Snow and Weather Data

For the preceding 24 hours to 7am at 800m elevation.  Hakuba backcountry snowpack and avalanche conditions below are used at your own risk, Click -All- to view entire season data.

Date Snow Depth 24hr New Snow 24hr New Snow Density 24hr New Water Equiv AM temp Max temp Min temp Precip type and rate Rain Altitude
~ ~
S < 1cm/hr
~ ~

Hakuba Backcountry Conditions Summary

20 Jan 2019, AM update

Rapidly changing conditions, nothing to report.


Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday look solid for snow fall, however Sunday starts warm and very low elevation terrain may see rain, or wet snow at very low elevation. Snow will come in waves with some cloud breaks for 4 days.

Take a look at what is happening to the Polar Vortex - does anyone know what that might do to our weather later in January and Feb. I have no idea, but it might do something as it breaks into three lows rather than the usual one big low. Maybe it is El Nino.  

Avalanche Hazard

At about 2000m: hazard will be increasing with new snowfall and any wind.

Snowpack Discussion

Not much to talk about. Hakuba traditionally has a pretty strong snowpack without many weak layers. This season is not much different. Avalanche cycles come and go with storms.

Sun crust buried on the 15th of January is not bonded well at the recent storm snow interface. Needs steep terrain to get it going.

The mostly forgotten deeper 24Dec crust at around 2000m and below has been very well tested by a lot of ski traffic in the wider the Happo BC and is unreactive. In the area of the competion, where snow has been preserved due to closure and therefore far less skier traffic, any deeper weak layer is actually less tested than the areas open to the public. And the competition area is where it is most likely to be weakest (though I really doubt it is that weak at all, but it is there).  Otherwise, a pretty featureless and strong snowpack.

Official JAN Avalanche Bulletin

Visit the Japan Avalanche Network at Their website is badly designed, so take care finding the info you need - it can take a few clicks to find the full bulletin, not just a summary. Their site doesn't work perfectly in some browsers. Make sure are you reading the bulletin for Hakuba, and for the current date. It is not in English, yet it is the only bulletin in Japan. Significant limitation - VERY IMPORTANT: due to Japanese forecasting laws, the JAN avalanche bulletin is only a statement of estimated conditions at 7am. It does not include changes to the avalanche danger that may occur during that day due to changes in weather. This makes it dangerously inaccurate on days when there is rain in the forecast for midday, or a rapid rise in temperature, or very rapid new snow accumulation.

The info on this page is intentionally brief. Use at your own risk.

Note on the data

This data is collected daily between 6am and 8am for the previous 24 hours at 800m in Ochikura near Tsugaike ski area. It is part of the daily risk management process in our backcountry guiding operation. Our weather station is in an area that receives more snow than the same altitude further south in the valley.

Rain Altitude is given if it rained at anytime in the preceding 24h hours. Sometimes it is an estimate, other times it is based on observation. In December you should always assume there is a shallow early season rain crust above treeline elevation.

Seasonal Comparisons