The Avalanche report today is talking of fresh snow which is good to hear, but alas there's only a dusting at my measuring point at base this morning.
It's mixed weather conditions early this morning - doesn't seem to be able to decide on what to do. We've had light snow, some blue sky, bit of sunshine. It feels like the fairer clearer weather is going to win out, but don't dismiss the chance of some light snow later. Maybe.
Unfortunately there's a northerly wind this morning which is going to be affecting lifts. As of 8:30am, Annupuri is completely closed and other lifts affected. See below for my updates on each resort area.
The forecast doesn't show us much chance of much snow over the coming days I'm afraid, so we are very probably going to have to make do with what we got until the weekend. Got to make the most of it, so I'm going to get out and have a good four hours today I reckon. Perhaps see some of you on the lifts.
I forgot to mention this in my report yesterday, but this week of course is the week of the Sapporo Snow Festival.
The Festival runs from yesterday until Sunday 12th February and a lot of people visiting Niseko also try to fit in a visit to the festival. And it is often very well worth a visit too. Back in 1950 it all started off with local high students making snow statues in Odori Park. The Self Defence Forces joined in the fun from 1955 and started making large scale sculptures.
This year is the 68th Sapporo Snow Festival and the festival is said to attract over 2 million visitors! The main large-scale snow sculptures can still be found in Odori Park in central Sapporo. I hear that the Arc de Triomphe, Kofukuji Temple in Nara and ‘Final Fantasy’ feature amongst other interesting themes.
Recommended if you get the chance.
Niseko Avalanche Report:
Niseko base 6am: -6℃, 6cm snowfall and 20cm snowdrifts. Moiwa 800m: -8℃, 10cm snowfall, 30cm snow drifts. Annupuri 1150m: -11℃, N18m/s, no snowfall but development of snowdrifts. Hirafu 1250m: -13℃, N15m/s, snow falling and snowdrifts developing. Kamui cape lighthouse: SW2m/s, 1008hPa, 2.6m waves. Benkei cape ENE11m/s (NE15m/s at midnight).
Typical West high, East low winter pressure pattern and the isobars are relatively close to each others. A northerly 15m/s wind with snow has been blowing since late night and made cornices and snowdrifts develop in west facing aspects (leeward) above 800m elevation. The new slabs are yet to stabilize and are likely to slide at 30cm depth. The avalanche risk high in alpine area (above treeline) steep slopes. Predicted trigger layer is Feb 6th, which is a hoar layer due to thermal gradient.
20cm or less snow is unevenly covering the surface in the tree area. Not bottomless conditions, but good. Gates are planned to open s the chairlifts start. Please listen to the ski patrols advices before stepping out the gates. Wearing beacons and helmets is not mandatory, however very much recommended.
The wind direction seems to be a little off from regular years and snowdrifts develop in unexpected places. Think outside the box of past experiences and always make conservative decisions.
Resort specific opening news at time of writing (subject to change during the day):
Niseko Grand Hirafu The top Ace Number 4 and King Number 4 lifts are on hold at the start of the day due to strong winds.
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 ...
Tuesday 7th February 2017, 8:32am
Updated at 9:00am
Morning from Yuzawa.
Yesterday remained 'wet' for longer than we would have hoped in town, but eventually it did turn into snow. Overnight we have had a fairly decent amount on the ground - our measuring point in Yuzawa shows 16cm and to the north near Ishiuchi about 12cm.
Kagura this morning are reporting 30cm of fresh snowfall and Maiko Snow Resort are reporting 40cm (presumably up top).
This morning snow clouds are with us and light snow has been falling but it's a bit on and off for the moment. Steady snowfall throughout the day is however forecast so that is what we should expect.
It looks like Kagura is again being affected by wind conditions - the Tashiro area and the Number 4 and 5 lifts at Kagura will be closed. At the start of the day Kagura will be open from the Mitsumata Ropeway to the Kagura Number 1 lift, subject to change.
GALA Yuzawa is open though it looks like the South Area will not be available today and the Gondola may need to run at slower speeds depending on the wind.
Other resorts around the area appear to be opening as planned at the start of the day.
Keep an eye out though - as of 9am it has suddenly got rather wild out there with snow and stronger wind... more lifts may be affected
The forecast still looks positive for regular snowfall this week as well - perhaps with a break in the daytime tomorrow and Friday.
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 until 1st April 2017. The nighta opening times on those days is from 6pm until 4am the following morning.
Maiko Snow Resort Daily 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.
NASPA Ski Garden 'Thanks' (extended) opening on Saturdays in January and February. On those days the Number 1 lift is open until 6pm.
Yuzawa Nakazato Every Saturday until 11th March 2017. Nighta is from 5pm until 8:30pm. The Number 2 pair lift operates during nighta. Read more ...
Tuesday 7th February 2017, 8:46am
Morning from Hakuba and after a day of snow yesterday it continues to snow this morning. Yey!
