10 Most Common Ways to Describe Snow (Including Most Popular Slang Terms) - Rocky Mountain People (2023)

  • Author:The Mountain Man
  • Date:March 13, 2022

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10 Most Common Ways to Describe Snow (Including Most Popular Slang Terms) - Rocky Mountain People (1)

"Dude, that snow was straight corn dawg, so much fun. I was huckin' some of the biggest hits of my whole life, man, holy crap!" Want to learn about what that means? Read on!

Table of Contents

There are an overwhelming number of terms to describe snow conditions. During my time skiing and researching, I found more words for snow than I could ever imagine.

To add to the confusion, lots of terms overlap. The same word could have 2 or 3 different meanings.

For example, powder. How does that have a different meaning? There is champaign powder, packed powder, and hero powder. And they are all different.

You can see the confusion.

Don’t worry. Below is a detailed list of 10 different ways to describe snow.

The Basics

Every word to describe snow falls into four broad categories. If you know the four main categories you will better understand the specific terms.

If you just want to read about the specific categories, that’s fine. I won’t be mad, I promise. Here is a link to that section of the article.

Man-made Snow

10 Most Common Ways to Describe Snow (Including Most Popular Slang Terms) - Rocky Mountain People (2)

Depending on where you ski, this could be themost common type of snow. Man made snow is just that… man made.

Typically, this snow isterrible to ride withoutfirstbeing groomed. You usually see this snow made on a closed trail in huge piles. It canrange from being extremely sticky and slow to a sheet of ice.

Man-mad snow can be deceiving. When not groomed, it is common to looklightandpowdery.

I have seen many people get excited to ski the light and powdery-looking snow only for their skis to stick like glue. They end up yard sailing long before they let out a whoop!

Be careful with this type of snow.


  • Fake snow
  • Artificial rain
  • Foam panel/sheet/plate
  • Plastic
  • Mock snow
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New Snow

10 Most Common Ways to Describe Snow (Including Most Popular Slang Terms) - Rocky Mountain People (3)

New snow is when the snow is fresh, to the point where you can see the snow crystals. There are 3 specific types of new snow.

  • Continental
    • Really dry, you can’t make a snowball out of it
    • Doesn’t hold its shape
  • Maritime
    • Really wet and heavy
  • Intermountain snowpack
    • Not as wet as maritime
    • Not as dry as continental
    • You can make a snowball, but it isn’t heavy
    • Best of both worlds

New snow can fall in any amount. There aredifferent ways to describe all types and amounts of new snow, don’t worry, we’ll get there.

Old Snow

10 Most Common Ways to Describe Snow (Including Most Popular Slang Terms) - Rocky Mountain People (4)

Old snow is the opposite of new snow. It has melted and refroze so that the individual ice crystals are not visible.

This snow is typicallynot enjoyable to ski. It is hard and sometimes icy.

Likenew snow, there are manyways to describe the specific type of snow.


  • Ice
  • Hardpack
  • Ice paste
  • Compact snow

This snow can be fun if you like going fast. Racers tend to like a harder pack. Most people find hard snow unforgiving and difficult to turn on.

If you want to learn more about skiing techniques like what to focus on and what drill to do, I wrote an article called 3 Things You Should Focus On To Improve Your Ski turns. Click here to check it out.


10 Most Common Ways to Describe Snow (Including Most Popular Slang Terms) - Rocky Mountain People (5)

Slush is when the snow starts melting.It’s the stage between new snow and old snow.

It is most common in the spring. Slush tends to be soft and forgiving. Lots of people like it.

Slush can be a blast to ski because of its forgiving nature. It won’t hurt as bad if you fall, although you may get a little wet.

If the snow is deep, it will be heavy and difficult to turn. But it will be amazing if it is packed down before turning slushy!


  • Corn
  • Wet snow
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Slop
  • Pulp

Now you know the broad categories of snow:

  • Man-made
  • New snow
  • Old snow
  • Slush

Here are the 10 most common ways to describe snow.

Champagne powder

Champagne powder is continental new snow. Basically really dry powder.

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Steamboat Mountain has the trademark for champagne powder…. That’s a fact. Steamboat is the only mountain in the world to trademark its snow.

