Snow Report 24 December 2012 - Japan and France


Hakuba 19 December [Source: Happo FB page]
It snowed in both Niigata and Nagano through Thursday, persisting around Hakuba on Friday.

Rain and mild temperatures hit some areas on Saturday, before the colder temperatures returned on Sunday night into Monday. Parts of Niigata were reporting up to half a metre of new snow on Christmas Eve!


It began snowing around Hakuba on Thursday (20cms up high) with a repeat on Friday. After clearing a little at the weekend, heavy snow returned to Hakuba on Sunday night:

Happo One: 160/60cms

Happo Tree Run Area [Source: Happo FB page]
It seems Hakuba is finally making some concessions to the demands of overseas skiers (especially Australians) keen to explore more off-piste.

Other ski areas around Japan already have adopted a more relaxed approach to tree runs and sidecountry. The photo alongside shows the (new?) tree run area at Happo.


At Myokokogen it returned to snowy conditions on Thursday as the first week of the season kicked off. 
Unfortunately, rain returned again on Saturday, but by Sunday a winter storm had arrived and the temperatures got much colder:
Akakura Onsen ski area - 140cms

Nearby Nozawa Onsen has been transformed with a healthy base for so early in the season:

Nozawa Onsen ski area - 200/60cms

Around and about the Echigo-Yuzawa area of Niigata, including Kagura and Naeba, there was snow on Thursday (10-30cms), but it became mild and even a little bit rainy on Saturday.

Fortunately this changed back to snow on Sunday morning and it began dumping overnight and into Monday:

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


Zao Onsen - no snow, but no rain either! Zao only managed sprinklings of snow through the weekend to refresh the slopes:

Zao Onsen - 70/40cms


Orelle 21 December [Source: 3Vallees FB page]
The Northern Alps, well parts of them, scored the most snow in the past week, with the Southern and Pyrenees missing out. However, good starts to the season across France have delivered a fantastic white Christmas!


At Espace Killy, which includes Tignes and Val D'Isere, there is 240cms of snow at 2500m altitude, and 123cms on the ground at the beautiful Val D'Isere village (1850m).

Les Arcs:
@1600m - 105cms
@2000m - 137cms

L'Alpe D'Huez 18 December [Source: Alpe D'Huez FB page]
Les Trois Vallees:
@1450m - 100cms
@2300m - 140cms

Les 2 Alpes - no change in snowdepth since last week, but the high altitude areas would have kept the quality:
@1650m - 100cms
@2600m - 140cms


The Southern Alps are certainly doing well, but little new snowfall in the past week. So many sunny days would be pleasant, however!

La Mongie 22 December [Source: Grand Tourmalet FB page]
All lifts and pistes are open at Isola 2000, with 170cms of snow covering its upper slopes, and 120cms at 2000 metres.

L'Espace Lumiere, centred around Val D'Allos:
@1800m - 110cms
@2600m - 180cms


In the Pyrenees a sunny spell has held off much improvement in snow depths, with the sun melting a little snow.

The Grand Tourmalet area now has 80cms of snow at 1800 metres altitude, and 100cms @ 2500m.

@1850m - 100cms
@2400m - 135cms

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