Application of electrothermal vaporization inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ETV-ICP-MS) to the direct determination of trace heavy metals in surface samples of Arctic snow is described. Limits of detection by ETC-ICP-MS are in the fg range, viz., 29, 57, 86, 120, 140, 360, 420, 470, 870 and 3200 for Tl, Cs, Pb, Mn, Co, V, Cu, Ni, Cd and Cr, respectively. Direct quantification against simple aqueous standards is feasible using NaCl solution as a carrier. The latter was obtained in a high-purity form through dilution of the sea-water reference material National Research Council of Canada (NRCC) NASS-3. Assessment of accuracy was accomplished by analysis of the river water reference material SLRS-2 (NRCC) and by comparative analysis of the samples by electrothermal atomization atomic absorption spectrometry.