Ski Japan - Skiing in Central Japan - Part 2

Many of you will know I wrote two big ski trip reports from Japan in 2012 (Ski Japan 2012 - Snow, Onsen, Sushi) and 2013 (Ski Japan 2013 - Powder, Onsen, Sake). This is Part 2 of a trip way back in 2011. Part 1 is here if you missed it a few weeks ago.
The road to Pension Currants

Ski Japan 2011 - Skiing in Central Japan - Part 2

Little Pension Currants is hidden nestled at the end of a long, winding road at 1400m altitude. Our stay was to be a very different type of stay compared to the luxuriousness of Sierra Resort.

The European-style Currants is owned by a lovely Japanese couple and has only a few small bedrooms. But we had a spacious cosy lounge and dining room to ourselves.

We had full room and board here and had lots of attention and lovely food lavished on just the two of us. I don't think anyone else visited while we were there!

The snow hadn't stopped falling since we had been driving up the day before and we woke to half a metre of snow on the car, clearing it off before a hearty breakfast.

Snow on the car after just 3 hours skiing
The nearest ski area, Malnuma (Marunuma) Kogen, is only a few hundred metres from the Pension but it was worth driving as close to the gondola lift as we could get in the snowy, cold conditions!

We skied the powdery snow that had settled on all the runs since they groomed them early in the morning. It was just so deep in places and kept getting filled in.

The gondola ride took us up to 2000m altitude where it was bitterly cold and windy. There aren't many places at this altitude in Japan skiing but there were no opportunities for scenic photos in the blizzard!

We had a great, tasty lunch of ebi fry kare reisu (crumbed tempura prawn on rice with Japanese curry sauce). When we got back to the car, another 30cms had fallen just while we were skiing!

Oze Iwakura ski resort
The next morning there was only 10cms of snow on the car. I almost felt robbed! We drove the 30 or so minutes down the hill to another ski resort in the Oze/Katashina area, Oze Iwakura.

Not knowing what to expect, we were greeted by a rather sizeable ski area with some challenging terrain, including some quite steep stuff and several ungroomed powder runs that saw you disappear a metre or so into the snow.

There were a few sunny spells, and it was thankfully a lot warmer and less windy.

Iwakura turned out to be a very nice ski area with some good wide, long and steep intermediate runs.

Lunch was a delicious tempura soba noodle soup with beautiful woodland mushrooms.

There were no Westerners anywhere and I doubt many Australians have ever visited this ski resort. I should have brought a flag... maybe not!

Iwakura had its own cool little Shinto (I think) shrine in a stand of conifers at the base area where all the hotels and restaurants were.

After a tough day's skiing and digging ourselves out of powder runs we deserved some soothing hot springs medicine!

We'd asked our hosts about a good place to go and bathe and soak in the area, but we were still a little nervous having only experienced the Sierra private spa baths without many other people around.

Our hosts recommended Hanasaku Onsen as one of the most splendid in the area and we hesitantly dropped in to try it out on the way back to the Pension.

Hanasaku Onsen
The onsen had indoor and outdoor baths. The indoor ones had soothing jets, but were extremely hot.

Outdoors, the various jacuzzis were perfect, with a beautiful view of the mountains as the light snowflakes fell around the coloured baby pine trees in the surrounding garden.

After what felt like a brief three-night stay in our comfy and cosy Pension it was too soon time to leave and move on again.

After our final breakfast we said sayonara to our lovely Japanese hosts.

We had had a lovely time being welcomed home like family members each evening from skiing. We had had a lovely time being waited on and catered for personally. We had enjoyed teaching our host English phrases and sharing information about Australia.

After saying our goodbyes we headed down the mountain once more and, after a quick ski at a place called "Ca et La", we made our way through the valleys as if heading for Tokyo.

Once again, instead of turning towards the sunny, dry plains around the Tokyo metro area, we switched back into the mountains. Through the long, freeway tunnel. Through Yuzawa Town, which you can get an idea of what its like to drive through in this video!

The depth of snow had increased so much since we had left Yuzawa Town a few days earlier. From Yuzawa we crossed the hills into the next valley. After a few hours we were at our next destination.

Nozawa Onsen village
It was hard to see how the skiing to date might be topped but our next destination was to do just that.

Nozawa Onsen is a mountain hot springs town in Nagano Prefecture. Like Yuzawa it had been a spa town for many years and so had developed its own distinct character well before skiing came along.

