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|
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|
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|
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|
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|
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|
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!