Snow on the ground can be regarded as aeolian sediment with rapidly changing properties. We explore the Swiss (Alpine) history of stratigraphy of snow to show the trends and developments. The observation of snow stratigraphy starts in the 18th and 19th century with a geologic focus, descriptions are superficial and only verbal. In the early 20th century, the scientific interest in snow stratigraphy increases. Detailed descriptions and drawings become available. Slope scale geomorphologic features and surface processes were observed and documented. Starting from the 1940s, a shift of interest to the physical and mechanical properties in "homogeneous" layers takes place, from a slope-centred approach to a sample-centred approach. Stratigraphic description becomes one-dimensional, and the concept of well-defined layers gets accepted and still predominates today. However, all physical and mechanical processes are strongly related to the spatial variability of the snow mechanical properties. New instrumental developments show that the perceived strict layering may be a too simple model. The requirements for modern snow stratigraphy, integrating different scales and modern technology, is discussed from an international viewpoint.