Dancing Snow: Myoko Outdoor Adventures
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Dancing Snow
See us if you need a new wire!
The BOA closure system found on snowboard boots, our Tubbs snowshoes, boots, golf shoes, running shoes and a whole lot more is a tough, clever way to get tightly into your footwear. Boa
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The wires can break (apparently the twist unit can get bashed to death by some of you mad tree bouncers)—although it doesn't happen that often. If it does, just come by Dancing Snow. We've been trained, we have the parts (which are free), and we can get you back in pristine form and ready to head back out on the hill. The labor will be affordable, too—just buy a beer and relax while we rethread the wires! (or a coffee, or a new BCA avalanche transceiver. We aren't fussy). Let us know if we can help!

Get your new skis!
Ready for some new skis just right for the Myoko snows? You can get those shiny new boards right here at Dancing Snow!

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K2 Pon2oonWe can get you set up with all the skis from K2 and Line, put on the bindings of your choice, get them waxed and ready and hold them here for you until you come to visit! We can also ship around Japan as well.

And, if you like, we can also store your skis right here in Myoko for you over the summer. We’ll put on a thick summer wax to protect the edges and bases, store them, then have them ready for the coming season. Just contact us at info@dancingsnow.com if you'd like more information, or want to place an order.

We also carry the full line of BCA snow safety equipment, K2 and BCA poles, helmets, skins, Tubbs snowshoes, and some fun Myoko-original clothing and goods in our center.

Dancing Snow is a BCA Snow Safety Center
  BCA logo Dancing Snow provides sales and rental of beacons, airbags and air cylinders from BCA, the premier manufacturer of snow safety goods. Float 32 airbag

The air cylinders for Japan are different from those for Europe and North America, meaning they can't be filled in the country—so just rent a cylinder, or a complete Float airbag system, for your stay in Myoko. Let us know well ahead on the airbags, though, so we can be sure and have one ready for you.

Snow Reports
The latest from our snow study plot and findings on the hill. You can also look a the archive of our previous reports.
It’s coming!
There’s that feeling this morning before the next big snowfall. It’s a little humid, it’s not very cold, but the barometer is low and falling (921 at 8am, 916 at noon), and the snow did in fact begin to fall mid-morning. Niigata Prefecture’s official snow prediction is for 25 to 50cm here by 9am tomorrow, a forecast that usually is pretty accurate.
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The snow is settled after the warm and sun yesterday, with that one-legged foot penetration just 29cm. A little crustiness on the surface here, but not a real crust. Humidity is at 84%. The surface snow is small, rounded melt-freeze crystals, which should bond very nicely with the fresh that’s now falling. Winds are light and variable, although the word from the peaks (about 1800 meters) was some pretty strong winds high, diminishing quickly at the top of the resorts. Total snowpack here is 207cm.
Sunny with sparkles
Sun to start the day, shining off the nice big stellar flakes that fell until last night (not exactly sure when it stopped). Pretty stable temperatures from the previous day, with a low of -6°C overnight. The humidity is still up at 91%, barometer steady at 932. It was mostly clear in the morning, but with high thin clouds.
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Just 8cm of fresh, but it was really nice and light. Foot penetration was at a (for the past days) pretty consistent 41cm, so the snow is settling nicely as it falls. While it was calm down below, the wind was really blasting off the ridges in the morning. Nice new cornices are shining on those ridges, too—they especially stand out against the mountians, which are still pretty bushy. In a lot of places the snow is much better low down than at the peaks, and there’s more bush under the dakekanba (Erman’s birches, those big pinkish trees) than in the beech forests further down.

Our official total snowpack at World Headquarters is 219cm.
Up early to get you the news
I think we’re finally getting into the winter rhythm—meaning up at 5 to snowthrow and plow a lot of surface; at the snow study plot by 8; guests to the hill by 9 and reporting to you before 10. Gets to be a long day when the snow keeps falling (and looks like it’s going to keep on falling).
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Pretty strong wind through the night meant drifting around the house, which is open to the north, less so at Dancing Snow World Headquarters just below Akakan. This could mean both bigger cornices and wind waves around trees up higher and along valley edges (always an interesting part of skiing down!).

We didn’t get the real cold -10° minimum low of a day ago, but the current and max temperatures are both lower. 24-hour snowfall: 34 cm. Thought it would be denser than yesterday, but it’s pretty much the same as yesterday (meaning pretty light). The flakes were stellar dendrites and mixed bits, some up to 2mm in diameter. Foot penetration was 48cm, so the previous snow has settled pretty well. Did dig a bit to see about a sun crust under there, but found nothing on our pretty neutral space (no particular orientation). I’ll dig deeper later.

Humidity 95%; wind light from the northeast, but variable. Barometer 930 and rising slowly at the moment. So sun tomorrow as predicted? Or will we keep seeing white until the heavy stuff comes in around Sunday….

PS Got the word from our Ricky up on top of Maeyama that the wind was really strong mid-day.
A little more fresh
The snow continued until late yesterday, tapered off and we got some stars and a cold night, with the temperature going down to -10°C. This morning the air was nice and cool but that sun was warm; I’ll be interested to see how much of a crust built up, but I don’t expect much, really.
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We got an additional 24cm of snow up to this morning, including some settling, of course, making the total snowpack here at the World Headquarters 214cm. Highest this season, but I’m sure it will be down tomorrow with that sun. Foot penetration was 41cm—good settled snow, making it easy to get out to the study plot. Humidity was back down to 76%; The sky was about 50% covered early in the morning and through the day. A little snow is now drifting down (at 4pm), and I hope more is coming! Sparkly snow on the surface, but it was a mix of new dendrites with some faceting building up on some arms… not sure what to call that (back to the books!).

