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Why is UV a risk in the snow?

UV levels can be more intense in the snow for two reasons:

  1. The atmosphere is thinner at high altitudes and absorbs less UV radiation from the sun. UV radiation intensity increases by about 10–12% for every 1000 metres of altitude.
  2. Snow is highly reflective. On a sunny day, clean fresh snow can reflect up to 90% of UV radiation. This means you can be exposed to almost a double dose of UV – directly from the sun and bouncing off snow-covered surfaces.

UV radiation from the sun – not heat – is the main cause of damage increasing your skin cancer risk.