WITH the pure adrenaline rush of riding through deep untouched powder, it is easy to forget that this exhilarating experience in the backcountry can quickly turn into a nightmare if you are not prepared. Niseko has a liberal stance toward backcountry snowboarding and skiing, so you are the one who has to make responsible decisions. When venturing into unpatrolled areas, preparation is vital.
Powderlife has compiled some top tips to keep you safe on the mountain.
1. If the backcountry’s closed, it’s fora reason! Learn and obey the Niseko Rules. They include limiting access to the out-of-bound areas and restricting entry during hazardous conditions.
2. Read and understand weather and avalanche reports posted in Japanese and English at entries and exits to the backcountry.
3. Know where the ski patrol is located. Once an incident gets to a certain level, know where to go and who to contact for help.
4. Let someone reliable know where you plan to go, your destination and what time you plan to be home.
5. Explore the backcountry with experienced and reliable people. The least experienced person in the group should still know what to do in case of emergency.
6. Make sure everyone is familiar with equipment, which should include a shovel, beacon and probe.
7. No-go areas include Yu no sawa (between Annupuri and Niseko Village), and Haru-no-taki (cliff area west of Hirafu). All no-go areas are well sign-posted and marked on resort maps.
8. We strongly suggest using a qualified guide, especially beginners.
9. Ducking ropes may result in you losing your lift pass.
10. Always remember YOU are responsible for your own decisions and safety.
Daily Avalanche Report http://niseko.nadare.info
Powderlife’s Backcountry Guide www.powderlife.com
// ‘Backcountry basics’
// ‘Inside a 2-day avalanche course’
// ‘Lost in the backcountry’
// ‘How to build a snowcave’
FREE BACKCOUNTRY INFORMATION SEMINAR //
Topics // Niseko Rules, safe backcountry travel, terrain evaluation & search techniques with the guides from Black Diamond Lodge.
Location // Black Diamond Tours head office (Niseko Village) – Catch the free shuttle bus to the Niseko Village area & get off at the Milk Kobo stop.
Time // 6–7pm every Tuesday during winter. First Session Dec. 20th