3 missing snowboarders rescued from Niigata mountain slope


Rescue personnel on Sunday found three snowboarders who had been missing at Kagura Ski Resort in Yuzawa, Niigata Prefecture, since Friday.

The three snowboarders from Tokyo -- Koju Neriko, 45, his wife Manami, 44, and their friend, Aki Yamamoto, 40 -- were reported as missing after failing to return to their lodge on Friday afternoon. They arrived at the ski resort on New Year's Eve.

Police and rescue personnel said the three were found on a mountain slope about two kilometers from the ski course, NHK reported. A helicopter picked them up just after 9 a.m.

Other than frostbite, the three had no injuries.

Kagura Ski Resort is popular among skiers and snowboarders because of its off-piste and back-country terrain.

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Hope they are found safe

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Searchers said weather conditions became so severe that when they got off the ski lift, snow was about one meter deep, making it impossible to look for the snowboarders. If the conditions were that bad, then I wonder why the resort didn't close that lift? I hope they managed to find some shelter and this story has a happy ending!

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I wonder if this is the top lift at Kagura that used to open much later in the season, when the snow depth started receding. Hopefully they are found safe.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Praying for their safe return.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The last few times I've going skiing in Yuzawa, I've had blizzard-like conditions. The depth of the snow IS scary. When you stick the pole into the snow, it immediately sinks up to your hand.

Climate change at work, eh

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

Climate change at work, eh

Yup. A warmer environment leads to greater evaporation and a moister atmosphere - and thus more precipitation, which in the winter comes as snow.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

"Other than frostbite, the three had no injuries."

Frostbite can be a serious injury. That's like saying, "Other than cutting off his fingers, he wasn't injured."

2 ( +2 / -0 )

darnname: Frostbite CAN be a serious injury, yes, but obviously there are degrees of severity, and my guess is that theirs was not that severe or it would have been mentioned. In any case, it's good to hear some good news like this amidst all the people falling off roofs, choking on mochi, kids being thrown off balconies by mothers, and cops being criminals. I hope they recover fully and have a chance to enjoy themselves if their vacation is not up yet. I also wonder, like Stuart, why the lift was still operating if conditions were so bad.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Glad they were all found alive. Note to newbies, don't go out of bounds unless you are very familiar with the terrain and always know the way back to the courses.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Smithinjapan: Call me old fashioned, but I like my news reported so I don't have to guess.

That's done very simply, like this: "The three reportedly suffered from frostbite."

Or: "The three suffered from frosbite, but no other injuries."

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Thank God they were rescued

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Snow is not noticeably increasing in Japan's ski areas.

Here's a research paper about snow trends in Japan.

The conclusion:

In this study, trends of change in snowfall and snow cover over the last about 30 years were surveyed using past data measured at 141 weather observatory stations. The items surveyed were seasonal maximum snow depth (cm), the number of days with continuous snow cover, accumulated seasonal snowfall (cm), maximum 24-, 48- and 72-hour snowfall from the onset of snowfall, and the frequency of 24-hour periods with snowfall exceeding 40 cm. The results revealed an increase in the annual maximum snow depth and the frequency of 24-hour periods with snowfall exceeding 40 cm in eastern Hokkaido and mountainous areas of northern mainland Japan. Changes were seen in snowfall patterns and in the distribution of areas with heavy snowfall. As maximum snow depth and maximum daily snowfall are taken into account in the discussion of snow control plans, it is important for trends of change in snowfall and snow depth to be considered in such plans and in the design of related protection facilities.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

According to some news reports they had gone to an off-limits area. Had they followed the rules this would not have happened. Very often, you reap what you sow. Anyway, good that they were rescued.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Yeah, shouldn't go off-piste if you can't get back on it. I think maybe they'll be told be pay for the rescue themselves.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Apparently they didn't file a plan at the base lodge, and they were not wearing proper thermal clothing, though why none of their mobile phones was working is not discussed. J TV news reported also that one (or both) of the women had light frostbite to the hands, and the man had it on his fingers and half of one foot.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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