Niseko Japan Fortnightly Wrap Up – February 15th 2019

February 15th, 2019
Snowboarding Niseko style | Mountainwatch
¯\_(ツ)_/¯. Photo:: Matt Wiseman/Niseko Photography


Is February the new January when it comes to skiing in Japan?


Mountainwatch | Matt Wiseman

February as a month gets sadly overlooked when it comes to skiing in Japan. My guess is because ‘Japanuary’ has an admitted ring to it that ‘Febsnowary’ or ‘Nisekobruary’ probably doesn’t…

If you’re up to date with my last Niseko Japan Fortnightly Wrap Up – January 31st 2019, you’ll be eager to know whether Shakespeare’s words rang true? Yep, well it turns out my Niseko snow report was spot on, at least so far, that February has most definitely been “full of frost, of storm and cloudiness (and powder!)”

In fact, it’s snowed every day since January 31st! The smallest total of the 15 days a veritable Australian powder day with 3cm and the average accumulation a very healthy 18cm, with most days seeing between 15-25cm of the fresh stuff improving the Niseko snow conditions.


Niseko Snow Conditions, nice and deep | Mountainwatch
Black and white and deep. A common sight this February. Photo:: Matt Wiseman/Niseko Photography

Whilst it depends where you go for your Niseko snow report snowfall totals, when averaging out the numbers reported across several providers, around 2 metres seems to be a reasonable estimate as to how much has fallen so far this month, with more generous calculations seeing upwards of 2.5m higher up on the mountain.


Niseko Snow Report as recorded by Snow Japan
Not enormous totals but nothing if not consistent and enough to largely reset the hill each day! I’ve also noticed slightly more each day than the figures reported here by Snow Japan. Source:: Snow Japan


Niseko snowfall data as observed by Snow Japan
Someone’s left the pow tap on… Source:: Snow Japan

Not only has the snow been determined to fall daily, in the last week at least, it’s fallen nice and vertically too with very subdued winds.  Combined with much cooler temperatures than we’ve seen all season – between minus 14-20 degrees celcius, it’s also ensured the Niseko snow conditions have been superbly light and dry.


Untouched powder in the Niseko backcountry | Mountainwatch
Dropping bombs in some of that light Hokkaido crystal in the Niseko Backcountry. Photo:: Matt Wiseman/Niseko Photography


Dodging ski turn shrapnel in Niseko | Mountainwatch
Dodging ski turn shrapnel. Photo:: Matt Wiseman/Niseko Photography

Surprisingly, given the amount of snow accumulating this month, we have still caught glimpses of sunshine to keep the goggle tan dream alive and well.

Our friend Taiyō (sun) graced us with his fiery presence on the 3rd of February and it was possible to get that elusive Yōtei pow turn shooting from the backcountry across the valley.


The view from the top of Niseko | Mountainwatch
A bluebird with a backdrop. Photo:: Matt Wiseman/Niseko Photography


Local guide Vincent Genannt in Niseko’s backcountry | Mountainwatch
Local guide Vincent Genannt likes his pow turn’s sunny side up. Photo:: Matt Wiseman/Niseko Photography


Looking ahead at the Niseko Snow Report:

It looks as though we can expect to see a fair bit more of Taiyō with possible back to back bluebird days lining up for Monday and Tuesday after snow showers continue across the weekend.

Check out The Grasshopper’s most recent weekly Japan weather outlook for more on what the future of February holds and see below for a recap of the last seven days, which arguably made up some of the best snow conditions of the season.



Niseko’s snow conditions, perfect deep Japow | Mountainwatch
Is February the new January when it comes to skiing in Japan? Or will it crash and burn like this scorpioning skier… Photo:: Matt Wiseman/Niseko Photography

Lastly, we’re also taking submissions for your best February versions of ‘Japanuary’… feel free to comment below or on Facebook.

Niseko forecasts,
snow reports and
live snow cams.

Some more of our favourite Feb clips below.