Snow and weather reports posted on Monday 10th May 2021
Wednesday 6th May 2015, 9:02am
We ended up with another fine, sunny and warm day yesterday.
And guess what, that's what today is going to be as well, with a high of around 25C forecast for the area.
Today is the last day of the season for the GALA Yuzawa and Naeba resorts.
Today is also the last day of the season for the Tashiro area of Kagura, the Kagura Number 5 lift and Mitsumata Collection. From tomorrow Kagura will remain open via the Mitsumata Ropeway.
I'll post a Yuzawa Now report tomorrow morning and then after that try to get one up twice a week until Kagura closes to update you on the latest weather conditions.
Official snow depths: ** General opening plans - any unplanned closures will be mentioned in the above report **
GALA Yuzawa: Official snow depth of 100cm. Most of the Central Area and part of the North Area remain open. The South Area is now closed. The downhill course is also now closed - get down back to base using the Gondola.
Kagura: Official snow depth of 270cm. All three main areas of Kagura remain pretty much fully open.
Naeba: Official snow depth of 60cm. Part of the upper area of Naeba will open from until 6th May. The Daishamen course has now closed. All lower areas are closed.
Planned closing dates for resorts in the Yuzawa region Information as currently available and of course subject to change depending on conditions. Resorts not mentioned below are now closed.
The early cloud cleared up yesterday leaving us with blue skies and sunshine.
We have started the day today with more blue skies and more sunshine. It is going to be a cracker of a last day for Hakuba 47 and Tsugaike Kogen.
From tomorrow, it'll just be the very top bits of Happo-one and Hakuba Goryu that remain open with both of those planning to stay open until Sunday. There should be less people around tomorrow and Friday at least, with today being the last day of the Golden Week holidays.
Currently the forecast for tomorrow is cloud.
Official snow depth numbers and planned operations. Subject to change:
Hakuba Goryu: Top of Hakuba Goryu plans to be at least part open until Sunday 10th May. All lower areas arew now closed. Top Panorama, Grand Prix and Super courses remain open. Ride the Gondola back down. The following lifts remain open: - Hakuba Goryu Telecabin Gondola (until 10th May) - Alps Number 1 pair lift (until 10th May) - Alps Number 3 pair lift (until today) - Alps Number 2/4 pair lift (until today)
** Official snow depth: Alps Daira - 120cm
Hakuba 47: Hakuba 47 plans to be open until tomorrow. Almost all areas remain open, though lower northern facing areas especially are very thin on snow. The following lifts remain open: - Gondola - Pair lift Line AB - Quad lift Line C - High speed pair Line E
** Official snow depth: Upper - 65cm Lower - 10cm
Happo-one: Happo-one plans to be at least part open until Sunday 10th May. The top area of the resort remains open - all lower areas now closed, so you need to take the Gondola back down. The following lifts remain open until today: - Adam Gondola - Alpen quad - Usagidaira pair (until today) - Kurobishi Number 2 quad - Kurobishi Number 3 pair (until today) - Skyline Number 2 pair (until today) - Grat quad - Panorama pair (utnil today) - Hakuba Kokusai Number 3 pair (until today) - Sakka Kita One lift (servicing the Yuki Asobi play-in-the-snow area)
** Official snow depth: Usagidaira - 85cm
Tsugaike Kogen: Last day of the season for Tsugaike Kogen today. Top area open. Lower areas all closed. The following lifts remain open: - Eve Gondola - Han-no-ki high speed pair - Tsuga Number 2 pair - Tsugaike Ropeway
** Official snow depth: Tsuga-no-mori - 165cm
Other resorts in the area are now closed for the season. Read more ...
Nozawa Onsen Now!
Wednesday 6th May 2015, 9:13am
Sunny for the last day of the season
Here we are at the end of another ski season for Nozawa. As I write this, the lifts that remain open up top still have their last day to get through, but at the end of today they'll be able to take a well-deserved break after a long winter season.
I remember saying that last season was 'an odd one'. This season one of the main talking points I think was all of the snow that we got in December. Just to remind ourselves, here's the snowfall observed at base in the last two seasons:
December 2013: 100cm December 2014: 437cm
January 2014: 259cm January 2015: 314cm
February 2014: 168cm February 2015: 215cm
March 2014: 78cm March 2015: 178cm
Take a look at December! Interesting to be reminded that January and February also saw more snow than the previous season, though March last season clearly beat this season.
