Friday, January 13, 2017

Starting to Get Real in Myoko Kogen

Do you ever wonder what it would be like if it started snowing and never stopped?
- Steve Casimiro, Editor, Powder Magazine, 1987-1998

Things are starting to get real here in Myoko Kogen.  It has been snowing nearly nonstop since I arrived 4 days ago and at least another 80 cm (30 inches) fell overnight.  Going for a tour was completely out of the question, so it was off to the Akakura Kanko ski area with the hope of finding something (anything) steep enough to make turns on.  The queue at the top chair first thing in the morning was the only one I encountered and much of the time we were there we were lectured by ski patrol that going OB was foolhardy and that one could die from any number of catastrophes (avalanche, immersion, etc.).  

Was it deep?  Damn straight.

Bottomless powder comes in many flavors.  The beauty of many storms in Utah is that they start off warm and produce some higher density snow to start, which means you have some sort of a cushion down there for ski floatation.  All I saw today was waist deep (or deeper) cold smoke.  With maximum slopes around 25ยบ, about all one can do is point them down the hill and try to enjoy the pig wallow.

This was a common scene in bounds.

Some of the Kiwis staying here at my lodge rescued a snowboarder who had plunged into a deep hole over a buried creek.  It was fortunate that they were carrying a rope to pull him out.

After skiing for about 4 hours, I spent some time walking through town just to enjoy the moment.  Snowfall rates were probably over 10 cm (4 inches) per hour at this point.  Apologies for some fog on the lens in a few of these.


  1. Great reports, Jim. Thanks. Curious: any wind with these sea- effect events? Seem like UT usually has slabby aspects after storms....

    1. Our sample size is too small, although I do know it varies by storm type (they have several different types of lake-effect bands in Japan) and geographically. While we were in Myoko, upper elevations were fairly wind the first day I was there, afterwhich it was relatively calm. Rumors are it was windier up high today. In Hakuba, wind closures of the upper lifts were expected today and happened both days wer skied the resorts for short stretches.

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