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Niseko Avy Bulletin

Niseko, Hokkaido, Japan Avalanche Bulletin.

Niseko Avalanche Bulletin for Friday, January 18th

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): CONSIDERABLE

  • Mid (800-1000m): CONSIDERABLE

  • Lower (<800m): MODERATE

Current Avalanche Problems

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

  • Glide Slab | Likelihood: Possible | Size: medium


I’ve been deliberating all evening whether to peg tomorrow’s danger level at HIGH or CONSIDERABLE. I’m going with CONSIDERABLE, but as I’ve said before it becomes a game of semantics at this point. The current storm is coming in strong, with heavy winds and some moist snowfall. With nearly no visibility across the area today, it’s hard to say what’s going on up high. My guess is that conditions are ripe for wind slab problems on any exposed slopes and ridge lines. Cornices and drifts are likely growing rapidly and may be collapsing naturally if they haven’t already. We may very well have a fair bit of naturally occurring avalanche activity in our upper elevation zones already and not even know about it. Bottom line… we have limited information about snowpack stability in alpine terrain right now. Weather conditions are textbook for creating avalanche problems. No matter how magically stable we might believe Hokkaido’s snowpack to be, that’s enough uncertainty for me to take a big step back and stick to schralping fresh pow down low in the trees.

Also avoid skiing near existing glide cracks. The slabs below them may be primed to release under the added stress of new snow.

Please familiarize yourself with the danger rating scale. You can find some great information on it here

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!


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