/Tag:National Avalanche Center

Graupel, a “supercooled” type of precipitation

What is graupel? Look! Up in the sky! Is it snow? Hail? Sleet? No, you meteorological ignoramus, it's graupel! Of all the types of frozen precipitation that fall from the heavens, graupel is probably the most obscure. The Washington Post calls it "the wintry precipitation you've never heard of." Graupel from a 2013 storm in [...]

By | 2016-11-19T15:13:01+00:00 November 3rd, 2016|Snow, Weather|0 Comments

What is sastrugi (aka zastrugi)?

What is sastrugi (aka zastrugi)? It's not easy to ski or snowboard, but sastrugi is a beautiful feature of the winter landscape. Also spelled zastrugi, this type of wind-blasted snow resembles frozen waves. It's often found on ridges and mountaintops. As the wind erodes snow from the windward side of a ridge or other obstacle, [...]

By | 2016-12-06T20:16:22+00:00 July 14th, 2016|Avalanche, Snow, Terrain|0 Comments

Avalanche probe: gear you hope to never use for real

What is an avalanche probe? An avalanche probe is a rod that's used to poke through avalanche debris in order to find a buried victim. Resembling a collapsible pole for erecting a tent, an avalanche probe is what rescuers use to search for someone beneath the snow, hopefully after they've quickly located the person by sight [...]

By | 2016-11-09T19:29:56+00:00 May 18th, 2016|Avalanche, Backcountry, Gear|0 Comments

Snow cornice: beautiful but potentially deadly

What is a snow cornice? From the Italian word for "ledge," a cornice is a mass of overhanging ice or snow, typically found on a ridgetop or edge of a cirque. A snow cornice is both a launching pad for hucking jumps and a potentially deadly avalanche risk if the formation collapses underfoot.   Cornice etymology If you're [...]

By | 2016-11-22T19:45:03+00:00 May 11th, 2016|Avalanche, Backcountry, Terrain|0 Comments