Sure, there are noticeable differences in weather from coast to coast, but have you ever thought about how the snow differs? That’s right, the snow on the east coast is in no way similar to snow on the west coast! The two American coasts experience either dry snow or wet snow during winter, and it’s all because of elevation and proximity to the ocean.
The eastern coast of the United States gets moisture for snow from the Atlantic Ocean. In popular skiing locations like Vermont, that’s only about 200 miles away. The closeness of the ocean means there is a lot of moisture in the air, which is why the snow on the east coast is wet and heavy. Sometimes the densely filled snowflakes melt before they even make contact with the ground, so they end up falling as raindrops. In Vermont, the elevation is approximately 2,500 feet and the average snowfall amount in major Vermont skiing city, Killington, is 250 inches every year.
The west coast’s snow is different in almost every way. The moisture contained in the snow comes from the Pacific Ocean, but to get to snowy locations like Colorado, that moisture has to travel over 1,000 miles and through coastal mountain ranges. There is less moisture in the air when the snow reaches Colorado, which is why the snow is described as dry and fluffy. The elevation here is over 12,000 feet, and in the skiing mecca of Vail, CO, the average snowfall is 354 inches per year.
Meteorologist Sam Champion has more on the snowy comparison here:
In conclusion, snow changes according to moisture levels and elevation, so the two coasts of America see very contrasting types of snow! Both variations have a distinct feel when skiing or snowboarding on the east coast snow vs. the west coast snow… which would you prefer? Dry and fluffy or wet and heavy?