Analysing terrain data
The exposure grade does not take into account objective hazards (stone fall, seracs, etc) but only the consequences of the skier falling.
Low Exposure (E1): Exposure is limited to that of the slope itself. Getting hurt is still likely if the slope is steep and/or the snow is hard.
Medium Exposure (E2): As well as the slope itself, there are some obstacles (such as rock outcrops) which could aggravate injury.
High Exposure (E3): In case of a fall, death is highly likely.
Extreme Exposure (E4): In case of a fall, the skier faces certain death.
Access to the Waterfall line is found through Gate 9, a short walk to the left out of the Hanazono Quad Lift #2 top station.
9 back-country gate locally called 'Waterfall' can also be reached from the Renraku piste.
Renraku can be accessed from The Swinging monkey chair and also the Hanazono Hooded Quad Lift #3. After exiting Gate 9 follow the ridge line, ignoring tracks leading to the skiers right immediately out of the gate and continue along the ridge line for 50 metres.
At this point turn to the skiers right perpendicular to ridge line, seeking the least dense tree line to travel over the convexity onto the line.
The gradient of the line will increase, opening to a wide powder field with many line options filled with playful pillows, tree lines and powder meadows.
To the skiers left tight trees will often yield fresh tracks late into the afternoon, and to the skiers right you will find large open spaces and well spaced trees.
Due to the prevailing wind in Niseko and the gradient of the line this route can often be a place to find the deepest of the day after mid-season snow falls. After 200 metres of descent the line will lead to a narrow bottomed valley which should be approached care.
To the skiers left a steep increase in gradient will be clear and this is the location of a small waterfall, hence the name of the line.
During early winter this will be more visible and a steam will be present, however snow bridges will quickly form after the season's first few snowfalls.
The stream can be crossed uphill or downhill of the waterfall using snow bridges that are clearly tracked. It is advisable to carry a small length of climbing rope (15 metres) in addition to the recommended avalanche safety gear, as due to the abundance of volcanic hot springs it is common for sink holes to be present in the snow pack. After using snow bridges to cross the valley bottom continue down hill, staying as high as possible to the skiers right.
Continuing to follow this shoulder around using commonly found tracks will return you back to the green piste 'Holiday'.
From here you can simply return to the Hirafu Gondola base area.