Japan snow shortage risks putting ski jump competition on ice
Nikkei -- Jan 09
With snowfall at a fraction of its usual levels, this northern Japanese city may be forced to suspend an international women's ski jumping competition this month, Mayor Takahiro Sato told reporters Tuesday.

Yamagata is slated to hold events for the FIS Women's Ski Jumping World Cup on Jan. 17-19 at the Kuraray Zao Schanze facility. But only about 20 cm of snow has accumulated on the hill -- far less than the 1 meter or more typically seen at this time of year, and below the 60 cm needed for snow grooming machines to operate.

The FIS tour stop is slated to be the ninth World Cup competition held at the slope. Yamagata, which shoulders part of the cost, planned to make the competition part of its celebrations of the city's 130th anniversary.

No major snowfall is expected in the coming days. "We're considering all available options, including snow machines and shipping in snow," Sato said.

The impact of reduced snowfall -- a problem that looks certain to recur as winters grow warmer -- extends well beyond the World Cup in an area that counts on snow as a tourist draw.

The nearby Zao Onsen Ski Resort is allowing skiing only on high-elevation slopes. Poor conditions also could affect the famed "snow monsters" of Yamagata -- snow-covered trees with unusual shapes that attract crowds of sightseers, with the heart of the season usually running into February.

News source: Nikkei
Mar 31
The Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee has announced the new dates for the Tokyo Olympic Games. The Games were postponed until next year due to the global coronavirus pandemic. (NHK)
Mar 30
The Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics organizing committee will likely support the idea of delaying the Games to July of next year. (NHK)
Mar 29
About 79 percent of the public approves of Tuesday’s decision to postpone the 2020 Olympics by about a year in light of the coronavirus pandemic, a survey found Saturday. (Japan Times)
Mar 24
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach agreed Tuesday to postpone this summer's Tokyo Olympics for one year due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Japanese leader said. (NHK)
Mar 24
The International Olympic Committee is initiating talks with organizers as well as the governments of Tokyo and Japan on how to handle the Tokyo Games, including a possible postponement. (NHK)
Mar 24
Japan is an interesting place if you are looking to place a wager. (newsonjapan.com)
Mar 23
The Tokyo Olympics are going to happen — but almost surely in 2021 rather than in four months as planned. (Japan Today)
Mar 23
The International Olympic Committee says it will begin discussions on how the Tokyo Games should be handled, including their possible postponement during the global coronavirus pandemic. (NHK)
Mar 22
Hakuho seized a record-extending 44th top-level championship Sunday after outlasting fellow yokozuna Kakuryu at the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament. (Japan Today)
Mar 21
The Olympic flame for the Tokyo 2020 Games has arrived in Japan from Greece. (NHK)