Snow makes an appearance in Niseko

May 19th was the last time Mount Yotei received fresh snow until yesterday, September 28th. Mt. Yotei is like a time machine that lets you travel ahead in fall. Catch a glimpse of the summit today and you time travel 4-6 weeks into Niseko’s snowy future. Looking at its flanks, you can see the slopes are already dotted with the autumn color that will slowly envelope the Niseko area over the next few weeks.


No other mountains in the Donan (South Hokkaido) area even come close to Mt. Yotei’s elevation and stature, and you have to go up to the Daisetsu Group, or deep in the Hidaka Range to find others that do. But even other Hokkaido mountains that match or exceed Mount Yotei’s elevation simply don’t compare in stature. Mt. Yotei’s summit is not tucked far back in a mountainous area with other similar peaks, but stands solemnly apart from its older counterparts, and rises abruptly above farmland only a couple hundred meters above sea level making it all the more impressive, looming over us at all times, just out the door…

Summer is short at 19 hundred meters in Niseko: 130 days without snowfall. Not to mention the season’s snowpack lingered at the summit through most of June, meaning some locations up on Mt. Yotei were snow free for only about 100 days in 2015. Now winter is back to Yotei’s summit, and while snow will come and go over the next few weeks before really setting in, there is no denying Old Man Winter is back in Niseko getting ready to put the area’s green to bed and spread his magic for another long season. Mt. Yotei is his landing pad in the Donan, and when the clouds dissipate enough for us to see the summit, its clear for all to see he has landed.