AN avalanche claimed the life of a 66-year-old man from Sapporo last weekend on a mountain near Niseko, Hokkaido Shimbun newspaper reports.
Last Saturday (January 16) at about 3.40pm, the man was on a guided backcountry tour in a group of eight people and a guide at Shiribetsu-dake – a non-ski resort mountain near Rusutsu ski resort, about 40 minutes by road from Niseko.
A female guide rode down the face first and was followed by the the man, who triggered the slide after beginning his descent.
The man had a beacon and was found about an hour later. A helicopter air-lifted him from the site but he died on the scene. The guide and all remaining members of the tour were unhurt.
There has been a large amount of snowfall across the region over the past few days, a factor that increases the risk of avalanche.
This incident highlights the dangers of avalanche in the backcountry.
Check the daily Niseko avalanche information at niseko.nadare.info.
Know the Niseko Rules for backcountry riding: http://www.niseko.ne.jp/en/rules.html
Read our quick guide to backcountry safety at www.powderlife.com/magazine/issue/19/backcountry-safety/10-tips-keep-you-safe-backcountry.
Check our weather and Niseko snow report at www.powderlife.com/niseko-snow-report.