The largest early season snowfall in Niseko in 12 years.

Locals are calling Niseko’s start to the season one of the best in recent memory, and the numbers are proving that there is plenty of truth in the claim. Niseko blogger and snow reporter 360niseko.com has reported an astonishing 6.6 metres of cumulative snowfall before New Year’s Eve – more than any other year since they started publishing figures back in 2011.

A look back to when there was more snow over the November/December period requires a glance at records kept by the Japan Meteorological Agency for Kutchan – Niseko Hirafu’s closest town. Their figures suggest that this has been the best start to the season since 2005, with the two-month total (498 cm) eclipsing 2017’s by 23 cm (475 cm). It’s worth noting that Kutchan is roughly 8 km from the base of Niseko’s Grand Hirafu resort, and at a lower altitude.

YearSnowfall (Nov)Snowfall (Dec)2-month total
2017165310475
2016171235406
201535195230
201441387428
201399258357
201298306404
201182349431
201040201241
2009102246348
200880246326
2007101180281
200663206269
2005138360498

Locals and visitors alike will be hoping that 2018 brings more of the same, but for now they will start the new year with a very light dusting of snow and some slightly warmer temperatures. According to 360niseko.com the forecast is “showing continued snowfall this week and a slowly declining temp today. It seems like the deep winter pattern is back after a couple of blue days so lets hope a re-set is on the cards.”