What kind of snow creates the best sledding conditions?
Jonny Mendoza and his dog Subi sled down a snowy hill in a park Monday, Nov. 26, 2018, in Kansas City, Kansas. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
For sledding enthusiasts, getting word of an upcoming snowfall comes with great anticipation.
The moment of truth comes when determining what type of snow has fallen. Will you soar down the hillside with ease or sink deep into the new snow, going nowhere but back indoors?
Learning the weather conditions can help you learn what will produce the greatest sledding experience.
Sledders thrive on heavy and wet snowfall and loathe light and dry snowfall. Snow ratios are vital to understanding the type of snow an area will be receiving.
According to AccuWeather Meteorologist Brett Rossio, snow ratio is defined as the volume of snow attainable per volume of water. An example would be a 10:1 snow ratio; for every 10 inches of snow that falls, melting it would produce 1 inch of water.
An avid sledder wants a low snow ratio. The lower the ratio, the wetter and heavier the snow. Lower snow ratios are produced when snow falls at or above freezing temperatures.
“If temperatures are borderline 32 degrees Fahrenheit, snowflakes will likely be wetter and compact at the surface, creating a smaller snow-liquid ratio and thereby a lesser snowfall accumulation total,” Rossio said.
The larger the snow ratio, the lighter and drier the snow will be.
"[With] temperatures much [lower], say 20 degrees Fahrenheit, the ratio will be much higher, 14:1 or 16:1, for example. Snow will be less likely to compact at these colder conditions and they will have the tendency to be drier and blow around more easily,” Rossio said.
It’s easy for sledders to determine what snowfall they want although it’s not as simple of a call for everyone else.
Heavy, wet snow can weigh down power lines and can be a true pain to shovel, while dry snow can whip around, impacting driving conditions and blowing right back to where it was once removed.
Nonetheless, all sledders should remember: if you hear snow is in the forecast, looking at the temperature as it falls will help you determine whether you should begin greasing up the sled.Report a Typo
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