The Pocket Guide To Corn Snow

by Frank V. Persall


With so many skiing terms for different types of snow, it's getting hard to keep up to date and know what people are talking about. This article will explain everything people need to know about corn snow and why it's so much fun to ski.

Let's get started with the basics:

Mountain With Corn Snow On
Mountain With Corn Snow On

What Is Corn Snow?

As spring appears and the warmer days start drifting in snow beads start to resealable little kernels of corn. But what some people don't know is how popular this form of snow is to ski; the problem is its ridiculously hard to time.

The main question is, why does this happen?

Well, this is easy to explain due to sunny spring days the sun starts to melt the ice then during the cold nights the packed snow freezes. As the sun comes back out during the morning, the snow begins to melt again. It's at this point corn snow is produced.

Due to it being so hard to get the right timing, skiers came up with a name for the perfect corn snow window. They call it the "Goldilocks period " this is when the snow is just right, it's not still frozen and hasn't yet turned to slush.

For skiers looking for a chance to ski on illusive corn snow the general rule is, you can never be too early. This way there is no chance of missing out on corn snow and hitting mashed potato (snow that is to wet to ski).

Top Places For Skiing

Throughout the USA there are many great places people can get stuck into if they fancy giving corn skiing a try. Here are a couple of places to check out:

Mammoth Mountain, CA
Mammoth Mountain, CA
Mammoth Mountain, CA

Mammoth Mountain, CA

Mammoth Mountain has become renowned for a sunny days and blistering cold nights; both of these
factors make it the perfect place to find corn snow. Around this area, you can expect to find skiers dressed
in bikinis running lines down the corn snow slopes.
Timberline Lodge, OR
Timberline Lodge, OR
Timberline Lodge, OR

Timberline Lodge, OR

At Mt, Hood skiers can find amazing corn snow slopes, riding well above the trees at around 8,540' above
sea level. The best thing skiers can find in this location is the ski lift that can be used all year round.

Corn Snow Vs. Powder

One question that people tend to ask is, "What's better to ski, corn snow or powder?". It's not an easy question to answer as it depends on the skier. Splitting it into sections might help people make their own decision.

Corn snow

The thing with corn snow is it's so difficult to time this means that skiers often end up skiing on what they call mashed potato. This being said if timed correctly, then corn snow can be a skier's best friend. Corn snow can be very forgiving once the technique has been mastered. Due to the forgiving nature, it can fall into the "hero snow"(snow that makes people look good) bracket. This makes it particularly favoured by beginner skiers for this reason.

Although beginners tend to favour this type of snow, they do have to learn a slightly different way to ski the slopes. The wet snow tends to make the skis sink in the heavy snow, and this calls for the skier to use sharp and purposeful turns using his or her feet.

Powder

Fresh powder is considered the holy grail for the most skiers. It's great for skiers of all abilities due to the smooth ride that it offers. Another reason is that the powder provides a natural cushion if they fall or crash, unlike corn snow, which can be very icy. Fresh powder offers skiers the chance to try new tricks or to see how much they can increase their speed.

Basically, it's great for people who are trying to advance in some way or another because the fear of hurting themselves is reduced. Similar to corn snow, the skier will have to ensure they keep their speed up or they run the risk of sinking into the snow. To ski, powder skiers have to to use a different style of skiing compared to packed snow, which most people learn on.

Tips For Skiing Corn Snow

Because skiing corn snow requires a different technique than required for fresh powder snow, here are few tips. Firstly, they should opt for a stable style of skis. This will enable them to carve through the snow with ease. Anything in-between 90-100mm underfoot is perfect for slicing through the corn. Tuning the skis up will give the skier a massive advantage when hitting the corn snow. Using a high-quality soft wax will waterproof the skis, helping the skier to glide over the wet snow.

The one thing you should think about is how the sun rises; This way they can follow the direction sun. Starting the day on the east side of the mountain enables them to catch snow corn as the sun rises. Throughout the day, they should slowly progress to the west-face of the slope to maximises their time on the slope.

The next thing people should think about is how the sun rises; This way they can follow the direction sun. Starting the day on the east side of the mountain enables them to catch snow corn as the sun rises. Throughout the day, they should slowly progress to the west-face of the slope to maximises their time on the slope.

When starting down the slope, there are a few things to think about firstly pick a suitable line, stay away from areas where the corn snow has begun to build up. Second, let the skis do the work and roll onto the edge of the ski. This way carving through the corn snow will be a breeze.

Conclusion

That's about everything skiers need to know about corn snow. Remember, the trick is to get out there early to ensure catching it on time. Following the sun will ensure maximum time can be spent on the slopes skiing corn rather than slush.

Most importantly get out there and enjoy the new experience of ripping up fresh corn snow for the day. It really is a great experience that everyone should try at least once.

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About Frank V. Persall

Originally from the UK, Frank has a passion for skiing and anything snow related. He is currently on a never ending mission to visit the best ski resorts across the USA and the the World. Frank is happiest when he is on ski slopes with his wife and three children.

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