When I first started snowboarding, I didn’t get it when people talked about different types of snow. Except for yellow snow of course! But as I spent more time snowboarding at different ski resorts, I realised that there really are different types of snow. And that skiing and snowboarding can be so different depending on the snow conditions.
So here’s a guide for you on the different types of snow that you’ll find on a mountain. I promise once you read this, you’ll start to notice the differences when you next go skiing or snowboarding.
Bumpy, Choppy or Tracked Out
This is usually later on a powder day when everybody has gone through it and messed it up. Guaranteed to have you bouncing around and give your knees a serious workout.
My favourite, not only because it has the word champagne in it, but because this type of snow is the business. It’s extremely light, fluffy powder. Riding through champagne powder is what I imagine it would feel like to ride through clouds in the sky. Pure bliss. Usually found in Utah, Colorado & British Columbia.
Heavy, deep snow. At first glance, you might get excited at how much snow there is, until you ski or snowboard through it. It’s exactly what riding through concrete would be like.
Corduroy or Cord
If there isn’t fresh powder around, then this is my next favourite thing. Corduroy appears on a freshly groomed run where the groomers have left ridges in the snow. Riding on corduroy is super fun. Listen out for the sound and the sensation under your feet.
This happens when the temperature warms up, softening the snow a little and then it gets cold which freezes the snow. You end up with a bit of an icy layer on top of the snow.
Dust On Crust
When there is new snow, but not much, and on top of hard icy snow. It takes the brain and body a while to comprehend.
A tiny bit of new snow. Probably likely to melt or be blown away in a couple of hours.
Basically a run at a ski resort which has been groomed. Nice and smooth and easy to ride.
The snow has been compressed so much that it doesn’t move when you stand on it. Make sure you have good edges!
When there is so much powder that you feel like you can do no wrong. A good time to give some of those tricks a go while the landing is super soft!
Yep, it’s exactly that, frozen snow. Often used to describe firm or crusty snow but trust me, you know when you have skied or snowboarded on ice. Ouch!
This is snow that’s been made by machines at ski resorts as opposed to coming from the sky.
Ski resorts use this term all the time. It basically means that they had a powder day the day before but now it’s all been compacted.
Freshly fallen snow. Powder is what most skiers and snowboarders live for. If you haven’t experienced a powder day, then promise me you’ll not hang up your skis or snowboards until you do.
Literally feels like you have sticky tape on your skis or board. It’ll make you want to drop your gear off for a wax. Don’t bother, it’s still going to stick. There won’t be any fast runs on a day like this.
Slush or Spring Snow
Usually spring snow conditions. The snow has melted to the point where there are puddles and your feet are getting wet. Suddenly all the park rats are out. Can be super fun to ride in as it’s very forgiving. You suddenly feel this urge to scoop up the snow and make yourself a frappe.
Freshies or Untouched
Untracked powder which means no one has skied or snowboarded through it. You need to hit that STAT!
Snow mixed with wee. Do not eat it. Did I really have to point that out?
Now you are fully equipped with the lingo! Do you have a favourite type of snow? Have I missed any? Let me know in the comments below!! (Make sure you click on 'subscribe via e-mail' to be notified when we write back).
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Jen spends most of her time following Mick around the mountain, often unintentionally off jumps and cliff drops. Currently on a mission to prove that you’re never too old to try freestyle. Aside from snowboarding, a little obsessed about tattoos, CrossFit, saving animals, learning to play the guitar and clean eating. Web designer and digital marketing nerd.