THE MILD WINTER 2016/2017
Spring season is slowly moving towards summer, the golf clubs have been polished and the driving range visited. Bikes have had their brakes, tires and gears checked for the upcoming road, downhill and touring season. Cars have switched to the summer tires. Farmers are getting the fields ready to sow.
The change has come early this year but what does that mean for next winter. Niseko just experienced an anomaly this winter just gone. We know Niseko is known for plentiful snowfall but the season just gone there was quite an obvious difference - Lack of snow.
Was this the continuation of the a downward trend of seasonal snow totals for Niseko? Or the end of it? Let's hope for the latter.
According to longtime residents of the Niseko region 2016/17 had the lowest recorded snowfall total in 30+ years and it is really brought home by some of the data that has been recorded. When I first came to Niseko in 2009/2010, I was amazed on how much snow this place received. So this year has been quite surprising to say the least.
To date according to our friends at 360 Niseko we only received 7.17 metres to date for the 2016/2017, well down on last years total of 10.41 Metres for the 2015/16 winter.
And having a closer look with comparisons from previous seasons it is quite an obvious trend.
2011/2012 - 15.3 metres
2012/2013 - 15.8 metres
2013/2014 - 12.2 metres
2014/2015 - 11.81 metres
2015/2016 - 10.41 metres
2016/2017 - 7.17 metres
(Please note these are at village level observations and in no means official totals)
While the most recent seasons total may seem like a low number for Niseko and it is! It is not compared to other resorts around the world. It is a very generous number and for those coming from abroad from far warmer climates 7 metres of snow is a lot in anyones language, and they seem to be less judgemental as the 'powderhounds' & 'seasonaires' tend to be (myself included).
Niseko 2016/2017 I forgive you, may you bring 'Japowmageddon' or a strong 'La Nina' for the winter 2017/2018.