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): MODERATE
Current Avalanche Problems
Storm Slab | Likelihood: Possible | Size: small-medium
Loose Dry | Likelihood: Likely | Size: small
After some small dumpage overnight, we were treated to some sunny skies this morning around Kutchan and Hirafu. As forecasted, heavier snowfall resumed in the pm and has been intermittent. Tomorrow’s hazard level will be at MODERATE. Most likely we will see plenty of loose dry/sluffing on steep features. Less likely, but certainly a possibility and more consequential will be storm slab formation on steep, unsupported features. Be especially alert on solar aspects at lower and mid elevations. Last night’s snowfall got some sun and warmer temps today, which could be conducive to slab formation when combined with tonight and tomorrow’s expected storm snow. As always, be on the lookout for wind slab formation on higher and exposed elevations.
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