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How to clear a path through 60 feet of snow

by Laura Domela

March 10, 2017 at 1:08 PM

tateyama.jpg

Mt. Tateyama rises 9,892 feet in Japan’s Hida Mountains and is considered one of the country’s Three Holy Mountains. It also may be one of the snowiest mountains in Japan, and perhaps one of the snowiest places on planet Earth.

The Hida Mountains are part of the Japanese Alps and meteorologists suspect that parts of the range receive as much as 1,500 inches of snow a year, or 125 feet. Piled continuously, that would be snow nearly half as high as the Statue of Liberty.

Amazingly, there is a highway that runs through a part of this epic snow country. Route 6 begins in the 420,000-person coastal city of Toyama, approaches the western flank of Mt. Tateyama, then disappears into a tunnel. The route eventually emerges on the other side of the Hida Mountains, in Nagano Prefecture, where the 1998 Winter Olympics were held. But just before the road enters the tunnel—and just after it passes the remote and The Shining-esque Tateyama Kokusai Hotel—it runs for about a quarter-mile along the base of a broad ridgeline. In Japan this particular stretch of highway is known as yuki-no-otani, or Snow Canyon.

The height of the canyon’s snow walls can reach a staggering 66 feet. via Atlas Obscura

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