New categories for the climatic division of snowy areas according to their snow-cover character in mid-winter are proposed. They are a wet-snow region, a dry-snow region, an intermediate snow region and a depth-hoar region. The wet-snow region is defined as the region in which every layer of deposited snow is wet due to percolation of snowmelt water throughout the winter. In contrast, areas in which the snow cover is dry, at least in the coldest period of the winter season, are classified into two categories, that is the dry-snow region and the depth-hoar region. In the latter region, the small snow depth and low air temperature induce development of depth hoar. The intermediate snow region was introduced to indicate an intermediate character between the dry-snow and wet-snow regions. From the climatic dataset calculated by the Japanese Meteorological Agency and from snow surveys, it has been found that in snowy areas, which have a climatic monthly mean temperature in January (Tjan
) higher than 0.3°C, snow would be expected to be wet throughout the winter and, in areas that have Tjan, lower than −1.1°C, to be dry at least in the coldest period. Snow covers, where Tjan
is between these two values, are expected to have intermediate characters. Therefore, these temperatures are supposed to be critical values among the wet, dry and intermediate snow regions. The criterion that separates the depth-hoar region from the dry-snow areas was found to be given by a climatic mean temperature gradient. This value lies between 10 and 12°Cm−1, which is derived by dividing the absolute value of the average of the climatic monthly mean air temperature, which is always below 0°C, by the average of the monthly maximum snow depth during January and February.