Snow Report 19 December 2014 - Europe & Japan

What an incredible week of heavy snowfalls across Japan. The mild, rainy weather had to end eventually ... and it did in typical Japanese style with the arrival of huge tasty dumps of powdery snow over four smashing days!

A slightly less incredible, but frankly welcome, dusting of snow in Europe as the French and Italian ski resorts continue to wait, while getting on with the job thanks to snowmaking.


As anticipated, there were heavy snowfalls across Japan last weekend and through the middle of this week.

Heavy snow set in again on Wednesday making it difficult to get around some areas, with train cancellations and snow clearing operations in full force.

Check out my video from a few years back to see what its like driving around Niigata Prefecture in winter.

It looks like the snow will set in again on Saturday night and continue to fall through until Monday.

Hakuba's Happo One reported 60cms into Sunday, then another 15cms into Monday. The ski resort reported another 60cms into Wednesday. There is now 210cms at the top (Usagidaira) of Happo, and 60cms at the bottom of the lifts. Still only partial opening today, but Happo One intends to have most lifts running tomorrow (20th December).

Usagidaira Happo ready to go 19.12.14 [Source: Happo webcam]
Nozawa Onsen reported 95cms fell at the top of the lifts into Sunday afternoon, then another 50cms for a summit snowdepth of 200cms by Monday afternoon.

Nozawa Onsen reported another 20cms into Wednesday and then another 70cms into Thursday morning. There is now a whopping 290cms at the top (Yamabiko, 1,650m) and 200cms at the base of the lifts (650m).

The resorts around Mt Myoko are up and running now. Myoko Suginohara is reporting 210cms across the mountain, while Akakura Onsen is reporting 200cms.


Shiga Kogen: those ski resorts at Shiga Kogen that aren't open today should open tomorrow (20th December).
Happo 19.12.14 [Source: Happo FB page]

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

Zao Onsen: 160/105cms, part open today but should open fully on the weekend with lots more snow to come next week.


It was a fine start to the week in France, but with some welcome snow arriving in the Alps midweek.

A little snow into Wednesday (5cm Val d'Isere, Les Arcs) and into Thursday (15cm Val d'Isere). Snow also fell all the way down to Chamonix village.

The outlook is not that great in the short term - fine, warm and sunny weather. Conditions have been somewhat similar to last year where there was a run of sunny weather after November snowfalls. That "drought" broke on and about Christmas Day. Local media is claiming Isola 2000 has been the only French ski station 100% open.

Val d'Isere 18.12.14 [Source: Val d'Isere FB page]
Val Thorens is maintaining its snow cover nicely thanks to its altitude and some fresh snow this week: 100cm@3200m, 60cm@2300m.

The Alpes du Sud are still a good place to ski and ride. Serre Chevalier: 100/0cm. Isola 2000: 95/40cm.


Les Arcs: limited opening this weekend: 50cm@3200m, 10cm@1600m.

Val d'Isere: Improving conditions in Espace Killy with the snow this week means there are 45 of 155 runs open today: 40cms@2500m, 20cm@1850m

Chamonix: tomorrow's opening (20th December) is very limited with some skiing available at Grands Montets, one run open at each of Flegere and Balme, and none at Les Houches or Brevent.

Les Contamines: 10/25 lifts: 40cm@2500m


It has been a similar story for northern Italy with a little snow falling in places during midweek. Fine, sunny days are set to continue, which is a brilliant ski experience in Italy, but we could do with a bit more snowpack established first!
Canazei Dolomiti 19.12.14

Incredible work by the crews around the Dolomiti, with the Sella Ronda opening this week. Have to admit I can't see how it would be possible, Val Gardena is hosting Ski World Cup races this weekend: 40cm@2500m, 0cm@1400m.

Monte Rosa (Gressoney-la-Trinite):
There was a little snow into Tuesday at Monte Rosa: 130/5cm and now 17/21 pistes available.

Madesimo: Same as last week: 5 lifts running and 9 out of 33 runs available: 230cm/60cm/0cm.

Madonna di Campiglio: 95cms@2250m, 10cms@1500m.

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