Snow conditions are widely published in newspapers, and broadcast on both radio and television stations, and reported on the Internet. Are the reports believable? Absolutely! However, be aware that conditions may change abruptly because of swiftly shifting weather patterns or exceptionally heavy trail use.

(Of course, every skier has arrived at a resort with bare spots showing only to hear others saying: “Oh, man. You should have skied here last week. Wow. But great.” Or has left a ski area with half the trails closed due to lack of snow only to turn on the car radio on the drive down the access road and hear: “Heavy snows beginning this evening.”)

Here are the snow condition terms and definitions used to indicate what ski conditions are like:

NS - New Snow. The average accumulation of natural snowfall in the past 24 hours, or continuously for more than a day, from the summit to the base.

ABD - Average Base Depth. The average depth of snow over an entire ski area.

PSC - Primary Surface Condition. The snow conditions that exist over at least 70 percent of an area.

SSC - Secondary Surface Condition. The next-most-prevalent conditions, over at least 20 percent of the terrain.

PDR - Powder. Cold, new, loose, fluffy dry snow.

PP - Packed Powder. Powder snow, either natural or machine made, that has been packed by grooming machines or traffic. It’s no longer fluffy, but it’s not hard.

HP - Hard Packed. Snow that’s been very firmly packed by grooming and wind. You can plant a pole in it, but this takes more effort than with packed powder.

MGS - Machine-Groomed Snow. Loose, granular snow repeatedly groomed by power tillers. Its texture is halfway between LSGR and PP. Some of it has been so pulverized that its texture is like powdered sugar.

WETSN - Wet Snow. Powder or packed-powder snow that has become moist due to a thaw or rain; or, snow that was damp when it fell.

WETPS - Wet Packed Snow. Natural or machine-made snow that was previously packed and then became wet, usually from rain.

LSGR - - Loose Granular. Powder or packed powder that’s thawed then refrozen and recrystallized; or been sleeted on. LSGR can also result from the machine grooming of frozen or icy snow.

FRGR - Frozen Granular. Often misunderstood, this terms refers to a hard surface of old snow formed when granules freeze after rain or warm temperatures. You can stick a ski pole in its surface.

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