Snow Report 10 December 2012 - Japan


The new season is truly beginning to swing into life as many of the Japanese ski resorts officially opened this weekend. Most of the majors have some lifts running ... while many are digging them out after the massive snowfalls of the past few days!

Good snowfalls last weekend were followed by a mixed week: Nozawa Onsen and the Yuzawa area of Niigata had rain and a little snow during the week, while to the south and north there were better midweek snowfalls (Hakuba, Gifu and Zao).

Happo One 9 December 2012 [Source: Happo Facebook page]
This weekend coincided with a major storm bringing lots of snow. Some areas felt the power early on, while for others the inevitable was just delayed a bit. Happy days now all round!

Happo One (Hakuba)

The Hakuba region has done particularly well since rain turned to snow midweek. On Friday a storm arrived and dumped 30-40cms of new snow ... and the same again the following day and night. By Sunday morning there was 180cms up high at Happo One, to around 70-100cms on the middle slopes, while the base areas at the bottom of the lifts are now white with 20-30cms of cover.

Nozawa Onsen

Nozawa strangely missed out on much snow this week and even the storm that hit nearby Hakuba this weekend seemed to pass by rather than dumping snow on the slopes above the onsen town. But on Sunday things started happening as Nozawa Onsen added about 70cms of snow in only 24 hours at Yamabiko, and about 40cms around town and on the lower slopes. Thats the kind of snowfalls Nozawa Onsen is known for as winter kicks in!

Nozawa Onsen 2 December 2012 [Source: Nozawa Facebook page]

Last Sunday 30cms fell at Naeba, followed by a little more snow during the week. This weekend saw lift openings, but not as much snow as expected. Up high there is a massive amount of snow - as much as 2 metres already at the top of the linked Kagura area - and in 24 hours only we have seen more than 80cms fall at the base area at Naeba. Nearby Yuzawa town is suddenly very white and being cleared of snow.

Zao Onsen

Zao held its traditional opening ceremony on Saturday 8th December in the midst of a snowstorm! The middle slopes and lifts are operating this weekend, with more set to follow. While there were a few small snowfalls during the week, Saturday was the start of the main event and by Sunday morning there was another foot of snow. Zao now has 60cms up high and 30cms at the base.

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