It is quiet down at the valley this morning, but could be quite windy up on the hills. The first thing I heard this morning on the resort reports is that Goryu's gondola and lifts up top are not operating because of the wind (as of 8:00 am). They will be starting operation as soon as winds get calmer. Early on the Gondola at Tsugaike is also running just to the mid station due to winds and they will try to get that moving as well.
However, here at the valley, things are nice and calm. North 1m/sec.
There has been no new snow over night here at base, but Goryu reports 5cm of new snow on the top.
The lowest temperature is -9 and highest is -5. I did say that the forecast told me lowest could be around -15, and it looks like that's still the same forecast now. Towards tonight, the lowest will be around -12c and it should stay cold for a few more days. However, it looks like it will be nice and sunny from mid week with the temperature rising into the positives during the daytimes.
Visibility is not that bad. I would say semi-flat but bright enough to pick the darker goggle lens.
Be safe out there.
Official snow depths and operations @ Tuesday 1st February AM:
Goryu reporting 5cm on upper slopes and just 0-1cm down below.The Iimori Snow Park is also now open.
Night time operations from 6pm until 9:30pm.
Alps daira - 335cm;
Toomi - 170cm;
Iimori - 150cm.
Normal operations today.
Snow depth (upper) - 225cm.
Nakiyama nighta now operating.
Usagidaira/Kurobishi - 290cm;
Sakka - 160cm;
Shirakaba - 150cm;
Nakiyama - 150cm.
Jib Park is open at Tsugaike. Hit Park open after being prepared.
Snow depth - 310cm
Maruyama area - 170cm
Champion - 240cm
Upper - 190cm
Lower - 120cm
Just a few cm of new fresh snow reported this morning.
Upper - 365cm
Lower - 220cm
Just a bit of a post about the season so far in Hakuba...
Well as you surely know from reading these reports it has been a great season so far with unusually low temperatures and heaping amounts of light powder. The snow pack in general has been stable in the Hakuba area due to continued snow fall with little fluctuation in air temperature and few days of strong solar radiation.
There are no real crusts to be found from the ground up as there has been no mid season rains or warm ups. There are a couple of weak layers to be found in the relatively consolidated snow pack that could still possibly be reactive if temperatures stay cold and northern aspects have been slower to stabilize due to the cold temperatures. The air temperature has been averaging -10°C at 2000 meters a.s.l and trending colder over night and early morning. These cold temperatures have been causing strong temperature gradients in shallow snowpack areas allowing for the formation of facets near the surface and especially around rocks at tree line or above. Winds have been generally calm during snowfalls but very strong during clearing prior and after snowfalls. This has meant great powder snow during times of snowfall but wind slabs and variable snow depths have been created in the Alpine.
This is the area that we still need to be very careful and use continued caution when traveling in these alpine bowls where wind effect has been observed. Steep rocky outcrops and large cornices are the areas to be extra cautious and avoid if possible.
And so, the season from here...
Let's start with the short term forecast.
It looks as if the beginning of February is bringing us warmer weather from the west. There are no major warm ups in sight but we will not be having the January norm of sub 0 temperatures. We can expect a rapid settlement in the snowpack and continued bonding on all aspects, but do be cautious if temperatures climb above freezing and lower elevations on solar radiated slopes loose cohesiveness in the upper layers.
There is no rain in the forecast but if there is a chance of it Friday looks like a possibility with 2 quasi stationary fronts on the pacific and Japan sea with a low pressure between. The temps look as though it would be snow at elevation if there is precipitation at all. The 'Fuyugata', Northerly standing barometric pressure lines which bring cold Siberian winds has been the predominant pattern this year and looks as if that is still going to hold strong into February with the occasional warm front from the south west mixed in.
The good snow thus far is not over but we may be seeing more clearing and low cloud days in between the snow falls. Remember the good stability below tree line can change rapidly with rapid warming or any amount of rain on the snow pack.
Present Stability in Hakuba:
Considerable (Windslab, variable snow depths, faceting around rocks and exposed bushes and cornices are areas of concern.)
Moderate (Windslab, faceting around rocks and exposed bushes and cornices are areas of concern.)
Below tree line:
Low (Cornices and warming)