Hakuba Snow Report – 20th Mar 2012

Weather conditions: Clear, clouding over
New snowfall: 0 cm
Snow depth: 100cm (Village); 260cm (Top of Goryu)
Good morning from Hakuba. After that nice new layer of snow yesterday, things cleared up over the village and it got brighter though a band of cloud remained over upper parts of the resort areas.

Earlier on this morning it was nice and clear with blue skies on show, but since then wispy like clouds have gradually formed and it’s much a greyer look to the skies now – those getting out early will have enjoyed the earlier conditions, I’m sure. It’s amazing how sometimes it can change so quickly. Having said that, still nothing is falling and visibility out there on the mountains is good.

There has been no new snowfall since yesterday, but the temperature stayed cool enough. Since today is actually a national holiday in Japan, the slopes are looking much busier than usual for a Tuesday – though still not like a busy weekend and things should return back to normal again from tomorrow.

Light breeze of 3 to 5 m of NW to W wind all day. The temperature this morning was around -2C at 9am and down to around -8c up on the top areas, but it will probably rise to around +4 later on this afternoon.

It’s looking good for more snowfall to be over the Hakuba valley from around Friday and over the weekend and so hopefully we can look forward to another new layer for the weekend.

The recent snow fall and strong winds from the west have loaded the east aspects at tree line and in the alpine. This snow is over riding the melt forms (rain crust at elevation) of the weekends rain event and the bond to this melt layer is variable. Natural avalanches are not expected, but human triggered slides are still a definite possibility. Today’s clearer skies and warming temperatures will add to the load and stress at the surface on solar aspects.

It is advisable to take due caution travelling in the backcountry today and stay away from cornices and unsupported slopes with variable depth of loading and strong solar radiation.