Hakuba Snow Report March 4th

Finally got some decent snow in the valley last night with light dry powder you could vacuum up floating down. Plenty of activity this morning as everyone wants to make the most of the 25-30 cms that fell overnight. No real winds as well means this morning is a goodie out there. Lots of snowmen on the radar the next few days, high temperatures predicted but we won’t let that faze us just yet…


The powder is finally here!! This means‚ however‚ that stability is poor at all elevations due to the fact that all this new snow is overriding the February 26th melt freeze crust. the new snow is not bonding well to the past crust and will take a bit of time to do so thus steep and moderately steep slopes in avalanche terrain should be avoided. best idea is to stay on the resort runs today and let things settle before heading out into the mountains and off piste areas. Winds changed mid day on the 3rd to Southerlies of moderate strength and will have transported some new storm snow to the Northern aspects. Be aware of heavily loaded slopes on the lee as well as cross loaded slopes.

The past melt freeze crusts should not be forgotten to soon as all this new snow could provide just enough weight to produce sheers in the old snow / crust interface. There is the possibility for step downs to older layer if slides in the new snow cause extra pressure on the weak faceted interfaces around the crusts. This new snow will be putting extra weight on the multiple faceted rain crusts and with the addition of wind loaded snow combined with possible mid day solar radiation there is still the chance that slabs down to past melt freeze crusts may propagate from shallow points neer ridges and around rocks and trees on solar aspects.

Stability Tests:

February 23rd North aspect‚ 13:10 @ 2000m Happo One:
CTM (11‚13) Resistant Planer‚ down 25cm in the new snow on facets and decomposing crystals 2cms above the Rain Crust of Feb. 20th

February 24th East aspect‚ 14:20 @ 2000m Tsugaike‚ Yamakami no One:
CTE(5) Sudden Collapse‚ down 65cm on crust
CTE(7) Resistant planer‚ down 75cm at Facet / melt freeze crust interface
CTH(22) Sudden planer‚ down 75cm at Facet / melt freeze crust interface

Skier controlled size 1 on East aspect‚ 38 degree slope @ 2000m Tsugaike‚ Yamakami no One.

February 26th East Aspect‚ 10:30 @ 2050m Happo One:
Hand test: Moderate shear down 25 cm in storm snow below February 25th rain crust. (after cutting through crust at surface)

March 1st‚ East aspect‚ 12:00 @ 2050m Happo One
Ski cut: produced 4 cm slab from wind deposited new snow and Feb 26th melt freeze crust. No wide propagation and still not enough snow to produce any sizable avalanches.

March 3rd‚ East aspect‚ 14:00 @ 2100m Tsugaike Yamakami no One
Skier accidental crack propagated from ridge through the bowl. No movement.

Travel Advisory:

Avoid avalanche terrain and be careful of run out zones. Be especially careful or stay out of steep complex terrain and areas of terrain traps.

Avoid steep convex‚ rocky and sparsely treed slopes especially on lee aspects. Expect to trigger avalanches in lee loaded avalanche terrain and from cornices.

Avalanche Hazard Rating:

Below Tree Line: Considerable
Tree Line: High
Alpine: High

Rapid increase of weight on snow pack
Suffocation by falling face first in to deep powder
High danger of falling snow from rooves
Increased snowfall adding load to buried week layer
rapid settlement of surface snow causing load on buried weak layers
Increase in loose snow avalanches and sluffs
Falling tree bombs (Possible triggers and cause of avalanches as well as overhead hazards)
Solar radiated cornices becoming weak with direct solar radiation.
Use caution if crossing solar radiated slopes.
Increased caution advised around rocky outcroppings‚ cliffs and well spaced trees in start zones.
Development of cornices in lee slopes
Lee side loading
Due caution on cross loaded slopes
Poor bonding at or around buried crust
Facet layer around buried crust
Wide propagation due to wind slab
Stay away from steep and convex terrain

Danger level 4 : High

Natural and human triggered avalanches likely.
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.