Just under 10cm of fresh snow this morning in the Hirafu village area.
Light snow and cloudy/overcast earlier on this morning but the skies have been clearing and we seem to be on for a fine, sunny day. Can't say I was expecting that! The local forecast still has cloud for the day so it may well cloud over once again. For now though - lovely morning.
Not much wind as well this morning with all resorts open as planned.
And it's keeping cold too, so it should be a good morning to be out on the mountain.
Back to snowy conditions tomorrow through Friday.
Niseko Avalanche Report
Niseko base 6am: -10C, 5cm of new snow in last 12 hrs. Moiwa 800m: Occassional northern flurries, Anbetsu side 30cm snowdrift growth. Annupuri 1150m: -13C, wind W8m/s, 10cm snowdrift growth. Hirafu 1000m: -12C, 10cm new snow, calm. Annupuri peak 1308m: -16.9C, wind NW10.3m/s. Cape Benkei: NW9m/s, Cape Kamui: wind N7m/s, wave 1.6m, pressure 1009hPa.
The weather is calm at both sea and mountains and there is little noticeable snowdrift development. Avalanche risk is low. Peak gates are expected to open this morning. Yesterdays tracks are not covered but the snow is good. The ridge lines are hard and crusty, not good for riding. When traversing go one by one. Ride the fall line, dont keep traversing under the cornices.
More cracks are appearing everyday, they release tension in the slope but do not necessarily cause an avalanche immediately. However on NW to NE (Goshiki Onsen side)slopes it is possible for a huge avalanche to be triggered deep within the snowpack at the same time the crack opens. Have a good day. Dont duck ropes.
Official snow depth numbers and lift news at time of writing:
I'm happy to report that after another mild day - it was a balmy 6 degrees as the resort closed yesterday - temperatures have been dropping since late last night and it is going to be a much colder day today, currently -3 degrees at base.
There has also been some snowfall, albeit very limited. The resort is reporting 5cm on Uenotaira, and 1cm on the other areas of the mountain. Snow showers are reported for the day and just now it's actually a bit sunny down here in the village. Upper areas of the mountain are covered in cloud though and as of a short while ago it was snowing lightly up there. Not quite the huge dump of snow we are looking for, but definitely an improvement.
We are keeping hopeful for the chance of decent snow overnight tonight and while late on tomorrow and Thursday are forecast to be mostly dry, snow is due over the weekend. Potential. Come on, bring it on!
The colder temps are back with light snow starting to fall in Minakami at present. The forecast shows light snow falling intermittently throughout the day through to tomorrow mid-morning.
Thursday, Friday seem predominantly cloudy before the snow comes in again on Saturday through until Tuesday.
The Japan Met. service has now updated their Feb-March forecast for high probabilities of warmer than average temps for nearly all of Japan. This could see us with more spring conditions and a shorter season than normal.
Wazuka. Ussura. Both mean something like 'slightly' and that's what the resorts around town - including Kagura - this morning are reporting. Just a slight dusting of snow basically, not enough for 1cm.
As far as I know we didn't get rain last night but there were some quite strong winds late on. It is definitely colder this morning. It is also snowing as I write this - not great big flakes of snow, but snowing - and snow is forecast for today and all of tomorrow as well.
There is a good chance of heavy snowfall tonight.
So I am hopeful that it will take hold and am looking forward to my report tomorrow morning.
Ahh, winter! Welcome back. You had us a bit worried there.
It is colder this morning thankfully and a dusting of new snow so it does feel more winter like, but we need it to be colder still and definitely want more snow. Light snow is falling at the moment and snow showers are likely through the day and fingers crossed tomorrow too.
Clearer conditions are likely around Thursday and Friday and while Saturday might get slightly warmer, snow is forecast.
Official snow depth data, as of Tuesday 4th February 2014, 9am):
Good. I'm happy to be able to report that it is much colder this morning in Zao. That's a relief, it was feeling like late March yesterday afternoon. Hopefully a blip.
And it's looking more encouraging now. Light snow falling at the moment, snow forecast on and off for the next few days along with cold temperatures. And then snow again on Saturday, possibly heavy snow. That sounds good.
Just an update on the Yokokura Wall run... still closed and while the resort hasn't said so, I am hearing that they are not hopeful of opening it again this season. That's just rumour though it would seem - for now, it's just closed.
Official snow depths (4th February 14): Utopia: 240cm Chuo: 195cm Paradise: 225cm Uwanodai: 140cm Read more ...
Tuesday 4th February 2014, 10:33am
April has left and February has returned. Not with lots of snow yet, but the white stuff is back.
It's a little dust on gray ice at the moment, but hopefully there will be a lot more over the next few days. We need it, after two days where the wind and sun really brought down the levels (as reported by some of the more honest resorts below).
Again, just how well that old snow is going to bind to this fresh is an issue for anyone venturing off into the backcountry. With the thin snow cover so far, and the quick change of temperature, it's likely that there will be a hard layer persisting in the snowpack for a while, which of course means higher avalanche risk. Please be careful when the powder comes back!