Snow Report 31 December 2015 - Europe & Japan

Nozawa Onsen 28.12.15 - Nozawa Onsen Facebook
Here we are at the end of another year yet right at the start of a new ski season for Europe and Japan. Is the snow arriving later each year?

While some European high altitude ski resorts with good snowmaking facilities have done OK, the season has not really got started yet for the smaller stations.

In Japan, meanwhile, the first decent dump of winter opened most of the resorts in time for the busy new year break.


The snowfalls began on Christmas Day and continued on for a few days delivering some nice white powder presents to those on the slopes over the holidays.

Niseko and Myokokogen did the best with snow continuing through the week with about 20cm each day. Elsewhere was more varied with Hakuba not quite getting 20cm total from the storm.

Niseko (Grand Hirafu) - 115cm@base. Has been scoring big with 20cm each day until a nice clear day yesterday to enjoy the views.

Gala Yuzawa 28.12.15 - Gala Facebook
Zao Onsen - 25cm@base (954m), 70cm up high (1387m). Skiing is now available at most of the resort except for the lowest areas (like the fun Omori area).

Naeba/Kagura - 20cm around Christmas and a further 30cm yesterday has opened up lots of Naeba after the slow start. Yuzawa Town ski resorts are also starting to open more slopes, including Gala Yuzawa.

Shiga Kogen - snow on and off for the past week has transformed the vast Shiga Kogen areas, and now all the resorts are open and most slopes skiable.

Nozawa Onsen - 50cm@base (660m), 90cm at Yamabiko (1615m). Good snowfalls on and off for the past week means most of Nozawa Onsen's lifts are now running.

Dynaland 28.12.15 - Dynaland Facebook
Myokokogen (Akakan) - 90cm. Lots of snow in the past week means most of the terrain is now open.

Hakuba (Happo One) - 10cm@Base, 70cm at Usagadaira.

Dynaland - 70cm. Snow in the past week has opened more lifts at this Gifu ski area.

The coming few days look a bit mixed with sunny spells, some snow showers and possibly some rain if it stays mild.


More sunny mild weather in the French Alps and no snow to speak of except that coming out of the snowguns at night. Resort snow depths haven't changed from last week.

Chamonix (Grands Montets) 25cm@1972m, 4/16 pistes open

Val d'Isere 29.12.15 - Val d'Isere Facebook
Val d'Isere 29cm@1850m, 101/166 pistes open

Les Arcs 12cm@1600m, 53/109 pistes open

Val Thorens 45cm@2300m, 57/81 pistes open

Serre Chevalier 30cm@2100m, 13/81 pistes open

Isola 2000 30cm@2000m, 8 pistes open

A substantial snowfall is forecast for the Northern and Southern Alps over the weekend, continuing into next week. It looks set up for some great skiing in France from the middle of next week.


Its a wonder there is skiing at all in Italy, but these days the snowmaking is incredible. Thankfully there will be some natural snow in the new year and here's hoping for a cracking January. From experience its a great time to be on the slopes in the Italian Alps.

Monterosa 29.12.15 - Monte Rosa Facebook
Monte Rosa now has 24 of 95 slopes open across its seven ski areas

Madesimo 6/33 pistes open.

Madonna di Campiglio (0cm@1500m) has 22 slopes open.

Val Gardena 0cm@1500m.

There is snow from the weekend in the next storm. How much will fall, only time will tell. Certainly the northern and western ski areas like Monterosa and Cervinia will do better than the Dolomites, but everywhere should get a good fall in the next week, enough to lay down some good natural snow cover.


Snow Report 24 December 2015 - Europe & Japan

While I sadly don't have a Northern Hemisphere ski trip planned this season, its still great to keep an eye on how the resorts are looking. I'll bet those of you planning your trips are suitably excited and I wish you all a great ski or ride in the coming months, wherever you choose to travel!

Niseko Grand Hirafu 24.12.15 - niseko.ne.jp/

The healthy snowfalls at the end of last week petered out over the weekend, and by Monday it became a little wet at village level. Some snow up high, but nothing to write home about.

Not the best start to the season, but hold your horses because that all looks like changing pretty quickly.

Niseko (Grand Hirafu) - 60cm@base, 180cm@1000m

Zao Onsen - 15cm@base (954m), 50cm up high (1387m), with skiing now available at Diamond Valley and Uwanodai areas in addition to Chuo and Utopia. These are some of the main areas across the upper slopes and make for quite a bit of terrain.

Naeba/Kagura - no natural snow, 35cm on snowmaking runs at Naeba, but most of nearby Kagura is open. Many of the Yuzawa resorts are still to open.

Nozawa Onsen 24.12.15 - nozawaski.com
Shiga Kogen - limited skiing on a number of runs across the vast area. There is no snow at the snow monkey onsen nearby!

