While it’s far from done, season 2011/12 is winding down – and what a season it has been. Here in Niseko, and all over Japan, the record books have been rewritten. And for those of us lucky enough to have skied and boarded here we’re not likely to forget the last few months for a long time.
Down in southern Japan, subtropical Kagoshima was effectively shut down by heavy snow. Planes, trains, and traffic ground to a stop across Japan, with people trapped in cars for days. In Hokkaido’s snowiest town – Iwamizawa – a world record two metres plus of snow fell through one 24 hour period in January. Buildings – even bridges – collapsed under the weight of the historic snowfall.
Season 11/12 shaped up as follows: 6.62m for December, 5.97m for January at a daily average of more than 20cm for both months and a snowfall total in excess of 17m by mid-February. Colder than average temperatures have also ensured riding conditions have been tip top, with a low of -31 degrees recorded close to Niseko. And it isn’t over yet…
Even though snowfall is tapering we’ve got lots of snow – and even more skiing still to come. Regular falls throughout March, and the added bonus of stable weather and blue skies make it a favourite time for many locals. By April, freshies are to be treasured but skiers and riders are kept entertained as terrain parks come into their own.
Although snowfall is reduced, snow can still come anytime – three seasons ago locals reveled as over a metre fell through the night of April 27. With lifts running until May, lots of snow yet to fall, and the best weather of the season still ahead, there’s still a lot of skiing left. Make the most of it, enjoy, and of course start making plans for your Niseko season 2012/13… – by Chris Chan