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Types of Snow? - Page 2

post #31 of 34
The fine-line for me is knowing when corn officially becomes slush. How do you make that distinction?

One that hasn't been mentioned would probably be just fall under the "spring conditions" category. It occurs in the afternoon, usually lower on the mountain when it's warm and there's so much moisture in the snow that no matter what wax you're using, it's still sticky on the flats.

One of my favorite conditions is probably knee-high powder over old moguls. The surface still shows the old bumps' curves slightly but it's more like a cloud's surface. You can just kind bounce and float through it.
post #32 of 34
Leaving out some of the more subjective adjectives, skiers have described snow with terms as:
wet powder
dry powder
cold smoke

packed powder
artificial snow
skier packed
firm pack
hard pack
frozen granular

death cookies
death hoar
sierra cement
cascade concrete
rain on snow
re-frozen rained on snow

mashed potatoes
spring conditions
re-frozen slush

wind pack
wind buff
wind cake
wind crust
wind slab
sun crust

The above might be categorized as descriptions of:
new snow types
old snow grooming and skier effected types
wind effected types
old snow sun effected types
old snow temperature effected types
metamorphised old snow types

Something which I always find amusing is the way many skiers tend to categorize snow in classifications and then talk about such types as though within each type the snow is pretty much the same. That is what I wish to comment about here. That is that within each type of description there are a range of conditions which a skier can sense while skiing and can react to subtly whether consciously or not. For some terms like death cookies there may not be too many varieties and for others as packed powder there will be a large range of such conditions which we can sense. As I ski on any mountain through the different aspects of terrain I am continually adjusting to different snow conditions and sensations. On a deep powder day the variations may be small with only some variations where the wind has caked the surface while at a resort with week old snow one might find a great range of "packed powder" and "skier packed". New powder? Oh yeah, a heck of a lot of variation there.

One particular type of new snow which skiers tend to ascribe some special formula to is Sierra cement. There is nothing really special about it or Cascade concrete beyond being higher moisture content wet powder. That is not to say that snow falling at 32 degrees at sea level is going to be exactly the same on average as the same snow falling at 32 degrees at 9000 feet since there are also atmospheric effects. But the result to skiers is not going to be all that different between Whistler, Tahoe, or Killington. Oh yeah I've skied wet slushy new snow from a storm rising north from New Mexico in April at Vail too and it the same thing folks. It just is more common in the Sierra than in Colorado or Utah. But we get our cold smoke days too just not as frequently as Alta. -dave
post #33 of 34
What I call "corn" is spring snow that's untracked and has those pock/dimple marks.

Absolutley one of my favorites.
post #34 of 34
Yuki - Do you mean, ball bearings with dimples, or a solid layer of snow with dimples on top. Personally, I always took it to be the former, and understood corn to be not all that different from ball bearing snow.

Tom / PM

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ November 24, 2001 08:36 PM: Message edited 1 time, by PhysicsMan ]</font>
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