Japan Japanese snow season 2016-17

Discussion in 'Alpine & Snow' started by Sandy, Nov 23, 2016.

  1. Sandy

    Sandy Dark Sith Lord of the Pool Room Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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    Yep, more digging my car out for me..... ;) I will be at Hakuba 6th-11th, Myoko 11th-15th, and Shiga Kogen 15th-19th.
    6th-7th looks reasonable as well.
     
  2. Cuppa

    Cuppa A Local

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    Good to hear about the 6th - 7th. Waiting for JQ23 as we speak. Hakuba here we come!
     
  3. Rodlox82

    Rodlox82 Hard Yards

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    Winds look very North or even NE, rather than NW over the extended forecast for Hokkaido. Is this still snow producing winds for that area or does the wind need to be more west for lake effect to occur?
    First time post so sorry if this has already been covered.
     
  4. Jellybeans

    Jellybeans not woke enough Ski Pass: Gold

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    https://www.ski.com.au/xf/threads/weather-tutorial-for-japan.63512/
    For Hokkaido, it's less about the lake effect and more about the passing cold lows.
    NE winds don't make lake effect.
     
  5. telenomore

    telenomore One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    Respectfully, I think this idea has taken hold but is, historically, wrong. The lake effect, produced from the Siberian high pressure system directing northwesterly winds over the sea of Japan onto Hokkaido has always been the main generator of snow for both the Shakotan Peninsula (Niseko/Rusutsu/Kiroro etc all on the edge of that) and central Hokkaido (Asahikawa/Kamui/Furano/Tokachi Mts etc). Orographic uplift results and it produces snow falls, most extensively, on the coastal ranges, but also, right through central Hokkaido, losing its power as it crosses the main geographical barrier, Daisetsuzan National Park. Beyond that the rain shadow effect kicks in over the fertile Tokachi plain, where the typical winter weather pattern is blue sky, dry cold wind and very little snow, usually only about 20 cm over the farm fields. The precipitation reduces in intensity and decreases in temperature as it crosses the coastal ranges and pushes through central Hokkaido (Asahikawa, Kamui, Furano, Tokachi Mts etc). This results in less snowfall for central Hokkaido, than say Niseko, but colder dryer snow, and from observations, less than half on average.

    For most of my years in Tokachi, standing on the high ridges as the NW pushes through, it just produces intense snow in the -5 to -15 degree range, same at Asahi Dake, as the height of both of those ranges increase the ororgarphic uplift of the northwest winds. Resulting in much more snow fall, than say, Kamui or Furano. Some season we saw as much snow accumulation at Asahi Dake as at Niseko.

    What we are seeing over recent seasons is this pattern breaking down. It is being replaced by travelling lows. Further to the east, Tomamu, Nukabira etc have always relied on travelling lows out of the south to produce base level snow as they get much less from the NW winds, due to the rain shadow effect. Not so Furano. Where typically the snow pack is a combination of both effects, but more so the NW wind than travelling lows. It is the NW winds that give the great powder, not the intense low pressure systems. These systems give deep snow falls over short periods (over a metre last weekend), but are always accompanied by strong winds, and the biggest problem with them is that they seem to track North east, meaning we end up with cold dry winds that are very strong, meaning the high alpine areas, and the cold dry snow, just get wind packed. This is causing fewer powder days at places like Asahi Dake and the higher elevations in the Tokachi range. IMO the reduced consistency, strength and angle of the NW wind flow is also reducing snow falls at Niseko against historical records, but favouring places like Kiroro and Kokusai, as they are right on the fringe of the coastal ranges.

    One of the first Japanese phrases I learnt many years ago while living in Asahikawa was weather related and it has stuck with me like a mantra. "Hokusei no Kaze, kumori, toki doki yuki." Northwest winds, cloudy with occasional snow. This was repeated pretty much daily on NHK weather right through January and February. This pattern would produce flurries of 5, 10, 15 cm daily. You don't hear that weather report so often any more.
     
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  6. seekingpow

    seekingpow One of Us

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    Do you feel this pattern breakdown is entrenched as a new pattern or a short term phenomena?
     
  7. blutek

    blutek One of Us

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  8. Jellybeans

    Jellybeans not woke enough Ski Pass: Gold

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    Lake effect and cold lows both have a positive effect to Hokkaido snow. Honshu only benefits from lake effect snow. That was the point I was trying to make. Totally agree about aspects and orographical uplift, being important for Japanese snow. Aspects can make or break a region's potential of having good consistent snow.

    Anyway SSW is making every go off whack, status of Siberian High and friends is uncertain.
     
  9. Jellybeans

    Jellybeans not woke enough Ski Pass: Gold

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    Perhaps not really a SSW after all...
     
  10. pedub

    pedub One of Us

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    Very informative post.

    @telenomore are you able to comment on the current conditions on Asahidake after the last week of snowfalls?
    Thinking about heading up tomorrow or the next day.
    Looks like if I wait till Sunday it'll be bluebird, which is sort of what I want, just wondering if the snow will change much over 1 day? (tomorrow)
     
  11. telenomore

    telenomore One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    @pedub have some people up there today so Ill put something up tonight. Reports are good though. Last few days light snow falls with not much wind.
     
