What do you call various types of snow?


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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 09/02/2022 (227 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Snow is definitely a ‘hot’ topic this winter and one I could certainly rant about — but I won’t. Instead, I have opted to take another direction.

Have you ever wondered how many words and terms for snow there are in the English language?

Well, my vocabulary includes a few and, admittedly, a few I cannot print.

Photo by Debbie Ristimaki Correspondent Debbie Ristimaki’s bearded collie, Winnie, pictured here in Little Mountain Park, doesn’t care what snow is called — she just knows she likes it.

Let’s see, there is ‘snowball snow’ which is wet and easily moulded into a ball that holds its shape — perfect for launching at your arch nemesis. It can also be called ‘snowman snow’ as it is relatively easy to roll.

There is the fluffy stuff which is pretty and perfect for making snow angels, which is something everyone should try, at least once in their lives. Even Wikipedia will walk you through how to make one but, if new to you, I would suggest that many a child could demonstrate the technique. Heck, many an adult could do as well. The nice thing about it is that you can sweep it away or use a leaf blower, which I admit to having tried. Oh, and yes, downhill skiers and snowboarders love it.

Then there is ‘pizza snow’ — yes, there is such a thing, at least in my mind. It is crusty on top and fluffy underneath. You know you’ve got it when, using the side of your hand, you are able edge out a large circle in the top layer and then slide your hands under it, slowly lifting it and voilà, you have a ‘pizza.’

For those looking for the more scientific or technical terms, you need only look to the Farmer’s Almanac where you will find a list of 40 words and terms to describe snow — many of which I had never heard of. From sun cups to snirt and sastrugi to penitents, it definitely makes for an enlightening read.

According to the definitions provided, my snowball, fluffy and pizza snow would be corn, powder and crust. I think I prefer my terms

You can find the complete list with definitions at: www.farmersalmanac.com/how-many-words-snow-16650

Whatever you choose to call snow, we have certainly received our fair share so far this year and we are only in early February,  which means there is likely much more to come.

But, don’t lose hope. As the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley once said: “If winter comes, can spring be far behind?”

Debbie Ristimaki is a community correspondent for Bridgwater Forest.

Debbie Ristimaki

Debbie Ristimaki
Bridgwater Forest community correspondent

Debbie Ristimaki is a community correspondent for Bridgwater Forest.

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