Nozawa Onsen - 0cm@base (660m), 40cm at Yamabiko (1615m). Skiing is limited to the upper slopes at Nozawa Onsen.

Myokokogen - no snow, only a couple of lifts open at Akakura Onsen ski resort, other resorts not yet open.

Hakuba (Happo One) - 0cm@Base, 50cm at Usagadaira, skiing limited to Usagadaira and upper Panorama.

Dynaland - limited natural snow

The coming weekend looks good for a dump. It should start snowing on Friday, lowering to sea level later in the weekend and getting pretty heavy. A classic Japow dump! All the ski resorts should be able to open for the new year.

Meribel 23.12.15 - les3vallees.com

More sunny weather. No snow. The natural snow levels begin high up at 2000-2500m in the Northern Alps with any resort snow below those levels due to snowmaking.

Still its remarkable to see how may pistes the major ski stations can open without natural snow:

Chamonix (Grands Montets) 25cm@1972m, only a few pistes open

Val d'Isere 29cm@1850m, 99/166 pistes open
Serre Chevalier 23.12.15 - www.serre-chevalier.com/

Les Arcs 12cm@1600m, 53/109 pistes open

Val Thorens 45cm@2300m, 55/81 pistes open

Serre Chevalier 30cm@2100m, 11/81 pistes open

Isola 2000 30cm@2000m, 8 pistes open

When will the next snow be? Not in the next few days thats pretty certain but maybe (hopefully) in the new year.

Monterosa Ski 21.12.15 - Monterosa Facebook

The skiing in Italy is fairly limited and resorts with massive snowmaking infrastructure will be the go for the timebeing.

Monte Rosa now has 12 of 95 slopes open across its seven ski areas

Madesimo 5 pistes open.

Madonna di Campiglio has 13 lifts operating

Val Gardena is now linked to the rest of Dolomiti Superski by the Sella Ronda in both directions. Amazing!


Snow Report 17 December 2015 - Europe & Japan

With the holiday season approaching, ski resorts in Europe and Japan are grooming their pistes and guest houses are decorating their rooms ready to welcome guests for a snowy, white Christmas and New Year holiday.

Nozawa Onsen 17.12.15 - Nozawa Onsen webcam

We had a mixed bag of weather across mainland Japan over the past week with some sunny days, some rain and some flakes of snow.

It was a fine start to the week, becoming cloudy and wet on Tuesday and Wednesday. Snow has arrived overnight into Thursday morning on both Honshu and Hokkaido.

Niseko - 45cm bottom/145cm top.

Zao Onsen - 5cm@Base, 25cm up high, with skiing limited to the Chuo and Utopia areas only

Naeba/Kagura - no snow
Happo One 16.12.15 - Happo One Facebook
Shiga Kogen - limited skiing on a number of runs across the vast area

Nozawa Onsen - 0cm@Base, 15cm at Yamabiko, the resort is not open yet

Myokokogen - no snow, no resorts open yet

Hakuba - Happo One - 0cm@Base, 40cm at Usagadaira

Dynaland - limited natural snow

Snow is expected to continue to fall into the weekend in Hokkaido, and on and off in Honshu.


Sunny fine days continued until Tuesday when it became almost two weeks without snow for most ski resorts. The good start at the beginning of the month has not been followed through.

Chamonix Balme 16.12.15 - Chamonix.com
Unfortunately only a dusting fell again earlier this week and the snow was limited to the higher slopes in the Northern Alps.

Chamonix (Grands Montets) 25cm@1972m, 3/16 pistes open

Val d'Isere 32cm@1850m, 71/166 pistes open

Les Arcs 47/109 pistes open

Val Thorens 50cm@2300m, 46/81 pistes open

Serre Chevalier 30cm@2100m

Isola 2000 30cm@2000m

The coming days look like being sunny and warm with no sign of much snow on the immediate horizon.

Val Gardena 16.12.15 - Valgardena.it

Most of the skiing in Italy is now thanks to fantastic efforts of snowmaking.

Monte Rosa has only four of 95 slopes open across its seven ski areas

Madesimo 5 pistes open.

Madonna di Campiglio has 12 lifts operating

Val Gardena in the Dolomites has incredibly managed to open many pistes with snowmaking despite a complete lack of natural snow.


Snow Report 10 December 2015 - Europe & Japan

Hi everybody! There were mostly sunny, fine and mild conditions across the Northern Alps through the weekend with more ski stations looking to open for the season.

Snow fell nicely in Japan since my report last week, especially in Hokkaido. Conditions are pretty okay for so early in the season, depending on your resort of choice.


The good news ...

