The Japan Avalanche Network (JAN) has upped the game for weekend warriors heading to Hokkaido’s western hills with weekend avalanche bulletins for the wider Niseko region. Currently posted once a week by 7am each Saturday, JAN’s international-standard risk reporting style gives readers quick and easily digestible indications of snowpack stability below, at and above the treeline. At present, JAN’s current Hokkaido bulletins cover Niseko, Yotei, Shiribetsu-dake, and Yoichi (Yoichi includes Kiroro).
We’re very excited to see some familiar avalanche reporting styles introduced to the Hokkaido backcountry space (see screenshots below). JAN’s communication style is direct, to the point, and easy to digest. Clear references to typical Hokkaido hazards are appreciated, delivered in clear prose. The website is well adapted to smartphone viewing.
The Japan Avalanche Network (JAN) has launched weekend avalanche bulletins for the wider Niseko area, including Yotei, Yoichi and Shiribetsu. JAN’s site uses international standard reporting. Backcountry travelers now have two sources of avalanche information in the area: JAN’s weekend reports, and the Niseko Avalanche Information‘s daily reports. Used in conjunction, these reports should give an excellent overview of snowpack and avalanche risk conditions in the area.
JAN’s website states their Hokkaido bulletins currently cover the “ニセコ・羊蹄・余市・尻別 Niseko Yotei Yoichi Shiribetsu” area. These are all popular backcountry skiing locations in western Hokkaido.
We’ve spoken to people involved in JAN’s Hokkaido bulletins, and there’s a hope that reporting can be expanded to other areas of Hokkaido – such as central Hokkaido – in the near future.
With the launch of JAN’s wider Niseko area avalanche bulletins, backcountry travelers in the Niseko area now have two options for avalanche information.
- Niseko Avalanche Information – http://niseko.nadare.info/
Area: Area immediately around Niseko Annupuri (source)
Content: Detailed wind-speed/direction, temperatures, and wave heights in text format. Comments on avalanche risk in common vernacular, as well as banter regarding skiing conditions. Includes information on Niseko resort area gate closures/openings.
- Japan Avalanche Network Shiribeshi Area Avalanche Bulletins – https://nadare.jp/avalanche_informations?q%5Bavalanche_area_id_eq%5D=6
Frequency: Currently once a week on Saturday mornings by 7am
Area: Niseko, Yotei, Shiribetsu, Yoichi
Content: International standard visual communication of avalanche risk, content broken down into easy-to-read sections.
ABOUT THE JAPAN AVALANCHE NETWORK
Founded in 2000, the NPO Japan Avalanche Network is not-for-profit professional association involved in over 20 years of avalanche safety for outdoor winter recreation in Japan. Their operations revolve around four main activities: Avalanche education, avalanche information/bulletins, avalanche incident audits, and resources. They maintain close connections with the Canadian Avalanche Association. Membership is made up of a wide range of individuals, from professional mountain guides, ski patrollers, search and rescue personnel, avalanche researchers, and members of the public who have gone through high-level training. Full details (in Japanese) here.
Japan Avalanche Network Avalanche Bulletins
The Japan Avalanche Network currently produces professional level avalanche bulletins for five areas in Japan. Bulletins are produced by Japan Avalanche Network volunteers, based on contributions from professional members local to each area.
Other JAN initiatives: Beyond the Ropes
Just in case you haven’t seen it, the Japan Avalanche Network is the genius brain behind the hilarious (but spot on) Beyond the Ropes backcountry safety communication campaign.