Hakuba Now daily snow and weather - Tuesday 15th January 2008

Hakuba Now (Archive Report)

Independent and trustworthy daily snow and weather reports from Hakuba (Nagano), Japan
ARCHIVE REPORT: Posted at 8:51am on Tuesday 15th January 2008
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Tuesday 15th January 2008, 8:51am
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Archive report: Posted at 8:51am on Tuesday 15th January 2008
The latest Hakuba Now report can be found here

Another cold cold morning with blue as skies. A fast groomed day on the hill, no doubt hard and icy. Get out your body armour, carving board and need for speed.

Forecast: Possible snow flurries beginning this evening and continuing over the next two days.

Backcountry Travel Advisory:

There has been a lot happening in the mountains lately. We had rain to 2400 meters through the night on January 11th that turned to snow on the morning of January 12th. That snow fell hard in the AM and tappered off in the afternoon. Cool temperatures through the night of the 12th made everything crisp and turned the rain layer into a hard ice crust. The morning of the 13th brought strong cold winds and more snowfall out of the North West that scoured the Northern slopes and deposited large amounts of wind affected snow on the Soutern slopes. This wind deposited snow rested over the rain crust of the day previous and although bonding faily well at low elevation below tree line the wind deposited snow has not been as quick to bond at tree line and in the Alpine areas of the Hakuba Mountains.

Use extreme caution when moving on or under South and South East aspects at tree line and in the alpine as unstable wind slab is present on these slopes. Be aware of solar radiation on these slopes today and temperature increases.

The wind slabs that were created on the 13th remain unstable and are not bonding to the ice crust below them. One large Size 3 avalanche from the peak of Hakuba Norikura Dake was observed and investigated by students on a recent Advanced Avalanche Awareness Course. The crown fracture was an average of 70 cms over a width of 200 meters and ran close to a kilometer to it's run out on the flats of the Tsugaike shizen. There were massive blocks of high density wind slab and debris that was piled 5 meters deep in places. The avalanche is presumed to have happened in the early hours of January 14th.

Field Tests:

Snow profiles showed that the wind slab found on the South Eastern aspects of the Tsugaike area are over-riding a lower density layer of new snow composed of needles and decomposing snow that has started to facet right above the ice crust of Jan. 12th. Moderate; sudden colapse, compression test results were found as well as a Reusch Block 4 on the same Ice crust / new snow interface that reconfirmed the instability of the newly created wind slab.

Clear skies and cool temperatures overnight will have only continued to decrease stability with increased faceting at the ice crust new snow interface.


Be increasingly careful as new snow that is forcasted this week acumulates on north facing wind scoured slopes, that may have a layer of surface hoar on the crust after last nights clear skies, will not be stable and should not be ventured on to with out reasing there stability.

Wind-slabbed south slopes with increased weight of new snow may produce large destructive avalanches and large alpine bowls and non-supported slopes should be avoided.

Avalanche Hazard:

Alpine: Considerable

Tree Line: Moderate

Below Tree Line: Low

Above ratings will decrease with new snow.

Archive report: Posted at 8:51am on Tuesday 15th January 2008
The latest Hakuba Now report can be found here

Hakuba Now ski lift operation notes:

Goryu Toomi, Hakuba 47 the Gondola, Happo-One, Tsugaike Kogen, Iwatake, Cortina, Sanosaka, Sun Alpina, open.

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