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Beginner Skills

Tools For Snowhounds

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

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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.