Nozawa Snow Report 24 January 2017

The Arctic comes to Nozawa Onsen

Nozawa Snow Report 24 January 2017

The arctic temperatures may stop some, but not all.

Nozawa Snow Report 24 January 2017: Stats

Base at top: 350 cm

Temp at Top: -12 Degree

Base at Uenotaira station: 260 cm

New snow since close: 30 cm

Weather: Snow

Nozawa Snow Report 24 January 2017: Overview

The coldest morning temperatures I can remember are current on the Yamabiko weather station, recording -12c before windchill. For comparisons sake, a normal cold weather temperature for the 8am Yamabiko reading is consistently -7/-8c. Today is much colder than normal with air streaming straight down from the arctic. There are also strong winds up high so when windchill is factored in the apparent temperature will be more like -20/-25c. Therefore if you value your core body temperature maybe add another layer or two today. Thats not to say don’t go riding as the snow conditions are supreme, as good as it gets! 30cm of overnight snow will make for blower Hokkaido snow quality. So dry you may struggle to differentiate the density between the snow and air. But you can’t breath snow so maybe pack a snorkel too and please don’t do anything stupid.

Yesterday was very similar to today, although not quite as cold (yesterdays 8am reading was -10c). But still the snow was fantastic. So dry and deep. The strong winds kept the gondola moving at a snails pace but it was worth the long ride. Crowds were few and fresh tracks were plentiful. Even the sun made an appearance for about an hour around lunchtime, quickly overtaken again by passing snow showers.

Nozawa Snow Report 24 January 2017: Forecast

According to the forecast we should see snow showers continue at about the current rate for the remainder of today. Snowfalls will become slightly lighter tomorrow with increasing breaks in sunshine. Thursday will be a great day with clear skies, light winds and cold temperatures. Further ahead we are looking at some rapidly undulating temperatures and variable weather. For next weekend until Monday we expect snow, sun and rain in no particular order. It will be cold one day, hot the next and then cold again. Weird. We’ll see what happens…

Nozawa Snow Report 23 January 2017

Winter returns with 30cm of fresh Siberian powder overnight

Nozawa Snow Report 23 January 2017

Non stop snow clearing in Nozawa Onsen.

Nozawa Snow Report 23 January 2017: Stats

Base at top: 320 cm

Temp at Top: -10 Degree

Base at Uenotaira station: 235 cm

New snow since close: 30 cm

Weather: Snow

Nozawa Snow Report 23 January 2017: Overview

During the early hours of this morning heavy falls of snow descended on Nozawa Onsen producing no less than 30cm of fresh powder from top to bottom across the resort. There will be some great skiing and boarding in all areas with very cold temperatures and snow showers continuing for the rest of today. Expect foggy conditions up top with improving visibility across the lower stretches of the mountain. Crowd levels will be much reduced in comparison with the last two days.

Yesterday was a fair day of skiing. There were still some fresh tracks to be had thanks to strong overnight winds filling in windblown snow on the upper elevations. Good weather and strong sunshine meant that the best skiing was had in the morning. During the afternoon the snow became heavier under increasing temperatures. Yamabiko however retained good snow throughout. The weekend crowds meant there were big lines in some areas, especially around early to mid morning.

Nozawa Snow Report 23 January 2017: Forecast

Looking at the forecast ahead we expect snow showers to continue on and off for the rest of today and tomorrow before easing at some point on Wednesday. Cold temperatures will remain until we see the first break of sun but will never climb too high until Friday thanks to a continued NW flow. We expect sunshine all day on Thursday. Further ahead in the long range we continue to see mixed an variable weather from next weekend. Looks like we may experience our first tropical incursion in some time. Overall, the forecast will become much clearer in the coming days.

Nozawa Snow Report 22 January 2017

Snowfalls ease with good visibility resort wide

Nozawa Snow Report 22 January 2017: Stats

Base at top: 300 cm

Temp at Top: -6 Degree

Base at Uenotaira station: 215 cm

New snow since close: 0 cm

Weather: Clear

Nozawa Snow Report 22 January 2017

View from the toilet, Nozawa Onsen.

Nozawa Snow Report 22 January 2017: Overview

Snowfalls eased overnight as the wind swung around to the SW and as a result we have no significant increase in coverage since first lifts yesterday. Right now out the window its partly cloudy with occasional breaks of sunshine, its going to be a mostly fine day on the hill. Make sure you bring the camera up with some luck you may capture to Sea of Japan, potentially visible to the West (look back towards the lifts from the top of Yamabiko). The best skiing will be at Yamabiko early with fine quality on and off piste. When this becomes tracked the mid station lifts will be the next port of call for some fun intermediate level powder runs through the trees. This area is great for avoiding the weekend crowds with a double and triple chair running. For more advanced riders the skyline blacks will be worth a look all though be wary of the glide crack that has formed on Grandprix.

