The Eskimos had fifty-two names for snow because it was
important to them: there ought to be as many for love.
—Margaret Atwood
This is the quote that got me started with this project looking into terms for snow and experiencing and really looking closely at snow in all of its forms and conditions in the Kananaskis region of southwestern Alberta.  While Canada's north is far from Kananaskis I have a curiosity with snow and a fascination with how indigenous communities describe it. While not described in words, my photographs attempt to capture the visual vocabulary of snow with a focus on a single geographic area.

31 words from the Igloolik Research Centre
Aluiqqaniq : Snowdrift on a steep hill, overhanging on top.

Aniuk : Snow for drinking water.

Aniuvak : Snow remaining in holes.

Aput : Snow on the ground (close to the generic Snow)

Aqilluqqaaq : Fresh and soggy snow

Auviq : Snow brick, to build igloo

Ijaruvak : Melted snow, turned in ice crystals.

Isiriartaq : Falling snow, yellow or red.

Kanangniut : Snowdrift made by North-East wind.

Katakartanaq : Crusty snow, broken by steps.

Kavisilaq : Snow hardened by rain or frost

Kinirtaq : Wet and compact snow.

Masak : Wet snow, saturated.

Matsaaq : Snow in water

Maujaq : Deep and soft snow, where it's difficult to walk.

Mingullaut : Thin powder snow, enters by cracks and covers objects.

Mituk : Small snow layer on the water of a fishing hole.

Munnguqtuq : Compressed snow which began to soften in spring.

Natiruviaqtuq: Snow blasts on the ground.

Niggiut : Snowdrift with South-east wind

Niummak : Hard waving snow staying on ice fields

Pingangnuit : Snowdrift made by south-west wind

Piqsiq : Snow lift by wind. Blizzard.

Pukak : Dry snow crystals, like sugar powder

Qannialaaq : Light falling snow

Qanniq : Falling snow

Quiasuqaq : Re-frozen snow surface, making crust.

Qiqiqralijarnatuq: Snow when walked on.

Uangniut : Snowdrift made by north-west wind.

Uluarnaq : Round snowdrift

Uqaluraq : Tapered snowdrift

A Sample Set of Utkuhiksalingmiutitut
Ice Words from Briggs and Johns.
Iřitittuq thin ice weighted down by snow or many fish piled beside fishing hole so that has sunk; and surface (if it's by a fishing hole) has become water-covered. c.f. iřiqtut They are hiding.

Ikiqtiniq the channel of water that is formed between shore and sea/lake/river ice after the ice has loosened and floated up and away from the bottom of the water in spring.

Ikkalruq a place in the sea where ice rests on top of an underwater ' hill ' ( stays resting on the ' hill ' when the surrounding water level has dropped . cf . ikkattuq it is shallow (water or sleep).

Illaurat plural. illauraq singular. vertical ice needles that result from (or that constitute the ice surface, on both sea and lake, when) water has drained off in spring.

Ipřuaqtittuq the ice has gotten thick; said when the ice is about two feet thick. Exclamatory: ipřuqtilla&ranguřaqquq The ice is really getting thick! c.f. ipřutaq thick (cloth, pile of papers, etc.) ivulaaqtuq.

Kaanniq a place where ice has detached and risen up from the river or sea bottom, i.e. from the land under the ice.

Kipuktitaqtut plural. many pieces of ice have run under/over each other from opposite directions to create layered ice. cf . kipuktut they pass , coming from opposite direction without seeing or taking note of each other ( even if they do see each other ).

Kuaha ice with no snow on top ( i.e., slippery ).

Kuřřiniq a concavity/depression in sea ice in vicinity of a seal hole or crack. They can be wide , long , winding , and ( after a time ) as deep as three feet. Water stands in them and drains into the hole or crack.

Maniillat plural. uneven ice, forced up and broken by pressure. cf . maniituq it ( surface ) is rough or uneven.

Nataaq a thin underlayer of ice between two layers of water in river ; from top down : ice - water - ice [ nataaq ] - water - river bottom.

Piqulajaq iceberg.

Puktaaq a piece of flat drifting ice used as a raft; people can fish from it.

Qaaptinniq white ice that results when water bubbles up through ice ( either through a crack or when a fishing hole is dug ), and floods snow on top of ice , and the snow then freezes.

Qaimnguq New-forming ice at edge of river/lake ; ice that forms on top of shore rocks and on shore , as a result of tides. This ice forms in early fall , and is uneven and bumpy; it forms only on seashore and not in Chantrey (which lacks tides) . It remains attached to shore in spring when the rest of the ice floats out to sea.

Haaviliqtuq the ice is moving away from the land ( in spring ) or has completed moving away from land . cf . haavittuq the ( food - and/or other object ) is put out in full view/central position.

Hakliq thin autumn ice. cf . hakliqtaq a thin piece of board ( eg plywood ); also a thin braid ; plywood.
Hiku ice ; glasses ; watch face ; lantern globe.

Uiguaqtuq Long thin strips of new , very thin ice form on the surface of water that is just beginning to freeze - so thin they look like calm water ( when the water surface is windruffled) . cf . Uiguřut several pieces (of something) have been laid end-to-end to lengthen something. The Netsilik equivalent to this word is qimiraqhiřuq.

Cree Words for Snow from the Cree Dictionary

It snows, mispon (vii)

S/he makes it snow, misponihtâw (vai)

It kind of snows, it snows lightly, misponayâw (vii)

It snows lightly, it kind of snows lightly, misponayasin (vii)

It snows finely, pewispon (vii

It snows heavily, misimispon (vii)

The snow is deep, timikoniw (vii) (Plains Cree)

The snow is deep, timâkonakâw (vii) (Northern Cree)

There is snow on the branches, trees, akotakonew (vta)

The snow falls from the branches, pawahamoyâw (vta)

The snow grinds under foot, sâhkweyaw (vta)

The snow carries, waskitateweyâw (vii)

Crusty snow, waskitatenikwan (vii)

Crusty snow, watenikwan (vii)

Freshly fallen snow which is easy for tracking, paskakonakâw (vii) (Northern Cree)

Freshly fallen snow which is easy for tracking, oskakonakâw (vii)

It is freshly fallen snow which makes for good tracking, paskâkonakiyâw (vii

The snow melts or thaws, saskânakonakâw (vii)

The snow is soft, yoskâkonakâw (vii)

There is room, space in the snow, tâwâkonakâw (vii)

The snow has a rough surface, piskwâkonakâw (vii)

Soil patches show through snow in spring or during warm spells, pânakohtew (vai)

Soil patches show through snow in spring or during warm spells, iyihtew (vai)

The snow glitters at a distance in the sun, wâsâkonastew (vai)

The snow has melted for good, kîsiyihtew (vai)

It is full of snow, konôwan (vii

There is snow, konowiw

There is new or fresh snow, oskimispon (vii)

It is soft, fluffy snow that is falling, pîsweyâkonakâw (vii)

The snow becomes slushy, saskâkonakâw (vii)

The fresh snow is clean and shiny, wâsâkonastew (vii)
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