Snow Report 18 December 2012 - Japan


It has been a frustrating, mixed seven or so days for ski weather in central Honshu. The snow continued to fall early last week in much of the style that we are accustomed to in this part of Japan, and then the skies cleared for a few days of sensational clear-day skiing and riding.

But this weekend the rain has been persistent, niggly, and inescapable as the temperatures warmed.

Happo One 9 December [Source: Happo FB page]
In some cases the rain spoiled the great opening to the season slightly, especially as for some areas this weekend was the opening day.

Most ski areas lost a lot of snow, especially around the base areas and in the villages.

But still, lets keep our spirits up - its still early days with December usually touch-and-go in Japan until the weather really changes at the end of this month.

The weather forecast - thankfully - is for colder temperatures and hopefully some renewed heavy snowfalls this weekend. That would be more like it!


Easy come, easy go, it seems. Hakuba got some great early snowfalls during the early part of last week ... but then the rain pounded the region's ski areas during this past weekend.

Happo One 16 December [Source: Happo FB page]
Although it was only for a short period, the damage was significant after the incredible start to the season.

Happo lost half a metre in the rain, and snow conditions deteriorated significantly.

Check out the change in the two pictures of Happo ... the second showing the rain damage.

Here's looking ahead for better news as we welcome a return to cooler weather:

Happo One: 150/30cms


This past weekend saw Myokokogen open most of its many ski areas, normally a cause for celebration ...

... but then the rain arrived and it cleared the snow from the streets at village level:

Nozawa Onsen 12 December [Source: Nozawa Onsen FB page]
Akakura Onsen ski area - 80/0cms

At Nozawa Onsen the powder that fell in volume earlier in the week settled and then rain on the lower slopes has resulted in a loss of up to half a metre in places.

Still, the snow depths and the great cover around the upper slopes are pretty good for so early in the season:

Nozawa Onsen ski area - 115/20cms

Not too far from the hot springs town of Echigo-Yuzawa, at Kagura and Naeba, there was rain down low but light snowfalls have continued on and off. Not quite the drenching that some areas have received:

Naeba ski area - 90cms
Kagura ski area- 200cms

Zao Onsen 16th December [Source: Zao FB page]

Zao Onsen - the snow continued to fall well into the middle of the week up at Zao, which is several hundred kilometres northeast of Nagano Prefecture and the major Honshu ski areas.

There was light snow almost up until Thursday morning.

But its location didn't save Zao Onsen from the rain that arrived on Sunday, although in smaller amounts than further south:

Zao Onsen - 80/30cms

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