Hakuba Snow Report January 7th

The strong winds prevalent of late have died down and today opens to a beautiful bluebird sky with cold temperatures measured at -7 at 1800m and around -4 now in the valley. Snow makers have been blasting at full force and are still blowing at Happo now as the resorts fight to maintain the base depth on the lower slopes. Another low is approaching and precipitation is on the radar. The weather pattern of late has been for the storm fronts to take a sharp left and avoid us so there’s a lot of fingers crossed that this will bring the much needed snow. Still will be a great day on the higher slopes, there was some light snowfall last night leaving a trace of fresh and runs will be well-groomed and not busy.




190 cm at 1800m

60 cm at the base


The sun crust of January 4th has 5 to 30 cm of new light snow riding over top and is easy to sluff or slab off in wind effected areas. Northerly exposures were seemingly unaffected by the warm temperatures of Jan 4th but there are multiple layers of in the top 50 cm of recent snow. Moderate compression tests on north aspect at 1900 meters in the Tsugaike region were found yesterday at the new snow and past snow interface as well as at slightly wind effected layers of decomposing crystals which are slightly faceting. Winds have settled down over the last few days but the high winds pre the week end have left Easterly exposures wind loaded and deposited deep snow in the lee areas. Take due care in cross loaded Northerly terrain and when entering into lee slopes from scoured ridges or convex terrain.

There was a size 2 avalanche involvement in the Tsugaike area on Saturday and there is still the potential of not only instability in the surface snow but right down to the Dec. 23rd rain crust.

Areas of deep snow pack will have greater stability than the thin shoulders and areas where overnight radiation of heat has created near surface faceting and faceting crystals around the areas of shallow crust.

Continued caution around cornices should be practiced and these areas avoided all together. CORNICES ARE VERY FRAGILE!

New flurries through this week have deposit new snow over the sun crust created by Sundays strong solar radiation. This new snow will be effected by strong solar radiation and warming temperatures today.
Increased snowfall adding load to buried week layer
Radiative cooling of snow surface causing low density snow and frost at surface
Rapid air temperature increase
Cornice fall
Increase load on underlying weak layers due to rapid settlement of surface snow
Solar radiated cornices becoming weak with direct solar radiation.
Use caution if crossing solar radiated slopes.
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
Facet layer around buried crust
Stay away from 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 varry from below tree line and High Alpine areas.
Use this ingormation as a guideline only.)