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Japan 18-19

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
After a bit of an early season roller coaster, it looks like south west Hokkaido is pumping. Niseko, Rusutsu, Kiroro, Kokusai and Teine are all reporting serious snowfalls over the last few days and the Instagram snorkel shots are coming thick and fast.

Hopefully plenty of people will contribute to this thread as I know a fair few Snowheads will be in Japan this season.

I'll be in Niseko and Otaru over Christmas and New Year and will try to post updates on the ground.

In the meantime, I'm spending too much time on the following weather links:

Japan high resolution forecasting:
https://www.jma.go.jp/en/kaikotan/m_index.html

Niseko Wow live snow depth cam (is this yours Mike Pow?):
https://www.niseko-wow.com/camera/

360 niseko daily reports (just Niseko) :
http://360niseko.com/category/daily-snow-reports/

SnowJapan daily reports (lots of resorts all over Japan):
https://www.snowjapan.com/japan-daily-snow-weather-reports

Fingers crossed for a big season!
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
I'm heading to Furano and Niseko Mid to end of January. I'm glued to Snow-Guess.com and:

Niseko webcams:
http://www.niseko.ne.jp/en/livecamera/

SnowJapan report for Niseko:
https://www.snowjapan.com/japan-daily-snow-weather-reports/Niseko-Now

SkiJapan report for Niseko:
http://www.skijapan.com/niseko-snow-report/

About a metre at base in the last 4 days and more in the forecast.... snowHead
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
element wrote:
After a bit of an early season roller coaster, it looks like south west Hokkaido is pumping. Niseko, Rusutsu, Kiroro, Kokusai and Teine are all reporting serious snowfalls over the last few days and the Instagram snorkel shots are coming thick and fast.

Niseko Wow live snow depth cam (is this yours Mike Pow?):
https://www.niseko-wow.com/camera/


After last season's epic start with no rain events, this November and December has seen two.

The 'locals' were freaking out like Chicken Little, but this is normal until the Siberian air remains constant.

Looks like it has the past 4-5 days.

Over a metre in this storm, 2.1 m so far this winter.

Yes the Niseko WOW Snow Cam is me.

Doing the WOW Facebook and Instagram posts.

https://www.facebook.com/Niseko-Wow-181412865262316/?ref=br_rs


https://www.instagram.com/niseko_wow


Heading over next week sometime.

Can't wait.
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So you are joining the Scots! Shocked
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Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Hyst wrote:
So you are joining the Scots! Shocked


Laughing Laughing Laughing

Ian the owner is a long-time friend and student. He's the one who kickstarted Kiroro the past 3 seasons.

No longer there, but irons in the fire Smile
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Enjoy the onsen! - Hope the start will not be delayed this year.
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Hyst wrote:
Enjoy the onsen! - Hope the start will not be delayed this year.


Me too.

Thanks.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
It's been nudging -25c in eastern Hokkaido the past week.
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You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
My Japan plans this winter:

17th - 27th Jan: Based in Sapporo
28th - 1st Feb: Otaru (probably) or Furano
2nd - 9th Feb: Akakura Onsen (one of the Myoko ski areas near Nagano)

JMA forecasting above average snowfall for the next month:

http://www.jma.go.jp/en/longfcst/000_2_00.html

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Nice itinerary and very nice chart.
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snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
Bluebird day today in Naeba Niigata. 40cm of fresh yesterday. Beware not a lot of Base under there. Punch through a few times. But then again I'm in an 8 tonne cat!
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Flights booked.

Arrive in Niseko Hirafu on Wednesday just in time for apres.

Hope to be thigh deep Thursday.

Watch this space Smile
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
Have to travel to Tokyo for work early next year. Any recommendations for a weekend from there?
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
BobinCH wrote:
Have to travel to Tokyo for work early next year. Any recommendations for a weekend from there?


If conditions on Honshu are good then

Shinkansen from Tokyo to Nagano.

Bus or hire car Nagano to Hakuba.

Ski Hakuba.

I stayed here. It was great. Tony showed us some great stuff.

https://www.whitehorse-hakuba.com/


If the conditions are better on Hokkaido, then fly up.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
@BobinCH,

Gear along?

(Edit: and Mike knows better).


Last edited by Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name: on Sun 16-12-18 18:44; edited 2 times in total
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@Mike Pow, May one ask whom you fly with this time? (just for future reference)
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Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Hyst wrote:
@BobinCH,

Gear along?

(Edit: and Mike knows better).


Plenty of rental options in both Hakuba and the more Westernised resorts on Hokkaido.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Hyst wrote:
@Mike Pow, May one ask whom you fly with this time? (just for future reference)


Flight prices and timings have been all over the place this Autumn/Winter.

Worked out £180 cheaper to fly Cardiff - Amsterdam - Tokyo return with KLM and domestic single flights Tokyo - Chitose with JetStar rather than Cardiff - Amsterdam - Tokyo - Chitose return with KLM or Air France.

Birmingham and London were cheaper but time & cost of getting there meant it was a neglible difference.
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Hyst wrote:
@BobinCH,

Gear along?

(Edit: and Mike knows better).


Would take boots. Probably wouldn’t bother with skis unless the domestic carriers take them for free?
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Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
If you find Hakuba to far away 2 1/2 -3 h from Tokyo Station, the (Niigata) Joetsu Shinkansen has many places around Yuzawa. 1 1/4 h.

https://gala.co.jp/winter/english/access/

https://www.snowjapan.com/japan-ski-resorts/town/yuzawa

But of course many Tokyo people do that too in the week-end.