All in all, over 10m of snow down here at base and no doubt quite a lot more than that on the upper areas. Nice!
The resort has once again seemed to be busy with a further increase in the number of international guests. I feel I am hearing more and more languages being spoken as well.
Happily, the village retains it's charm and hopefully it always will do.
This is my last Nozawa Now report of the season. Many thanks for reading them again this season. I hope that you enjoyed reading them and that they were useful as well.
The archive reports are always there so you can always go back and reflect on the season and remind yourself of how it all played out which is often fun to do when summer hits and it gets very hot. The links to the archives can be found below.... as can the link to that new interesting page that appeared mid-season, showing you all of the observed snow depth data (not only from Nozawa but other popular areas of Japan as well). Remember, Nozawa has a lot of vertical compared to many resorts meaning there's probably much more of a difference in the amount of snow bottom to top.
The SnowJapan Nozawa Now reports will be back in autumn when it starts cooling down and thoughts turn to the 2015/2016 season.
Next season will absolutely definitely be a 'classic'! ;)
With just the Chuo area open for skiing and snowboarding today, once the day is done that will be the end of the 14-15 season at Zao. Fittingly, the sun is out, there's blue skies above us, and it's lovely warm spring day. The snow sure has melted away quickly over the last few weeks.
This is my last report of the season.
I hope you have enjoyed reading the reports from Zao this season and they were helpful if you were planning a visit. No doubt we'll be back on the other side of summer in the run up to next season. I'll see you then!
Remember if you want to re-live the season, or check out what was happening in previous seasons, do take a read through the report archives that can be found at the bottom of this page.
The 3 Ropeways at Zao are open throughout the year, just closing for periods of maintenance - the latest info available on spring/early summer maintenance is posted below.
Zao Ropeway Closed from Thursday 7th May until Friday 5th June
Zao Chuo Ropeway Closed from Thursday 7th May until Thursday 28th May Read more ...
Wednesday 6th May 2015, 10:25am
Blue sky, some cloud
Wednesday 6th May 2015. The last day of the official ski season in Niseko (though no doubt some people will be hiking up places beyond tomorrow to access remaining snow).
It's a fine morning with a mix of blue sky and cloud.
I'll try not to dwell on the strong wind conditions that are messing with lifts on this final morning of the season. Unfortunately as I write this, only the lower Jumbo Number 1 lift at Annupuri and the Ace Number 2 Center four quad and Ace Number 3 lifts at Hirafu are moving, limiting options for everyone wanting to get in their last turns. Naughty wind.
Anyway enough of that and onto my 'season summary' bit.
The first day of the season – and by that I mean when the first ski lift started moving - was Friday 5th December 2014. If my calculations are correct, that means that the season here has lasted some 153 days.
Now that the season is over, here’s my last look at the various data. As always, a bit of a ‘disclaimer’ before anyone gets upset... my numbers are observed by myself each day, from the same open spot here in Hirafu. As you might expect, there’ll often be more snow on the upper areas of the mountain – perhaps around 50% more. The quoted Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) numbers are the official numbers that they record from Kutchan town, a bit lower down than here at Hirafu base.
All of the archived Niseko Now daily reports are always available to read on SnowJapan, so if you want to get a complete detailed picture of the season - and indeed previous seasons - then please do equip yourself with a big cup of your preferred beverage, sit down and have a good read! You can find all of the archives at the bottom of this page.
The numbers in brackets below are the accumulative numbers over the season.
My observed numbers: November 2014: 30cm November 2013: 123cm
JMA Kutchan numbers: November 2014: 41cm November 2013: 99cm
It was something of a late start to the season this time round, with considerably more snow falling in November 2013. In fact, resorts wanted to be opening on 23rd November and people were starting to get a bit worried with the season only got started on 5th December...
My observed numbers: December 2014: 519cm (549cm) December 2013: 275m (398cm)
JMA Kutchan numbers: December 2014: 387cm (428cm) December 2013: 258cm (357cm)
Once it started snowing though, it decided to do so in style for the month of December. Take a look at my Hirafu numbers in particular... we got tons of snow falling in December 2014 with the total snowfall easily overtaking the previous season despite the later start. Loads of snow. An excellent December.