Yesterday we saw strong winds ease into the afternoon and as the clouds gradually lifted it revealed some fresh wind lips and other features created by the shifting snow. In the absence of any sun the snow remained in top shape with knee deep powder that fell throughout the day across the resort. From first to last lifts an additional 20cm collected from top to bottom. Foul weather seemed to keep the crowds at bay that would otherwise would have been substantial. Stability at the moment is very low with numerous wind driven slab avalanches across the slopes. Glide cracks are also beginning to open up thanks to last weeks heavy falls. As per usual, do not duck ropes; especially those with inflated egos. You may find yourself in trouble very quickly.

Nozawa Snow Report 22 January 2017: Forecast

Analysing the forecast we can expect about 3 days of cold Siberian flow from Sunday night until at some point on Wednesday. This should produce consistent falls of excellent quality powder snow perhaps totalling between 20-30cm per day. The heaviest falls look to occur on Sunday night and Tuesday which will be accompanied by moderate NW winds. Thursday looks like it will be clear but remain very cold. On Friday we expect temperatures to warm. Im not too certain on how the weather patterns will fall from Friday onwards. At this stage its looking extremely variable with a soupy mix of high and low pressure.

Nozawa Snow Report 21 January 2017

Thunderstorms and fresh snow

Nozawa Snow Report 21 January 2017

Nozawa Onsen back street under snow.

Nozawa Snow Report 21 January 2017: Stats

Base at top: 305 cm

Temp at Top: -5 Degree

Base at Uenotaira station: 230 cm

New snow since close: 10 cm

Weather: Heavy snow

Nozawa Snow Report 21 January 2017: Overview

Thunder, lightning and strong winds accompanied daybreak this morning in Nozawa Onsen. I woke to the sound of snowflakes and soft hail rattling the side of the lodge as the storm broke overhead. Storms are an irregular occurrence in the winter only occurring a few times per season if at all. As of 5am no fresh snow had fallen, but from this time to 8am 10cm had collected on the upper slopes. Although the temperatures aren’t especially cold, the wind chill will make it feel much colder today. At the moment the upper mountain is soaked in fog while the lower mountain is relatively clear. Highest quality snow will be found towards the top, becoming heavier on the lower mountain.

Yesterday remained mostly clear for the duration. Occasional high cloud passed accompanied by gusts of strong wind. The snow was best in the morning remaining light and dry. By around lunchtime the temperatures had warmed which resulted in heavier snow, very sun affected on the Southerly aspects. All in all another good day on the hill.

Nozawa Snow Report 21 January 2017: Forecast

We should see snow showers ease into the afternoon today with a brief pause until tomorrow night. This will mark the start of another more prolonged run of snowfalls and very cold temperatures. Light to moderate snowfalls should continue to sea level from Sunday night until some point on Wednesday. Thursday is expected to be clear. Next weekend looks to be a mixed bag of variable weather; its uncertain at this stage what exactly will occur, snowfalls or partly cloudy days. Check back tomorrow for further updates.

Nozawa Snow Report 20 January 2017

No fresh snow, a day for the pistes

Nozawa Snow Report 20 January 2017

The unbelievable views of a clear day at Nozawa Onsen.

Nozawa Snow Report 20 January 2017: Stats

Base at top: 300 cm

Temp at Top: -8 Degree

Base at Uenotaira station: 230 cm

New snow since close: 0 cm

Weather: Clear, valley fog

Nozawa Snow Report 20 January 2017: Overview

Much like two days ago we have some morning fog floating about the valleys. The village is entirely shrouded giving a highly atmospheric feel but at higher elevations its a different story. The top of the mountain is basking in sunshine, all be it with decidedly chilly temperatures of around -8c. While the atmosphere is not quite as clear as Wednesday, there will surely be some photogenic views from Yamabiko and so this area holds my highest recommendations for the day. With no fresh snow overnight it’ll be all about the groomers today. They will be fast and thanks to the light crowds, very smooth. The valley fog will dissipate later.

Yesterday was also quite a step down from Wednesday but still very good. It was extremely quiet on the mountain, i suspect many took a day off to rest. Even though fresh snowfalls from the preceding night weren’t significant, strong overnight winds blew in snow to almost cover most tracked areas. Heavy fog covered the mountain for much of the morning, partially clearing during the afternoon.

