Tools For Snowhounds

Use these tools if you're hankering to learn the secret of snow.

If you're serious about learning the language of snow, you have to get down on all fours and take a long, intimate look. Here's what you'll need to be a good snow-watcher:

Crystal catcher: A frying pan, preferably a dark one. Use it to catch free-falling snow or examine a very thin scattering of crystals from various snowpack layers. Make sure your pan is prechilled. In a pinch, a dark mitt will do.

Crystal scope: Invert your binoculars, look through the "wrong end" of one lens, and bring it up close to your loaded crystal catcher (pan). Flood the crystals with sunlight or a flashlight beam and behold the story in snow.