Good morning from Niseko and there's no new snow to report this time.
The clouds are generally overcast and cloudy at the beginning of the day.
It's a fairly chilly start to the day but a warm up is about to begin. I was seeing on the news last night that all of Japan is going to be getting warmer over the next few days - alarmingly so in some places - and it might even be as high as 20 degrees in Tokyo. Yikes. Let's hope that things don't get too silly but we may see temperatures rise to around +5 to +7 degrees in town areas today and tomorrow.
And then... rain.
Yes. It seems that we are not going to be able to avoid it at some time tomorrow. We can just hope there's less of it than more of it, sit it out and wait for it to pass.
The good news is that once the pesky rain is out of the way, it should be quite quickly back to colder conditions and fresh snowfall by the end of Sunday and then through the first part of the week. Yey.
Let's just see how it all develops.
Resort specific lift opening news at time of writing (subject to change during the day):
Niseko Grand Hirafu The top Ace Number 4 and King Number 4 lifts are on hold at the start of the day to do strong wind and poor visibility up there.
Niseko Village The top Wonderland lift is on hold at the start of the day.
Niseko Annupuri Top Jumbo Number 4 lift is on hold at the start of the day.
Niseko Avalanche Report:
Niseko base 6.00am: -7°C, no new snowfall. Moiwa 800m: -6°C no new snowfall, no snowdrift development. Mikaeri 740m: -5.2°C, N0.1m/s. Annupuri 1150m: -13°C, W5m/s, no new snow. Hirafu Peak Ridgeline: -8°C, calm, no new snow. Coastal data: Benkei Cape:S4m/s. Kamui Cape S14m/s, 1028hPa, wave 1.0m.
Currently we are in high pressure zone, there is no new snow and weather is calm. Before midday a southerly wind is expected to pick up and temperatures increase. From observation the snow has stabilized and general avalanche risk is low. All peak gates are expected to be open. Be prepared before venturing out of bounds. Carrying a beacon is recommended but not compulsory. If you are buried it will increase your chances of a safe rescue and also help you rescue your partners if they are buried.
Yesterdays tracks are still there. Conditions on the mountain change everyday, just because you saw tracks across a cornice slope yesterday doesn't mean it will be safe today. With the large numbers of inexperienced riders going out of bounds, more experienced people should acknowledge their responsibility not to put traverses in dangerous places. People will not only follow these tracks today, but also go back tomorrow, when conditions might not be so stable. Long traverse lines under cornices shows lack of any common sense. They also ruin the precious fresh slope we all are searching for. Ride the fall line. If you cant, you should not be there. Take care of hitting trees, breaking cornices, falling into cracks. Have a good day.
Official resort snow depths as of Friday 12th February 2016: