The Types Of Snow You May Encounter Whilst Skiing

Val Thorens In The Three ValleysIf you are an experienced skier or snowboarder, then you might already know there are different types of snow which you will be on, but if you are a beginner to the France ski holidays then you might not know the difference between types of snow.

Here, we are going to got through the kinds of snow you may encounter, and how they are going to affect your ability to ski on them and how best to counter against them.

First of all, do you know what snow is?

Most people perceive snow simply as frozen water; but if we go in a little deeper, snow is actually a form of rainfall in the form of ice crystals.  These ice crystals are hexagonal prisms that form when snow freezes up.

These prisms are formed due to the molecular structure of water.  As the ice crystals are formed, they can come down in many different forms, all of which you need to get used to so you can ski comfortably on them.


This type of snow is the stuff that is freshly fallen and untouched; the best type of snow to ski on, especially for those people that have a habit of falling over.

Thick powder is the best surface for trying new tricks and increasing your speed record.  It is also easier to carve turns, to control your speed, and to hold your edge when the snow is like powder.

But at the same time, powder can be a disadvantage for beginners that are not used to it.  If you slow down too much, you will end up sinking into the snow and will need to dig yourself out; so maintaining a good speed is essential.


This level of snow is when people are skiing down the same areas, so snow is trodden down where they are skiing but begins to build up around the skiing areas.

This gives an uneven surface, so you must take care when skiing over crud surfaces.


As the name implies, this type of snow has a harder crust on top of softer powder snow.  Crust is formed when the sun’s rays and the wind melt the top layer of powder, and then the cold air temperature makes it freeze into solid again.

If the crust is hard, you will remain riding on top of the harder, icy surface.  If the crust is soft you will most likely punch through it, thus breaking the crust with your ankles as you ride through it.

Something that is less fun is an intermediate crust where you are riding on top of the crust, punch through it and then bump against a harder part again.

From this type of snow, we move onto the icy type, which you can probably imagine is at the opposite end of the spectrum to powder snow.