Winter has some distinct sounds: the crunch of snowshoes on the hard surface of the snow, the swish of skis along a groomed trail, the echoing croon of a raven.

But have you also noticed how silent it is while wandering the woods in the winter? Well, it’s not just your imagination.

There are a few things going on.

The biggest is that snow acts as an insulator. When sound bounces off snow, it gets absorbed before reaching you, reducing both the volume and reverberation. And the drier it is, the fluffier the snow will be, which means even more space to absorb sound.

photoThe Happy CamperIt's basically doing the same thing as the walls of a music studio—except they usually use foam in the studio. However, my college band mates and I lined my basement walls with old-school egg cartons and that seemed to work as well.

Ah, the good glory days of playing drums in a Neil Young cover band...

photoThe Happy Camper

When it's colder, it's also quieter. Sounds moves slower through colder air because it's more dense than warm air.

When compared to falling rain, snow is a lot quieter. There’s plenty of space between flakes, meaning there’s less space for sound waves to bounce around.

And a bonus to keep things silent? There are less people (and wildlife) causing a ruckus out there when old man winter arrives to hush things up.

 

  

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