Hakuba Snow Report February 4th

Cloudy day yesterday but as forecast today is bluebird as. January was all about waiting for snow…hopefully February doesn’t give us more of the same; as fun as it is out there the fun factor would be amped up by another dump or three.

Not much to say otherwise. Play safe and have fun.

Snow Stability Information

The storm snow of last weekend is settling and continuing to bond to the rain crust below at treeline and below treeline areas. Solar radiated south slopes in the alpine in the Tsugaike / Korenge area proved to be very unstable on Monday with multiple large scale slab and loose slides due to the intense radiation putting stress on the new snow / Feb 1st crust interface. The story has been different in the Happo and Goryu areas as these two areas saw much less snow and just as much or even more wind that scoured northern aspects. Information and observations of alpine terrain in the Happo area have been limited and will be updated after observations today.

The forecast of snow for yesterday did not amount to much accumulation and should not be adding much stress to the snow pack. It is however wise to use due caution in steep solar exposed leeward aspect terrain. The weather forecast is for sunny skies and warm mid day temperatures over the next 2 days which will allow for warming of the surface snow and increase avalanche hazard.

Travel Advisory:

As the recent weather has been very variable and the amounts of new have also varied greatly across the Hakuba range it is imperative that the stability of the area that you are entering into is reassessed using observations of avalanche activity and snowpack tests. It is advised to stay in well supported terrain away from solar radiated rocks and trees on steep wind loaded terrain.
Steadily increasing air temperature
Cornice fall
Warming of surface snow causing instability in surface and near surface layers
Solar radiated cornices becoming weak with direct solar radiation.
Increased instability of solar aspect start zones especially under cornices and very steep slopes.
Increased caution advised around rocky outcroppings‚ cliffs and well spaced trees in start zones.
Lee side loading
Windward scouring of ridges and rock out-crops creating uneven loading of slopes
Due caution on cross loaded slopes
Poor bonding at or around buried crust
Facet layer around buried crust
Wide propagation due to wind slab
Due caution in steep and convex terrain

Danger level 3 : Considerable

Natural avalanches possible. Human triggered avalanches probable.

Danger level ratings are set for conditions at tree line
and may vary from below tree line and High Alpine areas.
Use this information as a guideline only.