Nozawa Snow Report 20 January 2017: Forecast

Looking ahead at the forecast we should see snowfalls kick off again tonight with moderate falls predicted, increasing into tomorrow morning. It will then partly cloudy on Saturday afternoon or Sunday morning as a small nearby low pressure inflow makes it presence known. From Sunday night or Monday morning the temperatures will become very cold with consistent snow from the NW for Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Precipitation rates aren’t as high as last week but we are expecting some very decent accumulations over this time period. Later in the week an out of place high pressure will move over Japan influencing fine conditions.

Nozawa Snow Report 19 January 2017

Light snow flurries and an earthquake alarm in the village

Nozawa Snow Report 19 January 2017

First lifts on Yamabiko yesterday.

Nozawa Snow Report 19 January 2017: Stats

Base at top: 315 cm

Temp at Top: -6 Degree

Base at Uenotaira station: 230 cm

New snow since close: 5 cm

Weather: Light snow

Nozawa Snow Report 19 January 2017: Yesterday

What a day it was yesterday! For those lucky enough to get up early would have seen some amazing atmospheric clarity as they rose above the valley fog aboard the Nagasaka gondola. The Sea of Japan and the horizon over the ocean was clearly visible. Even Sado Island way off to the NW was sighted. The mighty Japanese Alps all the way to Hakuba extended across the skyline providing ample mind skiing. It wasn’t until around midday when photochemical haze spoiled the long distance views. And what about the snow. It was phenomenal. Deep, cold powder snow that was much improved from the day before. Excellent skiing was had across the mountain with nothing but happy faces (except for those who missed out). Many of the multi season staff were remarking that it was one of the best days skiing they have ever had, myself included. More again please 🙂

Nozawa Snow Report 19 January 2017: Today

We woke this morning at 630am to some light flurries of snow and the loud sirens of the earthquake alarm. Luckily nothing eventuated, however earthquakes are always in the back of your mind in Japan. From last lifts to 8am we had 5cm of fresh snow fall, perhaps a little more since then. If you are paying close attention to the base depth figure you may have noticed a decline back towards the three meter mark. This is simple the natural compaction of the snowpack as the snowflakes break down and air in compressed out after fresh snowfall has occurred.

Out skiing and boarding today you’ll notice the snow is slightly heavier powder, similar to Tuesday. Nevertheless it will be a fun day on the hill with good turns through the Yamabiko trees and smooth groomers across the lower pistes. The crowds are light and the mountain is currently shrouded by fog above 1000m.

Nozawa Snow Report 19 January 2017: Forecast

According to the forecast we expect light snow showers to continue on and off today, perhaps clearing later this afternoon. Then tomorrow night we will see another round of snow of much the same quality as today. Which will continue into Sunday morning. From then one another much colder batch of snow is due for early next week. potentially clearing again around Wednesday or Thursday.

Nozawa Snow Report 18 January 2017

20cm and clear skies above, skiing in a dream state

Nozawa Snow Report 18 January 2017: Stats

Base at top: 330 cm

Temp at Top: -8 Degree

Base at Uenotaira station: 245 cm

New snow since close: 20 cm

Weather: Clear

Nozawa Snow Report 18 January 2017: Overview

The storm is over. Delivering a parting gift of 20cm overnight there are now clear blue skies and bright sunshine above the mountains. A bluebird powder day. In the valleys we have a dense but spectacular sea of fog. Bring the camera up today as there will surely be some amazing views with fresh snow frosting the trees framed by a backdrop of piercing snow clad peaks.

To recap from the past week we have received a grand total of 385cm from the entirety of this run of snow. It is remarkable to have such a prolonged run of heavy falls and we are now well set up for the long season ahead. The skiing today will be good, best early as temperatures are forecast to climb during the afternoon. When this happens the best snow will be found on north facing slopes and shaded valleys such as Nagasaka, Challenge and of course, Yamabiko. Some slopes may become sun affected and heavy especially on the lower mountain.

Yesterday we had some unusual weather patterns. While heavy snow continued to fall, adding another 20cm throughout the day, temperatures were surprisingly high, hovering at -5c up top and 0c in the village. This made the snow heavy going and vastly different from the perfection of Monday. Nevertheless it was still much more fun than working so who can complain. As expected the mountain was nicely uncrowded.

Nozawa Snow Report 18 January 2017: Forecast

According to the forecast we should have a few days of variable weather and overnight snow showers. Light snow is expected overnight tonight before a partly cloudy afternoon for tomorrow. Friday will warm a touch before heavy snow moves over the region once more overnight into Saturday. Further moderate to heavy falls are expected into early next week.

