The Yuki Has Returned – Japan Snow Wrap

January 22nd, 2016

Snow-filled chairs have been a welcome sight in Niseko this month. Image:: Niseko Photography and Guiding

Mountainwatch | Japan Snow Wrap

Japan’s conditions have improved remarkably over the last fortnight or so, especially up north in Hokkaido. In Niseko, the peak is now sporting a 300cm base, while the village is sitting on 130cm. Strong winds and heavy snow seem to have set the mood over the last week or so, but a return to blue sky and calm conditions made today one for the books.

Looking to the south in Hakuba, there has been a few days of wild weather, even some thunderstorms that have wreaked havoc across the region. Our sources have told us that the off-piste areas in the trees are finally starting to fill in to the point where they’re rideable for the first time this season. Steve Lee reports that the last few days have offered some great powder skiing in the Hakuba Valley. More snow is needed before we can really say that the season is on par with the last few years.

Read on for more…

Hanging out on a pizza box, Madarao Image:: Ben Ey

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Today on the hill

Today the reporters were stoked to see the return to blue skies and light winds in Niseko. The forecast is calling for a return to calmer and cooler conditions over the next week or so which will make for some great days. Some localised pulses should be bringing decent top-ups most nights.

Light winds with a fog layer sitting around about mid-mountain was the order of the day today. The snow cover is now well established down in the Valley and the treed areas at Cortina and Tsugaike are filling in nicely. Keep your eyes on Sunday for the best chance of fresh snow.

It’s rare to spot a skier without a smile on their face up in Furano of late – they truly have been getting the most snow of anywhere in Japan this season. Sunshine is the order of the day with light winds making it a perfect time to head out touring in the backcountry at nearby Tokachidake.

In The Forecast

The freezing level is flat-lining on the valley bottom until daytime temperatures warm slightly heading into Tuesday and Wednesday. With no significant storms on the horizon now would be a great time to let the snowpack settle for a day or so and then head out into the backcountry.

It’s a similar story to the Southern Japanese Alps this week, cool temps, light winds and no significant snow ahead. Saying that, it’s looking like some local precipitation will be delivering a conveyor belt of steady top-ups in Niseko this week. Wednesday looks like the day!

Click around this interactive forecast widget:

January 15 marks the Annual Fire Festivals – one of the cultural highlights in Japan Image:: Ben Ey

What do you call this? Face-deep? Image:: Glen Claydon Photography

The Japan we know and love. Image:: Niseko Photography and Guiding

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