Jun 26

Photo of the Week: Skiing Rime

Anyone who has spent time high up in the mountains during winter has probably curiously admired the beautiful, delicate and feather-like formations of rime on trees, chairlift towers, signs and rocks. (The second photo below is an example of some rather thick and icy rime.) According to the Miriam-Webster Dictionary, rime is “an accumulation of granular ice tufts on the windward sides of exposed objects that is formed from supercooled fog or cloud and built out directly against the wind.”

Ice tufts…cool.

While it’s always a treat to get up above tree line and spot the unique and delicate formations that rime creates, there’s nothing quite like encountering an entire slope plastered with a particularly soft and feathery coat of “ice tufts”.

Sometimes, as was the case this past March in New Hampshire’s White Mountains, these rime-coated slopes can be the only edgable slopes around – with the rime’s delicate structure offering a nice, carveable texture (See first photo – Skier: Ian Forgays). Most slopes on other aspects that day were essentially bullet-proof and simply too firm for safe skiing on slopes steeper than approx. 25 degrees. That day, we also discovered that the delicate rime from the adjacent rock face (at right of skier in first photo) had crumbled and piled up two to three inches deep along the left side of the slope. It wasn’t knee deep, but it was untracked…

Fresh rime.

The third photo depicts a ski descent we made from the top of a volcanic plug in the Arctic a couple of years back, through boot-deep rime. Rime feathers on that mountain piled up to 6″ tall in places and made for some of the most unique ski/snow conditions we’ve ever experienced.

-Brian and Emily

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1 comment

  1. Chris S.

    That volcano descent is wild.

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