  12. telenomore

    telenomore One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    @seekingpow IMHO the reliability factor has changed. Not as reliable as it used to be in terms of powder snow. I think we'll continue to see the NW wind pattern but it doesn't seem to set in for long periods. The lows coming up from the south coming up more often than they used to and this will continue, IMHO. We always got them, say in the 80's, but usually early and late season, now it seems right through the season. One factor, temperatures, have changed in my time. We used to get into the -30's a couple of times a season. Haven't been into that range for a long time. Coldest I had in Furano was -33. Last 15 plus years, haven't breached the -30, although came close two weeks ago with a -29, which got the locals all nostalgic. The weather gurus might differ, just my observations on the ground.
     
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  13. Jellybeans

    Jellybeans not woke enough Ski Pass: Gold

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    And the reasoning for that is Climate Change... oh wasn't I meant to say that :oops:
     
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  14. Sandy

    Sandy Dark Sith Lord of the Pool Room Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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    The last two seasons have been unusual, and this season for sure, has had a huge number of small lows moving across the Sea of Japan, or across southern Japan, intensifying east of Tohoku.
    Last year was an El Nino year, and that makes things very different. This year there's the Arctic sea ice, and "heat wave" in northern Russia.... although there's been this little sea ice before, it has affected that northerly flow like this.

    It may be, but it may also be something more cyclic (or both). It doesn't mean that it's definitely permanent, but that's another discussion....
     
  15. Jellybeans

    Jellybeans not woke enough Ski Pass: Gold

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    If there is one thing I see now, rather than 10-20 years ago, is a sense of unpredictability. One year it's amazing and one year it's crap. And this isn't just Japan, but it certainly doesn't exclude it. Yes El Niño has something to do with it, but I think this sense of unpredictability will hold into the future. Which will make these discussions more important into the future.
     
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  16. Sandy

    Sandy Dark Sith Lord of the Pool Room Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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    If you look at data back to 1994/95, there's always been a level of unpredictability.
    The reason we get a sense of unpredictability, is because we have not been aware of it, nor the data that supports it, because we were never really interested before about 5-10 years ago!!!!!
     
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  17. Jellybeans

    Jellybeans not woke enough Ski Pass: Gold

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    Yes, but I think that unpredictability has increased IMO.
     
  18. Sandy

    Sandy Dark Sith Lord of the Pool Room Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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    IMO, not. We had a run of consistent predictable years from 2008/10-2014/15, but before that, it was MORE variable.

    e.g. Yuzawa
    Season Snowfall(cm)
    2016/17: 526cm (up to Feb 3rd 2017)
    2015/16: 637
    2014/15: 1826
    2013/14: 1435
    2012/13: 1647
    2011/12: 1876
    2010/11: 1457
    2009/10: 1256
    2008/09: 736
    2007/08: 1424
    2006/07: 601
    2005/06: 2318
    2004/05: 1746
    2003/04: 1049
    2002/03: 1172
    2001/02: 1206
    2000/01: 1635
    1999/00: 1438
    1998/99: 1399
    1997/98: 973
    1996/97: 1129
    1995/96: 1691
    1994/95: 1465
     
  19. Stiffler

    Stiffler One of Us

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    The only thing constant in life is change.
     
  20. Jellybeans

    Jellybeans not woke enough Ski Pass: Gold

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    Cheers for the stats, will chuck into a graph at some point. If that's okay?
     
  21. Sandy

    Sandy Dark Sith Lord of the Pool Room Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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    Go for it.
     
  22. ojisan

    ojisan station master Ski Pass: Gold

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    ****.. 05/06 had 23 metre's... Wow.
    I believe that may have been the first winter I headed to Japan to go boarding
     
  23. Sandy

    Sandy Dark Sith Lord of the Pool Room Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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    Further:
    Average for Yuzawa completed seasons: 1369cm (below average in red)

    Season Snowfall(cm)
    2016/17: 526cm (up to Feb 3rd 2017)
    2015/16: 637
    2014/15: 1826
    2013/14: 1435
    2012/13: 1647
    2011/12: 1876
    2010/11: 1457
    2009/10: 1256
    2008/09: 736
    2007/08: 1424
    2006/07: 601
    2005/06: 2318
    2004/05: 1746
    2003/04: 1049
    2002/03: 1172
    2001/02: 1206
    2000/01: 1635
    1999/00: 1438
    1998/99: 1399
    1997/98: 973
    1996/97: 1129
    1995/96: 1691
    1994/95: 1465

    You can see how inconsistent the years from 2000/01-2008/09 were. Much more variable than more recent years.
     
  24. pedub

    pedub One of Us

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    This pesky snow still hanging around Central Hokkaido :) Thought it was going to stop overnight. I am wishing for bluebird tomorrow
     
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  25. seekingpow

    seekingpow One of Us

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    Been snowing moderately in Furano for last 24 hours. First tracks this morning were nice - 10-15cm very dry snow up top. Still snowing but needs to snow harder for meaningful accumulation
     
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  26. bengarden

    bengarden One of Us Ski Pass: Silver

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    Looking warmish for Niseko this week for mid winter/Feb. Tops well above freezing forecast, 5,3,1 etc. Seems a bit warm compared to usual for this time of year? Hows the Japow hold up when it gets to 5 in the village? Turns to porridge like Australia?
     
