Japan Hokkaido - Niseko

Backcountry/risks


The risks are increasing because of the greater numbers of people skiing off -piste.

While major avalanches may not be the issue at Niseko, there are other risks including fissures in the snow pack caused by slow movement of the snow downhill.

With major storms coming from the north and west, cornices build on the leeward side of the mountain and they need to be watched for natural fractures.

Other risks include trees, the constantly changing weather (resulting in more people getting lost) and other skiers/boarders descending and not understanding the problems they can cause when skiing off piste.

The Niseko rules must be followed for safety reasons and also out of respect to the locals. Off-piste access is via gates only and if they are closed this must be respected. The ski patrol don't like the ducking of ropes; this also goes for ropes that divide pistes.

One way of getting the best out of skiing the Niseko area is to contact one of the local ski schools or guiding companies and hire a suitably qualified guide.

As with any off piste skiing, the wrong decision can land you up in trouble, so carry a transceiver, shovel, probe, first aid kit and mobile phone and know how to use all that equipment.

PETER ILINSKY

 

jim darby/the snow biz
There's a lot to like about ski lifts, and the people who make them.

arnie wilson/from the alps
Life is full of ironies. The Alps got the snow and Russia got the Olympics.

go flip/flip byrnes
Meet the fashion victims; a whole winter world of them.


There's a lot to like about ski lifts, and the people who make them.

Life is full of ironies. The Alps got the snow and Russia got the Olympics.

Meet the fashion victims; a whole winter world of them.