The Crystal Ski Holidays Blog

A Guide to Ski & Snow Conditions

You should always check the ski snow report before heading to the slopes. Depending on the weather and ski conditions, you will need to adapt what you wear and carry on to the piste. Read through our brief guide to skiing and snowboarding in various ski conditions from fresh, soft powder to slush.

As the snow falls, the mountains become covered in beautiful, soft white powder. As more skiers ski on the hallowed turf, the powder deteriorates and morphs into other types of snow. With the help of the sun and other elements, snow conditions will change throughout the day.

Read through our guide to the snow and prepare yourself for whichever you find at your ski resort. Whether it is powder or crust, ensure that you adjust your style and ski to your best ability whatever the surface.

Powder – this is the freshest type of snow and many skiers will feel is the perfect base on which to ski. Powder is the newly-fallen snow that remains untouched on the piste. Fresh powder offers a softer surface for gentle landings as well as easier turning. However, due to its ability of covering hidden objects, powder should only be ridden carefully and with due attention to your surroundings.

Crud – skiing on crud is different to powder as it is basically powder that has been skied on and flattened. As fresh powder is skied, it melts before refreezing and then becomes the crud that many skiers have trouble on. Crud will continue to change during the day as the weather and skiers further affect the surface.

Crust – this surface, as the name suggests, has a crust of ice on top of powdery snow beneath. As the sun melts the top layer of powder, the cold refreezes it to create a hardened crust. If the crust is hard, you can ski on its surface and if it’s soft you can break the crust and ski the powder beneath. Always ski smoothly on crust and use a balanced stance to optimise its potential as a ski condition.

Slush – skiing on slush is difficult as it is very wet and harder to turn in than other snow types. Slush can often be found when skiing during spring, as the bright sunshine melts the surface snow. Riders and skiers should be prepared for more difficult turning as your skis can often slide out from under you in the heavy, sticky conditions.

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