The absence of a snow report for the last few days was due to the depressing rain that was falling across Nagano and Japan. Yesterday freezing levels rose to over 2000m with moderate to heavy rain throughout the entire day. The lovely view across the white fields out my living room window has been replaced with brown mud. Sad face.
Yesterday evening the freezing levels dropped as the precipitation eased off. Local resorts including Myoko, Madarao, Nozawa Onsen, Togari Onsen and Gala in Yuzaw are all reporting light snowfalls of less than 10cm from the brief cold period we had last night before the skies cleared.
With the freezing levels getting so high yesterday none of the northern Nagano resorts were spared from the rain, so there was no point in heading to Shiga or other high elevation resorts today. In fact with the freezing levels reaching around 700m today, we decided to seek out some slush in the sun instead of post-rain ice at the usual high elevation warm-weather safe areas.
In the end, we had a great day at Togari. I was surprised at how good the snow was after yesterday. Sure, the rain did some major damage to the already thin base, especially off-piste and on the lower mountain. The snow itself though was soft, but not wet or sticky. With today being the start of the Chinese New Year holiday crowds were significantly increased, but still ridiculously small at Togari. Another reason to stay away from the big resorts this weekend.
The long-range forecast has dropped off a fair bit overnight, with some of those double-digit snowfalls disappearing and some more warm days in the short term. In general however, the next 10 days is looking a lot better than the last few, with the first few days of February looking very promising. Keep making your sacrifices to Ullr, it is working!