Unusual Snow Roller phenomenon observed in Estes Park!

We finally received a good snowstorm in Estes Park on January 6th!  It snowed off and on for most of the way.  On the afternoon of the 6th I noticed there were some strange piles of snow forming in the open field to the West of me.  I had to go online to find out that these were called Snow Rollers. 

The snow rollers are formed when snow rolls down a hill or is pushed by the wind.  The snow forms into balls and picks up more snow like when you make a snowman.  These can be as small as a tennis ball or as large as a car!   Conditions need to be in a just-right balance between a thin surface layer of wet loose snow at a certain temperature, and beneath this- a layer of snow that does not stick to the top layer- such as a dry powdered snow.  Wind must also be strong enough to move the snow but not too strong to break it apart.

You never know what type of unusual weather phenomenon you will see in Estes Park!   It is part of the excitement of living here! 

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