SO just how much snow does Niseko actually receive each year? The answer is that no one really knows.
The only official local snowfall recordings are from Kutchan – in the shadow of the Annupuri Range and at only 173m above sea level. Kutchan still averages a phenomenal 12m of snow each year, making it one of the snowiest towns on the planet.
We all know that precipitation is greater on mountains than on plains due to the orographic effect. And of course, with higher altitude more precipitation is likely to fall as snow for a longer period.
Unofficial reporting of daily snowfall from the resort has generally shown annual snowfalls of around 1.5 times those recorded in Kutchan.
So, say up around 1000m on the mountain, I think it’s fair to say the average snowfall would be close to 18m, which would put Niseko up there with Forbes Traveler’s ‘snowiest resort in the world’, Mt Baker in Washington (Niseko was No. 2).
And unlike most other high-snowfall regions, which usually have maritime climates with very variable snow conditions, Niseko is mostly influenced by continental air masses throughout the winter. These produce the consistently deep, light and dry powder conditions we’re famous for. – The Don