The very attractive old town sits at the base of the forested hills - now a huge ski area - and is a maze of small streets.

At Nozawa Onsen, our accommodation was a traditional Japanese ryokan, or inn. Fortunately there was a car parking space for us and a friendly welcome as the snow started on and off.

The top of the ski area,Yamabiko, is reached by either of two gondolas. The recent snows had collected on the trees here.

Public onsen
From the top, there are multiple ways to ski down ... and it takes a very long time with great views and a number of rest stops are required for burning thighs!

At the end of a hard day's skiing we arrive once again close to the town and stop for a look at the snow-covered roofs. A prettier setting is hard to imagine.

Nozawa Onsen is famous for its collection of free public onsen baths fed by hot mineral spring water. The old wooden bath-houses are dotted around town.

Brimming with confidence from our experience at the marvellous Hanasaku Onsen we went to one of the town onsen for a bath (traditionally, our room did not have its own bath or shower).

Beautiful though the buildings were in the snow with their wooden facades and temple-like structure, the baths themselves were tiny, burny hot, sulfurous, and not that well-maintained inside in terms of cleanliness.

Japanese-style room
The following night we found our hotel's own onsen which were delightful, with inside and outside baths, complementary showers and facilities, and this was our bathing place for the rest of the stay.

At the end of the day the long Skyline run takes us back to the village and, after pausing for another photo, we ski down to the car and head for a hot bath.

Eating out was great in Nozawa Onsen. we hadn't requested meals in the inn as we wanted to take advantage of the large number of restaurants within walking distance.

We found a tiny little sushi restaurant with a cheerful chatty sushi chef who prepared us lovely delicacies and a very solemn and quiet waiter who said nothing.

Another night was spent at a noisy Japanese-style pub shouting orders of the many goodies - many deep-fried - along with beer or chu-hi (a spirit called shochu with fruit flavourings).

Another evening was spent at a Japanese interpretation of a French/Italian restaurant in-between shopping for crafts and gifts.

Being very careful not to slip on ice after lots of food and wine or sake, we were always close to our inn and our traditional room with its mats and futons.

It was certainly sad to be leaving Nozawa Onsen, especially as the magic foot of powder had fallen again overnight. What a fantastic place!

There was now the little matter of getting to Tokyo which, while only a distance of 250kms, has some mountainous terrain in the way that makes he trip not so easy!

A typical road in Niigata Prefecture in winter consists of a snow-covered main road with walls built up by the constant work of snow-clearing machines. They can't get rid of the snow - it has nowhere to go.

The footpaths also have 3-metre walls of cleared and packed snow and are the only way locals can get around on foot. It was certainly an exciting drive, particularly on the narrow road linking the two valleys.

We took a video of the drive back to Yuzawa from Nozawa Onsen that has been on Youtube for a while.

After dropping off the hire car in Yuzawa Town we made our way back to Tokyo by shinkansen, or bullet train, in little over an hour.

Tokyo was like another world - it felt too warm, there were so many people, and the skyscrapers! Most telling was the lack of snow.

Our hotel room had an awesome view over the city from the 32nd floor.

We had time for a bit of shopping in the Ginza and in Kanda, where the ski gear shops are. We also managed a lunch of cold soba noodles with sushi.

In the evening, we ate out in the Ginza. One of the popular Japanese beers (Yebisu - not so well-known here) has a restaurant where you can match all the beers with different foods. Very enjoyable, as of course you need to try their whole range!

Our flight was so early the next morning we had to take a slow, local train to the airport.

From Narita we flew to Beijing. From Beijing to Shanghai. Then - for some inexplicable reason - we hugged the coastline of China almost to Hong Kong before heading to Australia.


Snow Report 25 January 2015 - Europe & Japan


Happo One 21.01.15 [Source: FB page]

Last weekend was very very snowy in the Japanese mountains, with Niigata copping the most of the snow. Everywhere got some, however.

A follow-up dump arrived across most regions on the 20th January, and since then there have been some small snowfalls through midweek (Myokokogen, Niseko).

Snow will be falling for Niseko this coming week, particularly in the middle of the week. On Honshu, it may start a bit warm (ra*n) turning to snow midweek.

Happo One: 290cm@1400m, 160cm@850m
Nozawa Onsen: 390cm@1650m and 200cm@650m.
Akakura Kanko: 360cm
Gala Yuzawa: 410cm
Dynaland: 230cm
Zao Onsen: 200/135cm
Niseko Grand Hirafu: 360/140cm

Val d'Isere 24.01.15 [Source: Val d'Isere FB page]

Bonjour! There was great snow last weekend - Chamonix got half a metre. But things have slowed down again this week.

