MOST of us come to Niseko because of that most sought after commodity in the snow sports world – powder. It’s certainly not for weeks on end of bluebird days, that’s for sure! What is it, though, that makes the powder here so good?
Well, good powder is so incredibly dry, loosely packed and light, that when you whoop for joy you’re likely to get a mouthful of the stuff!
The absolute best snowflakes for powder are called fernlike stellar dendrites, which are the classic six-sided branching flakes commonly stylised on Christmas decorations.
These types of flakes form in temperatures from -8 to -22 degrees – exactly where temperatures sit during winter in Hokkaido.
The branching of these flakes mean when they collide they interlock, which is why we often get what appear to be massive snowflakes falling, but are actually conglomerates of many interlocked flakes.
These flakes have large surface areas and trap a lot of air, like down in a jacket.
So next time it’s snowing, pay closer attention to those flakes on your clothes, and if conditions are right, you might be able to appreciate the intricate beauty of a snowflake right before your very eyes.