Most of the chairlifts on Mt. Annupuri were closed today due to a weather front that is bringing extremely strong winds and heavy snow. The wind was gusting close to 45 km/h overnight with windchills hovering around -20C at mid-mountain level, and this morning there were cars littered in snowbanks everywhere along the roads.
It was a completely different story earlier on in the week as Niseko was graced with two blue bird days where you could see all the way to the peak of Annupuri. But last night the weather took a drastic change with a rare phenomenon called a thundersnow storm. Usually, meteorological processes which produce thunderstorms are different from those which produce snow, but the warm air from the two sunny days produced lightning last night as a new weather system moved in. This system is predicted to bring around 1.2 meters of snow in the next 24 hours, and is forecast to continue all the way through the following week.
Although some people may have been disappointed that the top lifts were closed today, it will be well worth the wait when they do open with all the snow that is predicted to fall. Looks like Niseko is going to receive the best Christmas gift you could ask for in a ski town: meters and meters of fresh powder.