The forecast follow-up snow in France didn't really eventuate, with only the Southern French Alps getting a dusting in midweek.

There may be a little snow in the Northern Alps in the coming days, with some significant falls forecast for the end of the month. Lets hope the forecasts are right this time!

Isola 2000: 110/80cm
Serre Chevalier: 130cm@2800m/20cm@1400m
Les Arcs: 85cm@3200m, 45cm@1600m
Val Thorens: 130cm@3200m, 90cm@2300m
Val d'Isere: 100cm@2500m, 46cm@1850m
Chamonix: 110cm@3275m, 40cm@1800m


Madonna di Campiglio 21.01.15 [Source: MadonnaDC FB page]
After a slow start to the season, particularly compared to last year, it was Italy's turn to shine.

The last week has seen quite a lot of snow, up to half a metre in the west and locally a lot more (an extra 1.3 metres being reported at Madesimo since my last post!).

The new snow has begun to show in the snow depths being reported by the resorts. This has also meant more terrain, lifts and runs open.

A little snow in the west in the next few days, with the end of the week looking promising for another dump.

Monte Rosa (Gressoney-la-Trinite): 190/50cm
Madesimo: 430/230/170cm
Madonna di Campiglio: 165cm@2250m, 65cm@1500m
Val Gardena: 90cm@2500m, 10cm@1400m


Ski Japan - Skiing in Central Japan - Part 1

Many of you will know I wrote two big ski trip reports from Japan in 2012 (Ski Japan 2012 - Snow, Onsen, Sushi) and 2013 (Ski Japan 2013 - Powder, Onsen, Sake). Little did you know there was actually a trip back in 2011 as well, our first to Japow. That trip took in the ski resorts around Yuzawa, Gunma Prefecture (rarely visited by foreigners), and beautiful Nozawa Onsen. Well, here is that report, digitally remastered for your reading and viewing pleasure! Timely, I thought, with the fantastic snow in Japan right now.

Ski Japan 2011 - Skiing in Central Japan - Part 1

Some people say that half the fun is getting there. I’m not sure where those people were going but waiting helplessly at airports and being squashed into airplane seating isn’t the fun part of my holidays. Exciting, perhaps, with that wonderful sense of freedom and anticipation, but not enjoyable in itself. So, happily I have helped get another common saying debunked!

Arriving at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport was when the exciting part of our journey really began. The touch-down at Tokyo’s second airport was the final step of a two-stage epic flight from Melbourne via Beijing.

I didn’t observe much about the Beijing area from the air apart from it clearly being very dry and flat and covered in very well-organised housing developments. We must have flown over North and/or South Korea from Beijing to Tokyo but weren’t party to any war games.

Haneda is much nearer to the centre of Tokyo than Narita Airport, and a bumpy, fun 20-minute trip on a monorail through the port area. Within a few hours we were on our way out of Tokyo towards the mountains via Shinkansen (bullet train) from Tokyo Station.

One hour after leaving Tokyo we were extremely pleased to once more be in the snow-capped mountains, rocketing incredibly smoothly through the many pitch-black railway tunnels before arriving in no time at Yuzawa Station in the heart of “Snow Country”. The train emerged from the long tunnel into a winter wonderland blanketed in snow and surrounded by forested hills and mountains.

Path to Sierra Resort, Iwappara
Yuzawa is a hot springs town made famous by Yasunari Kawabata’s book, “Snow Country”, one of the most renowned works of Japanese literature. The book – the story of a Tokyo man who visits the mountains to see a hot springs geisha - starts: “The train came out of the long tunnel into the snow country. The earth lay white under the night sky.”

We began our own journey in Snow Country by picking up a rental car conveniently near the train station. 

(We've always used Nippon Rent-A-Car and have found them to be very good).

The rental car man was so extremely, out-of-his-way helpful and brought us a different (better) car personally to our hotel the next day only as we had mentioned it would be a little awkward for transporting our skis without a hatchback! We hadn't booked a hatchback specifically.

View from room at Sierra Resort
Talking of the hotel, Sierra Resort is a wonderful white European resort-style building situated smack bang between two ski slopes on the side of a mountain overlooking Yuzawa Town.

A winding road bordered by walls of snow takes you to up to the car park, and then it’s an underground walk under a ski slope to get to the hotel itself.

