Snow Report 5 December 2014 - Europe & Japan

Good evening all and welcome to early December ... when things can be a bit up and down as the ski resorts get ready to open! Lets face it, the season doesn't really get going until close to Christmas (and sometimes not even then!) ... so anything we get in December is a bit of a bonus.

So, lets see ... Things have eased off in Europe a bit, with not much happening. Meanwhile, snow has been falling down to low levels across Japan. Read on!


Dynaland 05.12.14 [Source: Dynaland FB page]
Excitement to the max as snow was forecast to fall in Japan all this week down to 300-500m after what seemed like almost a month of warm, rainy weather.

The forecast was spot on cos it happened for sure, but where the snow fell was a bit hit and miss by all accounts.

In Gifu, the area's biggest ski area Dynaland reported 20cms into Tuesday morning, 30cms into Wednesday morning, heavy snow into Thursday morning, and again into Friday morning. Dynaland opens tomorrow 6th December and is now reporting 110cms of snow, where a few days ago there was none!

In Nagano, Happo One reported 3cms into Tuesday morning, and 25cms of snow into Wednesday morning at the top. Looked like another 10-20cms Thursday. By today, Happo One reported 75/15cms and the opening of some lifts up high for the first time this season.

Nozawa Onsen didn't get any snow earlier this week, and seemed to miss out, but there's snow on the cams now. Tomorrow's scheduled opening for 6th December has been delayed. Nearby Shiga Kogen, despite its altitude, still only has limited opening with less snow this week than expected. The resorts around Yuzawa in Niigata Prefecture also seemed to miss out.

Hakuba Happo One 03.12.14 [Source: Happo One FB page]
Zao Onsen, further north in Yamagata, has been blasted! Its reporting more than a metre up high, and around 70-80cms lower down ... and the snow is set to continue there into early next week at low levels.

There should be lots more snow over the weekend across Japan, up to half a metre in most places I reckon. The season should be set up nicely. The ski areas that aren't open now will open over the next few weekends, with everything usually going by Christmas.

For an idea of conditions in Japan at this time in 2012, see my posts during December 2012: Snow Report 2 December 2012 - France and Japan; and Snow Report 10 December 2012 - Japan.


Light snow was forecast on and off this week, above 1800m, and it was so light it was non-existent. There has been little fresh snow to talk about this week and the mild temperatures mean the snowline has risen. For many ski areas, its been 3 weeks since snow.

In the Southern French Alps, the snowline is up high at around 2000m or more, but at 2500m there is a whopping 1-1.5m. In the Northern French Alps, there is about 20-30cms on north-facing slopes at 2000m, and only an average of about 50cms at 2500m.

Chamonix 02.12.14 [Source: Chamonix FB page]
Slow going, but not unusual at this time of year. If you want to ski this weekend, you can head to Val Thorens (80/40cms @ 3200/2300m) where there are 26 pistes open, while the rest of the 3 Vallees is yet to open until 13th December.

There has been skiing on the top slopes at Val d'Isere (30/0cms @ 2500/1850m) since 29th November, but conditions lower are poor and sadly World Cup races on 13/14th December have been cancelled.

In more positive news, in the Southern French Alps, Isola 2000 opens tomorrow 6th December with 6 lifts and 18 pistes in the Lombard and Pelevos sectors. Isola 2000 is reporting 80cms up high and 15cms at the ski station. Serre Chevalier still has the high part of Monetier-les-Bains open, with the rest of the ski area also set for a 13th December opening.

Colder from this weekend, but not much snow in the forecast. Deja-vu!

For an idea of conditions in the French Alps last year, see my posts during December: Snow Report 1 December 2013 - Europe and Snow Report 11 December 2013 - Europe.


A little disappointing in Italy also. However, a few of the major ski areas have limited lifts running.

Ortisei 05.12.14 [Source: Val Gardena website webcams]
Monte Rosa has some slopes open at Gressoney and Alagna, and lots of snow up on the highest peaks, but none in the valleys and villages.

Madesimo reports 230cms on the peaks, 70cms on the lower slopes, and no snow at the bottom. Four lifts and six runs are open.

Madonna di Campiglio is open with very limited skiing, with 75cms at 2250m, but none at 1500m.

There is little snow in the Dolomites yet, with Val Gardena due to open soon. There's no snow below 2000m.

Colder and a little snow forecast for next week.

For an idea of conditions in Italy last year, see my posts from around the same time: Snow Report 1 December 2013 - Europe and Snow Report 11 December 2013 - Europe.

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