Welcome to the Deepest Resort in the World

The best hotel in Nozawa.

The best hotel in Nozawa.

Base up top: 340 cm    Temp Top; 0 Degrees

Base at bottom; 210 cm

New Snow since close: 0 cm

Weather; Overcast

 

Nozawa Onsen, welcome to the snowiest resort in the world. With the deepest base of any ski resort in the worldwide at this time, Nozawa Onsen has taken the top spot for the second occasion this season, surpassing the usual frontrunners in Hokkaido and the US. It goes without saying, the base depth and snowfall amounts so far this season have simply been remarkable, already running above the average peak depth.

In other news today the much anticipated fire festival is a go for tonight. The village has really swelled with Japanese and foreign tourists in the past few days and is ripe with anticipation for internationally renowned event. Well worth a look during the day, the main event kicks off around 7pm with the tower usually alight at some point between 10 and 11pm. Please be respectful of this culturally significant event as we have had a number of occasions in previous years where drunk Australian yahoos have created a bad name for themselves about town.

A quick look at the forecast reveals some exciting detail. After a warmer day today, the freezing level is set to take a dive to around 500m in combination with fresh snowfalls expected tonight. Partly cloudy tomorrow, temperatures will drop further to very cold, with moderate snows and wind for Saturday. Isolated snow showers look like they will continue on Sunday into the new week. Accumulation will continue in the deepest resort in the world.

What a Day!

Dropping into a dream.

Dropping into a dream.

Base up top: 360 cm    Temp Top; -6 Degrees

Base at bottom; 220 cm

New Snow since close: 0 cm

Weather; Clear

 

Today is the day that we all expected yesterday. A clear full blue sky in combination with the occasional streaky high and astoundingly photogenic cirrus cloud. The views from the top this morning had to be seen to be believed with every mountain in the surrounding 100km revealed in startling detail. Chutes, spines and open powder fields of the soaring Japanese Alps that would take days to reach were just in grasp for the pleasure of mind skiing. Oh, and the skiing was pretty good too.

Stubborn clouds remain most of the day yesterday cloaking the peak of Nozawa Onsen in a hazy grey fog. Nevertheless there was superb skiing and boarding both in the trees and on the many smooth groomers meandering downhill. Who could argue with 30cm of fresh pow right? Those in the village would have bore witness to locals hauling a huge log through town with the sake flowing strong. This will be used as the centrepiece in the fire festival structure, due to kick off tomorrow night. Topping off the day was a minute of the most golden sunset light so far this season as the sun passed between the clouds and surrounding ranges.

According to the forecast clear conditions are set to remain until tonight, where by we may see the occasional isolated snow shower which is looking likely to increase into Thursday. For the fire festival tomorrow night we should expect light to moderate snow showers down to 500m before another, colder bout during Saturday. Due to the variability in the current forecast, confidence is low in these current predictions.

Getting Deep in Nozawa

Jerry swims Nozawa Onsen.

Jerry swims Nozawa Onsen.

Base up top: 370 cm    Temp Top; -7 Degrees

Base at bottom; 235 cm

New Snow since close: 30 cm

Weather; Overcast

 

We were expecting a full bluebird this morning but it looks like the skies haven’t quite cleared just yet. Mostly overcast conditions with the occasional flurry still persist. We should see these clouds to move on at some point later today. Expect the skiing and boarding to be as good as it gets in Nozawa Onsen with deep dry powder blanketing all areas of the resort. The groomers will be soft and silky smooth.  For powder enthusiasts skiing in the trees will enable you to obtain no shortage of face shots.

Yesterday was also just about as good as it gets. Lighter than expected crowds surprised us all without complaints making freshies easy to access all day long. Moderate falls of snow continued for most of the day, 28cm was recorded at the top up until last lifts. Those who ventured into the village were rewarded with site preparation in the lead up to the world renowned fire festival, which will occur on thursday.