The room we were given was absolutely huge, with a stunning picture window overlooking one ski slope and part of the town.

Naturally, as with everywhere in Japan, the bathroom was typically small given the size of the room. But the bed was huge and comfortable and we slept well.

We opted to have our dinners at Sierra Resort. That ended up being a fine choice with fine dining in the restaurant overlooking the night-time lights lower in the valley.

Our first meal set the scene – a sumptuous five-course dinner. After a few culinary issues relating to ‘what is meat’, we were finally able to enjoy a range of seafood and chicken French-style dishes.

The finale was when we were presented with a most artistic patissier’s plate with flourless tomato cake and sesame ice cream, a chocolate twist, homemade sesame tuille, steeped cherry tomatoes with gold leaf, and a raspberry glaze splashed on the edge of the plate.

Gala Yuzawa ski area
A whopping one metre of snow had fallen on the Yuzawa ski fields in the week before we arrived in Yuzawa.

The skies, however, were clear for our arrival and for the following morning and we made our way experimentally by car for the first time in Japan to a nearby ski area called Gala Yuzawa.

The very popular (with Tokyoites) Gala is also in Yuzawa Town and even has its own Shinkansen (bullet train) station!

We were greeted by a sunny first morning with great views over the town. But the weather quickly turned in the afternoon. No surprise as we could see it rolling ominously in from the Sea of Japan.

It started to snow really heavily and we found a great area with nobody around that we could ski down and get fresh tracks in the snow each time. 

But soon it got quite cold and – thanks to some aching first-day legs – we headed back via a very long 2.5kms ski run to the car park with the intention of deservedly trying out the onsen and soothing those aching legs.

The Sierra Resort has an inside onsen, or hot springs bath, for washing and soaking but we only used the outside one during our stay.

Their hot springs bath overlooks the town and it is particularly spectacular at night looking down on the lights of the town after some sake with the snow falling.

It was quiet in the hotel and we had the individual man's and lady's baths to ourselves during the midweek. A hat is available to keep the snow off while you soak, naked of course!

The next morning it was still snowing from the previous day and it had in fact been constantly snowing heavily for a good 20 hours.

Given the sheer size of the snowfall, we decided that morning to stick around the little ski area where our hotel is, called Iwappara, and take advantage of ski-in, ski-out and a refuge to a warm room should it get too much like a blizzard!

We did have to make a trip in to Yuzawa Town, however, to change some money which meant finding the new car in the car park. Not so easy when you have never seen the car before – and so only know its make - and half a metre of snow has fallen on it!

View of Kagura from Iwaparra
The snow continued to fall throughout the day. At one point we waited it out and warmed up in a quaint and authentic Italian eatery on the mountain which served really really nice pizza and had a remarkable wine cellar.

When there was finally a break in the cloud we took a video. Basically we had been doing laps skiing powder that was filling in all the tracks constantly. Hard work, but a lot of fun. Time for another well-deserved onsen followed by another excellent five-course dinner!

The snow must have finally ceased sometime that night as in the morning we woke to blue skies and brilliant sun.

Top of Kagura
An amazing panorama to behold with all that pure white snow now lit up reflecting the daylight. Certainly makes everywhere look magical when fresh snow blankets the town.

The picture above shows where we were heading to ski that morning – right up in the hills there in the far centre distance.

I’d been waiting patiently for the right day to go to the Kagura/Naeba ski area, a vast area at a higher altitude that I wanted to be able to explore in the sunshine, or at least on a fine day when you could see the mountains around you.

Despite the wonderful sunshine it was a very very cold morning but fortunately not too windy. A half an hour drive to the Mitsumata Ropeway station and the temperature sat at around -7c.

View from Kagura back to Iwaparra
From here a cable car took us up into the mountains just to the base area of one of three of the Kagura/Naeba ski areas, called Mitsumata. We spent the morning traversing all three of them in the sun. While the sunshine was nice it was -12c up at the highest area!

The high altitude afforded us fantastic views of the Niigata mountains, frozen high country lakes, and back to Yuzawa Town. The long, white skifield in the distance in the photo is Iwappara where we are staying.

The feel of the area was closer to the French Alps than anywhere I have been in Japan with the extensive, cruisey runs taking you from valley to valley.

Once we reached the far side of Kagura at Tashiro we took the gondola, sorry ... the “Dragondola”, to the neighbouring ski area of Naeba.

The trip on the gondola was 5.5 kms, took 20 minutes and was a fabulous scenic rest.

