While ice might feel literally the coolest, snow is without a doubt the most exciting form of water. But nothing about this substance is as clear as it might appear. Here are some interesting facts about snow
Physics, geography, and languages
An average snowflake consists of up to 180 billion molecules of water. And despite common belief, two snowflakes can be identical.
If you want to experience the most incredible snow depths in the world, head to the Japanese Alps on Honshu island. Between 30 to 38 meters of snow reportedly fall there every year.
— Paul Horton (@PaulHortonCBS5) January 26, 2016
If you feel like everything seems quieter after snow freshly falls, you are not mistaken. The flakes absorb soundwaves which turns everything hushed and quieter. On the other hand, once everything freezes, ice works as an amplifier. Reflecting the sound waves, it makes sound travel further and clearer.
Scots have more expressions referring to snow than Inuits. While there are 50 different Eskimo words describing various kinds of the white powder, according to the Historical Thesaurus of Scots, there are 421 such terms in Scotland, including “snaw” (snow), “skelf” (a large snowflake), or “sneesl” (to begin to rain or snow).
There is also a coined term describing the fear of snow — clinophobia.
Fun, games, and violence
The biggest snowball fight in human history took place on 31 January 2016, in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. More than 20,000 participants reportedly came to join the fun activity. However, as the organizers underestimated the number of people interested, they gave out only a limited number of wristbands that served as the counting tool. Therefore, the official Guinness World Record established during this event is only 7,681.
Snowball fights are nothing new and definitely not reserved only for kids. During the American Civil War in 1863, two camps of soldiers started a friendly fight which ended up with nearly 9,000 participants overall.
But snow is not only a means of cold-handed violence, it actually offers a lot of space for heavenly activities. An example would be an event that took place in North Dakota, United States, in 2007, where 8,962 people simultaneously performed snow angels.
Winter sports’ history
Skiing belongs to the oldest sports overall and reportedly has Norwegian origin. It seems that the first enthusiastic skiers appeared in the Scandinavian country thousands of years ago and even the word “ski” comes from the Old Norse word “skíð”, meaning a piece of wood.
However, Norway might not necessarily be the birthplace of this particular activity. Recently, researchers have found 8,000 years old primitive wooden planks resembling skis near Lake Sindor in Russia.
While the origin of skiing is not that clear, its close relative — ski jumping — comes from Norway for sure. The sport owes a huge debt to the Norwegian military as it was major-general Olaf Rye who, in 1808, performed a ski jump 9.5 meters long while fooling around with his troops.
The first snowboard was actually called a snurfer — a surfboard to use on snow. The popular plank was created in 1965 when Sherman Poppen from Michigan, US, joined two skis together to make a more stable device for his daughter.
Apparently, there is even a sport called ski archery which is similar to biathlon but instead of a rifle, the sportsmen use — you guessed it — a bow.