Snow Report 12 December 2014 - Europe & Japan

Happo One 08.12.14 [Source: Happo FB page]
What a difference a week makes in the mountains! In western Japan, the snows of last weekend have led to some early ski area openings ... I'd say that's always a good start to a new season and a fine improvement from all the grass on the webcams a week ago!

A fine weather week in France and Italy has seen little new snow, but there are plenty of places to ski and ride if you do your research, and that's also pretty good going for mid-December.


The weather cleared in most areas after the weekend, but a little snow returned on Tuesday (5cms at Happo One).

Later in the week saw some rain across the ski areas, but that should turn to snow this weekend. Next week looks like delivering some heavy snowfalls across most of Japan. the season could really get going after that!

Dynaland and Takasu Snow Park [Source: Dynaland]
Great news down in Gifu with Dynaland opening all its runs this weekend after doing very well from the recent snow. Dynaland is also opening the link to neighbouring Takasu Snow Park, meaning masses of terrain at this big ski area that's so popular with people from Nagoya.

I visited this great area in 2013, and you can see my trip report from Dynaland/Takasu Snow Park in a detailed blog post back then.

In Niigata around marvellous Mt Myoko there is also fantastic news with both Akakura Onsen and Suginohara Onsen announcing lifts will start to spin this weekend, earlier than originally planned.

I also visited this brilliant part of Japan in 2013, and you can see my detailed trip report from Myokokogen in a blog post back then.


Nozawa Onsen108.12.14 [Source: Nozawa Onsen FB page]
Happo One: 85/20cms, only the top runs and lifts are open (Panorama and Kurobishi - basically the photo above). The top parts of other Hakuba resorts are also open.

Shiga Kogen: limited openings around the various resorts.

Nozawa Onsen: 70/0cms, skiing limited to the wonderful Yamabiko area (see photo), plus some green runs on the middle and lower parts of the mountain.

Gala Yuzawa: opens on 20th December (there is skiing already in the region, however, at Iwappara, Joetsu Kokusai and Kagura ski areas).

Zao Onsen: 145/85cms, part open.


It was mostly fine and sunny this week in the French Alps, but a little snow fell at Val d'Isere, Chamonix, and Trois Vallees into Tuesday morning.
Serre Chevalier 11.12.14 [Source: Serre Che FB page]

This is the weekend when most of the ski areas in the French Alps should be open, but those lower down will struggle as there's not much snow below 2,000m except snowmaking.

The fine weather is set to continue, so terrain may remain limited even at the higher resorts. Some snow is looking possible in the middle of next week.

Up high, Val Thorens reported 15cms fresh on Tuesday and says it will have 95% of its ski lifts and 80% of its ski area open this weekend: 90cms@3200m, 50cms@2300m.

Some of the 3 Vallees connections will also be open linking the parts of Meribel, Courchevel and Les Menuires that are currently open.

In the south there is good skiing available. Serre Chevalier said it would have 70% of its pistes open this weekend: 100/0cms. Isola 2000 will also open another area, Saint Sauveur, on Saturday: 120/41cms.

Val d'Isere 11.12.14 [Source: Val d'Isere FB page]

Les Arcs: limited opening this weekend: 30/5cms.

Val d'Isere: Despite difficult conditions in Espace Killy, there are 30 of 155 runs open today: 30cms@2500m, 5cms@1850m

Chamonix: partial opening delayed to 20th December

For an idea of conditions in the French Alps last year, see my posts during December: Snow Report 11 December 2013 - Europe and Snow Report 18 December 2013.


It has been mostly fine and sunny in Northern Italy as well, creating similar conditions to France. Maybe some snow will arrive in the middle of next week, but for now the key resorts are all open and there is skiing and riding with limited terrain.

Val Gardena 11.12.14 [Source: Val Gardena FB page]
Monte Rosa (Gressoney-la-Trinite): 130/0cms and 6/21 pistes available.

Madesimo: 5 lifts running and 9 out of 33 runs available: 230cms/60cms/0cms.

Madonna di Campiglio: 115cms@2250m, 12cms@1500m, which is the base of the lifts and the village.

Val Gardena: 35cms/0cms. Skiing is up around Passo Sella this weekend.

For an idea of conditions in Italy last year, see my posts from around the same time: Snow Report 11 December 2013 - Europe.

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