Deep epic blower powder today but stick to well treed areas and/or ridge lines.
The faceted melt crust is still there and still weak, now under over a metre of storm snow. Today a huge class 5 slide on the south side of Goryu buried a Japanese skier who sadly didn’t make it.
The instability may linger for a while until the facets are crushed by a lot of snow on top.
Hakuba – Jan 28th 2012 from morinolodge on Vimeo.
Back to bottomless blower powder again after a 4 day mild spell.
Hit Cortina yesterday after 70cm of snow (they just had another 70cm last night too!) Today was another secret spot this end of the valley.
The new storm snow isn’t sitting well on the frozen and possibly faceted wet crust from the mild spell. It was easy to set off 40-50cm deep slabs on any steeper or convex terrain. Stay safe and ski conservative lines until the crust gets buried by at least a metre and starts to stabilise and bond by compression.
and…Enjoy all that powder!
Hakuba – Jan 25th & 26th from morinolodge on Vimeo.
The consistent falls of last week were replaced by settled sunny conditions and it was time to hit the backcountry.
North faces have been well below zero since mid December and the snow-pack albeit shallower than normal seasons was in very stable bomber shape.
First day we hit the Goryu backcountry.
17th - Clearing and perfect settled powder
Next day was spent in the Happo north faces. The snowpack is still quite thin on the Happo north faces and rocky areas here and there were hidden waiting for vulnerable planks – I got a couple of core shots and everyone came away with gouges in their bases.
Our lines from the valley
The 19th was a splendid day. The valley was climbing above zero but the north faces at altitude were still in great shape. Decided on a cruisy tour behind Tsugaike and ending at Norikura taking in the peaks of Higashi Hiyodori and Wakaguri along the way. Nice fast powder on both descents and the valley between the two peaks was a rare place in Japan – somewhere you can hear the sound of silence!
The view north from the first peak
Looking back at the first peak from the top of the 2nd
The walk up the 2nd peak
The weather since then has been mild and with very dense wet snow. The wet snow will have bonded fairly well at high altitudes but less well below about 1300m-1400m with heavy wet slabs sliding off the cold low density snow beneath fairly easily. Time will tell if this creates a weak layer but if we get enough snow to quickly bury this layer in the coming cold period we should be fine. Otherwise, cold temperatures with little snow will create faceting in the wet snow that might persist for a while to come as a weak layer.
Take care out there!
After the stunner yesterday at Cortina with yet another 40cm overnight followed by yet another bluebird, tired legs were unwilling to move much today but finally mustered enough energy to head out and find it was…quite good.
Temperatures have gotten a bit milder since yesterday with the top lift measuring -6C so the 20cm or so of snow that fell last night was slightly heavier than of late but only slightly and soon tired legs were again rejoicing in the joy of effortless turns in deep powder.
Also Some tip toeing needed around some tender wind loaded areas on south-east aspects but fairly stable below the tree line.
Still snowing so here’s to another great day tomorrow.
Hakuba – Jan15th from morinolodge on Vimeo.
Another Magical day today with cold temps and great powder…although Jeff will probably remember it in a different way!
Jan 12th from Dan Cockburn on Vimeo.