Snow Report 21 January 2016 - Europe & Japan

The unpredictability of the weather is what makes skiing and riding so interesting! The skill of being able to adapt to different conditions is a good arrow to have in your quiver. However, when the wind blows so hard that the lifts close there's not much to do except seek protected runs, or spend the day in a hot spring!

Niseko Grand Hirafu - www.grand-hirafu.jp/

It was partly fine on the weekend for much of Honshu with some areas getting some sun which is nice if you were out on the slopes.

Snow arrived late on Sunday and it snowed heavily in some areas but lightly in others!

This was due to an easterly system favouring snow closer to the Pacific side of the Japanese Alps. It even snowed in Tokyo. The weather was a bit wild though, with the storm closing lots of lifts earlier this week.

The system spun around changing the winds and eventually every ski area benefited.

Niseko (Grand Hirafu) - 120cm@base. It finally stopped snowing at Niseko on Sunday after weeks of continuous snow, allowing visitors to see the mountain for once and enjoy a sunny day! A windy week has seen lifts close, but the snow has returned again so conditions will be good once the wind dies down.

Zao Onsen - 95cm@base (954m), 130cm up high (1387m). A cloudy cold weekend at Zao. Thats pretty typical for this time of year! Heavy snow arrived on Sunday and continued into Monday adding more than half a metre to the snow depths. The whole mountain is open and the skiing is great.

Naeba/Kagura - Snow on Sunday but a lot lighter than expected. Tuesday was fine and sunny in the Yuzawa area but the snow arrived on Wednesday with around 30cm falling into Thursday morning.

Happo 19.01.15 - Happo One Facebook
Shiga Kogen - Up to 30cm of snow at Shiga Kogen into Monday morning and similar into Tuesday morning. Doubled the snow depths from this storm and more snow into today. A massive dump of close to a metre at the Shiga Kogen ski areas.

Nozawa Onsen - 65cm@base (660m), 135cm at Yamabiko (1615m). Nozawa Onsen had just some light snow into Monday and a few flakes on Tuesday but things started getting going later in the week and a nice dump has got the official resort snow depths up by about 30cm.

Myokokogen (Akakan) - 145cm. A small top-up into Monday and nothing much into Tuesday, but like Nozawa Onsen, the Japan Sea facing resorts scored midweek with a dump close to 50cm.

Hakuba (Happo One) - 55cm@Base, 165cm at Usagadaira. Happo reported 15cm overnight into Monday and snow continuing on Monday. Another 20cm into Wednesday morning. Lifts were affected by the wind early in the week.

Dynaland - 120cm, double the snowdepth of last week for Gifu's biggest ski area.

The coming days: Snow looks like continuing all over with a cold blast to hit western Honshu on the weekend.

Chamonix Brevent 21.01.15 - chamonix.com

Lots of sun on the weekend at most French Alpine ski stations.

The natural snowline is now below 1,000m in the Northern Alps with 20-45cm on shady north-facing slopes, and 18-36cm on sunny south-facing slopes at 1,000m. That is significantly below village level for most ski resorts. In the Southern Alps, the snowline is a little higher.

Into this week, not much new snow fell since Tuesday.

Chamonix (Grands Montets) 150cm@1972m. Chamonix reported 13cm new snow at Flegere on Sunday. Last snow was 19th January and pretty much all lifts and runs open now.

Val d'Isere 102cm@1850m, 144 of 154 pistes and 72 of 79 lifts operating.

Val Thorens 21.01.15 - Val Thorens Facebook
Les Arcs 105cm@1600m, 99/109 pistes open.

Val Thorens 140cm@2300m, ALL lifts and runs open at Val Thorens today.

Serre Chevalier 100cm@2100m, 67/81 pistes open.

Isola 2000 45cm@2000m, opened more pistes at the weekend and now has 24 pistes operating.

It looks like staying fine through the weekend with warm temperatures. Time to enjoy the snow and sun and wait for the next dump.


A sunny weekend but winds restricted the fun at some ski resorts. The fine weather continued into this week.

Madesimo 21.01.15 - www.skiareavalchiavenna.it/
Monte Rosa now has 56 of 95 slopes open across its seven ski areas. Strong winds played havoc with lifts on the weekend, and having experienced getting stuck in the wrong valley at Monte Rosa I feel for any people struggling with the conditions there!

Madesimo 22/33 pistes open.Such better conditions there now.

Madonna di Campiglio (10cm@1500m) now has 53/57 lifts open.

Val Gardena 20cm@1500m reported 15cm on the 11th January and that was the last time it snowed there.

Sunny and warm days to come and the ski resorts will be hoping for a change to the weather to get a dump and open the rest of the lifts and runs for February.


Snow Report 14 January 2016 - Europe & Japan

By mid-January generally all the lifts and pistes are open in both Japan and Europe's major resorts. Not the case this year I'm afraid. Its certainly an odd one, a slow starter more precisely. And unusual for both Japan and Europe to be hit.


A snowy weekend all over Japan but the snow was lighter than originally expected. Niseko, Zao Onsen and Myokokogen did best, with the other resorts lucky if they got a couple of days of light snowfalls.

Niseko (Grand Hirafu) - 140cm@base. Regular and consistent snowfall at Niseko, between 10 and 20cm each night for the past week. Great skiing to be had right now!

Happo One 13.01.16 - Happo Facebook
Zao Onsen - 40cm@base (954m), 85cm up high (1387m). Another snowy weekend at Zao Onsen ski resort with around 10cm each day and light snow continuing on and off this week. most of the resort is open now including the Omori area.

Naeba/Kagura - A little light snow on and off at Naeba with conditions best up high at linked Kagura.

Shiga Kogen - The resorts are all open but there's not a huge amount of snow at Shiga Kogen.

Nozawa Onsen - 20cm@base (660m), 100cm at Yamabiko (1615m). Nozawa Onsen has missed out on the weekend snow at some other areas racking up only 5-10cm. Hitting only the one-metre mark at Yamabiko in mid-January is unheard of!

Myokokogen (Akakan) - 120cm. Steady top-ups over the last week but nothing massive. Another 30cm to the snow depth at Akakan, compared to this time last week, is welcome.

Hakuba (Happo One) - 10cm@Base, 100cm at Usagadaira. Another poor week for Hakuba with little additional snow reported. Skiing is good up high however.

Dynaland - 60cm.

Some snow tonight all over, continuing regular falls on Hokkaido, and perhaps something big and white coming after the weekend!

Les Arcs 13.01.16 - Les Acrs Facebook

A wild, windy and wet weekend brought snow at high altitudes and rain at lower altitudes. The stormy weather also brought strong winds that closed lifts.

Into this week, the snow level lowered and it has been snowing on and off all week in the Northern Alps. Lets see how the snow depths have improved:

Chamonix (Grands Montets) 154cm@1972m, up a whopping 77cm on this time last week.

Val d'Isere 110cm@1850m, up 46cm on last week,

Les Arcs 108cm@1600m, up 43cm on last week, 85/109 pistes open.

Val Thorens 160cm@2300m, up 65cm from last week,

Serre Chevalier 13.01.16 - Serre Che Facebook
Serre Chevalier 120cm@2100m, up 82cm, 44/81 pistes open. Finally some joy for Serre Che.

Isola 2000 40cm@2000m, now 16 pistes open double last week.

It looks like even more snow for the Northern Alps in the next few days down to low levels. Its going to be cold! Clearing at the weekend for some fun skiing.


Some snow but unfortunately not as much as in France. Italy has not done so well from the recent storm - its often favoured by different weather systems than those that bring snow to Switzerland and the Northern Alps.

Val Gardena 13.01.16 - Val Gardena Facebook
Monte Rosa now has 42 of 95 slopes open across its seven ski areas but the snowdepth is nothing to shout about with only about 20cm in the valley.

Madesimo 15/33 pistes open.

Madonna di Campiglio (10cm@1500m) received 45cm from the storm, mostly above 1600m. 42/57 lifts now open.

Val Gardena 20cm@1500m reported 15cm on the 11th January.

Once again, the western ski resorts like Monte Rosa and Cervinia will get snow in the coming days, but looks sunny and fine in the Dolomites.


Snow Report 7 January 2016 - Europe & Japan

January is my favourite month of the year to ski in the Northern Hemisphere. Empty slopes for the most part (a few exceptions in each continent, I've heard), friendly on-mountain staff, a solid snowdepth, and a good chance of the odd dump. February means holidays in both Japan and Europe and then things get busier again.