People use champagne powder to describe dry powder. The term powder means at least 8″ of new snow is on the ground.

You will want powder baskets for your ski poles if you are skiing champagne powder. If you have normal-sized baskets on your poles, they will sink right to the bottom of the new snow.

Hero Powder

Hero powder is a similar type of snow to champagne powder, but it has more moisture. It is intermountain new snow.

It’s called hero powder because it is some of the best snow to ski. Many people prefer this to champagne powder because it holds its shape a little better.

Similar to champagne powder, there needs to be at least 8″ of new snow on the ground to say it’s hero powder.

Because of the higher moisture content of hero powder, you will want goggle covers for when you aren’t wearing your goggles.

Goggle covers prevent snow build-up and moisture from getting onto your lenses, keeping your field of view unobstructed! Get some made out of microfiber, so you can wipe your goggles off without scratching them. I linked to a good pair below.

Chowder/Chunder/Chopped Snow

10 Most Common Ways to Describe Snow (Including Most Popular Slang Terms) - Rocky Mountain People (6)

Chopped snow is what happens after snow gets skied. When people ski, they push the snow into piles. It looks like moguls.

Chowder can happen in new snow, old snow, and slush. This is a confusing term. All you need to know is that if a trial looks like moguls, it is chowder.

Soft Snow = Forgiving

Hard Snow = Unforgiving

Packed Powder

10 Most Common Ways to Describe Snow (Including Most Popular Slang Terms) - Rocky Mountain People (7)

Packed powder can be skied or groomed flat. The packed powder can be new snow or man-made snow.

The packed powder is a lot of fun to ski because it is soft, and it doesn’t take a lot of effort to turn. If you fall, it won’t hurt.

This is one of my favorite types of snow because ofhow fast and forgiving it is. It is agood day to send some big jumps if the snow is packed powder.

HardPack/Old Snow/Ice Paste/ Ice/Compact Snow

10 Most Common Ways to Describe Snow (Including Most Popular Slang Terms) - Rocky Mountain People (8)

This is harsh snow. It usually looks like packed powder, except it is unforgiving.It is hard to turn, and it hurts to fall.

Hardpack is old snow. It has melted and then refroze.

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You know that it’s hardpack snow when you can hear people making turns. This snow is fast, so racers like skiing it.

I grew up on the East Coast, where this isthe most common type of snow. That is whysome people refer to the East Coast as the ice coast.

Concrete – this is a subsection of hardpack. Concrete looks like powder, but it’s frozen solid. This type of snow is extremely deceiving. Lots of time, ungroomed man-made snow is like this.

Dust on Crust

10 Most Common Ways to Describe Snow (Including Most Popular Slang Terms) - Rocky Mountain People (9)

Dust on crust happens when a hardpack is covered with a dusting of snow. This snow is deceiving.

It looks like you will be skiing on packed powder, but the dust is thin and dry. Your skis go right through the dust. When the snow is true dust on crust there is a hardpack under the dust.

Be careful when skiing dust on crust. You don’t always know what type of snow may be under the surface.

It is common for the snow underneath the dust to change. One second you will be skiing fast hardpack, and then the next second slow slush.


10 Most Common Ways to Describe Snow (Including Most Popular Slang Terms) - Rocky Mountain People (10)

Granular snow looks like little hail balls, but they are soft and made of snow. Granular snow is a type of new snow.

People like this type of snow. It is light, soft, and forgiving.

Granular is like dust on crust, except there is alayer of tiny soft snowballsinstead of a light layer of snow.


10 Most Common Ways to Describe Snow (Including Most Popular Slang Terms) - Rocky Mountain People (11)

Corduroy is a trail that is groomed. It gets the name from how the snowcats pack the snow. It looks like corduroy. It is typically old snow, but it really could be any type.

Corduroy can be a tricky term to use and understand. It could mean dust on crust, hardpack, or packed powder. It means the trail was groomed. It says nothing about how the snow is.

Many people like to boast about skiing fresh corduroy. You can generally assume that if someone is bragging, it’s because they got up early and got to make fresh tracks in packed powder corduroy. Either that or they don’t know what they’re talking about.


Corn is cool, and after learning about it, I realized that I ski it a lot. It is a type of slush.

