Snowboarding Conditions

Powder vs. Packed Which Is Best?

If you are like many, you may not live near the mountains, so when you get the opportunity to go on a snowboard trip, you pray for the best weather conditions. They condition of the snow on the mountain is one of the most important factors that can impact your snowboarding experience. The texture and consistency of the snow on the slopes will come into play for things like how well you can maintain your speed, how well you can cut turns, how well you can recover from falls. Everyone may have their own definition of what is the best type of snow to snowboard in, but I haven’t met a person yet that would not agree fresh powder is the best snow that they look forward to on each trip.

powder snow

Different Types of Snow

Fresh Powder
Fresh dry snow is often referred to as powder. Both natural and artificial snow can be considered powder. The texture of the snow can be like powder, thus the name. Powder snow creates a smooth even surface that most riders prefer.

Packed Snow
Packed snow is simply snow that has been packed down due to several hours of use and traffic. The packed snow can be either soft pack or hard pack snow. The difference is soft pack snow is a result of the snow becoming compressed by traffic from riders and or groomers but is not actually hard or ice. Hard pack is the result of several days without having fresh powder. Hard pack can actually have a thin layer of ice on the top, and is actually very hard.

Fresh Powder Riding
Riding on fresh powder provides a smooth even ride for every rider. Intermediate and advanced riders especially love fresh powder as it provides ideal riding conditions. Powder conditions means you will not catch your board in ruts, or ice patches. You simply feel more like you are surfing on top of the snow. Power can be deeper and lightweight. This reduced friction can help with your speed which you will need in order to not sink in the snow. If you are a beginner the snow depth may be somewhat scary for you, or a little intimidating, however on the flip side the powder also means a softer place to land whenever you fall. Trust me you will fall, just get ready for it to happen.

Packed Powder Riding
As you can imagine packed snow creates for some harder riding surfaces which can result in more painful falls, which is ironic because many beginners preferred packed snow due to feeling more stable. Packed snow riding also is more conducive to higher speed runs. Packed snow is of course more slippery, and will require more edge gripping to maintain control. So if you are a speed daemon you may prefer packed powder so you can reach higher speeds on the trail.

Enjoy the Ride
No matter if you are a beginner or a seasoned snowboarder, you will soon have a preference of which type of snow you prefer best. No matter the type of snow, you will need to learn how to use your body to create the right amount of momentum to plow through each type of snow. Take advantage of any type of snow you get, and always pray that the conditions are favorable when you get to take a trip to the mountains. So excited that the season is upon us. Cant wait.


Ski Safety On Hard Packed Snow