At one point the gondola drops right down into a small gorge and sails over the mountain river a few metres below before riding upwards again to cross the next valley wall. I took a video of this as its beautiful to look at.

The Dragondola took us to neighbouring Naeba, a big ski area in its own right, enough to entertain for a few days.

After skiing the busier runs there, and having a good tasty lunch of salmon mayo rice, the rest of the day was spent making our way back to the Dragondola, and skiing back to where we started earlier in the day.

By the time we were skiing down from Kagura to Mitsumata the snow had started to fall again and we made our way back to our hotel for an onsen and some lovely food.

Another 20cms of snow on the car in the morning as we arrived at the car park ready for our next adventure – a trip to the historic and slightly crazy Joetsu Kokusai.

It was warmer that morning than it had been at only -1c. The wet snow at the bottom of Joetsu Kokusai made things a little uncomfortable for an hour as we sensibly headed to high ground where the snow should have been drier.

Joetsu Kokusai ski area
This turned out to be a much larger ski area than expected and it took us all day to get around it. This was partly due to the antiquated lift system which used a series of slow, 2-seater lifts around the top of the mountain to link four different parts of the ski area.

All four different areas were very distinct in flavour, but we preferred the rolling tree-lined runs on the other side of the resort. A constant, however, was the looped Michael Jackson on speakers that blasted out over the ski area. Odd!

A good place to stop for a great lunch of tempura rice bowl with massive prawns and supremely delicious tempura mushrooms. No other Westerners in this ski resort.

Finally we had made our way around in a circle or square and returned to the start and the resort’s bizarre themed hotel which, to be honest, is no weirder than the stuff Disney does.

Sierrra Resort
There was not much snow falling that evening as we headed back to the hotel, our wonderful hotel, although a lot was forecast.

Stopping for some provisions at the bottom of the mountain, the lovely shopkeepers in the 7-11 equivalent threw lollies and chocolates and some oranges into our bag for no apparent reason apart from they wanted to welcome us to their part of Japan.

We were beginning to wonder what would happen as we sat down for our final dinner at Sierra Resort. How nice the staff were there, giving us a free bottle of sake on our first night and a free bottle of French wine on our last night.

Ohhh! I had managed to mix the wine and sake and get a bit of hangover for the morning after our last meal at Sierra. During the awesome buffet breakfast the weather forecast was revealed to have been correct with a massive amount of snow on the ground (this was to become a trend!).

Iwaparra ski area
We skied the morning at Iwaparra, trying not to disappear in all the powder. When we got to the car at about lunch time there was about 40cms of snow on the roof that needed clearing.

This time we had all our luggage with us and were sadly saying goodbye to Iwappara and Sierra.

But before heading off to our next destination, first we had a trip to make to a quaint little museum in Yuzawa Town.

The town museum had a good selection of historical items showing life in the Snow Country such as primitive snow clothes, rice harvesting gear and silk weaving contraptions. There was also a tribute to author Yasunari Kawabata with personal items and a reconstruction of the room of the geisha from the story. As I read the book during our stay, many of the items brought to life scenes from the book.

Finally departing Yuzawa Town, we decided to take the tollway what with all the snow on the roads and headed towards Tokyo for half an hour.

Much of that drive was in a long road tunnel, which everyone drove through at 120km/h as in the snow they had been limited to about 80km/h by the conditions.

The skies began to clear as we came close to the foothills that marked the start of the Tokyo metropolitan area (which mainly stays sunny and dry through winter).

Then we headed back into the mountains through windy roads and the snows started again. By evening we had arrived at our next accommodation, a small pension high up in the mountains near Nikko. It was -10c when we arrived.


Snow Report 15 January 2015 - Europe & Japan

Its definitely a good time to ski in Europe and Japan if you can get the time off work. The slopes are quiet, accommodation is cheap, and you might just score some good dumps!


Some weeks the weather systems coming across the Sea of Japan can blanket the whole of Japan, getting snow into every area possible, and in other weeks they can have more impact in some mountains and valleys than others. The past week has seen to some extent a bit of the latter.

Happo One 14.01.15 [Source: Happo FB page]

Take the Yuzawa area of Nigata which received 20-30cms each day since 7th January. The neighbouring mountain areas of Nagano received little snow at all, just a mountain range away.

Fortunately the whole of Japan pretty much got a dump at the beginning of this week that made everyone happy.

The snow cleared after Monday, but another fall is expected across Japan today and on Saturday, becoming heavy at times. The snow depths are ridiculous for this time of year. Good times!

