The last week has brought good snowfalls to both these parts of the world, so lets see how a few of the key mountains in Japan and France fared in their preparations for opening ...
Snowfalls in the past week have painted the mountain tops white, and even helped some resorts begin lift operations. Many of the ski resorts in the central part of Japan have half a metre of snow above about 1,000 metres, but the base areas - being quite close to sea-level - at most have a sprinkling.
As we move through the first few weeks of December, the ski resorts on Honshu will progressively open up (snow permitting of course!).
Just across a few valleys in the southern part of Niigata, the beautiful village of Nozawa Onsen welcomed 60cms of snow falling on its upper slopes.
The Yamabiko area at the very top of the resort is known for its deep powder tree runs. However, there is little snow at the base and in the village ... yet!
Akakura Onsen (Myoko Kogen)
Still in Niigata Prefecture - but back towards Hakuba - is Myoko Kogen, possibly one of the snowiest ski areas in Japan.
Despite this top billing, and some snow after falls this week, there are no lifts open yet at the various ski areas that cluster around the base of Mount Myoko.
|Zao Middle Slopes 30 November [Source: Zao Website]|
The massive linked resorts of Naeba, Tashiro and Kagura are around two hours on a shinkansen from Tokyo. Little snow at the bottom yet - but already there is lots of snow cover at the top of both Naeba and Kagura ski areas.
Much further northeast in Yamagata Prefecture is Zao Onsen. Zao currently has limited skiing on several runs with full opening scheduled for the weekend of 8 December.