Arctic and sub-Arctic snow is deposited on ground that can have significant microrelief due to tundra hummocks and tussocks. The microrelief, a substantial fraction of the total snow depth, causes basal layers of snow (usually depth hoar) to be discontinuous. In-situ measurements made at four locations in Alaska indicate lateral temperature gradients up to 60°C m −1 exist at the snow/ground interface due to the microtopography. For all sites, the winter average range of temperature along a 1.5 m transect at the interface varied from 4°C to greater than 7°C. Heat-flux transducers placed at the tops and bases of tussocks indicated that vertical heat flow was consistently 1.4 to 2.1 times higher at the top than the base. Results of a conductive model based on tussock height are consistent with these measurements.