There will be varying amounts of snowfall throughout the winter season. However, it is not just the volume falling that varies but also the type of snow.The snow report should give some idea of what to expect but it is a good idea to be aware of the terminology as well.

What Defines Types Of Snow?

The simplest way to describe the differences between different types of snow is - the shape of the flakes, how it falls and how it settles on the ground. The lightest amount of snowfall is known as a flurry, whilst heavier snowfall is generally known as a snow storm or a blizzard. The intensity of falling snow is determined by visibility. When visibility is over one kilometre snowfall is defined as light. Anything below half a kilometre is defined as heavy snowfall.

Shape Of Snow

Whilst snow generally falls in flakes, it can also form into a ball instead. This is known as ìgraupelî and includes sleet and snow. It occurs when freezing fog condenses on a snowflake. Dendrites are the most well known type of snowfall, the star shaped snowflake. Columns are six sided columns of snowflake. When snow goes through a super cooled cloud it gets coated in frozen water droplets. This is known as Rimed snow. Needles are a type of snow where the flakes are longer then their diameter.

Snow On The Ground

One type of snow that is unique to ski resorts is artificial snow, made by snow canons, which is manufactured in order to keep the pistes in the best possible condition. At the other end of the scale is powder, the type of snow that all skiers and snowboarders hope for and go out of their way to find. Fresh powder is ideal, but after it has been skied over by previous skiers it becomes chopped powder. Wind blown or refrozen snow is known as crud and is significantly harder to ski. When the snow has become packed down it is known as packed powder. This is the type of snow most commonly found in resorts. When snow becomes ice it becomes harder to ski on. When the temperature warms up later in the season snow becomes slush meaning that it is partially melted.