Snowmaking Quality Rating Chart

The following Snowmaking Quality Rating Chart provides a rapid means of describing the various general types of snow that can be produced with a snow gun during snowmaking operations and testing. The snow is normally checked in the heaviest portion of the snow plume and deposition zone under relatively stable ambient temperature and wind conditions. This deposition zone (15 to 50 ft away) exhibits the dampest snow product and is the area to be checked. The surrounding area will always have a drier snow product. Some snow guns will produce a wet spot right at the snow gun - ignore or wish for a better snow gun.

The simplest way of locating and recognizing this sampling area is to slowly increase water flow and observe where the snow is the dampest. This may take some time and does require you to go out under the snow gun to find the sampling area. Dress appropriately!

This chart will help the beginning snowmaker to understand the snow quality process, while the discriminating and experienced snowmaker can appreciate the many finer points in the quality description process. For clarification one can ski under P+ and above snow quality without having the snow stick to the skis.

P++ A Skiers Nirvana

P+ Powder Snow that cannot be packed into a snowball

P* Snow that can be packed into a easily crumbled snowball

P Snow that produces a firm white snowball

P- Snow that produces a gray snowball

P- - Snow that is wet and generally ugly

As a general rule the simplest snow quality transition to observe and use is the P+ to P* change. This will provide you with the most accurate and repeatable results for snow gun comparisons. The discriminating snowmaker can observe several stages in this transition.