Headlines from the ski resorts - this is how much snow they are reporting.
Hakuba 47: 20-30cm overnight (10cm in the day yesterday) Hakuba Goryu: 5-20cm Hakuba Happo-one: 20cm Hakuba Cortina: 15-20cm
And I am reporting 14cm.
A bit heavy (snow condition) yesterday - at least where I was (47), but looks the drier variety this morning. So snow conditions should be good.
Strong winds are affecting higher areas of resorts at the start of this morning (Goryu, 47, Happo and Tsugaike currently affected by the looks) and we'll need to keep an eye on that situation. Hopefully they'll be able to get moving.
We might get some sunshine tomorrow before a return to snow Thursday onwards. As the forecast is right now, snow is expected over the weekend so plan for that.
Resort news as of 8:45am on Tuesday 7th February 2017:
All information as available and subject to change during the day due to weather and snow conditions.
Hakuba 47: Hakuba Goryu is reporting 20-30cm of fresh snowfall overnight and 10cm during the day yesterday. Top area opening delayed. Official snow depth Upper: 265cm Base: 130cm
Hakuba Goryu: Hakuba Goryu is reporting 5-20cm of fresh snowfall. Top area lifts opening delayed. Official snow depth Alps: 320cm Toomi: 150cm Iimori: 130cm
Hakuba Happo-one: Hakuba Happo-one is reporting 20cm of fresh snowfall (at top of Riesen quad). Some top area lifts opening delayed. Official snow depth: Usagidaira: 215cm Kurobishi: 230cm Lower: 145cm
Tsugaike Kogen: Resort appears to be mostly open as planned, some top lifts affected by weather at the start of the day. Official snow depth: Tsuga-no-mori: 340cm Han-no-ki: 330cm Maruyama: 180cm Oya-no-hara: 165cm Kane-no-naru-oka: 140cm
Hakuba Cortina: The resort is reporting 15-20cm of fresh snowfall. Official snow depth: Top: 340cm Base: 220cm
Planned nighta operations - be sure to check with resorts for latest:
Hakuba Goryu: Planned to be open daily from 6pm until 9:30pm
Tsugaike Kogen: Planned at the Kane-no-naru-oka area on February 11th (6pm until 8:50pm) Planned at the Katamatsu-Shirakaba area February 11th, 18th; March 4th, 11th, 18th, 19th (6pm until 9pm)
Hakuba Cortina: Planned to be open daily from 5pm until 8pm (until 9pm on Saturdays)
Hakuba Happo-one: Planned to be open daily until 9pm on the Nakiyama area.
Kashimayari: Planned to be open daily.
There is no night skiing at the other resorts in the area. Read more ...
Tuesday 7th February 2017, 9:06am
Good morning from a snowy Grandeco.
15cm of fresh snow has fallen up until this morning and it is still falling. More! More!
It should be snowing until tonight and more fresh snow tomorrow morning.
Wind may be quite strong this morning, and may affect the Number 4 lift if it gets too windy.
Visibility is poor due to the snowfall, so be extra careful out there. Snow condition are nice light and powder though so it should be fun.
Snow Park Information:
[E-Park] Waves, bank, 7m kicker, 8m kicker
[Decoboco-Park] 6m straight wide box, 6m straight box, wave, volcano, drum can, 6m straight box, 8m straight rail, 6m arch box, 3m table top, 5m table top and bank
- Gondola - Number 1 quad lift - Number 2 quad lift - Number 3 quad lift - Number 4 quad lift
All courses now open
Official snow depth: 250cm
Road Condition to Grandeco: Inawashiro through Goshikinuma: snow Goshukinuma through Grandeco: snow Read more ...
Shiga Kogen Now!
Tuesday 7th February 2017, 9:07am
Fine light snow and windy
On and off snowy and windy conditions since yesterday, and at the moment the wind is still blowing around the fine snow that is falling making for rather wild conditions outside.
It's making it hard to put a number on the snowfall again this morning, but after checking my various measuring points and speaking with a few friends I'm going with 25cm. (Just to give you an idea of how the numbers can vary, the official site is reporting 35cm while Kumanoyu are reporting 5-10cm! Hmmmm.)
Whatever, there's a nice fresh blanket of snow out there once again and with more on the way too... there's not much in terms of clear weather conditions shown on the weekly forecast though wind will perhaps be less of an issue from tomorrow.
Anyway, things continue to go well for us here in Shiga Kogen. If you are planning on being here come prepared for snowy conditions - and good snow on the slopes!
Official snow depths numbers reported by different areas of Shiga Kogen:
Please note that these numbers are the official numbers that ski resorts publish.
There has been a very light dusting of fresh snow overnight that doesn't even measure 1cm. However, light snow is likely to fall during the day so there should at least be a freshen up on the upper mountain by the end of the day. Visibility conditions are clear with a bit of blue sky mixed in with a broken up thin layer of cloud. There is a rather fresh feel when walking around the village right now due to moderate winds coming and going, so expect at least the same up on the mountain. The wind is forecast to drop by Thursday. Read more ...
