The microstructure and stratigraphy of a snowpack determine its physical behaviour. Weak layers or weak interfaces buried under a slab are prerequisites for the formation of dry-snow slab avalanches, and a precise characterization of weak layers or interfaces is essential to assess stability. Yet their exact geometry and micromechanical properties are poorly known. We cast weak layers and their adjacent layers in the field during two winters and reconstructed their three-dimensional microstructure using X-ray microcomputer tomography. The high resolution of 10–20 μm allowed us to study snow stratigraphy at the microstructural scale. We quantified the microstructural variability for 32 centimetre-sized layered samples and we calculated Young’s modulus and Poisson’s ratio by tomography-based finite-element simulations. Layers in a sample could therefore be differentiated not only by a change in morphology or microstructure, but also by a change in mechanical properties. We found a logarithmic correlation of Young’s modulus with density for two different density ranges, consistent with previous studies. By calculating the relative microstructural changes within our samples, we showed that a large change could indicate a potential weak layer, but only when the weak layer and both adjacent layers, i.e. the sandwich, were considered.