A fine last day of 2016

by Mark on December 31, 2016

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Scenes in the village yesterday

Base at top: 150 cm

Temp at Top: -5 Degree

Base at Uenotaira station: 100 cm

New snow since close: 5 cm

Weather: Partly cloudy

Welcome to the last day of 2016 in Nozawa Onsen. Its a fine day around here with a blue sky above and high clouds spread across the sky. From last lifts yesterday we had a dusting of 5cm fall up top which should have freshened up the cover; although a first lifts ascent is required to beat the Japanese holiday crowds.

There is a lot happening around Nozawa Onsen today and tonight for New Years celebrations. Night skiing is on until 1130pm including complimentary sake and mulled wine, offered near the bottom of the Nagasaka slope after which a midnight fireworks display will be set off for everyone to enjoy. Down at the temple area of the village (near the cooking onsen) the temple bell will be rung 108 times to rid all bad luck from the area. New Years is a popular time in Japan and the restaurants will be busy with locals and foreigners. Many head to the Soba shops to eat the long noodles that are thought to bring a long life.

Although very busy, yesterday was a great day. First lifts kicked off a little early at 810am, fooling a few, myself included. But for the first half of the morning there were plenty of deep fresh tracks to be had, especially on the lower mountain. After that everything became quite chopped up by the holiday crowds, especially since the treed areas are not quite ready yet with hidden logs and branches ready to snag unsuspecting riders.

Looking ahead towards 2017 there is some snow on the horizon from the 3rd-5th. Nothing substantial is predicted, a bit of a downgrade from yesterday. Weeks like this can swing either way, sometimes producing heaps of snow, other times just isolated snow showers. Time will tell…

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