Slide right in to the front door!
Base up top: 280 cm Temperature; 1 Degrees
Base at bottom; 200 cm
New Snow: 0 cm
Finally the Bluebird day we were waiting for in Nozawa Onsen. The forecast had promised us one yesterday but turned out to be a bit of a greybird. Even had a bit of snow, enough to fill in the lines from the groomers!
Today will be a picture perfect day on the slopes and pretty quiet again. Was a bunch of kids doing cross-country on the Olympic course this morning for a school meet. There were lots of waves and hellos along the ski road this morning.
Temps are a bit warmer than has been, sitting just above 0 degrees. The next decent dump has come forward a bit too and looks like should begin on Friday night.
The Nozawa Ski School is also running snowshoe tours on the slopes this year from the end of January until April. Will be a guided tour thru the Buna Forest up at Uenotaira and almost a full day at a cost of 6000 Yen. Great way to see the local environment and might even spot a Kamoshika the local deer/goat type animal. They are pretty majestic and always a buzz to see them when on the mountain.
The stage is set for action
Once again the famous Fire Festival has passed for another year. The flags and dosojin statues are being taken down and everyone is nursing their wounds and headaches after what was truly a spectacular night.
It was a firey and sake soaked evening that went off perfectly to the delight of the huge crowd that assembled to witness the time honored tradition. As in the past years it was snowing a bit at the start, which made the location even more stunning.
On the slopes we have had up to 20cm in some places since lifts closed yesterday and today it is relatively clear. With many having a lie in this morning, for the genki ones it should be a quiet and beautiful day on the mountain.
The outlook is for a few days of sun and then some more snow over next weekend.
All fired up!
Just keeps getting deeper in Nozawa
Once again last night we were treated to an unexpected sizeable dump from the snow gods. We received a good 25cm of fresh snow on top of yesterdays massive fall.
It snowed most of last night not super heavy but enough to gather on your head as you walked thru the village. It was still snowing this morning but looks like the tap has finally been turned off for now with a bit of blue sky poking thru the clouds. Not sure it will last though as there are a few snowy looking clouds hovering over Myoko that may blow in later.
Yesterday was yet again an amazing powder filled day on the slopes. Was getting a little heavy down low as the temps were a bit warm but was nice conditions all over.
The preparation for the Fire Festival continues today as they enter the final hours it is a race to get it all done but they always get there and the snow should hopefully not hinder construction today. The Festivities kick off at 7 pm down at the Dosojin Arena towards the bottom of the Village just follow the crowds. There will be Fireworks and drummers before the kids have a charge at the tower.
Then the rest of the Villagers will do their best to burn it to the ground. The whole pantomime should come to a fiery climax at about 10pm.
It is quite a long and cold night so rug up especially your feet. There is always free sake on offer but please take it easy we hope not to see a repeat of a few years ago where a few visitors had one too many and fell asleep in the snow! It is still a long way until Spring arrives! Have a great night and hope to see you all there.
Three Torus for this years Fire Festival - our neighbours prodly celebrate the new birth in the Family
Matt drew back in the pow self portrait
The snow is getting a bit out of control in Nozawa Onsen. We had about 30cm forecast for last night, we ended up getting at least twice that amount with over 60cm falling since yesterday afternoon.
For the locals who continually have to clear it off their roofs and roads it is hard work, for the powder hounds it is heaven. It started yesterday afternoon and fell heavy all night. We cleared about 40cm off the car park at midnight and it was light, kind of like foam at the beach. Then when we woke up there was another 30cm waiting for us.
With the fire festival on tomorrow should be a fairly busy weekend but the lift lines were almost non-existent today. Some people may be a bit scared off by the state of the roads, anyone coming up will want winter tires and a 4WD or may even need chains so take it easy on the roads.
Yesterday was a big day for the Fire Festival guys as they got the trees down in preparation for the big event they will be building today and tomorrow in preparation at the festival grounds so well worth a look.
The weather outlook is still for some clearer skies ahead over the next few days, which we are kind of glad to see. Then the snow marks are appearing again from Friday on so we are in a sweet spot in Nozawa and hope to see you up sometime.
Getting ready to fire up
Yesterday was the day over 300cm base, 30cm of fresh, sun was out and the slopes were empty! I got the last Gondola up for the day at 3:30pm and when arrived at the top there were only a handful of people hanging around Yamabiko. Just took the one run down Skyline home and had it to myself not another soul to be seen and with the sun set over Myoko it was superb!
Today there was a bit of light snow falling in the Village this morning but the sun is out and blue skies are covering the resort now. It was really cold last night with the clear skies any heat that had been produced during the day quickly escaped into the atmosphere. At about 9pm it was -8 degrees just outside.