Corn typically happens mid-morning. The hardpack warms up and becomes soft and buttery. Skiing at this time is excellent. The snow is soft and forgiving, and the turns feel amazing!

Make sure you ski this snow quick because it gets over-skied. Ruts start appearing, and you start working harder to stay in control.

Bonus Term: Another way to say skied out is “bombed” or “bombed out”. This is a term commonly used in the terrain park to describe landings. When something gets skied out the ruts look like bomb holes.

Slush/Mashed Potatoes

10 Most Common Ways to Describe Snow (Including Most Popular Slang Terms) - Rocky Mountain People (13)

Slush is typical spring skiing. The weather warms up, the snow gets soft and wet. As the name suggests, this is slush.

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Spring skiing is one of the best types of skiing. The snow is soft and buttery, similar to corn, just slush is wetter.

As the snow melts and getspushed into piles,it will become cumbersome. When the snow gets heavy, it is a little harder to ski.

When slush is on the ground, the weather is warm. Usually, it is too warm for your regular ski jacket, and the snow is really wet so that an everyday sweatshirt will become soaked.


Now that you know how to describe snow correctly,you can tell your friends exactly what type of snow you skied. You will also understand other skiers better!

What type of snow is your favorite? Let me know in the comments below.

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2 thoughts on “10 Most Common Ways to Describe Snow (Including Most Popular Slang Terms)”

  1. 10 Most Common Ways to Describe Snow (Including Most Popular Slang Terms) - Rocky Mountain People (17)

    June 13, 2022 at 5:47 am

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    1. 10 Most Common Ways to Describe Snow (Including Most Popular Slang Terms) - Rocky Mountain People (18)

      The Mountain Man

      June 13, 2022 at 8:33 am




What are describing words for snow? ›

To describe the noun "Snow' the following adjectives can be used: Freezing, snowy, cold, arctic, biting.

Does POW mean snow? ›

Pow Pow is the slang term for the crème de la crème of skiing, fresh POWDER. Fine, dry, fluffy and lightweight; powder is the Holy Grail for snow sport enthusiasts. Large amounts of fresh snow make for epic conditions and give you the feeling of 'floating' on the surface.

What are the types of snow? ›

Snow comes in five general types: graupel, plates, needles, columns, and dendrites. Each snow type forms in different temperatures and moisture levels.

What is bumpy snow called? ›

Moguls: Mounds of snow, also known as bumps.

What is a snow lover called? ›

Chionophile. Snow and cold weather lovers fall under this phile. Chion is from the Greek word khiōn, which means snow.

What is a lot of snow called? ›

When large amounts of snow fall, then the event is colloquially referred to as a snowstorm, though the term “large” is not officially defined. • A snowstorm that lasts for three or more hours with sustained wind speeds of at least 35 mph and visibilities less than a quarter-mile is called a blizzard.

What is a snow bunny slang? ›

Noun. snow bunny (plural snow bunnies) (Canada, US, slang) An inexperienced, usually female skier. (Canada, US, slang) A young, attractive, female skier; a sexually active young woman attracted to the promiscuous après-ski way of life.

What is a female snowboarder called? ›

Betty – a female snowboarder. Bone – straightening one or both legs while doing a half-pipe trick.

What are the 7 types of snowfall? ›

This system defines the seven principal snow crystal types as plates, stellar crystals, columns, needles, spatial dendrites, capped columns, and irregular forms. To these are added three additional types of frozen precipitation: graupel, ice pellets, and hail.

What is dirty snow called? ›

Snirt – Snirt is an informal term for snow covered with dirt, especially where strong winds pick up topsoil from uncovered farm fields and blow it into nearby snowy areas. Also, dirty snow left over from plowing operations.

What is thick snow called? ›

What is another word for heavy snow?
49 more rows

What is bulletproof snow? ›

Bulletproof Ice – A smooth, flat surface of particularly hard snow. Skill Level: Advanced. Forms By: Rain, freezing rain, or melt-freeze cycles (it's typically not true blue ice, but rather extremely hard snow). Pros: There is generally a low avalanche danger, since there is no slab atop the smooth surface.

