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Snowiest city/ where can one find the best powder

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#1
kusanagi

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So the snowiest metropolis (1million+ population)on Earth would be Sapporo with an annual snowfall of approximately 600cm? No any other city in Europe or in North America has such high amount of snowfall?

And the best powder(lowest water content?) in the world would be at Niseko?

#2
DumbStick

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I can almost see word for word, member for member, how this thread will go...
:lol:

#3
SKI

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'Cities' such as Tokamachi and Myoko in Niigata will embarrass Sapporo for amounts of snowfall. But they don't have populations of over 1 million. I can't see what the point is myself.

I would guess for people in a big city, snow is almost a nuisance than something to actually want more of.
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#4
gozaimaas

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niseko has 1 million people in ski season :lol:
In japan may 3-25

#5
SKI

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....and Tokamachi and Myoko get more snow. ;)
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#6
Chriselle

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Hakuba is most certainly the most bottomle........ never mind.
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#7
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Sapporo would be the snowiest city with a population of more than 1 million. No other major city even comes close.

I doubt very much that Niseko has anywhere near the driest snow though. Resorts just in central Hokkaido would have drier snow and resorts like in Utah and other arid regions of the US would definitely have drier.
It might not have the lowest water content but it does have a great combination of quantity and quality that few other resorts worldwide can match. The quality is more to do with the predominant type of snowflake that falls in Niseko rather than it being some extroadinarily dry snow. Due to the combination of altitude (low) and average temperature (cold but not really cold), Niseko predominantly gets flakes called fernlike stellar dendrites. These types of flakes (pictured below) are the ultimate flakes for producing blower powder. Because of their shape there's a very large surface area and as the flakes fall the fernlike fronds interlock with other flakes. That's why in Niseko you often get what appear to be huge flakes of snow coming down. They are actually conglomerates of smaller flakes all interlocked together. So if there isn't too much wind to deform the flakes this sort of snow settles very lightly with huge amounts of space and air within the fresh snow layer. This is what makes it so incredibly light and fluffy, the blower powder that Niseko is famous for. All hail the fernlike stella dendrite!! :worship:

Posted Image

I also believe this is why Niseko has what can only be described as an amazingly stable snowpack. Few other similarly snowy regions in the world have so few avalanches as the Niseko region (maybe few others are so flat? :p ). I believe it's because the interlocking flakes help to hold it all together.

#8
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All Hail?

Hail?

Don't jinx us GN ;)

#9
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Well yes Niseko does get it's fair share of hail/graupel as well. Helps fill in all the air pockets now and again ;)

#10
kokodoko

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I will tell you if it is all true in a couple of months.

#11
iiyamadude

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:veryshocked:

You visiting every city with per 1 million people?!?!
Let's ing

#12
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Wow, Sapporo has a bigger population than Kobe and only 10% or so off Nagoya. I would never have imagined that.
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#13
muikabochi

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When you put it like that, it sure does sound surprising.

#14
Mr Wiggles

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I guess the difference is that Sapporo must include what act as its "suburbs". Nagoya has loads of satellite cities with separate populations, Kobe has Akashi and Nishinomiya.

Nearly two million people is a lot of economic activity. It's also quite far away from the mega city that extends from Tokyo to Kobe.
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#15
TubbyBeaverinho

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It's not like Tokyo actually stretches to Kobe. It's broken up by quite a bit of countryside and greenery. After Odawara the Tanzawa mountains and Mount Fuji do a good job of breaking up any continuous conurbation
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#16
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View Postiiyamadude, on 11 November 2012 - 07:24 PM, said:

:veryshocked:

You visiting every city with per 1 million people?!?!


yes.

#17
kusanagi

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View PostGo Native, on 11 November 2012 - 05:47 PM, said:

Sapporo would be the snowiest city with a population of more than 1 million. No other major city even comes close.

