No fresh snow to report, but today did see dark cloud cover for most of the day, especially looking south from Togari. Unfortunately the dark clouds held on to their precious precipitation. The afternoon saw valley temperatures in Iiyama climb to +4c, and the poor snow cover on the lower mountain was showing more patches of brown than yesterday.
We started the day with a short drive down to Kijimadaira, as the resort is retaining it’s schedule from last season with the top #3 chair scheduled to open on Wednesday, Weekends & Public Holidays.
The pioneer slopes under this chair claim to be the steepest in Japan, with a 45deg pitch in the steepest sections. For those of you with basic Avalanche safety training this number might be ringing a bell. 45deg is often considered the angle that it becomes too steep for Avalanches due to the natural sluffing that occurs.
Unfortunately the lovely staff at the lift ticket explained to us that the top chair would not be opening in the forseeable future due to lack of snow cover! It appears this natural sluffing is also an issue with getting a base to stick in a low snow year. Check out the photo below, the coverage for all of Kijimadaira looked pretty good to me.
After choosing to give Kijimadaira a miss without the top lift running, we popped over to Ryuoo to check out some properties. Snow cover at Ryuoo was pretty good, even on the lower mountain the trees were holding a lot of snow.
After Ryuoo it was back over to Togari to dust of the snowboard. A couple of fun laps of the mountain were had, despite the lower mountain having clearly deteriorated overnight. Jumping a few patches of dirt or pavement always keep the excitement levels up.
Forecast models for the next week or so show a few different options, with none of them being particularly exciting. Fingers crossed we will get more than forecast on Monday & Tuesday so we can have a bit of fun before the rain comes.