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Niseko Avy Bulletin

Niseko, Hokkaido, Japan Avalanche Bulletin.

Niseko Avalanche Bulletin for Sunday, December 23rd

Eddie Schoen

Note: this bulletin is published in the pm and effective for the following day. Be alert to differences in the forecast and actual snowfall amounts and weather activity overnight.

Backcountry Avalanche Danger Rating

  • Upper (>1000m): MODERATE

  • Mid (800-1000m): MODERATE

  • Lower (<800m): LOW

Current Avalanche Problems

  • Wind Slab | Likelihood: Possible | Size: small - medium

Comments

Today brought us another window of mostly settled weather. Warm temps at lower elevations have moistened up the surface conditions, not much changing up high though. Keep in mind that unlike storm slab instabilities, which tend to settle out a day or two after a storm event, wind slab instabilities are a bit more persistent. Not expecting much in the way of naturally occurring avalanches, but if slopes saw wind loading over the last couple of days (and many have), then the wind slab problem is still out there, waiting for the right trigger (ie, you). There are also reports of some weak layers buried mid-pack (buried 40-80 cm below the surface). We have observed this on varying aspects and elevations. Tomorrow’s avalanche danger remains at MODERATE for the mid and upper elevations. Be cautious on or near any wind effected slopes. Please also remember that skiing into steeper terrain, regardless of the forecasted avalanche danger, calls for appropriate snowpack assessment. If you are not confident in those skills, keep your tracks on slopes under 35 degrees.

As a local guide and avalanche professional, I have chosen to share this hazard assessment in the interest of encouraging better information sharing within the local community. This avalanche bulletin is to be used at your own risk and is based on very limited data gathered by myself and other guides working for Japan Powder Connection. Please use this information in addition to other resources and take responsibility for your own actions in the backcountry. Also, please respect and abide by all Niseko Area Rules. This information applies only to backcountry areas accessed externally from area resorts. This information is published the evening before and in effect for the following day.

As always, remember that making good decisions in the backcountry takes years of practice and experience. Having the gear is a small part of the equation. Take an avalanche safety course and hire a properly trained guide so you don’t learn the hard way!

Resources:

Japan Powder Connection - Professional Backcountry Guides and Instructors

Niseko Avalanche Information - Niseko’s avalanche information page. Not a ‘bulletin’ by Western standards, but Shinyasan has been doing this for 20+ years and knows these mountains far better than myself.

Snow-Forecast - Niseko Area Weather Forecast

Niseko Now - Local Weather and Conditions Summary