Why is snow called corn? ›

Large grains of snow freeze together overnight, then they loosen as the sun warms them during the day. Corn refers to the snow during the time window when it has become soft and forgiving, but not too wet and slushy. In other words, it's the “Goldilocks” of snow—not too hard, not too soft, but just right.

What is hero snow? ›

Hero Snow. Hero snow has all the fun and forgiveness of powder, but a more solid base that allows you to ride through it easier. Basically, hero snow masks all of the flaws in your riding thanks to its depth and responsiveness.

What is fear of snow called? ›

Chionophobia—Fear of Snow.

What is the Old English word for snow? ›

Etymology 1

From Middle English snow, snaw, from Old English snāw (“snow”), from Proto-West Germanic *snaiw, from Proto-Germanic *snaiwaz (“snow”), from Proto-Indo-European *snóygʷʰos (“snow”), from the root *sneygʷʰ-.

How do you call snow? ›

Winter Vocab and Other Words for Snow
  1. Névé Definition: the partially compacted granular snow that forms the surface part of the upper end of a glacier; broadly : a field of granular snow. ...
  2. Sposh. Definition: soft slushy mud or snow. ...
  3. Blizzard. Definition: a long severe snowstorm. ...
  4. Onding. ...
  5. Skift. ...
  6. Graupel. ...
  7. Firnification. ...
  8. Grue.

What is snow in slang? ›

Snow is a slang term for Coke or Cocaine.

Which language has 50 words for snow? ›

Inuit/Yupik Words for Snow: 40-50

This topic never fails to generate quite the controversy in linguistic circles, with some calling it “The Great Eskimo Vocabulary Hoax.” Rich cites new research from Igor Krupnik that shows Inuit languages do have around 40 to 50 words for snow, depending on the dialect.

What is a light snow called? ›

Snow Flurries: Light snow falling for short durations. No accumulation or light dusting is all that is expected. Snow Showers: Snow falling at varying intensities for brief periods of time. Some accumulation is possible.

What is a snow buddy? ›

Snow buddies help out those who need assistance getting their sidewalks cleared after a snow storm in Billings. Code Enforcement regularly gets calls from the elderly or people with physical challenges who need a helping hand with snow removal.

What does it mean when a guy calls you bunny? ›

US, Slang. a sexually attractive young woman. often used in combination.

What does white bunny mean? ›

White rabbits are symbolic of love, tenderness, and inner power. Although rabbits are considered lucky animals, white rabbits in particular are symbolic of good luck and impending opportunity. In fact, white rabbits are considered so lucky in European cultures that it's transformed into a kind of blessing.

Why do female snowboarders wear their hair? ›

Many of these badass female snowboarders rock the hair out look. For many female snowboarders, wearing the look is a source of pride as it shows that women can compete with men in a male-dominated sport… without sacrificing their femininity or looking like a genderless being when out on the slopes.

Can you snowboard with weak ankles? ›

If you have weak ankles, wearing a support is a perfectly acceptable precaution to take to prevent an injury. Compression support is a great option that allows for stabilizing the joint and keeping it warm, without too much bulk, still allowing you to wear snowboard boots and bindings.

Is riding a snowboard hard? ›

Snowboarding is a very physically demanding sport. From the outside looking in, it may look like you're just gliding down a slope. The reality is that you're using almost every muscle group in your body to shift weight, turn, stop, and balance.

Do ski bums still exist? ›

Nevertheless, the breed still exists. It's possible to spot them in their chosen habitat—and well worth seeking them out. Here's what to look for when spotting a ski bum: 1.

What is a dirtbag skier? ›

These days the term “dirtbag” describes the most intense and dedicated portion of the outdoor community. Whether they're a climber, skier, hiker, or biker, they're a dirtbag if they dedicate their lives to the sport and sacrifice the luxuries of comfort and steady jobs to live their dream.

What do ski bums wear? ›

Known to wear one pair for an excess of 10 days, ski bums covet well worn and morbidly stained Carhartts above all other forms of clothing.

Is snow edible? ›

Can you eat snow? Yes, but remember these safety tips first : The Salt As it falls, snow forms a sort of net for catching pollutants in the atmosphere. Pesticides and dirt from soil can also end up in there. Still, most researchers told us they'd eat it, with caveats.