Nozawa Onsen 06.01.16 - Nozawa Onsen Facebook
Snow finally arrived in France and Italy over the weekend with up to half a metre falling in the Northern French Alps and somewhat less elsewhere.

New Year's Day brought snow to Japan, but since then its been a bit dicey. Definitely a slower start to the season by Japan's high powder standards.


Ski areas received a nice top-up on New Year's Day, between 10 and 30cm. It has continued to snow on and off in Hokkaido, but on Honshu the week started really warm and then nothing has really happened since. Snow depths are at one of the lowest I can remember for the first week of January. Still ... bet you're not complaining if you're out there enjoying the rides down the mountain!

Niseko (Grand Hirafu) - 120cm@base. Regular snowfalls this week is building the base nicely.

Happo One 06.01.16 - Happo One Facebook
Zao Onsen - 20cm@base (954m), 70cm up high (1387m). The cover is not that deep and skiing is still not available at Omori area.

Naeba/Kagura - 20cm around new year is only the second decent fall for Naeba this season.

Shiga Kogen - little snow in the past week but the skies are beginning to open up today. Modest snow depths for this time of year although Shiga Kogen never really gets the huge falls they get nearer the Sea of Japan.

Nozawa Onsen - 20cm@base (660m), 95cm at Yamabiko (1615m). Nothing to speak of falling from the sky in the past week and its still looking pretty patchy at the bottom.

Myokokogen (Akakan) - 90cm. Snow has returned to Mt Myoko and its various ski areas after a quiet few days since new year.

Chamonix 06.01.16 - Chamonix Facebook
Hakuba (Happo One) - 10cm@Base, 65cm at Usagadaira. Finally some snow this morning after a barren week.

Dynaland - 60cm.

There should be snow on and off now through the weekend so it looks like things will look much better (and even whiter and deeper) by this time next week!


The snowfalls have arrived bringing reasonable falls to the Northern resorts, but quite a lot less in the Southern Alps and Pyrenees.

Chamonix (Grands Montets) 67cm@1972m, a huge improvement for the Chamonix valley which did very well from the new year storm.

Val d'Isere 06.01.16 - Val d'Isere Facebook
Val d'Isere 64cm@1850m, 113/166 pistes open. Its clear that Val d'Isere and Espace Killy have been the place to be with ok skiing even through the lean snow period in December and now conditions are even better.

Les Arcs 65cm@1600m, 72/109 pistes open. A great boost with a good fall at 1600m opening another 20 or so pistes.

Val Thorens 95cm@2300m, 67/81 pistes open. not far off all runs being open at Val Thorens now.

Serre Chevalier 38cm@2100m, 20/81 pistes open. Didn't get as much as the Northern Alps and could do with a couple more dumps to really open up the massive terrain at Serre Che.

Isola 2000 35cm@2000m, still only 8 pistes open. After the massive snowfalls in previous years we can only wait for a change to the weather patterns that favour the south.

Monte Rosa 06.01.16 - Monterosa Facebook
It looks like lots of snow in the coming days in the French Alps, but the snow level will be quite high at times with the southerlies. Rain down below 1600m perhaps. Stay high in the coming days because the best snow will be above 2000m.


Some snow in this recent new year storm for Northern Italy has opened more lifts and runs.

Still a way to go though so lets hope for lots from the following January storms.

Monte Rosa now has 30 of 95 slopes open across its seven ski areas and eveything is looking very white after the recent snowfalls favoured this beautiful Italian ski resort.

Madesimo 13/33 pistes open.

Madonna di Campiglio 03.01.16 - funivie.campiglio.it
Madonna di Campiglio (5cm@1500m) now has 50 slopes open compared to 22 last week before the storm. Looking so much better there. Expect more lifts to open through the week.

Val Gardena 20cm@1500m. Doesn't sound like much but the Dolomites have hundreds of kms of skiing on offer.

There is snow coming for Italy in the coming storms as well.

The Aosta valley ski area close to the Monte Bianco massif and Monte Rosa will do well throughout the whole period.

Madonna di Campiglio looks like getting good falls through the weekend, and Val Gardena and the other Dolomiti ski areas look like getting a little top-up. Lets hope its more than that!