandeco.

There was a little snow fall last night but it was just a thin covering and so no new cm to report.

Mostly cloudy skies above Grandeco at this moment, but it should be a sunny day today again and we are still expecting some snowfall for tomorrow.

The temperature is a little high this morning, and the snow condition is a bit spring-like at the moment.


Lifts operating:

- Gondola
- Number 1 lift
- Number 2 lift

Courses open:

- Center
- Basil
- Rainbow 3500
- Lavender B
- Mint C beside Number 2 lift
- Connecting route

Official snow depth:
- 50cm

- Grandeco snow and weather forecast

Other resorts:

Minowa and Nekoma are also part open.
Ura Bandai will open from 15th December.   Read more ...

Niseko Now!

Monday 4th December 2017, 8:32am
Weather conditions: Sunny blue skies, some cloud
New snowfall: 5cm
Snow depth: --

I have a long report this morning - please do read it all, I don't want it to be a waste of my time! :)

First of all, the snow and weather report.

Yesterday was a little warmer than we have been experiencing of late and this morning I have an additional 5cm to add to the reports.

It is a really very lovely morning here in Niseko. I know 'lots of fresh fluffy dry snow' is the most lovely kind of morning; but this morning it's the 'sunny blue skies' kind of lovely. We haven't had many of those in recent weeks, so it's good to see everywhere looking all wintery in the sunshine. Beautiful. I want to get out there!

Happily, it's colder again this morning.

And these clear sunny skies won't last long. Actually, since I started putting this report together I feel there's a bit more cloud starting to gather. More cloud is due to move in during the day and it should be snowing once again by the end of tonight. Yey!


A look back at the season so far: November 2017

As usual this season I will endeavour to post a recap at the beginning of each month so that I can gather my thoughts and make some comparisons. There’s often more behind simple numbers, of course, but it’s always fun to see how the season is shaping up compared with previous ones.

Firstly, let’s look at how much snowfall I have measured myself here near the base of Hirafu over the last six years in November:

November 2017: 188cm
November 2016: 110cm
November 2015: 61cm
November 2014: 30cm
November 2013: 123cm
November 2012: 118cm

Early this season is looking very good!

Check out November 2014. What the heck was going on there!? Rubbish.

BUT... a quick look at my own archives (below) shows how December 2014 came back in style with some very big snowfall numbers – even making the total snow haul up until the end of December that year the most in recent seasons. Omoshiroi ne!

Looking a bit deeper at November 2017 - the numbers themselves look great, but what has been really great this year so far is how consistent the snowfall has been since the middle of November. Since November 13th, I have been able to add fresh cm of snowfall on 13 different days.


Here’s how much snowfall I have recorded in the month of December over the last 5 seasons. The numbers in brackets show the total snowfall observed up until the end of December in each season.

December 2016: 181cm (293cm)
December 2015: 244cm (308cm)
December 2014: 519cm (549cm)
December 2013: 275cm (398cm)
December 2012: 418cm (538cm)

That’s a big range – from just under 2m last season to just over 5m in 2014. It’s going to be fun to see how much the total will be come the end of this month. I’ve already recorded 49cm of snowfall in these first few days of December, so it’s a good start to the month.

Lastly, let’s take a look at the data that the Japan Meteorological Agency report from their observation station in Kutchan town:
November 2017: 169cm
November 2016: 171cm
November 2015: 35cm
November 2014: 41cm
November 2013: 99cm
November 2012: 98cm


And here's something else I prepared yesterday.

One person sent some interesting comments to me via SnowJapan regarding general ‘excitement’ for the season, and how he has observed how some folk (not me, happily) are somewhat conveniently re-writing what happened in previous seasons.

Here’s my thoughts on that.

If you have been reading my reports over the last few weeks, you’ll know that yes, I’m pretty excited about what is currently being served up this early season here in Niseko. It has undoubtedly been an excellent start to the season. What’s not to be happy about there.

It seems though that some people are starting to borderline bad-mouth previous seasons when – at the time - they were hyping them up as being ‘Epic’ etc. Suddenly what was totally 'Epic' has now been degraded to being much less so, to make this season seem all the better. I have heard a few people around town saying things like that, but can’t say that I am really surprised. Excitement is good, but hype and marketing are different things. I think you’ll find that most people who are selling Niseko are going to be pretty much always talking things up at any given time; I suppose it goes with the territory and is understandable. Unfortunately, sometimes it becomes really difficult to know what is hype and what is genuine excitement.

Happily, I am totally against the concept of serving up any kind of hype and marketing to you in these reports. If anything, I probably have a tendency to try and kick back against that. And anyway, I don’t have anything to sell to you either (neither does SnowJapan). So basically, if you sense me being excited, you can be pretty sure that I am genuinely excited and have real reason to be.

Apart from the issue of misleading people, if everything is relentlessly being reported as ‘Epic’ (insert other Capitalised Adjective) all of the time - even when things aren’t actually really all that 'Epic' - what happens when things really are genuinely ‘Epic’?

Well, enough of that for now.

