Niseko expecting 120 cm over the next seven days.

Niseko is expected to receive up to 120 cm of snow over the next seven days, in what will likely be one of the strongest starts to the season in recent years. Snow forecasting website, Mountainwatch, has also tipped a very promising 41 cm for Hakuba, Japan’s largest ski resort.

If Niseko Grand Hirafu resort opens, as planned, on November 23, it will be the first time since 2012 that the resort has not needed to delay its scheduled opening day.

Niseko forecast November 2017

A screenshot from the Mountainwatch website.

The early signs look promising for winter 2017/18, however pundits will be quick to point out that early snowfall is rarely a good predictor of the season ahead. In 2014/15, Niseko Grand Hirafu had to push back its opening to December 6, but then received snowfalls in excess of five and a half metres for the remainder of the month (the strongest December of the last five years).

To complicate matters further, there is still uncertainty around the likelihood of a La Niña episode coming into play and the extent to which it would affect the snow season. The Japan Meteorological Agency is now saying that there is a 60% chance that La Niña will emerge, which has historically meant larger than average snowfalls and cold temperatures across Japanese ski resorts.

There are no certainties when it comes to weather forecasting, and bold predictions are always best left to the experts. One thing we can say for sure is that the buzz around the beginning of the ski season is starting to peak, with just days left until lifts start spinning in ski resorts across Japan.