The First Sign Of Spring In Niseko 2012

How to melt all that Niseko snow

Many of the local farmers and old timers in Niseko will tell you that the same volume of snow will fall during the season. We hit 14 meters of the white stuff at village level early in March 2012, which has left many people saying “is the season over?” Maybe with the exception of a few more storms..?

Over the last week I have noticed the guy who farms the rice paddies at the bottom of Hirafu village getting ready for spring, he spent two days clearing the snow from his farm yard before moving onto stage two.

A Niseko farm yard almost clear of snow, 16 March 2012

A Niseko farm yard almost clear of snow, 16 March 2012

Cover it in dark stuff

Niseko is the potato capital of Japan and the farmers need all that pesky snow gone as soon as possible so they can start farming; they have a simple solution. Cover the two meter thick base of snow in ash from the winter fires or other dark organic matter that is normally rice husks from the previous year.

This serves two purposes. One, the ash or other organic matter is a fertiliser for the soil. Two, by making the snow dark it does not reflect the sun light and that in turn melts the snow faster. By late April or early May all the snow will be gone and crops can flourish.

Brown organic matter spread on the snow to help it melt, 16 March 2012

Brown organic matter spread on the snow to help it melt, 16 March 2012

The farmers snow destroyer, 16 March 2012

The farmers snow destroyer, 16 March 2012

The full picture

Dirty looking snow covered rice fields at the bottom of Hirafu village, 16 March 2012

Dirty looking snow covered rice fields at the bottom of Hirafu village, 16 March 2012

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes:

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload the CAPTCHA.