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): LOW
Mid (800-1000m): LOW
Lower (<800m): LOW
Current Avalanche Problems
Loose Dry | Likelihood: Possible | Size: small
Generally LOW avalanche hazard still expected for tomorrow. Observations are revealing a strong, right-side-up snowpack across the Niseko area. The surface snow from our New Year storm is not showing any real indications of slab formation. I was able to cut a few small, isolated storm slabs loose yesterday, but only on the steepest sections of the Annupuri West Ridge/Back Bowl. If you find yourself venturing into untracked snow on very steep slopes, proceed with caution. As always, remain alert to terrain features that could be harboring isolated snowpack characteristics such as wind slabs.
Keep an eye out for areas that may develop surface hoar crystals overnight. If you observe these sparkly, feathery crystals on the surface, please share the observation here. While not an immediate problem, if these do form and go undisturbed, then go onto get buried with a fresh sheet of snow tomorrow night and through Saturday, it could be a problematic layer. So, let us know if you see it out there and please note the general location, approximate elevation, and slope aspect. Additionally, it is helpful to know where you did NOT see any surface hoar. Thanks ya’ll!
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