Hakuba Snow Report – 10th Mar 2012

Weather conditions: Cloud, snow
New snowfall: 5-10 cm
Snow depth: 100cm (Village); 255cm (Top of Goryu)
New snowfall in Hakuba, so a very good morning!

The snow that started yesterday continued overnight and this morning we are greeted to a fresh new coat of winter goodness.

It’s a good start to the weekend with some snowfall in the village and more importantly up on the slopes. Resorts around the village are reporting up to 25cm of snow on upper slopes this morning, with 47 top claiming the biggest haul. I’m sure there has been an early rush to get on up out there this morning and enjoy the new snow.

It’s just above zero at the moment with a high of about +2 on the forecast, as the snowfall is likely to ease off. It does look that visibility up on the hills has improved over the last hour or so and over the village the clouds seem to be slowly rising to reveal more of the lower slopes, so that is probably starting to happen now.

The forecasts seem to be saying that tomorrow will start off sunny and end up snowy with more decent snowfall lined up for Sunday into Monday. Conditions early in the week should be really nice, if you can make it up to Hakuba then.


Yesterdays snow as it began to fall was of a high density and combined with mild air temperatures and warm melt grains at the surface of snow at low elevation this new storm interface will tend to bond and freeze together. The snow over night was of lower density and of a cooler temperature than the warm dense snow of yesterday and will not be bonding well to the snow below it. This light snow is known as Kami Yuki and snow fall in the Hakuba area may be deeper in the southern mountains than the Otari Mountains in the North. This will change later today as winds and snow change to the general Winter Pattern of snow fall and will begin to fall at greater intensity from the North West. The temperatures will also no doubt rise during the day and cause a Density Sandwich with the light low density Kami Yuki between the layers of higher density snow above and below this light snow.

Remember that at higher elevation the wet melt grains will have frozen into a crust pre the recent storm snow and will also have a week bond at this melt crust / storm snow interface.

Expect stability to decrease during the storm. Expect loose avalanches to run easily fast and far. Take due care in steep terrain and in open areas above creeks tight trees and cliffs. In general avoid areas above terrain traps.

The new snow should begin to settle and bond over the next couple of days but will be very unstable while the snow continues to fall.


Take due caution in the Alpine and stay to supported terrain and watch for hollow sounds / wumpfing and cracking from your skis that indicate wind slab and instability. The storm snow may be over riding past wind slab and thus avalanches in the alpine can be expected to be of greater size and destructive force.