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Vermont ski area conditions

Worldwide snow conditions

Why does it snow?

So we can ski and snowboard. Snow forms when moisture in the clouds freezes in to crystals and these crystals stick together. These crystals are actually clear but the reflection of light makes them appear white. Snow normally contains between 5% and 15% water. It was a Vermonter, Wilson Bentley, who first studied snowflakes in the late 1800's. He used a microscope to view them and a camera to record what he saw and record over 80 different types of snowflake.

Can it be too cold to snow?

No, it can't be too cold to snow. However one of the conditions that enables very cool temperatures is an absence of clouds to insulate the earth. So on nights when there is very cold there is likely to be no clouds. Snow comes from clouds, so no clouds means no snow. Given the right cold air systems however it can be very cold and cloudy so it could snow.

Which is better, a Weather Advisory, a Weather Watch or a Weather warning?

Heavy Snow Warnings are issued when snowfall totaling 7 inches or more in 12 hours and when snowfall totaling 9 inches or more in 24 hours is expected.

Snow Advisories are issued when snowfall is expected to exceed 2 inches but not more than 5 inches.

Winter Storm Warnings are issued when hazardous winter weather is occurring or imminent. Hazardous winter weather includes heavy snow, blizzards, ice storms, freezing rain and sleet.

Winter Weather Advisories are issued for winter weather situations that may cause significant inconvenience and, if caution is not exercised, could lead to life threatening situations. They are issued when events are occurring, or highly likely to occur.

Heavy snow warnings mean the most snow so obviously they are the best.

What is a chionophile? Chionophiles are organisms (animals, plants, fungi, etc.) that can thrive in cold winter conditions. These animals have specialized adaptations that help them survive the harshest winters. For example down jackets and long appendages on their feet. Examples of chionophiles are penguins, marmots, moose, puffins, seals, skiers and snowboarders.