Sorry for the late report today.
Yesterday didn't bring us much. It did get a little warm and froze overnight. There is now a pretty strong sun layer affecting most aspects, especially those that face south. Without new snow, these layers will persist to be hard and possibly prove to be an annoyance when it comes to avalanche stability.
Throughout today we have seen pretty high winds and occasional snowfall. There is still some nice snow facing North, but the Niseko area got wind affected in the spots that didn't get hit by the sun. If you look hard enough and hike far enough, you will definitely find some fresh and deep spots. These are few and far between right at the moment but they do exist!
Currently, it is snowing pretty heavily. The winds have died down a little bit. We aren't expecting a ton of snowfall tonight. Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday could bring us some snowfall in decent amounts. There is a bit of uncertainty with this forecast as the local weather is displaying no confidence about it. It could mean more or less snow, but snow nonetheless. The good news is cold temperatures are supposed to stick around and any precipitation will be snow without a doubt. Take a few days and explore where you want to go so that when the snow does fall, you will be able to hit everything you want.
The snowfall numbers for Kutchan town for the month of January 2012 ended up being 290cm. That's actually a fair bit less than last year when we saw 420cm for the month, but if you remember our December 2011 was pretty good and easy beat last season. So we are still 'beating' last season overall so far up until now. May February be a snowy one! The target? Last year we got 142cm in Kutchan and so fingers crossed we beat that. Just a bit of fun. As always, remember that the number in Kutchan town does not represent the snowfall on the actual mountain resorts - which is certainly more and might be over half that amount again.
Current Official Snow Depths:
Grand Hirafu / Hanazono:
Top - 330cm
Bottom - 170cm
Top - 380cm
Bottom - 230cm
Top - 385cm
Bottom - 220cm
Niseko Avalance Report from this morning:
Kutchan Base 6am: -8.2C, Annapuri Peak 17.8m/s temp -16.7C. Wind picked up from yesterday afternoon, peaking at 23m/s.
Benkei cape NNE8m/s, Kamui Cape ENE 3m/s, 1006hpa, wave 1.4m. No new snowfall. Significant snowdrifting from strong winds.
Hazard Evaluation: From 3.00pm yesterday a strong northerly wind persisted accompanied by rapid, unstable snow drift and cornice development.
Coordinates C4, D5( Moiwa Bowl), Mikairi Bowl, F5, E6 (BackBowl), O-sawa cornice are unstable and dangerous. Use caution on steep slopes above 1100m there is potential for a skier triggered shallow hard slab avalanche. Drifting snow has deposited on leeward slopes, beware of a large scale avalanche on these slopes. Most accidents happen in bad weather or shortly after.
Gates: Gates 2 & 3 are closed today. Gate 6 is also expected to be closed. Avalanches occur regardless of the amount of snowfall, use caution. Please respect the ski patrols decisions.
There have been many cases of people getting lost recently, once you go through the gates you are not in the resort anymore.
Please use caution and have a safe day.