Anyone who has ever skied in Colorado on a powder day is familiar with the fluffy, light, impossible-to-make-a-snowball snow that makes for a memorable day of face shots and tight turns. While some may say a powder day is a powder day - if you've ever skied on the east coast in New England or in the Sierra Nevada mountain range in Tahoe - you understand that not all powder days are created equal.
As a kid I grew up skiing on the east coast. I also played hockey, which I believe helped me make the transition to skiing as with every corner and bump you have to be prepared to skate. I often joke with other east-coasters that we are some of the best skiers on earth because of the sheer treachery faced when coming over a blind hill only to find one solid, long, steep, sheet of ice, or trying to make tight turns in glades on some frosty dirt forced us to be prepared for anything.
So why the difference in the snowfall? Well, to anyone familiar with weather patterns and geography it isn't too hard to deduce. Colorado gets much of its moisture from the Pacific Ocean, nearly 1,000 miles away. By the time it reaches Colorado at 12,000 feet much of the heavier moisture has been sifted and the dry cold air creates a far lighter snowflake structure. Compared to Tahoe, at lower elevations and closer to the Pacific, or Vermont, only 200 miles from the Atlantic Ocean and elevations closer to 3500 ft., the moisture is far more dense and wet.
Check out the video below from The Weather Channel to learn more.