Kagura/Neaba is liked by experts. but not direct at the Shinkansen station.

http://www.princehotels.com/en/ski/kagura/ (press english)


If you fly to Hokkaido skis will not be free. (I would stay on Honshu for a week-end trip and wait for a longer stay to go to Hokkaido).
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And away we go
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Safe Journey.

I'm looking forward to some on the spot updates soon, from what I can see it's been a promising start but with a couple of slightly soggy days. I'm going to be over in January, picking up some Yen from the bank today, so the 'new currency' excitement has kicked in.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Quote:

Watch this space

Watching intently. Safe travels and looking forward to the updates.
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I still glow from my Feb trip
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Thanks all.

Arrived at 6pm.

Hasn't stopped snowing since
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Skied Teine Highland today. Very good snow (wet snow/rain two days ago). Everything open except the slalom course. Staff working hard on Kita Kabe marking a few rocks. Official figures 160/100cm. Very few people around.
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Sounding good.

I've been geeking out and comparing the forecast vs observed snowfall for Hirafu base elevation over the past 28 days. I took the forecast for the following 24hours from https://www.snow-forecast.com/resorts/Niseko/6day/bot and compared with the observed 24hr depths at http://360niseko.com and https://www.snowjapan.com/japan-daily-snow-weather-reports

It's a bit shoddy, but roughly:

Snow Forecast were 95% accurate at predicting presence or absence of snowfall. They failed to predict a snowfall on one day. They never predicted snow that didn't materialise.

They predicted less snowfall than observed 86.4% of the time, with a max underestimate of 24cm.

The predicted more snowfall than observed 13.6% of the time, with a max overestimate of 8cm.

On average 2.34 or 2.24 times more snow fell than was predicted (360niseko or SnowJapan respectively).

I can't begin to get my head around the weather patterns in Hokkaido, and I'm not sure whether this month is in anyway representative, but it might be useful as a rough guide. Kept me entertained anyways.

Flying first thing tomorrow, yisss.
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
@element, A crash course by MikePow last Feb convinced me that weather patterns in Hokkaido are strange and difficult to read - you need to know where the winds are blowing. Although mountains are not very high, you could have a bluebird day in Niseko and a dump in a nearby Kiroro.
I am sure MikePow will have a more eloquent explanation
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Laughing Laughing @element, I've been doing the same, but not quite so mathematically. It seems pretty random as to when it underestimates and I've also been watching the weather (wind) patterns on Ventusky.com trying to see the pattern.

Sonwguess managed to underestimate by 48cm for Furano the other day.......
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
THURSDAY 20 DECEMBER 2018

First day on skis for the 2018/19 winter season.

And great to be back in Kiroro with long-time ski buddy Ian, young ripping Australian Jaimi (her dad Brad featured in shots last season), and Kiroro Double Black Cafe's Cameron.

Only 9cm overnight, but those who've skied Hokkaido (and to answer the questions above) will know that whatever is reported is more often than not underreported. I use snow-forecast and only concerned with freezing level and wind data. Both very accurate.

And if you know where you're going there's always good turns to be found.

With an average start to the season and not much snow in the past 72hrs my expectations were low.

And then the sun came out and we got to ski a light dusting of powder on piste; knee deep dust on the fringes of the runs; and gut deep powder & face shots in the trees.

A great start to the season.

Ian









Jaimi













Cameron







Last edited by Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name: on Wed 16-01-19 1:19; edited 1 time in total
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@Mike Pow, fantastic shots!!!
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Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
KenX wrote:
@Mike Pow, fantastic shots!!!


Many thanks. Very happy for first day.
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Nice, the girl beside me is coming soon.
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Hyst wrote:
Nice, the girl beside me is coming soon.


Only getting better from here on in.
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@Mike Pow, Great pics!

Looks generally cold and snowy after a short slightly milder interlude tomorrow (chart for Niseko area)

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Thanks.

Yep.

Just strolled home at midnightish and it's ❄ at village level
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heading to Niseko 19th jan, can't wait.... Smile Smile
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After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
@Mike Pow, great shots, can't wait to get up to Kiroro.

First day on snow for us today after a stop over in Tokyo. Don't convince yourself that carrying a 23kg ski bag through Shinjuku station at rush hour will be fine. Hopefully that's the scariest moment of the trip. Anyway, I definitely recommend a Tokyo stopover, it was mind blowing.

Back to the snow, we were in Moiwa today and it was great. The gates aren't open yet but the avalanche report said they are hoping to open in the next few days. 360 Niseko had reported 4.5cm of snow, but there was much more up top. We were hitting bottom, but it was lovely and perfect for finding the legs again. It got a bit heavy and crusty lower down as the day went on so we packed it in about 2pm and had an onsen.

Currently snowing lightly in Hirafu. Hoping the big snow forecasted turns up.
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Excellent.

Over the head at Kiroro today (26th December)
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Quote:

Over the head at Kiroro today

Magic. Hoping to be in Kiroro on the 29th weather permitting. Can't wait.

We were in Hanazono this morning. Had my first face shots of the trip, not bad for day 2. The snow was great and it wasn't as busy as when I was here in mid Jan 2 years ago, even though the gates are still closed. Maybe it's the time of year, but there doesn't seem to be as many powder chasers as I remember, and we got fresh or 'freshish' tracks for most of the morning in the popular areas. Could still feel the bumps underneath in strawberry fields, but in less busy areas it was perfect. We checked out the mixed onsen at Niseko Grand Hotel after which was a bit of a treat.

I've been super impressed with our wee Honda Fit 4x4. Driving is fine, and much easier than driving in mainland Europe IMO. The grip from 4x4 and snow tyres is a marvel.

Its currently dumping fine snow in hirafu.

A very quick and shakey clip of today, taken a bit later in the morning:


http://youtube.com/v/AXFMo5CfPJU
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