Full snow-pit observations were performed on a monthly basis over ten winter seasons from 1995 to 2004, at 15 study plots spaced at 100 m elevation intervals (1300–2700 m a.s.l.) in the mountainous forest of the Japanese Central Alps. We observed 514 pits with an average depth of 1.12 m. Density measurements were taken in 2610 snow layers in total. Monthly trends indicate that snow depth has a strong linear correlation with elevation and that the mean density of snow cover has a moderate linear correlation with elevation in midwinter. Snow water equivalent can increase as a quadratic function of elevation in January and February. For this reason, the influence of overburden load and wind packing is elevation-dependent from January to February, a period when a facet-prominent snowpack existed on account of low snow and air temperatures. The density of depth hoar is greater at higher elevations than it is for rounded grains in midwinter due to densification. On forested slopes, with increasing elevation, snowfall frequency and the impact of wind upon snow increases while air temperature decreases, causing elevational variance in grain shapes.