Wind has numerous effects on the composition of the snowpack. It impacts the snowpack by transporting snow from windward to leeward slopes, breaking snow crystals into smaller particles, pressing loose snow crystals together, forming wind slabs, and forming hard wind crusts. It can also insulate the snow surface from solar warming.
The transport of snow by wind is a primary factor in avalanche formation. Evidence of recent wind transport can often be observed by the existence of formations like sastrugi, from a firm, textured snow surface, or from visible accumulations of wind transported snow. These visible surface features are referred to both independently and collectively as wind effect.