Mostly fine weather is forecast for the next three of four days with the models predicting a moderate dump at the weekend, with snow showers and freezing temperatures persisting into the new week. For the fire festival evening we may see the occasional flurry of light snow between partly cloudy skies. Of course, the forecast is subject to change in the coming days.

Just a Cool 45cm

Laying a high speed carve on an untracked slope= perfection.

Laying a high speed carve on an untracked slope= perfection.

Base up top: 360 cm    Temp Top; -9 Degrees

Base at bottom; 225 cm

New Snow since close: 45 cm

Weather; Snow

 

As predicted the snow really came down hard and fast last night with no less than 45cm falling at the top of the gondola, 30cm down in the village. Indicating the strength and instability of this system, a thunderstorm passed over the village this morning. Very rare indeed for the winter season in Japan. Snow is still coming down hard as of 9am so there is sure to be some significant totals by the afternoon and great riding in the improved depth perception of the trees. Very cold temperatures have swept across the resort so make sure you rug up well when heading out for a ride.

Yesterday was really quite busy on the hill with many Japanese holiday makers visiting during the popular long weekend. Luckily with ample snow on offer there were plenty of fresh lines to choose from. During the afternoon snowfalls increased, freshening up areas of piste and trees.

Snowfalls are expected to ease later today with a clearing trend overnight. Tomorrow will be an epic to be up on the hill with a full blue sky, light winds, deep powder and cold temperatures. The dream combination really. Don’t forget the cameras! A run of mostly clear weather is expected to continue until Friday with another system bearing down on us for the weekend.

Festive Atmosphere Locally

Food tasting in the village last night.

Food tasting in the village last night.

Base up top: 325 cm    Temp Top; -8 Degrees

Base at bottom; 190 cm

New Snow since close: 5 cm

Weather; Overcast

 

More of the same in Nozawa Onsen as conditions are really similar to yesterday. Its a mostly overcast sky with clearer visibility at the bottom than the top. We have had some snow fall overnight with 5cm recorded at the top and 1-2cm at village level. With a Japanese long weekend it will be markedly busier on the hill, something which took us all by surprise yesterday.

A festive air was experienced in the village last night with traffic control shutting off the main street to cars for everyone to take part in a giant game of paper, scissors, rock. Good entertainment for all involved! Of course there was free food and sake tasting as well as a display of the history of skiing in Nozawa Onsen.

As usual, the forecast is solid. A big dump of fresh powder is expected tonight, with around 50cm expected. The snow will probably start to fall at some point late this afternoon with snow showers continuing into tomorrow. Beautiful clear conditions are predicted for most of the second half of this week to combine with the fresh japow.

Fresh Snow Continues

Nozawa Onsen natural skatepark.

Nozawa Onsen natural skatepark.

Base up top: 325 cm    Temp Top; -7 Degrees

Base at bottom; 200 cm

New Snow since close: 5 cm

Weather; Light snow

 

We have some light snow flurries in the village of Nozawa Onsen at the moment. A nice collection of fresh snow is visible distributed on nearby roofs. The resort is reporting 5cm at the top and 2cm down the bottom. Looks like today will be another great day with abundant fresh lines, as usual for this season.

Yesterday was also a great day on the hill. Snow showers cleared earlier than expected leaving cloud lingering at the peak and long breaks of blue sky elsewhere, increasing during the afternoon. Mid afternoon saw some spectacular light play as sunbursts were directed all over the surrounding snow covered farmland. The skiing was sensational as usual.

Tomorrow snowfalls should increase throughout the day with a solid dump expected into Monday. Around half a meter is more than likely. Monday should see snowfalls ease before a spectacular bluebird forecast for Tuesday.

Pumping Skiing at Nozawa

Lada lining it up.

Lada lining it up.

