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This paper deals with problems arising in the classification of LANDSAT MSS data from rugged terrain. A digital terrain model (DTM) was found to be useful in several ways. For registration by cross-correlation, mountain ridges were extracted from both a synthetic image based on the DTM and a LANDSAT image. Information from the DTM, from thematic maps, and meteorological data were all used as ancillary data to aid in rapid snow cover determination without direct ground control in a large catchment area. In addition it is shown that the use of the DTM not only allows the assessment of relative and absolute snow distribution within given elevation zones, but also permits the extrapolation of snow cover into areas partly covered with clouds.