By Wendy Langhans:
When I saw the snow falling in clumps on Sunday afternoon, I thought, “ummm…those would make good snowballs.” As a kid growing up in the Midwest, I learned two important things about snow. The first was, what kind of snow makes the best snowballs?
That depends, in part, on the amount of moisture in the snow. Dry snow has a high snow-to-liquid ratio, sometimes as high as 30:1. (That means that 30 inches of snow, when melted, will produce 1 inch of water.) Dry snow is less dense and less sticky, so the snow won’t pack well. Assuming you can pack it at all, the snowball will fall apart well before reaching the target.
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It also depends on how long the snow has been there. Snow that has thawed and refrozen several times has a granular structure that won’t pack well, although you may be able to eke out a small snowball. It stings when you get hit with one – trust me on this.
In my opinion, the best snowballs are made from fresh snow with a higher moisture content (a lower snow-to-liquid ratio). But don’t just take my word for it. According to this observer, “The very best snow for packing into snowballs is denser, moister snow that falls when it is near freezing”, much like the conditions we saw on Sunday.
The second thing I learned as a child living in the Midwest: don’t eat the yellow snow. I’ll leave that one for you to figure out for yourself.
A Snow Day in Wisconsin (~1954)
Upcoming Outdoor Events:
Saturday, January 15, 8:00-10:00 AM, Morning Bird Hike at Towsley Canyon. Kick off the new year by scouring the trails and identifying birds with Volunteer Naturalist Roger. With the migratory birds gone, it is a great time to view the resident activity. Beginners are welcome. Bring binoculars, easy walk. 2 hrs. For directions and trail maps, click here.
Saturday, January 15, 1:00-3:00 PM, at Whitney Canyon. Hibernate, Migrate, or Tolerate. Join Volunteer Naturalist Wendy for an afternoon resolving winter’s dilemma, how animals cope with the cold and scarcity of winter. Meet in the parking lot for this easy hike. 2 hrs For directions and trail maps, click here.
Trail Maintenance Schedule. Come join our volunteers as they help maintain our trails. Contact Steve at firstname.lastname@example.org for time and place.
Wednesday mornings, January 5, 12, 19 & 26.
Saturday mornings, December 8 & 22.
You can listen to stories like this every Friday morning at 7:10 a.m. on “The SCV Outdoor Report”, brought to you by your hometown radio station KHTS (AM1220) and by the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority.
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