The general snowpack and avalanche conditions that prevail in a mountain region over a long period

Snow climates are a broad way to characterize a snowpack. Mountain ranges that share the same snow climate will, on average, share similar snowpack characteristics and avalanche problems. Snow climates are shaped by weather patterns, proximity to oceans, and topography. They are broken into the following three categories: Maritime, Intermountain, or Continental.  

Classification of snow climates in the West. Credit: Mock and Birkeland