This review explores from a user's viewpoint the possibilities and limitations of microwave-based techniques for the remote sensing of snowpack properties. Mapping of dry snowpacks and detection of melt onset can be achieved with combinations of readings taken at different frequencies with passive microwave sensors. A combination of readings from both passive and active sensors coupled with ground truth data will be required to estimate snow water equivalent under most snow conditions. Snowpack structure and overlying vegetation still present major problems in the estimation of snowpack water equivalent from microwave remote sensing devices.