A technique to monitor snowpack development using miniature temperature-loggers mounted in a vertical array is evaluated from nearly 100 site-years of measurements in northwestern Canada. The method shows good agreement between interpreted values and actual snow depths checked during site visits. Inferred snowpack build-up and ablation follow the patterns recorded at nearby climatological stations while absolute amounts and the duration of snow cover vary with elevation and vegetation type. Interpretation of snowpack evolution was possible at 93 per cent of the monitoring sites, a success rate that is judged to be acceptable given the low costs of the technique and the difficulty of obtaining the same information through other methods. Copyright © 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.