Probably made for an icy start today on the groomers but the snow quality is excellent and there should still be a few nice bits of powder around for the taking with very few people again today. That will all change tomorrow with a decent crowd expected for the Dosojin Fire Festival weekend. The main event will start at the bottom of the Village at about 7:30pm but from today there will be action around town as the trees to build the shrine are dragged through the Village. It is always a lot of fun with lots of cheering and sake flowing thru the streets. Be sure to check it out.
Snow camping Nozawa style
Team Italia living the dream in Nozawa
Mother Nature hit us pretty hard yesterday evening with almost 30cm of snow falling in around 3 Hours, was spectacular to watch. The snow piled up pretty quick.
Then this morning the sun came out and provided us with a magic day. Conditions on the slopes are as good as it gets and some of the powder runs were beautiful. On piste too was great with a bit of powder on top of the groomed.
It has started to snow lightly again now and should continue throughout the day then we are in for another fairly decent fall tomorrow night and light thru the weekend.
Next week something we have not seen for a while but a row of sunshine looks like it may be on the menu. Have a bunch of Italians here in town at the moment, they have travelled far to taste the famous Japanese powder and as they headed up this morning they had that satisfied look in their eyes.
Pow time in the Trees
Just a few days until the Fire Festival
After two relatively clear days in Nozawa Onsen people were wondering where the snow is! Today it has returned, not real heavy but spurts of decent falls and already about 15cm has collected. Think we should get another 15cm at least out of this system. Has been a nice break to clear the decks before the next dump.
Then tomorrow is showing a blue bird day followed by a few days of moderate falls thru to the weekend.
This weekend is the famous Fire Festival on the 15th of January and already things are starting to get organized. Good friend of ours Kono san a former Ski Patrol boss is having a Toru or tower in the festival this year to celebrate the birth of his grandson. I just drove past and they were building it, looked beautiful. There will be two other Toru joining his so will be a big festival this year as the last few years has only been two.
Keep your eyes out on the slopes as on the 13th the gang will go up and cut down the trees and drag them down the slopes to build the main platform that will house all the 42 Year olds on the night. While the 25 Year olds protect the base from the onslaught of fire wielding locals.
Great conditions on the slopes today, with a bit of a cover on the groomers and bursts of sunshine earlier. Snow is set in now but by the looks. Have a great day and looking forward to the festival weekend ahead.
Sato san 70 and going strong
Clear skies looking over to Togari Onsen
For the first time in a while we saw a few stars in Nozawa last night. It was a full moon too so with all the white snow everything looked really bright, was pretty nice.
Woke up this morning thinking we were in for some sun but it was still snowing lightly. Has fined up a bit now and should be a nice day on the slopes. Yesterday was great conditions again but one of our busier days so far with even a few lift lines appearing! Some of the guys decided to head to near by Togari Ski Resort today in search of some untracked goodness.
Togari is a great little hill just 20 minutes from here with some fun terrain and have night skiing most nights. The elevation is not much different to Nozawa Village so is not so good on the shoulder season but great this time of year. There is a daily shuttle from Nozawa Onsen too to Togari Onsen ski resort and on to Madarao just 800 Yen return so well worth a day trip.
Looking like may be a bluebird day tomorrow so will be nice on the slopes and give us a chance to clean up the snow in the village ready for the next arrival on Tuesday night!
How to ski and shovel snow is learnt at a young age in Nozawa
Kawaharu Yu Onsen cold meets hot in Nozawa Onsen
Wooo! We have dived into the 300cm mark in Nozawa Onsen officially today. Happened a little quicker than I thought as yet again last night we received close to 30cm on the slopes!
It seems like a given to wake up with a solid dump of new snow on the doorstep. Checked back a few years for base at around this time and the average has been about 190cm so we are well above that now. 2010 we were at similar levels and in 2006 we had a whopping 475cm!
Today is relatively clear compared to the past few days, but still snowing! Just lightly in the village at the moment but snow clouds are still hovering.
Yesterday on the mountain was another great day and I am running out of superlatives to describe it. 30cm of fresh and it snowed pretty heavy most of the day.
We should be in for snow showers over the next few days then another good dump starting Tuesday night. The snow is deep so choose your line carefully and take a big breath!
What to do when your snowblower is almost buried under snow?
Snowed again in Nozawa for most of the night depositing another Magic Foot of fresh powder on the slopes for this morning. Still snowing in the village now and about another 10cm has accumulated since this morning.
Conditions on the mountain are nothing short of sublime for the powder hungry. A few people have already rolled down the hill and have tales of straight lining it down slopes in waist deep powder and plenty of face shots.
For a long weekend crowds are not too bad either. The sun is doing its best to make an appearance but losing the battle with the snow. Asked my neighbour when he thought it may stop, he said Spring!