Let me just end my rather long report today by saying congratulations to the folk who took a bit of a gamble to be here at the very start of the season. They’re probably the ones with the biggest grins!


Niseko Avalanche Report:

Niseko base 6am: -5℃, light dusts, calm. Moiwa800m: -6℃, light breeze, 15cm snowfall and no notable snowdrift development. Annupuri1000m: 135cm snowpack. Coastal data: Benkei cape NW9m/s, Kamui cape WSW2m/s, 1018hPa, 0.9m waves.

The isobars are spread out and the weather is calm. A warm-front snowfall is blanketing the snowpack and will become a potential sliding layer in the future snowpack. The present snowpack above 800m is stable and the avalanche risk is low. The snow is in good shape, but a bit heavy and easy to have skis getting caught. Beware of hitting trees and falling into streams as they’re not fully buried and water flow is still high.

Avalanches in Niseko are mostly caused by the collapsing of storm-affected snowdrifts. Hazard level rises also during heavy snowfall caused by passing low-pressure systems. The snow condition is ever changing. Using caution, especially during poor weather, will reduce the risks of accidents.

The Niseko Rules are implemented in order to protect the freedom and the safety of out of bounds riding, and all resort users must abide by those rules.

Have a nice day.


Monday 4th December 2017

What's planned to be open today in Niseko (subject to change):

Niseko Grand Hirafu

Lifts operating:
- Ace Number 3 Pair lift
- Ace Number 2 Center Four quad lift
- Ace Family quad lift
- King Number 3 quad lift
- Hirafu Gondola
- Holiday Number 1 pair lift
- Swinging Monkey

Niseko HANAZONO Resort

Lifts operating:
- Hanazono Number 1 quad lift
- Hanazono Number 2 quad lift
- Hanazono Number 3 quad lift

Niseko Annupuri Kokusai

Lifts operating:
- Annupuri Gondola
- Jumbo Number 1 quad lift
- Dream Number 1 quad lift

Niseko Village

Lifts operating:
- Niseko Gondola
- Banzai Chair
- Community Chair


Official resort snow depths on Monday 4th December 2017:

Niseko Grand Hirafu & Hanazono
Top - 190cm
Base - 90cm

Niseko Annupuri Kokusai
Top - 140cm
Base - 70cm

Niseko Village
Top - 135cm
Base - 70cm


Floodlit 'nighta' skiing schedule:
Saturday 9th December 2017 until Sunday 18th March 2018   Read more ...

Shiga Kogen Now!

Monday 4th December 2017, 8:40am
Weather conditions: Sunny, some cloud
New snowfall: 0cm
Snow depth: --
It's another lovely sunny morning here in Shiga Kogen.

Good morning.

Conditions are about to change with snow due before tomorrow morning - and the forecast is looking rather good for the coming week too.

It would be great if we could get a decent dump of snow to get more areas open soon. That goes without saying, of course.

Currently the following areas of Shiga Kogen are part open:

- Ichinose Family
- Takamagahara Mammoth
- Yakebitaiyama
- Kumanoyu
- Yokoteyama

None of the above resorts are 'linked up'/connected - we'll have to wait for more snow for that to happen.


Planned opening dates of other areas of Shiga Kogen

Saturday 9th December 2017:
Okushiga Kogen

Early December 2017:
Ichinose Family
Sun Valley

Mid December 2017:
Ichinose Diamond
Tannenomori Okojo

Late December 2017
Ichinose Yamanokami   Read more ...

Appi Kogen Now!

Monday 4th December 2017, 10:34am
Weather conditions: Cloudy
New snowfall: 3cm
Snow depth: --
We are currently - and unavoidably - unable to post our regular reports at the moment. In the meantime we will be doing our best to cover and bring you news from Appi Kogen. Hopefully we will be able to get back to normal reporting back soon. Thank you for your understanding.


Good morning from Appi.

More (wet) snow has been falling lightly this morning (and 3cm to add to the reports), but it is relatively warm.

It's kind of sticking at times, and then just melting away as it falls at others - especially as we approach the middle of the day.

The forecast shows a return to cold conditions from tomorrow and regular snowfall over the coming week.

Planned lift operations for Sunday 3rd December 2017 (subject to change):

- APPI Gondola
- Central quad
- Central number 2 lift
- Central number 3 lift A
- Central number 4 lift


Official snow depth:

70cm   Read more ...

SnowJapan Daily 'Now' reports

Madarao Now
12th Aug, 0:17pm
Grandeco Now
26th Jul, 8:14am
Niseko Now
25th Jul, 15:02am
Yuzawa Now
29th Jun, 17:50am
Furano Now
06th May, 9:04am
Hakuba Now
06th May, 9:02
Nozawa Onsen Now
06th May, 8:41
Shiga Kogen Now
06th May, 8:35
Myoko Now
06th May, 8:35am
Zao Now
06th May, 8:30am
Naeba Now
06th May, 8:28am
Minakami Now
06th May, 8:27am
Appi Kogen Now
06th May, 8:04
Geto Kogen Now
06th May, 8:01