Did you know a snapshot can be applied using the Distribution and Merge Agent –AltSnapshotFolder parameter? This means that after generating a snapshot, it can be copied to Subscribers manually using removable media for instance, and applied locally. This can be useful with large snapshots and when replicating over slow, unreliable links.
This method of initialization can be performed by adding the -AltSnapshotFolder parameter to the agent job step, using the agent programming interfaces, or when invoking agent executables from the command prompt. For more information on the –AltSnapshotFolder parameter, refer to Replication Distribution Agent and Replication Merge Agent in the MSDN Library.