Hakuba received another 20cm at the end of last week and there is fairly good cover on the upper slopes. Other Hakuba resorts in addition to Happo One have opened limited areas during the past week.

Happo One 08.12.15 - Happo One Facebook
Almost half a metre of snow fell at Zao Onsen in Yamagata Prefecture late last week, allowing quite a few lifts to open on the upper parts of this big Yamagata ski area.

Around 10-15cm each day fell on the mountains in Hokkaido until Tuesday. A substantial part of the terrain at the various Niseko resorts is now open, but not all quite yet.

The not so great news ...

Shiga Kogen in Nagano Prefecture opened more ski lifts through the past week, but things are still fairly limited as far as terrain goes.

Skiing is very limited (read "grassy") at Naeba, which is due to open this weekend. Only nearby Kagura has runs available at the highest point of the linked ski areas.

Still no snow at the base of Nozawa Onsen with only a little cover higher up.

The rest of the week looks a bit wet on the mainland with a mix of snow and rain on Hokkaido.

Val d'Isere 09.12.15 - Val d'Isere Facebook

A sunny weekend and run of mild, clear days ended Tuesday with just a little bit of snow for the Northern French Alps - 5cm at Chamonix, 2-3cm at Val Thorens and Val d'Isere.

Conditions are good on the upper slopes at the higher resorts, but skiing back to village is still limited and southern resorts have very little snow.

Chamonix (Grands Montets) opened on the weekend but lifts and pistes are limited right now.
Val d'Isere (59cm@3000m, 30cm@1800m) has 43/78 lifts open.

Les Arcs will open on 12th December.

Val Thorens (75cm@3200m, 55cm@2300m) is a safe bet this time of year.
Other Trois Vallees resorts like Meribel opened on the weekend.

Serre Chevalier will open on 12th December.
Isola 2000 opened on 5th December but there has been far less snow in the south. 5 pistes are open thanks to snowmaking with 30cm snowdepth on the open runs.

The sun and clear weather is expected to continue through the weekend.

Madonna di Campiglio 07.12.15 - Camiglio Funivie Facebook

It had been some time since there were any snowfalls in Italy and unfortunately the mountains are not so white.

However, its early days and the snow will arrive

Madesimo has 3 lifts and 3 pistes open.

Madonna di Campiglio is now open every day and the resort has done a great job to get lots of runs open.

Parts of Val Gardena opened last weekend with up to 30cm snowdepth.


Snow Report 3 December 2015 - Europe & Japan

There was more snow in the Northern Alps during the weekend, making for an excellent start to the ski season across big swathes of Europe.
Happo One 28.11.15 - Happo Facebook

The resort slopes are starting to get white and powdery in Japan as well and there have been some limited openings already. Check out more details below.

Happo One ski resort in Hakuba reported 35cm of snow on Saturday and promptly opened a few lifts giving access to some of the upper slopes.

Zao Onsen in Yamagata Prefecture is looking very snowy after a couple of small falls in the past week, but not enough snow to open the upper lifts yet.

Niseko Hirafu 01.12.15 - Niseko United Facebook
Resorts at Niseko in Hokkaido began to open lifts after a weekend dump of up to half a metre.

Shiga Kogen in Nagano Prefecture has opened a run at Kumanoyu.

Kagura has also opened a short run at the top thanks to snowmaking. Its about ten days to go before the broader areas around Naeba and Mitsumata open.

No snow at the base of Nozawa Onsen and sparse cover higher up.

Rain is in the forecast from this morning, turning to snow across Japan on Friday and Saturday. Expect more openings in the coming weeks.

Val d'Isere 05.12.15 - Val d'Isere Facebook

Snowfalls on the weekend made for some excellent early season conditions.

Sunny days this week have made for glorious days on the slopes ... and its only the first week of December!

Val Thorens (115cm@3200m, 85cm@2300m) - The rest of the Trois Vallees is readying to open through December
Val d'Isere (60cm@3000m, 28cm@1800m) and Tignes

Chamonix (Grands Montets) and Isola 2000 open on 5th December.
Les Arcs will open on 12th December.
Serre Chevalier will open some lifts for the weekends only until 12th December.

Monte Rosa 02.12.15 - Monte Rose Facebook
The sun and clear weather is expected to continue through the weekend.


Italy has mostly missed out on the Alpine snowfalls to the north and west. The week has been sunny and mild and thats set to continue.

Monte Rosa in the Aosta region is due to open this weekend and has been trying hard to get runs available across its many areas.
Madesimo has a few lifts and one piste open.
Madonna di Campiglio has opened a few pistes up at the top, but plans to open every day from 4th December. Skiing will be very limited.
Val Gardena in the Dolomites is due to open this weekend but skiing will be limited to slopes that have been opened through snowmaking efforts.