Mizuno no Sawa Backcountry Experienceniseko snow
11 January 2010
After many years of Niseko Village conducting avalanche studies in Mizuno no Sawa, the area to the skiers right of the Niseko Village Gondola, it has finally been opened to the public. By completing a 20 minute lecture and paying the 2000yen fee you can be guided through the area by the Niseko Village Ski Patrol. After completing the initial lecture and guided run you can return as many times as you like to be guided through the area at set times daily. If you are new to riding backcountry this is a great introduction to the dangers of the backcountry and avalanches in the well monitored area. As you are guided through Mizuno no Sawa not only are known dangers such as cracks and cornices pointed out but you are also given great advice on how to safely ride such areas. Advice such as riding avalanche prone bowls one at a time and then waiting in safe areas on ridges while watching you buddies enjoy the ride is given. All in all it is well worth it if you are confident in powder and are thinking about venturing out a bit or are just keen to be one of the first to be allowed in the area after years of closure. While it is not necessary to have a transceiver, probe and shovel to ride in Mizuno no Sawa it is always good to be carry these 3 things when venturing into uncontrolled areas such as the areas accessed from the gates that lead you outside of the Niseko United Ski Area boundaries as shown on the Niseko local rules map. While out at Niseko Village you could also check out Burton Mountain Festival @ NV which has been on since the 9th and runs until the 16th.