Terrain that is protected from the influence of wind.
Credit: Crested Butte Avalanche Center
Wind sheltered terrain is typically found below treeline and in protected basins. Winds more commonly affect higher elevations, protruding (or exposed) terrain features, and open, treeless areas. Stronger wind speeds will mix further into normally protected terrain. Newly fallen snow tends to be softer and lower in density where it is sheltered from the wind.
In contrast to wind affected terrain, wind sheltered terrain has softer, fluffier snow on the surface and new snow remains on tree branches. Credit: Flathead Avalanche Center
Wind sheltered terrain is often found at lower elevations where winds are weaker and trees reduce wind effects. Credit: Crested Butte Avalanche Center
A storm slab in wind sheltered terrain. Credit: Sierra Avalanche Center
This snowmobiler is riding in wind sheltered terrain, observing wind blowing snow off of trees and ridges at higher elevations. Credit: Flathead Avalanche Center