What is fluffy snow? ›

The light fluffy snow forms when all layers of the atmosphere are below freezing. because the air is cold, all the way down to the surface, snowflakes don't melt. That allows the individual flakes to stay light and fluffy. Although this type of snow is easier to shovel, it can become dangerous quickly.

How many names are there for snow? ›

There really are 50 Eskimo words for 'snow' - The Washington Post.

What is walking in the snow called? ›

Snowshoeing is just hiking through snow, but it's more challenging than you might think.

What is freshly groomed snow called? ›

corduroy – freshly groomed snow at a ski resort. corn – large round snow crystals formed from several melt/freeze cycles. cream – snow that is spread by your skis like cheese on a bagel.

Why snow is white? ›

There's a scientific reason that snow is white.

Light is scattered and bounces off the ice crystals in the snow. The reflected light includes all the colors, which, together, look white.

How do you describe snow in creative writing? ›

Snow is a magical thing. It acts like an angel, fluttering down from the sky with such grace and elegance and softly lands on the earth. Over time, the snow clumps together creating a white blanket covering the ground. Snow is truly a remarkable site, however, those who never see snow regularly miss its beauty.

What words describe snow white? ›

  • colorless,
  • tintless.
  • [archaic],
  • uncolored,
  • undyed,
  • unpainted,
  • unstained,
  • white.

How would you describe the beauty of snow? ›

Snow is beautiful. And meditative (if you take pause to watch it fall from the sky). It brings vast white snowfields, puffs of snow floating on pine tree branches and then melting, drip by drip, off the tips of pine needles. Snow changes light, shadows, and contrast.

How do you describe snow in a story? ›

As I looked around I noticed a white blanket of snow covering the trees, ground, and houses. I was surprised by how quiet everything seemed. The only sound I could hear was my boots crunching in the snow. The smell of damp pine trees made the air feel fresh and clean.

What is a metaphor for snow? ›

Snow is a blanket on the landscape. Snow is dancing as it falls. The landscape was pillows of snow.

What does snow smell like? ›

Snow that falls over a field may smell earthy, perhaps bearing a lingering scent of grass. Snow that falls on trees carries the clean scent of terpenes from the plants, including pinenes, limonene, myrcene, phellandrene, and camphene. So, snow in rural areas smells fresh and maybe even a bit woodsy.

What are some verbs for snow? ›

present simple I / you / we / they snow/snəʊ/ /snəʊ/
he / she / it snows/snəʊz/ /snəʊz/
past simple snowed/snəʊd/ /snəʊd/
past participle snowed/snəʊd/ /snəʊd/
-ing form snowing/ˈsnəʊɪŋ/ /ˈsnəʊɪŋ/

What is the opposite of snow? ›

What is the opposite of snow?

What is Snow White birthday? ›

Snow White is the first Disney Princess to sing with her respective love interest. Other ones are Aurora, Jasmine, Tiana and Rapunzel. Some of Snow White's dance moves were infamously reused for that of Maid Marian's in Robin Hood. According to the Disneystrology book, her birthday would be on March 6.

What is another name for Snow White? ›

What is another word for snow-white?
15 more rows

How do you express snow? ›

  1. slushy.
  2. crunchy.
  3. powder.
  4. crystalline.
  5. picturesque.
  6. heavy.
  7. obscuring.
  8. whiteout.

What is a good winter slogan? ›

"No winter lasts forever; no spring skips its turn." "The color of springtime is flowers; the color of winter is in our imagination." "Blow, blow, thou winter wind, thou art not so unkind as man's ingratitude." "There is no winter without snow, no spring without sunshine, and no happiness without companions."

Why snow is white? ›

There's a scientific reason that snow is white.

Light is scattered and bounces off the ice crystals in the snow. The reflected light includes all the colors, which, together, look white.

How does snow look like? ›

How does snow form? - YouTube

What is snow made of? ›

Snow is composed of frozen water crystals, but because there is so much air surrounding each of those tiny crystals in the snowpack, most of the total volume of a snow layer is made up of air. We refer to the snow water equivalent of snow as the thickness of water that would result from melting a given layer of snow.


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