Happo One: 260cm@1400m, 150cm@850m
Nozawa Onsen: 340cm@1650m and 190cm@650m.
Akakura Onsen: 320cm
Gala Yuzawa: 380cm
Dynaland: 230cm
Zao Onsen: 200/130cm
Niseko Grand Hirafu: 330/140cm


A run of mainly fine and mild weather continued through the weekend in the southern French Alps, with just a little snow falling further north (Chamonix 5-10cm and a dusting at Val Thorens).

Les Arcs 13.01.15 [Source: Les Arcs FB page]
A nice fall came on 14th January with Les Arcs (10cm), Serre Chevalier, Chamonix and Val d'Isere all reporting new snow. For many resorts, that fall ended a long two weeks without snow.

There looks like some snow arriving at the beginning of the weekend, with some significant falls forecast.

Isola 2000: 100/40cm
Serre Chevalier: 100/0cm
Les Arcs: 80cm@3200m, 30cm@1600m
Val Thorens: 130cm@3200m, 90cm@2300m
Val d'Isere: 100cm@2500m, 46cm@1850m
Chamonix: 125cm@3275m, 40cm@1800m


Val Gardena reported 10cm yesterday, but for many the last snowfalls were in December. Its all set to change, however, with Northern Italy anticipating a big dump at the beginning of this weekend. Its going to really make a difference to the snow depths across the resorts.

Monte Rosa (Gressoney-la-Trinite): 130/5cm
Madesimo: 230/60/0cm
Madonna di Campiglio: 84cm@2250m, 10cm@1500m
Val Gardena: 60cm@2500m, 10cm@1400m


Snow Report 7 January 2015 - Europe & Japan

Happy New Year! May your coming year of travel and adventure be filled with lots of dry powdery snow to ride.

Nozawa Onsen 07.01.15 [Source: Nozawa Onsen FB]

You'd do worse than choose Japan right now. There has been lots more snow Japan since my last post, approaching a metre in places.

Its certainly one of the most consistent, snowy starts to the Japanese ski season in recent years.

For the rest of the week on Honshu it should be fine with occasional snow, with maybe some heavier falls to follow. Heavier snow is setting in on Hokkaido already.

Happo One welcomed in the new year with lots of new snow, including a 50cm dump for new year's day freshies: There is now 280cm at Usagidaira (1400m), and 130cm at the bottom of the lifts.

Nozawa Onsen: also scored half a metre for new year's day: 325cm@1650m and 165cm@650m. The FB picture is from Yamabiko I believe.

Akakura Onsen: 290cm
Dynaland: 230cm
Zao Onsen: 200/130cm
Niseko Grand Hirafu: 300/160cm

Val d'Isere 06.01.15 [Source: Val d'Isere FB]

A reasonable fall of snow last weekend in the north has kept the pistes fresh. A run of mainly fine and mild weather is set to continue through the coming weekend in the southern French Alps, with a chance of some more snow further north on the weekend again (Chamonix, Val Thorens, Les Arcs).

Despite there not being a great amount of snow below 2000m, the conditions are fairly good with most lifts running at the major resorts. Snowdepths are fairly similar to this time last year in France.

Isola 2000: 100/40cm
Serre Chevalier: 110/0cm
Les Arcs: 90cm@3200m, 33cm@1600m
Val Thorens: 130cm@3200m, 95cm@2300m
Val d'Isere: 90cm@2500m, 40cm@1850m
Chamonix: 100cm@3275m, 50cm@1800m

For an idea about conditions around the rest of France away from the Alps:

Grand Tourmalet 04.01.15 [Source: Grand Tourmalet FB page]
Pyrenees: GrandValira Andorra 100/50cm; Grand Tourmalet 100cm@2500m, 60cm@1400m; Cauterets 140cm@2415m, 90cm@1850m

Auvergne: Besse Super Besse - 15/40cm
Jura: Les Rousses - 25cm@1350m, 10cm@1180m
Vosges: La Bresse Hohneck - 40cm@1350m, 30cm@900m


While France is on par with last year, Italy is slipping behind 2014.

There's a chance of a little snow on the weekend, but the weather looks to be mild at first.

Monte Rosa (Gressoney-la-Trinite): 130/5cm
Madesimo: 230/60/0cm
Madonna di Campiglio: 95cm@2250m, 10cm@1500m
Val Gardena: 50cm@2500m, 5cm@1400m