Words to describe snow conditions

We’re always looking for descriptive words to help us understand the snow conditions. Please leave a comment with your contribution.

  • Steppenwolf(magic carpet ride) perfect grip, perfect glide. The best possible conditions. 
  • Abrasive(wax wears off quickly)
  • Buttery
  • Icy
  • Sandpaper-like(on very cold snow)
  • Silky
  • Tracks are well-used but holding
  • Snow as dry as talcum powder
  • Soul-mending rhythm of cross-country skiing
  • Needlemania
  • Needlemania over ice
  • Margarita(crushed ice)
  • Edge creep(bare ground encroaching from the trees)
  • Dusting of icing sugar
  • Mulch
  • Avocado(slippery)
  • A bobsled run
  • Boiler-plate(frozen, crusty, hard-packed, often with icy patches.)
  • Bullet-proof(sort of like concrete)
  • Velcro(snow that instantly freezes as a ball of ice on the bottom of your ski, stopping you dead in your tracks)
  • Defensive skiing(working hard to stay on upright)
  • Loud and not relaxing(noise generated by skis on crunchy snow)
  • Catch and release. Spring skiing on alternating cold and wet snow.
  • Herky-jerky. Same as Catch and release. 
  • Slurpee. The best example is early-season Frozen Thunder. 



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  1. Creme Brule – one of Bob’s favorite deserts, but one of our least favored snow conditions.

  2. Licked by the Snow Eater (or Kissed-)

    The short window in time when a new chinook wind vastly improves the glide while just underneath the cold snow still provides excellent kick. Most noticeable on waxless.
    eg. “Bragg Creek is a soggy mess now – but yesterday morning it was heroic, easily striding up steeps on the Snow Eater’s Drool!”

  3. Artist Dan Hudson uses the beautiful term ‘Cold Smoke Snow’ in the Sculpted in Time segment that features him, in describing the powder at Sunshine Village.


  4. sucky, skis just don’t run and seem to drag

  5. Slick Concrete
    Days of above freezing temps including days of rain followed by no snow and below freezing temps, like early February 2015.

  6. Plowed and Sanded (after the third meltdown)

  7. Nerd Balls (retilled snow on top of a firm track or surface)

  8. Dust on Crust

  9. Elephant Snot (spring time ,grippy slow piled up snow)

  10. Cheeky but one we are all familiar with “Don’t eat yellow snow”

  11. Powderific!

  12. We were cruising in a whipped cream (friend Nic came up with this yummy simile) while going down from Elizabeth Parker hut right before Christmas Eve.

  13. Area Rug (packed snow over an ice base)

  14. skiing on avocados

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