Cap 2.0 6.0 cm broad, convex, sometimes with a low umbo; margin incurved, then decurved, occasionally wavy; surface canescent, pale-grey to silvery-grey over a greyish-brown to ochre-brown background, the latter more evident with handling and age; context relatively thin, pallid, soft, unchanging when injured; odor and taste not distinctive.
Gills adnexed, close, light-grey in youth, slightly darker at maturity; lamellulae in four to five series.
Stipe 2.0-6.0 cm long, 1.0-1.5 cm thick, straight, hollow to stuffed, more or less equal; surface colored like the cap, lower portion fibrillose, the apex flocculose in young specimens; context watery-grey, unchanging; dense white mycelium at the base; partial veil absent.
Spores 5.5-7.0 x 3.5-4.5 µm, elliptical to slightly oblong in face view, elliptical in profile, smooth, thin-walled, hilar appendage not conspicuous, inamyloid; spore print white.
Scattered to clustered under montane conifers; fruiting in the spring near snowbanks; common.
Known as Lyophyllum montanum in older field guides, this common snowbank species has a distinctive silvery-grey cap and stipe. In age it is less identifiable, becoming a nondescript greyish-brown. Usually, however, remnants of the canescent cap surface can still be detected with a hand-lens. This feature combined with close, greyish gills, and a dense mycelial mat at the base of the stipe, help to distinguish mature specimens from Melanoleuca species with which it sometimes fruits. If in doubt, the latter can be distinguished microscopically by amyloid, warted spores. Compare also with Clitocybe albirhiza, a less robust, variably-brown mushroom, which also has a canescent cap, but with fibrils typically arranged in a zonate pattern, and has conspicuous white rhizomorphs at the base.