Furano Avalanche Center (FAC)
FAC is an avalanche blog run by local Furano backcountry guides who saw the need to provide current avalanche condition information to the public. In contrast to most developed countries, Japan lacks a comprehensive, government-backed avalanche forecast for most regions, including central Hokkaido.
The primary aim of FAC is to help readers understand the importance of avalanche education and to reduce the accident rate. There have already been several instances where the contributors of this blog posted observations and warned of dangerous conditions before accidents occurred.
The primary intended audience are local (central Hokkaido) backcountry users. It is our understanding that avalanche safety knowledge and education are lacking among backcountry users in our region, relative to other popular winter mountain hubs around the world.
Snowpack character varies greatly between regions, making local knowledge indispensible. In Hokkaido, avalanche conditions often extend down to sea level.
FAC began operating in 2019 through it's Facebook page. Since then, feedback from the local community has been overwhelmingly encouraging. As a result, the blog continues to grow in quality of information shared and size of audience.
Since 2022, the blog has additionally been published on this website to reach a wider audience. Like the guides who contribute observations, this website was developed and is maintained by a local Furano volunteer.
Ryan Taylor of Furano Adventure Tours led the initiative to create FAC in 2019. To this day he is the most frequent contributor although much of the information he shares is provided by other local guides who wish to remain anonymous.
Ryan has been guiding and exploring Furano area since 2010, has accomplished 1st known ski descents in the area, and has a deep understanding of the conditions from the lowland forest to the highest remote peaks. He has made 1st ski descents in countries such as NZ, Greenland, Tajikistan and Japan.
His education includes professional avalanche qualifications recognized in the West (qualifications held by foreign forecasters in Japan are not recognized at a high level by the Japanese government), and BSc in Earth Science and a Post Graduate Diploma in GIS with focus on avalanche and terrain modeling. He spends his summers mostly working as an exploration geologist in the remote mountains of Hokkaido.
While we strongly encourage avalanche education, we do not accept advertisements on our blog. If you run avalanche courses in the area, we are happy to include your observations, with attribution, on the blog if we feel they complement the existing content.
If you come from a background of avalanche forecasting and have lived in Furano for several years, you could likely become a contributor. We are particularly interested in finding a native Japanese speaking contributor. Email us if you would like to get involved.
The idea to create a resource like this has long been talked about by many parties, but never happened prior to the launch of FAC in 2019, at least in part due to clashes in business interests. It is our belief that while a single company can provide a good set of observations, a combination of guides from different backgrounds operating in different ways, communicating openly, will provide the best information for local backcountry users. Furano Avalanche Center is where guides from different local companies come together to contribute to the greater good.