I doubt very much that Niseko has anywhere near the driest snow though. Resorts just in central Hokkaido would have drier snow and resorts like in Utah and other arid regions of the US would definitely have drier.
It might not have the lowest water content but it does have a great combination of quantity and quality that few other resorts worldwide can match. The quality is more to do with the predominant type of snowflake that falls in Niseko rather than it being some extroadinarily dry snow. Due to the combination of altitude (low) and average temperature (cold but not really cold), Niseko predominantly gets flakes called fernlike stellar dendrites. These types of flakes (pictured below) are the ultimate flakes for producing blower powder. Because of their shape there's a very large surface area and as the flakes fall the fernlike fronds interlock with other flakes. That's why in Niseko you often get what appear to be huge flakes of snow coming down. They are actually conglomerates of smaller flakes all interlocked together. So if there isn't too much wind to deform the flakes this sort of snow settles very lightly with huge amounts of space and air within the fresh snow layer. This is what makes it so incredibly light and fluffy, the blower powder that Niseko is famous for. All hail the fernlike stella dendrite!! :worship:

Posted Image

I also believe this is why Niseko has what can only be described as an amazingly stable snowpack. Few other similarly snowy regions in the world have so few avalanches as the Niseko region (maybe few others are so flat? :p ). I believe it's because the interlocking flakes help to hold it all together.


wow, impressive! What type of snow would be found in Utah and the lofty Alps?

#18
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I can only talk from experience in Niseko having lived there for 7 years and spent 8 whole winters there. I've not been to the Alps and have yet to ski in Utah unfortunately. In a general sense though the weather systems that affect the Alps and Utah are very different to those that often impact Hokkaido. Obviously the NIseko area is not blessed with massive mountains reaching over 3000m like the Alps and Utah but it is blessed with the Sea of Japan being less than 50km away. Like most of the western side of Japan the Niseko area receives 'Sea Effect' snowfall. This is similar to the 'Lake Effect' snows they receive around the Great Lakes in the US but on a much grander scale. As seen in the following pic the very cold and dry air moving out of Siberia warms and picks up moisture as it moves across the Sea of Japan. It then hits western coasts of Hokkaido and Honshu producing some of the heaviest snowfalls on the planet.

Posted Image

In the Alps and Utah they don't get snow from anything like this. As both mountain ranges are a fair way inland most of the snowfall comes from storm systems. This means it's usually very windy, especially at altitude and generally big dumps within short periods. Niseko on the otherhand (although it can have it's fair share of wind) doesn't normally get huge dumps, just day after day after day of lower to moderate falls like 10-30cm. The Alps and Utah will often then have lengthy periods between storm systems where the weather is fine, clear and cold. Niseko on the otherhand can go weeks on end without the sun being seen. And consecutive sunny days in winter are few and far between.

Fernlike stellar dendrites form within a temperature range of around -10 to -22 celcius. There also needs to be high humidity. This is pretty much exactly the conditions often found in the cloud layer at Niseko which is why these snowflakes are so common there. Places like The Alps and Utah can often be colder and certainly less humid and are likely to get a lot of plate and column shaped snowflakes as well as dendrites. But as much of their snow falls in storm systems that can last for days there will often be a whole range of temperatures and types of snowflakes that fall throughout the system. This is why snowpacks in such regions are generally less stable than what is found in Niseko as there are many more layers within a fresh snowpack.

#19
MikePow

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Well described GN.

#20
kusanagi

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Even after the cold Siberian air passes through the Sea of Japan and gets saturated with water they barely rise above the freezing point(supersaturated)? Is that right as it seldom rains even on the low lying cities like Otaru and Kutchan. Am I right?

Why dont the conifers in Niseko form tree monsters (juhyo) as big as those found in Zao? And why the snow found in Zao isnt as powdrous as those in Niseko? Because its warmer at Zao?

Would strong winds inhibit the growth of fernlike crystals??

So based on such fact the snow found in western coast of Sakhalin island would be more or less the same as those found in Niseko? But I hv never heard of any ski resorts there :confused:







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