Understanding the Snow Report
Interpreting a Report – It is not necessary to be an expert in order to understand a ski report, but you should be aware of the terminology and how to apply it.
Average Base – “Average Base” is the depth of compacted snow covering of the slope area. As a general rule any Snowstar base report of 18” or more is adequate for good coverage. After all, you only ski on the top couple inches so it is the surface conditions that are most important.
Surface Conditions – Surface conditions are usually reported as they are at the time the report is updated. However, surface conditions may change throughout the day due to use and changing weather. Most areas, like Snowstar, groom their slopes every night.
Machine Groomed – refers to the loosely packed corduroy that the power tiller provides after grooming.
Powder – Fluffy dry snow that has not been compacted. It is most unusual to get one or two days of powder from Mother Nature in a season. When weather is very cold, snow guns also can produce powder conditions.
Packed Powder - Natural or man-made snow, packed by skier or grooming traffic. Snow is no longer fluffy, but it is not so compacted that it is hard.
Loose Granular - Powder or packed powder that has thawed then refrozen and then machine groomed.
Frozen Granular – Hard surface of old snow formed by granular freezing together after rain and warm weather.
Wet Granular – Loose granular snow that has been subjected to warm temperatures and/or rain.
Hard Pack - Firmly packed snow that has never melted and re-crystallized. It is compressed through grooming and wind exposure. Can still plant a pole.
Wet Snow – Powder that has become moist due to thaw or rain, or snow that was moist as it fell.
Wet Packed Snow – Snow that has been previously packed and became wet usually because of rain.
Icy – Hard glazed surface created either by freezing rain or by rapid freezing of snow saturated with water from rain or melting.
Spring Conditions – Wet granular conditions during day changing at sundown to frozen granular conditions.
not be regarded as a clear indication that skiing is likely to be poor. Some of the best days may be accompanied by icy spots where skiers have repeatedly turned and scraped their skis across a particular spot on the slopes causing the surface to “ice-up”. We should all remember that with the sophisticated grooming equipment that is now available, we can provide good conditions when Mother Nature forgets to help us. In spite of our best efforts, remember that conditions do change with the weather and skier use as the day progresses.
Freestyle Terrain Features – The number, size and shape of hits will change throughout the season, as skiers/snowboarders enjoy the challenges that such changes provide. Almost all landing are groomed every night to fill in depressions. Take offs are groomed often, typically every two to three days. Remember there are riders of all ability levels using the terrain so every jump cannot be huge. Not every jump will be suitable for you, find the ones you like and have fun.