I did see some pretty strong ridge blowing up high in the morning, too, although it seems like the winds tapered off during the day. Watch those fresh cornices! It’s still pretty bushy high up, by the way, with deeper snows lower down the hill (like under 1600 meters).

With that rain just before our 40+ of new, I was curious about the layers in the snow, so I dug on one of our small slopes. There is a rain layer down about 42cm, but not a rain crust. It’s not that deep, really wet and well bonded; it disappears into the snow below. Let’s see how it transitions in the coming days/weeks. It’s very likely that it will just fade as all that fresh that is coming up keeps pressing it down.
Too many distractions!
Here I am back after a few days. Now, I know I promised to keep up on the snow reports, and you have to understand, I hate missing a morning going out there to find out what’s going on with the white stuff. The more data, the more interesting it gets (I think I should worry about becoming a snow geek).
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But with one important member of the team down with the flu (meaning me handling an unexpected snowshoe tour), a quick trip to Tokyo… well, things happen. But I’m back, along with the snow.

On the snowshoe tour Monday, we had some nice fresh snow, probably 5-8 cm of large crystals, on a fairly well-compressed base. No crust, compressible under snowshoes but well settled. Yesterday we had rain from late afternoon, and the concern of some wind, but while it did blow during the night, there weren’t a lot of consistently blowing winds.

So, today, waking up to a morning of fresh snow: 22cm of fresh irregular flakes at just before 8 am; 95% humidity (and still high now in late afternoon). The barometer is down, 926 early, 925 now. The total snowpack is still holding at two meters out back. The snow has continued to fall all day, so we’ve probably doubled the total—let’s see tomorrow morning. Oh, yes, and foot penetration was at 41 cm, so that base is nicely settled, and it wasn’t particularly water-saturated gray stuff below. I’ll make a dig tomorrow and see what we find.
Back in Myoko
It was great to head to Niseko, great to meet the new president of K2 Sports, but I’m happily back at home and out in our snow again. Felt like I was missing something without getting out to do that daily research….
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We have a light, breakable crust on the snow now; could get stronger as the sun shines, particularly on open and south-facing slopes. Kind of funny mixed crystals on the surface; it was quite sparkly, which made me think we got some faceted hoar frost built up on the surface during a relatively cold, clear night (min. temperature was -8°C). It looked more like a mix of irregular precipitation particles (stuff that has fallen from the sky) with small facets growing on some parts of them. Something new for me…

No new snow to report; foot penetration was 40cm, so it is settling well. Total snow depth is 211cm. Barometer steady at around 932. We are getting sun today, although it’s shining through some high, thin clouds that occasionally build up and reduce the sun’s intensity.

No wind again, which is good news. We don’t have big cornices yet, and with no snow there is no wind loading of lee slopes—also good news for those heading out. Snow conditions are likely to be pretty bad, though, although there might be good powder in shaded/north-facing areas.

Having been gone for a few days, I did want to see what’s going on in the snowpack, so I made a dig on a small slope near our study plot. There is a layer about 61 cm down in the snow, with all that fresh now settled above it. That layer is made up of pretty well bonded crystals, though; it’s kind of crunchy feeling, but it holds together pretty well. It will be interesting to see if conditions are the same higher up.
Thanks to our fearless guide Miles, who selflessly dragged himself out to the snow plot to do some poking in the snow, I am in fact able to bring you an abbreviated snow report. Because this is a day that needs reporting.
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Lots of wind overnight, and some significant drifting of snow. I think we’ve got a pretty good location for our study boards; not much drifting in that area, but it’s still open to the sky. Ninety-two (92) cm is the official poke of the day; Miles went around the building, too, and found depths from 80 to one meter, depending on the location, so our official figure looks pretty good. It also means the boards aren’t going to be lost when I get back later in the week! They’re only a meter tall….

Foot penetration was 102cm—meaning there was no more foot involved (more waist penetration). Very light, unconsolidated snow. Miles didn’t get out the crystal loupe, but noted that we weren’t getting really large flakes at least early this morning. It will be interesting to see how it settles.

That strong wind could also have built up the cornices on high ridges; if so, they also won’t be well consolidated and deserve even more attention than normal. All that unconsolidated soft snow really increases the risk of sluffing; if you are going offpiste today be especially careful of terrain traps: if you fall and slide, will you and all that soft snow end up in a tight valley where it just keeps building up over you? This is exactly what happened in a fatal accident very close by a few years ago. Maybe today is a good day to enjoy onpiste powder!
Away from the plot for a few days
This will be my last report—at least complete with my daily prodding and poking of the snow—until the 12th. I will get some general info from the team on snowfall and wind, and maybe some info from the hills as Miles will be out with a group for the next few days.
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For the 7th: Colder, humidity down a bit at 88% (and the snow likewise tapered off): total snowfall for 24 hours was just 4cm. Foot penetration was 64cm, so the snow is settling. Barometer up slightly at 933.

The fresh snow was made up of beautiful starry bits; it was so sparkly that I thought we had facets (the squared-off, sharp crystals that don’t want to bond, and in many places are a big problem, although hardly ever in Myoko). But the sparkles were all the long arms of the crystals. I almost thought we might have needles, a shape that can make for really unpleasant backcountry downhill—they lie so closely packed that heading downhill can be a challenge. Think breaking trail up and then down too.

I hate leaving Myoko this time of year, but an interesting chance up in Niseko…. Ski industry stuff, ya know. Will tell more when I’m back! But we’ll report on anything extreme over the next few days.


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