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31.01.2016
Even though Google Maps is my favourite Jamaican map, I would still advise you to purchase a printed map like the Shell Road Map. Utah has long claimed to have the greatest snow on Earth—the state itself has even trademarked the phrase.
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Steenburgh also examines ski and snowboard regions beyond Utah, making this book a meteorological guide to mountain weather and snow climates around the world. Tom exclaimed, "Intermountain folk will tell you that the winds blowing from the west leave the wet, sticky snows in the Sierras. That's just a sprinkling of what you'll find in this vast, scenic country that is the Intermountain area. There is no doubt, however, that skiers and snowboarders believe there is something special about Utah snow. Utah ski areas, especially those in Big and Little Cottonwood Canyons southeast of Salt Lake City (figure 1.3), are perennially ranked at or near the top for powder in North America.
Alta and Snowbird in upper Little Cottonwood Canyon are frequently co-listed as number one.What makes the snow in Utah so special?
Many people believe, as suggested on the Alta Lodge website, that "it is a scientific fact that Utah's snow is lighter and drier." Others argue that the snow in Utah is superior because of the Great Salt Lake or the drying influence of upstream deserts. It turns out that Utah snow isn't even the lightest and driest in the United States.Snow Water ContentThe density of snow depends on its water content, the percentage of the snow that is frozen or liquid water.


Light, dry snow has a low water content, is fluffy and easy to shovel, and is a breeze to ski through (figure 1.4). Heavy, wet snow has a high water content, is dense and difficult to shovel, and is often more challenging to ski. Meteorologists classify new snow as light when it has a water content of less than 7 percent, average when it has a water content of 7 to 11 percent, and heavy when it has a water content of greater than 11 percent. Man-made snow has a water content of 24 to 28 percent, which is why it is great for base building and not much else. After a storm, freshly fallen snow becomes denser with time as the ice crystals settle and the air spaces shrink. By spring, the water content of a settled natural snowpack is usually between 40 and 50 percent.Determining the water content of new snow requires measuring the snow depth and the snow water equivalent, the depth of the water you would have after the snow melts.
To measure new snow depth, a white, wooden board is usually placed on the ground or snowpack in a wind-sheltered area prior to a storm (figure 1.5). During or immediately after the storm, snow-depth measurements are made on the board with a ruler or using an ultrasonic snow-depth sensor, a clever device that bounces sound waves off of the snow surface to measure the snow depth. To obtain the snow water equivalent, one collects and melts down (or weighs) a snow sample from the board. The ratio of the snow water equivalent to the snow depth expressed as a percentage is the water content.
Snow depth and water content can vary dramatically over short distances, especially if the wind is blowing.
Take some snow measurements in your yard during a windy snowstorm and you'll see what I mean.


Four measurements collected every six hours and added will yield a greater total snow depth and lower water content than a single measurement collected at the end of the twenty-four-hour period.As a result, snow-depth and water-content reports are not precise and are sometimes quite poor. An overenthusiastic ski area can easily game the system by taking frequent observations or sampling in locations that collect the most snow.
Even observations collected by meteorologists and snow-safety professionals (women and men involved in the study, forecasting, and control of avalanches) are subject to errors and are sparse in coverage. In the western United States, snow with the highest average water content falls in the Pacific states, which include the Cascade Mountains and Sierra Nevada where the snow is known as Cascade concrete or Sierra cement. These mountain ranges feature a maritime snow climate with mild temperatures and heavy snow. Snow with the lowest average water content falls over portions of Montana, Wyoming, and Colorado, where it is often called cold smoke, champagne powder, or blower pow.
These areas feature a continental snow climate characterized by low temperatures and light snow. As a result, the snow in Utah has a lower water content than that found in the Pacific states but a slightly higher water content than that found in Montana, Wyoming, and western Colorado. The average water content of Utah snow is also comparable to or slightly higher than that found in the snowbelts near the eastern Great Lakes.Remember that these are average values and snow water content can vary significant from storm to storm and even during storms.
It is possible to ski champagne powder in the Cascades and Sierra or concrete in Utah and Colorado.



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