Japan had a horrible weekend last weekend with 4 people dying in three separate avalanches and 3 mountain climbers going missing. The climbers have been missing for 3 days and it’s likely that they were caught in an avalanche as well. All these avalanches occurred in the Niigata and Nagano prefectures (states).
These areas of Japan received 4-feet of snow over the weekend in combination with high winds that sent avalanche conditions into the “High” rankings. Japan is known for deep, mellow powder. Please remember that that powder is not consequence free.
An avalanche on Sunday just out of bounds at Ryuoo Ski Park in Yamanouchi, Nagano prefecture, killed two Argentine skiers (one confirmed age 50). The avalanche that killed the skiers was reported to be 100-feet wide and 660-feet long. It’s unclear if these skiers were carrying any avalanche equipment.
The Argentines were skiing with three others from New Zealand and Australia. The Aussies and Kiwis were not caught in the avalanche.
Also on Sunday, a 35-year-old Japanese man from Nagoya was killed in an avalanche in the Myoko area near the Akakura Kanko Ski Resort in the Niigata prefecture. This Japanese man had been missing since Saturday. He was found only 800-feet from the ski resort boundary. It’s unclear if this man was carrying avalanche gear.
Also in Myoko on Saturday two snowboarders were caught in an avalanche on Mount Awadachi. They were found by police and airlifted to a nearby hospital. One man, 48-years-old, was confirmed dead at the hospital while the other, 38-years-old, only suffered mild frostbit on his fingers and toes. It’s unknown if these snowboarders were carrying avalanche equipment.
In Nagano’s Northern Alps, three men have been missing for over 3-days. They were scheduled to return from their climb on Sunday. The three mountaineers, 57-years-old, 59-years-old, and 66-years-old are feared to have been perished in an avalanche.
The entire ski industry is in Japan right now. Please safe out there guys and gals.