there are a few factors at play but a lot of it has to do with the density of the snow created. The man made snow is generally a denser, heavier, wetter snow because of how it's created. It's a lot like when we get a snow here that also has some slush in it. Whoever mentioned the temperature making a difference is also accurate... they start blowing the snow guns here the second it gets just cold enough so most of the time it's going to be a heavier wet snow. With real snow it depends on the type of storm system and level of precipitation that will affect the density and amount of moisture in the snow. Sometimes we get the nice fluffy light snow from a storm and other times we get the heavy wet concrete.
To use a natural snow comparison, anyone who's been to different parts of the country will notice the drastically different types of snow. For example Utah generally has the lightest, fluffiest snow in north america and some say the world. The reason for that is the density of the snow. They have a more generally dry climate which is a main piece of the puzzle to why it's so much fluffy than say the snow in Washington or Oregon.
You mentioned Baker and the amount of snow they get, yes they get tons of snow but it's super heavy and wet due to their generally moist climate. Ask any Pac North local on here what they call their snow and you'll always here the term cement. That's very similar to the very moist snow you get from a snow gun on the east coast and mid west.
Of course this is a super high level explanation and there are other factors involved but without getting meteorologist on everyone this should help you understand why.
I see. I of course understand moisture to snow ratio's. Sierra cement in California's Sierra Nevada mountains as well! Lake effect snow tends to be super fluffy. It's an easy formula around here. If it's colder = dryer fluffy snow. If it's marginal for snow = wet. 850mb temps also play a role obviously in this. Not just ground temps.
BUT even with wet snow, I find it much better than the man made stuff. If somebody was able to make a snow gun that duplicated natural snow economically than they'd make a fortune.
Last edited by PowderMonkey; 01-25-2013 at 04:21 PM.