Learn How to Measure Snow

Measuring snow depth takes only a few minutes out of your day, and you’ll become part of a growing community of observers. You'll also have a chance to understand more about the snowpack and its variability in the areas that you frequent. Here's how to stay safe outdoors during the pandemic.

Step 1: Prepare

  • Launch your snow app. Doing this before taking measurements will give your phone time to find its position. If the app was already open, close and re-open it.
  • Assemble snow probe.

Step 2 : Measure & Record

  • Find a good spot. Measure in a safe place, and in undisturbed snow without tree wells, ski tracks, etc.
  • Find the ground. Push probe firmly into the snow, down to the ground, to get through ice or dense snow layers. Measurement will be the number closest to the snow surface.
    • If snow is deeper than probe length:  Dig a ~50 cm pit with a vertical wall. From bottom of pit, push probe to the ground. Mark top of probe on the vertical wall of snow. Remove probe and use it to measure the additional distance from the mark to the snow surface. Add the numbers to get total snow depth.
  • Get an average. If possible, repeat 3-4 times in a small area and average those measurements.
  • Record your observation using your chosen app.

Check out the one-minute video below to see how it's done. If you still have questions about how to measure and record, please contact us!

Here's what you need

snow probe

Snow probe with markings in centimeters. It's an essential part of your backcountry safety gear, and doubles as a tool for making snow measurements.

plus one of these apps

mountain hub app iconSmartphone with Mountain Hub app

For iOS or Android

OR

snowpilot logo Desktop computer with SnowPilot

Sign up or log in to SnowPilot

OR

regobs app iconSmartphone with Varsom Regobs

For iOS or Android

OR

citsci app iconSmartphone with CitSci app

For iOS or Android

Mountain Hub app tutorials

Activity feed

Map tutorial

Snow depth submission

Settings