Ski Weather Perfection: Different Types of Snow Conditions

In a few of our previous blogs, we’ve discussed the different types of skiing and some tips for planning a family ski vacation. Though those are essential tips for a successful time on the slopes, you still need to be aware of one key element—the snow. Without snow, there would be no skiing, snowboarding, or snow activity of any kind, so it’s important to understand the different types of snow you may encounter.

To put it simply, the different types of snow conditions affect how your skis ride and how smooth your run is. Therefore, to help you on your road to skiing success, we’ve outlined a few of the most common snow conditions and which ones are best for your favorite snow activities. Check them out below!


Considered the best snow for skiing, powder is the type of snow you’ll want to hit the slopes for. This is freshly fallen snow that’s just sitting there and waiting for a ride. This is a great snow condition if you want to try out some new tricks, and it’s great for families learning how to ski, as the thick layers are like a soft pillow for any crashes. A few types of powder snow are great for skiing as well; two of them are listed below.

Champagne Powder

A step above your typical powder, champagne powder is extremely light and fluffy—more so than what you’d find in a typical powder condition. This type of snow is typically found in Colorado, British Columbia, and Utah. If you can ride on it, do so!

Packed Powder

A lot of ski resorts use this terminology to describe the conditions of the slopes. Packed powder means that there was powder the day before, but now it’s all been compacted.


Next on the list is crust. This type of snow forms when the temperature warms up, softens the snow just a bit, and then gets cold again and freezes that softened snow. You’ll experience a bit more of an icy layer on top of the powder snow, but you can typically break it easily with your skis.

Dust on Crust

Another form of crust, dust on crust is simply a light dusting of snow on top of a crusty layer. Your body and skis may take a moment to get used to this type of snow, but it’s typically fine for intermediate and advanced skiers.


If you can’t find fresh powder, then corduroy, or cord, is one of the next best options. This sort of snow condition appears on a freshly groomed run when the groomers have left ridges in the snow. You’ll love the sound as you glide over and the rumbling sensation under your feet.


You’ll notice crud (tracked out snow) at almost every mountain you head to if you go skiing later in the day. Crud typically forms later on in powder days after everyone has been skiing over it. As more people go through the powder snow, the more packed the snow will get in certain places. Have fun with the uneven bumps and dips!


Simply put, slush is basically snow that has begun to melt. If you go on any springtime skiing adventures, then you’ll notice a lot more slush than fresh powder. It’s not bad, necessarily, but you’ll get wetter, and you’ll really have to nail your carving turns.

Hopefully our guide to the different types of snow conditions will help you on your ski trip out to Telluride. The San Juan Mountains are begging for you to glide down the slopes, and once you’ve had your whirlwind of a day, you can unwind at one of our Telluride, Colorado, cabin rentals. Choose a ski-in, ski-out cabin or a remote home—you won’t regret it. Your family ski vacation has never been so soothing!


Book your one-of-a-kind stay with us online today!


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