39 Words for Snow


Photo: Dylanhart.com

It has been said the Inuit people have 91 words for snow, but we snowboarders have our fair share as well. Whether you are a bro, marketing folk, to your average shredder, you like use more words to describe the conditions then you realize. We made a list and came up with 39, but with the constant and chronic bastardization of the English language by snowboarders, we’ll hit 91 soon enough.

Blower: (1.) The conditions after the snow has been blown off the trail. (2.) Perfect airy, smoke-like powder.

Boiler Plate: Snow that is literally frozen water. True boiler plate has been groomed before it freezes, making impenetaible ridges.

Bumpy- Late in the day on a powder day, when it’s so tracked out that you get bumped around trying to ride. See also Tracked Out.

Champagne Powder: Super light, fluffy powder. Common in Utah and Colorado.

Concrete: Deep snow that is so heavy it basically makes a wall when you try to ride through it.

Corduroy: Perfectly groomed snow, with ridges in tact from being groomed. See also groomers.

Corn Snow: When snow that was icy then groomed and chopped up warms up and begins to melt. See also Slush

Cream Cheese: When you get 8 inches of snow that falls dry but then things warm up and it gets firm, but soft. Rides sort of like powder, expect you float on top of it making it much, much easier to ride. See also Wind Pack

Crust/ Crusty: Usually created when it warms up and then get cold. Basically just an icy layer on top of the snow.

Dust on Crust: When there’s new snow, but not enough to cover the layer of miserable frozen snow below it.

Dusting: A very, very miniscule snow fall. See also: East Coast powder, dust on crust.

East Coast Ice: True ice that is not remotely edgable. It will often be blue, and occasionally you can see your reflection.

East Coast Powder: Any amount of new snow, no matter how crappy or ineffective it is in covering rocks and dirt. Sometimes it can even be manmade.

Firm: Usually used to refer to spring snow that firms up when it’s in the shade or when it gets cold, but can be an umbrella term for any hard snow. See also Hard Pack.

Freshies: Bro speak for powder.

Frozen Granular: Boiler plate that has been groomed, and chopped into small, useless ice pellets. Adored by marketing guys who don’t like to say ice.

Groomers: Usually used to refer to a type of a trail that is well maintained. The snow is lined with ridges from the groomer and general very smooth and easy to ride. See also Corduroy

Hard pack: When the show gets so packed down that it doesn’t move when you stand on it. It is still somewhat edgable, but you might wanna tune your board.  See also: Firm

Hero Snow: Powder that is so deep you feel like you can try any trick, go as fast as you want, and will never get injured.

Hot Pow: Back country snow that was once powder but the sun has baked it into the consistency of poo after a delicious Chinese dinner.

Ice: Literally frozen water. However, this is often misused to refer to firm or crusty snow. See also: Boiler plate.

Man Made: The snow that comes from guns. See also East Coast Powder

Mashed Potatoes: Any day at Mt. Hood hood in the summer. The deeper it gets the slower you go.

Mixed Precipitation: When it’s coming down, and it’s mostly rain, this is a nice way of saying that there might be a little bit on snow, so you should head to the mountain anyway.

Mush: Usually found in the spring but can also happen on a sunny powder day. Basically just snow that is mushy when you ride on it. Areas of high traffic such as take off and landings will usually get mushy first. See also mashed potatoes, spring snow.

Northwest Powder: Super heavy snow that is common in the Northwest. See also Concrete, Sierra Cement.

Packed Powder: A ski resort term for the day after a powder day when there in no fresh stuff left. More commonly known as hard pack, but soft hardpack.

Plywood on Ball Bearings: Hoar layer that has been snowed over.

Powder: Freshly fallen snow. There are no friends when this stuff is in the question, but depending on your geographic location, how much snow has fallen decides how early you get up to get it.

Sierra Cement: What you call heavy, deep snow if you live in Tahoe

Sludge: Sticky snow that no matter how sweet your wax job makes you go really, really slow.

Slush/Slushy: When snow has melted to the point where your boots are soaking through when you stand in. See also Corn Snow, Mashed Potatoes, Mush,

Spring Snow: Slushy mush that happens when it gets warm. The term can be used any time of year.

Surface Hoar: Deep crystals of snow created after several very dry days of no new snowfall when the air sucks the moisture out of the snow.  Fun to ride, almost feels like fresh powder, but usually means the snow pack is not stable.

Tracked-out: Powder than has been ridden. See also: Bumpy

Untouched: The Holy Grail. Powder that all yours and no one else’s.

Wind Pack: When it’s powder but super windy, the areas of the trail where the snow isn’t completely blown off, but it packed down by the wind. Similar to cream cheese.

Yellow Snow: Don’t eat it. Also a former gossip column in Transworld Snowboarding.

Did we forget anything? Feel free to add it below.

19 replies
  1. Calvin
    Calvin says:


    Doesn’t “blower” describe when the snow is hella perfect, like airy white-smoke pow? This definition equates it to wind-scoured.

    I might be wrong.

  2. Kalvin
    Kalvin says:


    Doesn’t “blower” describe when a girl gets comfortable around you? This definition equates to snowboarding.

    I thought I was on a porn site.

  3. martin beran
    martin beran says:

    how bout ‘quicksand’? thats what i call snow that was once fresh untracked powder but has since warmed up or been rained on – you go to cruise through it thinking you are making a nice line but it sucks you in and can stop you in your tracks…. yep thats all i got

  4. alex
    alex says:

    peanubutta (say it like pedro)
    death cookies

    that’s mostly what I ride on.

    anyone who says “surface hoar” out loud gets punched

  5. Satan's Horticulturist
    Satan's Horticulturist says:

    I second Death Cookies = the massive avalanche chunkys that litter a prestine powder bowl after a cornice fall

    or maybe you’re thinkin something else???

  6. DOMidwest
    DOMidwest says:

    “Sheets” patches of flat solid ice unseen by the rider usually found on midwest landings or areas exposed to wind often cuases slipping sliding slams and massive bruises

  7. Kaylene Brungard
    Kaylene Brungard says:

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  8. Trey
    Trey says:

    Swiss Cheese- packed firm snow that’s been shredded on.
    Starched Sheet- old unforgiving, packed snow that hasn’t been riden on
    Gnar (or Gnar Gnar)- just some dope fallings
    Pow Pow- powder
    Albino Croc- bumpy-ass snow. (Like a crocodile’s back)
    Great White Buffalo- THE ultimate slope. Similar to “Untouched”

  9. Trey Lowe
    Trey Lowe says:

    Swiss Cheese- packed firm snow that’s been shredded on.
    Gnar (or Gnar Gnar)- just some dope fallings
    Pow Pow- powder
    Albino Croc- bumpy-ass snow. (Like a crocodile’s back)
    Great White Buffalo- THE ultimate slope. Similar to “Untouched”

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