My observed numbers: January 2015: 257cm (806cm) January 2014: 461cm (859cm)
JMA numbers: January 2015: 230cm (658cm) January 2014: 317cm (674cm)
The interesting thing about the months of December and January over the last two seasons is how they kind of swapped positions. The month with the most fresh snowfall in 2014-2015 season was easily December, with January not delivering us as much fresh. It was completely the other way round in the 2013-2014 season with January being the month experiencing the most fresh snowfall. I don't have numbers in front of me but I would expect last season to be the more 'normal' pattern. The pattern over the last two seasons can very clearly be seen if you compare the graphs on SnowJapan’s observed snowfall comparison page (below).
It wasn’t just Niseko but most regions of Japan seemed to get more snow in December than January. I can imagine it makes it all the more difficult to choose when to visit...
My observed numbers: February 2015: 196cm (1002cm) February 2014: 178cm (1037cm)
JMA Kutchan numbers: February 2015: 167cm (825cm) February 2014: 130cm (804cm)
My observed numbers: March 2015: 139cm (1141cm) March 2014: 113cm (1150cm)
JMA Kutchan numbers: March 2015: 141cm (966cm) March 2014: 118cm (922cm)
My observed numbers: April 2015: 3cm (1144cm) April 2014: 13cm (1163cm)
JMA Kutchan numbers: April 2015: 3cm (969cm) April 2014: 24m (946cm)
The remaining three months of the season saw largely comparable numbers, and of course both seasons ended up with a similar total, with around 11.5m of snow being observed falling here in Hirafu.
Not bad hey?
Remember all of this data is shown in that lovely little table further down this page; I encourage you to take a look at the data and Now reports on SnowJapan from other areas of Japan, not just Niseko. (It's all very interesting - and for resort base areas, there was actually one area that got over 4m more snow than Niseko!)
It has been another very busy season for Niseko with more people visiting from more places around the world. Lots of languages to be heard. Even including some Japanese! ;) A real party atmosphere going on in the main areas with a bustling nightlife. More people and an ever growing reputation with skiers and snowboarders around the world means that the slopes are getting more crowded though, with a huge rush to the powder on a fresh powder morning... lie-in's not recommended.
There have been too many days affected by strong winds again of course. I do feel for people who visit and find lifts not moving.
Still, nowhere can be perfect I suppose.
And of course there have also been many fantastic days with the beautiful snow conditions that we expect.
So there you have it. That was the 2014-2015 season. I enjoyed it and I hope that you did too if you managed to get here.
Thank you very much for reading the Niseko Now reports on SnowJapan this season. I hope that you enjoyed following them and found them to be useful - it's a bit scary almost seeing just how many people actually read these reports. I try not to think about that when writing them. I will gambarimasu once more next season - please do tell your friends.
I also want to say once again that I (and SnowJapan) appreciate the comments and suggestions that people send in about the reports and the site in general. If you want to get in touch please just use the Contact form on SnowJapan - if it's about these reports, it'll get to me!
Anyway I am going to enjoy a bit of a rest now. Hopefully it will be a fine summer up here in Hokkaido. As you are no doubt aware, it’s a very fine place to be when there’s no snow around as well. If you are planning on visiting it's worth mentioning that the weather forecasts on the resort pages of SnowJapan are updated throughout the year. Here is the page for Niseko Grand Hirafu, check the 'Weather Info' tab at the top:
I will be back posting new Niseko Now reports here on SnowJapan in the autumn when the 2015-2016 season is approaching. No doubt the ski resorts will once again be aiming to open in the later part of November.
It's another beauty, with clear blue skies and lots of warm sunshine.
The resort was planning to keep the Daishamen Romance lift moving until today, but nature had other ideas and that has been closed so we are left with just the following:
- Number 2 Gondola (8:30am until 3:30pm) - Takenokodaira Romance lift (8:45am until 3:45pm)
From tomorrow, just Kagura remains open in the area. With the Tashiro Ropeway also closing today, if you want to enjoy Kagura you need to use the Mitsumata Ropeway. Still they are doing a good job at keeping most areas open.
Kagura plans to remain open until 31st May and we'll try to keep this page updated once a week until then.
In the meantime you can also follow the Yuzawa Now reports here:
This Naeba Now report started updating for the 2014/2015 season on 31st January 2015. As such, the 'observed snowfall season' numbers shown at the bottom of the report will only reflect data from that date onwards. Please read our Yuzawa Now daily reports section for more information on the first part of the season in the Yuzawa region. Read more ...