Too much snow in Japan?

The Team June 22nd, 2011

Here in the office we’re currently working away on our 2011/12 ski brochure. Part of this job is making sure that all the resort statistics are up to date, which means contacting all the tourist offices checking if there are any new runs, lifts and most importantly the snowfall from the past season.

For the most part, this is a fairly simple job – certainly after the epic snow season in North America this year, with resorts boasting about the snowfall on the homepages of their websites. If the stats weren’t on the websites then our trusty friends in resort couldn’t answer quickly enough with emails boasting nearly 60ft of snow in Mammoth, over 51ft in Whistler and 46ft in Jackson Hole. However, after searching high and low on the websites for the Japanese ski resorts which we feature – Niseko, Furano, & Rusutsu – I couldn’t find any numbers anywhere.

This left me baffled. Why are there no statistics for resorts which average over 40 feet of snow year? Surely these are figures that they should be shouting about?

Deep powder in Niseko

Just a little bit of snow in Niseko

So, I contacted our suppliers in Japan and was somewhat surprised by their replies.

The Niseko Tourist Office informed us, “Although patrollers check ski depths daily, there’s no one doing a proper snowfall estimate on the mountain as far as it is known. The nearest major town, Kutchan, which is quite a bit lower in elevation, registered just over 10 meters of snow this year. However, a local Niseko magazine, Powderlife, kept a daily blog of overnight snowfall which totalled was just over 19 meters (62ft)!” This was quickly followed up with an email from me volunteering to be their official snow measurer – first tracks would be a must!

Scott Tovey from Prince Hotels in Furano came back with a similar reply saying ” The ski area does not publish a total snowfall or daily snowfall stat each season” however he did shed some light on why. “The ski area was once asked why they don’t measure the daily snowfall. The answer was that if the Japanese knew there had been a lot of new snow they may not come!”

So, once you’ve cleaned up the tea you’ve just spluttered in shock to this reply, check out this video from a visit to Japan by our Overseas Manager in March which will show you what you’re missing out on – deep, deep powder and EMPTY slopes!

Our 2011/12 brochure will be available from mid August but details of all the resorts and properties which we feature are on our website, Ski-I – The Ski Specialists.

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    One Response to “Too much snow in Japan?”

    1. Rodo says:

      I enjoyed your article & after almost 10 winters here in Niseko, have a pretty good idea of amounts & quality
      I can vouch that no official accumulative totals are kept by the company that operates this resort, nor really anybody else..only estimates based on daily drops and subsequent base.
      The estimates you comment on here of other companies in Niseko, are pretty right !
      Its hard to put a seriously accurate call on it cuz day after day of thigh to chest just gets blurrred into the norm and people dont necessarilly count that accurately. This year …winter 10 -11was a little under average for Niseko with total snowfall, somewhere between 18 -22 meters on the mid to upper level of the 4 mountain area …kind of varies at different points where it socks in better at protected lea spots. Under the arm pits fly ash !
      Jan 2011 ..almost 8 meters of dry dust fell …pretty much the norm here …..The place is nuts …once you’ve experienced Niseko, you are bewitched for life ! Its hard to even consider any where else.

      Stay in touch …happy days mate
      Aussie turned Nihongo
      ( Neck deep in Niseko Japan )

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