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Types of Snow

The different types of snow, ranging from powder to granular.

Types of Snow
In ski weather reports, often many types of snow will be mentioned. From packed powder to corn, snow types can get very confusing. However, knowing the types of snow is important, because you know exactly what you'll be skiing on.

Snow Terms
There are more ways than you might imagine to describe snow. Snow terms run the gamut from cauliflower to dust to smud, to the traditional powder. If there is a type of snow, there is term to describe it. Here's a list of terms to describe snow and skiing conditions.

Corduroy is the finely ridged surface of the snow after a snowcat has groomed a ski trail.

Corn Snow
Corn snow is a wet snow usually found in springtime that has gone through a series of melt – freeze cycles. These cycles start with a night freeze causing a crust of frozen snow with wet snow underneath.

Crud is snow that is a combination of powder snow and patches of ice or snow that is slippery or crusty on the surface and soft underneath.

Crust is soft snow that has a layer of harden, frozen crust (hence the name) on the top. Freezing rain, direct sunlight, or the melting and refreezing of the top layer of powder can result in crust.

Frontcountry is not near a ski resort but is close to a road.

Loose Snow Avalanche
A loose snow avalanche tends to be the least dangerous of the three types of avalanches. However, skiers and snowboarders should not disregard them because they still have the potential to cause fatalities.

Packed Powder
Packed powder snow is now that is compressed and flattened either by skier and snowboarder traffic or by grooming equipment.

Pow Pow
Pow Pow is a slang term for fresh powder snow, which is new, loose and fluffy snow.

Powder snow is freshly fallen, loose and fluffy snow.

Slackcountry is accessed from a ski resort.

Slush is snow that is starting to melt, and it's very heavy and very wet. Some would say that slush doesn't even look like snow, and those who've seen slush during spring conditions know how difficult skiing in slush can be.

A snowpack is the accumulation of multiple layers of snow in regions and altitudes where the climate experiences cold weather for extended periods of the year.

Snow Grains
Snow grains are very small, white, grains of ice.

Snow Pellets
Snow pellets are a form of precipitation that is created when supercooled droplets of water collect and freeze on a snowflake.

Spring Snow
Information on spring snow and spring skiing conditions.

Frozen Fog
Frozen fog is a type of fog composed of ice crystals and particles of ice that form in the air at very low temperatures.

Wet Slab Avalanche
A wet slab avalanche is the slowest moving type of avalanche, but can still be extremely dangerous and leave unbelievable destruction behind.

The Goods
The Goods is an area of unskied and untracked powder snow.

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