Surface Definitions

The following snow surface definitions will help in understanding the type of snow surface reported at Saddleback. This information has been supplied by SnoCountry Mountain Reports. (www.snowcountry.com)

Powder (P) - 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/rider traffic or grooming machines.

Hard Pack (HP) - When natural or machine made snow becomes very firmly packed. You can plant a pole in hard pack snow, but it takes more effort than packed powder.

Loose Granular (LG) - This surface results after powder or packed powder thaws, then refreezes and recrystallizes, or from an accumulation of sleet. This is also created buy grooming frozen or icy snow.

Frozen Granular (FG) - 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. Frozen Granular will support a ski pole stuck into the surface. In contrast, ice will not support the pole. Frozen Granular often does return to Loose Granular after proper machine grooming.

Wet Packed Snow (WPS) - Natural or machine made snow that has been previously packed and becomes wet usually because of rainfall or warm temperatures.

Wet Granular (WG) - Loose or frozen granular snow which has become wet from warm temperatures, rain or humidity. This is typically an easy to ski surface.

Wet Snow (WS) - Powder snow which has become moist and heavy due to a thaw or rainfall, or snow which was moist as it fell.

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.

Variable Conditions (VC) - When no primary surface (70% or more) can be determined, this surface describes a range of surfaces that can be encountered.

Spring Conditions (SC) - This term is only used after March 1. This is the spring version of Variable Conditions. Like Variable Conditions, this term is used when no primary surface (70% or more) can be determined. It is not uncommon for other evidence of spring to be present such as thin and bare spots and discoloration.

Corn (Corn) - Usually found in the spring. This surface is characterized by large, loose granules during the day which freezes together at night, and then loosens again during the day.

Icy (Icy) - Not to be confused with Frozen Granular, ice is a hard, glazed surface created by either 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. Ice will not support a ski pole. It is important to note that Frozen Granular is opaque whereas ice is translucent.