Base up top: 340 cm    Temp Top; -8 Degrees

Base at bottom; 205 cm

New Snow since close: 0 cm

Weather; Overcast

 

Another cold cloudy morning here in Nozawa Onsen. While there is no snow falling at present, we expect a couple of isolated flurries throughout the day. Overnight totals were not too significant only a dusting recorded in the village and peak. There will be good riding and skiing across the hill today with exceptionally uncrowded slopes for this time of year and the obvious quality snow.

Watch out for dangers on South facing slopes, such as death cookies and an extremely prominent ice layer producing very high instability. North facing slopes are only very marginally safer with the rain-snap freeze ice layer inducing serious instability. Be careful and never ride alone or without experience.

A good forecast for the week ahead is still on the cards. Tomorrow we are all set for increasing snowfalls commencing during the afternoon. Sunday should see moderate to heavy snow which will then ease into Monday. A half meter is likely during this time. From then on, Tuesday and Wednesday should be clear with light winds.

Windblown Features

Enjoy Nozawa

Enjoy Nozawa

Base up top: 340 cm    Temp Top; -8 Degrees

Base at bottom; 215 cm

New Snow since close: 20-40 cm

Weather; Snow

 

Looks like we have received some significant snowfalls overnight, more than expected. Around 40cm has fallen at the top of the gondola and 20cm at Yamabiko, indicating windblown conditions. There is sure to be some outstanding riding on offer today with knee to waist deep stashes of powder. Time to get out there and enjoy!

Yesterday saw light to moderate isolated snowfalls continue all day with the occasional patch of blue sky. The snow was not quite deep enough to make the effects of rain the day before unnoticed with an icy base layer with many death cookies quite prominent. Still, Yamabiko offered more than a few nice turns.

Snowfalls are set to continue on and off up until Tuesday when the skies should clear. Until that point the most solid dumps are expected on Sunday night, Saturday and today. Cold temps will remain throughout.

A good rest day

Nozawa Onsen.

Nozawa Onsen.

Base up top: 320 cm    Temp Top; +2 Degrees

Base at bottom; 200 cm

New Snow since close: 0 cm

Weather; Overcast

Warm prefrontal temperatures and cloud is what we see when we look out the window this morning in Nozawa Onsen. Luckily this southerly inflow will be short-lived as a cold front is forecast to make an impact over the region later tonight delivering snow and very cold temperatures. High traffic groomers will be the pick of the runs today which will offer the fastest snow conditions.

Yesterday saw very interesting atmospheric conditions and quality snow on the upper North facing slopes. An inversion layer had trapped air pollution blown in from the south to create a thick valley fog and clear upper skies. The Japanese Alps were piercing through the inversion layer in a very photogenic manner indeed.

According to the forecast snowfalls should increase tonight becoming lighter into tomorrow. Around 20cm is expected. Isolated light to moderate falls are then forecast to continue well into the foreseeable future, Saturday at least.

Moody Monday Morning

Lucas descends one of the steepest lines in Nozawa Onsen.

Lucas descends one of the steepest lines in Nozawa Onsen.

Base up top: 340 cm Temp Top; -5 Degrees
Base at bottom; 215 cm
New Snow since close: 1 cm
Weather; Overcast

Its a moody Monday morning here in the village of Nozawa Onsen. Mixed clouds are swirling about the valleys and the peaks creating an atmosphere thick with moisture. Light snowfalls fell yesterday afternoon and night but the totals were not significant with 1cm recorded.

The mountain became markedly quieter yesterday as most of the Japanese holiday makers returned home. Gone are the morning gondola lines we have been experiencing as of late. Today will be a day to pick out those carving skis and boards and giving the legs a work out of face paced top to bottom groomers. Also worth a look today will be the newly constructed park. Check it out!

The freezing level is set to make significant rises by the afternoon, up to around 2000 meters, and remain there until tomorrow. Some rain is expected on the lower slopes which will help iron out the small ice balls or death cookies that have formed on some of the run outs. By tomorrow afternoon a cold front is forecast with snow and very cold temperatures predicted on and off all week.