Nozawa Snow Report 18 January 2017

A villager exits the cooking onsen after recent heavy snowfalls

Update Nozawa Onsen and Australian Family found today

Update Nozawa Onsen

Mt Kenashi the peak of Nozawa Onsen Ski Resort

Update Nozawa Onsen

Have had a lot of calls this morning from journalists and concerned people for the missing family so just wanted to update what we know.

  • The family was found at about 8:45 am this morning and all well with maybe some minor frostbite from a very cold night on the mountain.
  • It was a Mother and 3 Adult sons from Australia that had been staying at the resort
  • It would appear that they had ventured out side the Resort boundary yesterday afternoon off the back of Mt Kenashi which is the highest peak at Nozawa Onsen at 1650m
  • They probably skied along a ridge and then headed down the south face. No doubt lost and concerned as night closed in. It is quite a distance down from there and would imagine they were walking or skiing most of the night downhill looking for a way out. They were then discovered towards the bottom of the mountain early this morning
  • They have been taken to nearby hospital to recover and are from all reports in good health.
  • The boundary is well sign posted and if they had stayed within the resort boundaries would have been found by the Patrol when they do their checks every afternoon. The resort is fully patrolled
  • There has been an amazing amount of snow fall here in Nozawa Onsen over the last few days and the lure of the powder snow is great but it is not a time to be venturing outside of the resort area. Please stay on the dedicated runs and stay safe.
  • It is going to be a great season up here with all this snow so hope to see you in Nozawa

Update Nozawa Onsen sm

Course Information


Nozawa Snow Report 17 January 2017

7th day of snowfalls; The storm that just keeps giving

Nozawa Snow Report 17 January 2017: Stats

Base at top: 340 cm

Temp at Top: -5 Degree

Base at Uenotaira station: 245 cm

New snow since close: 25 cm

Weather: Heavy Snow

Nozawa Snow Report 17 January 2017: Overview

It just never stops. For the 7th day in a row it has dumped overnight in Nozawa Onsen. This time 25cm has fallen on the upper slopes and 25cm in the village. This is amazing. A week ago I said to expect some huge figures upcoming and that has been the case. Since the 10th we have had a storm total of 345cm, which is nearly one third of the average annual snowfall in the space of a week. Two weeks ago we were looking down the barrel of a very marginal season indeed. How quickly that can change! Expect again outstanding riding conditions with piles of powder even on piste, silky smooth squeaky cold groomers and maybe even some views later this afternoon.

Overnight we received reports of a missing family on the mountain. By all accounts they would have faced a freezing night on the hill. The latest word of mouth is that they have been found alive. Apparently they dug a snow cave which would have almost certainly saved their life. If you somehow find yourself stuck in a similar situation the best course of action is to remain calm, try make contact via mobile phone, try not to become sweaty (it will make you colder/freeze later in the night) and build a snow cave for warmth and shelter. Do not go into the backcountry if you don’t know what your doing. Do not duck ropes.

I have never skied in Alaska, but yesterday provided the type of snow one might expect when skiing a mind bending spine wall on the slopes of an otherworldly Alaskan peak. Wind compacted powder. Perfect for charging at high speed with utmost confidence and control. The day of the season for sure. More snow than the relatively light crowds could track within the day, strong winds and continued snowfalls replenishing drifts with amazing frequency. Extremely cold temperatures ensured the snow remained in superb condition all day long. There just isn’t enough daylight hours.

Nozawa Snow Report 17 January 2017: Forecast

Gazing towards the forecast the snow train continues. We have reached the tail end of the current run and snowfalls are expected to taper off later today, clearing tomorrow morning into a stunning bluebird. Partly cloudy conditions will persist into Thursday and even perhaps Friday. Right in time for next weekend we are then expecting another run of heavy snow. While not as extensive as last weeks storm/s it looks like we’ll get more than a few overnight deluges of the white stuff we all crave.

Nozawa Snow Report 17 January 2017

Iain carves up some fresh powder


Great News out of Nozawa Onsen

Great News Nozawa

Nozawa Onsen Ski Patrol working hard to keep the slopes safe

Good News out of Nozawa Onsen!
The missing family has just been found. Have just gotten off the phone with the head of Nozawa Ski Patrol and all members are fine. Everyone is very relieved to hear. A big thank you to the hard working team at Ski Patrol and a strong message to everyone on the slopes at the moment to be very careful with more heavy snow again overnight.