Nozawa Onsen Now!
Tuesday 7th February 2017, 9:18am
Morning from Nozawa and just look at that - just under another 40cm of snow being reported by the resort since yesterday on the top Yamabiko area of the resort.
A fair bit less lower down the mountain as it took a while to get going yesterday... but still about 16cm on the ground.
It has been snowing this morning but just as I write this report it has eased off and there's even a few breaks in the clouds above the village. Still, snow is forecast for the day and all the signs are that we should expect more. Maybe less so tomorrow with even the chance of some clearing skies, but back to snow Thursday and through the weekend.
The regular top-ups look set to continue. And long may they do so!
Lifts operations: - All lifts apart from the following lifts are operating - Yunomine pair - Mizunashi pair - Challenge pair - Utopia pair - Kandahar pair
Most courses at Nozawa Onsen are open. Courses not open are: - Kandahar West - Kandahar East - Grand Prix Read more ...
Tuesday 7th February 2017, 9:21am
Snow clouds, bit of...sun?!
Good morning from Madarao, and there is a nice fresh layer of snow on the ground this morning.
Just under 20cm according to my measurements and the resort is reporting 20cm so you get the idea.
Snow clouds still above but curiously a slight bit of sunshine trying to peeking through the clouds just now. Probably temporary as snow is forecast for the day today with the chance of clearer skies tomorrow. Beyond tomorrow still regular snow on the forecast through until at least the end of the weekend.
Should be good on the slopes this morning.
Operating status for the day at Madarao Kogen (at time of report):
- Number 1 lift - Number 2 quad lift - Number 3A lift - Super quad lift - Number 11 lift - Number 12 lift - Number 13 lift - Number 15 lift - Moving walkway - Kids Park - Free Ride Park
- Powder Wave I - Powder Wave II - River Line - Powder Theater - Adventure Aisle - Crystal Bowl - Ninja - Sawa - Rabbit - Kamoshika - Bear
- Nighta at Madarao Kogen is every Saturday until 25th March (and also 8th January and 19th March)
Another cloudy day today with a temperature of -2 right now. The snow is still falling and we’re expecting another 15cm or so today on top of yesterdays amount. Steady temperatures of -5 and a little chillier at the summit. The winds should die down by Thursday although we are expecting significantly more snow that day too.
The snow was on the wet side yesterday unlike the squeaky dry powder we usually have making things a little difficult at times. All in all it should be another good snow week here and make the weekend very enjoyable.
Planned operating lifts at time of report (subject to change due to weather conditions):
Appi Gondola Central quad Central number 2 Central number 3a Central number 4 Central number 5 Central number 6 Sailer Gondola Sailer quad Vista quad Nishimori
Strong blowy winds this morning with snow falling and cold temperatures.
It looks like it will be that for the day, though the wind doesn't seem to be affecting any of the lifts at least as of 10am. Tomorrow should be calmer though regular snowfall is on the weekly forecast.
There's not many people around at the moment weekdays, especially on days like this - excellent if you can get here and fine with the weather conditions.
All lifts apart from the following appear to be operating today:
Paradise Number 3 pair Karamatsu pair
All courses apart from Kotan are open.
Official snow depths (as published by the resort itself): Summit - 125cm Paradise - 210cm Chuo - 210cm Utopia - 155cm Uwanodai - 120cm Yokokura - 130cm
Juhyo 'Ice Monsters' Light Up night time Zao Ropeway operations
Every day until 5th March 2017. 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 ...
Tuesday 7th February 2017, 12:20pm
It has been snowing like crazy here at the base of Tenjindaira and the whole village and all resorts are getting it. The snow feels light and fluffy but it has significant moisture content, makes an easy snowball when you squeeze it together.
Looks like the same instability issues are going to persist today but no way to test it as Tenjin is closed. The wind last night was extremely strong to the point where parts of my car park were scoured down to ice and other parts saw drifts of over a meter.
Anyway, onto the good news, Hodaigi is going off and they opened their top lifts at about 11am. A deep day, excellent snow and not crowded at all over there. Okutone has tracks about 20cm deep that I could see and is also looking in excellent shape though visibility is going to be an issue regardless of where you are.
Tomorrow we have light snow forecast and Thursday morning is supposed to be clear. Will believe it when I see it as we are in the midst of a blizzard.
50cm Tenjin 30cm Hodaigi 20cm Okutone
Temps at 8am
Official snow depth:
350cm Tenjin 200cm Hodaigi 210cm Okutone
Resorts in Minakami (forecasts available from each page):
Please note that the fresh snowfall number being reported on this report is taken from the ‘base area’ of Tenjindaira - which is just by the top station of the Ropeway at that resort. Other snowfall numbers and commentary will be mentioned within each report when available. Read more ...