Snow Conditions Key
Cold, new, loose, fluffy, dry snow that has not been compacted. This
is usually the product of fresh, natural snowfall.
Packed Powder (PP)
Powder snow, either natural or machine-made, that has been
packed down by skier traffic or grooming machines. The snow is no longer fluffy,
but it is not so extremely compacted that it is hard.
Hard Pack (HP)
When natural or machine made snow becomes very firmly packed. The
snow has never melted and re-crystallized, but it's been tightly compressed through
grooming and continuous wind exposure. You can plant a pole in hard packed snow,
but it takes more effort than packed powder. Unlike frozen granular snow, hard
packed snow is generally white in color.
Loose Granular (LSGR)
This surface results after powder or packed powder thaws,
then refreezes and re-crystallizes, or from an accumulation of sleet. This is also
created by machine grooming of frozen or icy snow.
Frozen Granular (FRGR)
This is often a misunderstood surface condition. Frozen
granular is a hard surface of old snow formed by granules freezing together after
a rain or warm temperatures. There are a wide range of frozen granular surfaces
which offer different textures. Some surfaces may be easy to turn on and others
may be more difficult and require sharp edges. Frozen granular will support a ski
pole stuck into the surface. In contrast, ice will form chips and will not support
the pole. It can and often does return to loose granular after proper machine grooming.
Wet Packed Snow (WETPS)
Natural or machine made snow that has been previously
packed and becomes wet from warm temperatures, rain or humidity.
Wet Granular (WETGR)
Loose or frozen granular snow which has become wet from warm
temperatures, rain or humidity. This is typically an easy to ski surface.
Spring Conditions (SC)
May only be used from March 1st on). This is the spring
version of Variable Conditions. Like variable conditions, this term is used when
no one surface can describe 70% of the terrain open for skiing. It is not uncommon
for other evidence of spring to be present such as bare spots, a discolored surface
from melting and traffic. Also firm frozen snow in cool shady spots can be found
while heavy wet snow is found in open sunny areas.
Windblown Snow (WBLN)
A windy day can blow the surface snow, either powder or
granular, into drifts in some places, leaving a firmly packed base snow.
Corn snow, usually found in the spring, is characterized by large,
loose granules during the day which freeze together at night, and then loosen
again during the day.
Not to be confused with frozen granular, ice is a hard, glazed surface
created either by freezing rain, ground water seeping up into the snow and freezing
or by the rapid freezing of snow saturated with water from rain or melting. It is
important to note that, generally, frozen granular is opaque whereas ice is translucent.
Variable Conditions (VC)
When no primary surface (70% or more) can be determined,
variable conditions describes a range of surfaces that can be encountered. It could
mean that part of the trails are loose granular, part are packed powder, part are
frozen granular and some are wet granular.
Wet Snow (WETSN)
Powder snow which has become moist and heavy due to a thaw or
rainfall, or snow which was moist, as it fell.