Category:About Snow

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Information about snow in general - what is it, how it forms, weather patterns that bring snow, snow making, snow grooming, different types of snow and stuff.


Basics on how to interpret a synoptic chart looking for key things like cold outbreaks and cutoff lows. What on earth is a 540 line and why do people talk about it? What does cold snow bearing cloud look like on a satellite image? What pet theories are then on predicting snowfalls or the season ahead? What about the future and global warming, what impact will that have on us?

Snow Making

What is the difference between a fan gun and an air/water gun? Under what conditions can you make snow? What is the difference between natural snow and the man made stuff? What about cloud seeding?

Snow Grooming

Groomed slopes are often called "piste" while runs that are not groomed are called "off-piste".

When a ski run is groomed, it has had a snow tractor ("snokat") drive over the ski run with special grooming equipment attached. The purpose is to flatten any bumps created by traffic and remove any unseen hazards such as dangerous ice patches. The final result after a slope has been groomed is a super flat and smooth run free of any hazards that could affect your skiing or snowboarding.

Types of Snow

  • Corn Snow: Usually found in the Spring, this snow is characterized by it's large, corn kernel size granules.
  • Death Cookies: Large frozen lumps of snow created by poor grooming, avalanche debris, crumbled cornices etc. Deadly when hit, and even worse when covered by a layer of new snow so they are invisible.
  • Elephant Snot: Similar to wet snow but characteristic of Aussie conditions when you get nice dry snow and then it warms up and turns to the consistency of porridge.
  • Hard Pack: When natural snow becomes firmly packed by repeated grooming or continuous wind exposure. Often snow that has never melted or recrystalized.
  • Icy: Icy is a hard, glazed surface created by one or a combination of the following: freezing rain, rapid freezing temperatures or saturation from ground water seeping up into the snow and then freezing. This type of snow often has a translucent appearance.
  • Machine Groomed: Loose granular snow that has been repeatedly groomed by power tillers.
  • New Over: This snow is used to describe any accumulation of snow over an existing surface, for example "New over packed powder" or "New over machine groomed".
  • Packed Powder: Powder snow that has been packed down up the above mentioned forces. It is no longer fluffy, but not hard snow, either.
  • Powder: The product of fresh, natural snow. Cold, new, loose, fluffy dry snow that has not been compacted by skier traffic or grooming.
  • Porridge: See Elephant Snot.
  • Sierra Cement: See Elephant Snot - term used mostly in the Sierra Nevadas in California as their snow isn't as dry as places like Colorado
  • Wet Snow (Wet Pack): Snow that has become moist due to thaw or rainfall. Snow with a high moisture content when it fell.


This category has only the following subcategory.

Pages in category "About Snow"

The following 9 pages are in this category, out of 9 total.