  27. seekingpow

    seekingpow One of Us

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    Yes
     
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  28. Cuppa

    Cuppa A Local

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    Blue skies today in Hakuba.
     
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  29. Tree Breaker Bob

    Tree Breaker Bob Addicted

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    Saw the sun this arvo at Appi Kogan, mild but still below zero

    There is plenty of snow here

    Bob
     
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  30. Tonester

    Tonester Lift Line Nazi Ski Pass: Gold

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    Good to know. I'll be there in a week or so!
     
  31. benjiboy

    benjiboy Hard Yards

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    Wondering if Sandy or any of the other gurus can help out with the forecast for central Honshu from 11th feb onwards? I haven't booked any accomodation, so trying to figure out if I need to look at going high (shiga etc) or not...
     
  32. Jellybeans

    Jellybeans not woke enough Ski Pass: Gold

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    GFS output for Central Honshu area.
    Date/ Night FL/ Day FL/ Snowfall Conditions.
    11th Feb 200-500m Moderate-Heavy Snowfall.
    12th Feb 200-600m Moderate-Heavy Snowfall, clearing to light snow later.
    13th Feb 200-700m Light isolated snow showers.
    14th Feb 200-700m Light snow.
    15th Feb 300-800m Light snow clearing.
    16th Feb 200-1200m No snow.
    17th Feb 800-1800m No snow.
    18th Feb 2000m-800m Heavy rain early, Heavy snow later.
    19th Feb 200m-1000m Light snow clearing.

    Btw Tropical Tidbits is going offline after 5pm for a period of time.
     
  33. benjiboy

    benjiboy Hard Yards

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    Fantastic, thanks jelly! Looks promising for temps.
     
  34. Rodlox82

    Rodlox82 Hard Yards

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    Any thoughts on Hokkaido towards the end of the week, a couple of lows drifting through but their location looks maybe a little to south for significant snow up north???
     
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  35. TJ

    TJ One of Us

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    Snowing nicely in the valley since this morning. A good start. It should be a good week.
     
  36. Cuppa

    Cuppa A Local

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    Sadly it's rather damp at the moment. :(
     
  37. Sandy

    Sandy Dark Sith Lord of the Pool Room Moderator Ski Pass: Gold

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    It may be damp, but according to the Hakuba weather station, it's just hanging in at 9pm. Just sitting on freezing and +2cm of snow in the last 2 hours..... better than pouring rain, although it could still happen later.... may be lucky though.

    Snow on the road for now, on route 148.
    http://www.snowjapan.com/japan-daily-snow-weather-reports/webcam-hakuba-roads-nagano
     
  38. planetfonz

    planetfonz Hard Yards

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    Raining quite well near Tsugaike/Otchikura
     
  39. snowishing

    snowishing Hard Yards

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    Light rain in Myoko
     
  40. gibbsy

    gibbsy Addicted

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    light rain in iiyama
     
  41. bluestick

    bluestick One of Us Ski Pass: Gold

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    Snowing yesterday arvo at grandeco rain in inawashiro. This morning snow out the window in inawashiro
     
  42. snowishing

    snowishing Hard Yards

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    Light to moderate snow just started in Myoko about 30mins ago.
     
  43. Cuppa

    Cuppa A Local

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    Turned to snow sometime after 4am in Hakuba.
     
  44. TJ

    TJ One of Us

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    That's why I prefer my riding to be on the top of the mountain as opposed to in town. Snowed all night up there :) Hope you realised that and got onto it early. Epic this morning.
     
  45. Cuppa

    Cuppa A Local

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    Today is a lot fun. :) Much better than yesterday.
     
  46. GazStreats

    GazStreats Hard Yards

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    Anyone got an extended forecast for Hokkaido over the next few weeks? We arrive on the 10th :) Thanks in advance!
     
  47. seekingpow

    seekingpow One of Us

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    Go to Honshu
     
  48. Jellybeans

    Jellybeans not woke enough Ski Pass: Gold

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    I take it your trip is going poorly?
     
  49. pedub

    pedub One of Us

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    Looking at the jma radar, should have started snowing there by now. Been snowing in Sapporo on and off all day.
    Shakotan, Yoichi, Otaru (etc) regions should have received a decent dump for tomorrow.
    Just hope the winds die down for us.

    In my experience the conditions over the last week or so in central Hokkaido have been sick!
    (I love the proliferation of this word in ski culture and I try to use it as much as possible :cool:)

    I will post some actual evidence to back this up soon :)
     
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  50. seekingpow

    seekingpow One of Us

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    Not ideal, not much powder but still having a good time. Snowing moderately in Furano now and going BC tomorrow so hoping these northerlies now hitting hokkaido outperform. I can see some nice fishscales on the JMA sat pic
     
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