Grooming. Days of facing nature

The announcement by the Japan Meteorological Agency that the La Niña phenomenon was occurring again this year seemed to promise an abundance of snow for ski resort operators suffering from the devastating effects of the new coronavirus infection, but I wondered if it was true. I was half expecting it to be true.

Even in late November, there was no snowfall of any kind, and just as it was getting close to the end of November, almost a meter of snow fell at once.
It was a relief for the ski resort to be able to open for business in a few days. But then the temperature rose and heavy rains fell, and the snow piles began to fade. Nevertheless, with the help of the snow crews, we were able to start the 2021-2022 season on December 4th.

It was a good start, but there was no new snow. The situation is similar throughout Hokkaido, and at this time of the year, racing teams are practicing a lot, and Niseko Moiwa has been receiving inquiries from many teams because there is not enough snow at the ski resort where they usually practice.

According to the weather forecast, we are not expecting any significant snowfall until Monday, but the more customers we have, the more snow we will have to cut down, and even if we pray for snow, it will not come.

With the conditions as they were this spring, the pistenbully operators suddenly changed their work hours from midnight to evening, and started compaction after the ski resort closed for business.

With the last blink of the setting sun illuminating the peaks of Annupuri, the engines roared as the two Pistenbullys raced up and down the slopes of Niseko Moiwa Ski Resort.

The compacted snow hardens in the middle of the night when the temperature drops below freezing and becomes crisp in the morning. The harder the snow, the less likely it is to turn into stop snow when the temperature rises during the day, and statistics show that the harder the snow, the less likely you are to be injured if you fall.

On the other hand, if the snow is pressed at the wrong time, snow balls will appear on the surface, increasing the risk of injury.

However, when there is no snow for a while, it is very important to know when to compact the snow in order to preserve the snow and make the best use of the slopes in future snowfalls.

Do the obvious things as they should be done. It seems simple, but it’s a difficult job that we have to do every day from December to April. I learned about the passion of our Pistenbully operation crew when I see the light, Pistenbully goes by after the sun down.

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