The Different Types of Snow

If you love winter sports, now is the time to jump into life in Lake Carroll. Our skiing, tubing and snowboarding season is just getting rolling with months of fun ahead. If you’re new to the slopes, Lake Carroll is a great place to learn the ropes with beautiful snow cover and trails for all skill levels.

Before you bundle up and head out to the Plumtree Lodge and Lake Carroll ski area, get acquainted with your new medium – winter sports enthusiasts have their own language for the different sorts of snow you’ll encounter, with slang that describes everything from specially groomed snow (corduroy), to snow with red algae in it (watermelon). Here are some terms you may start hear creeping more and more into your conversation the longer you spend on our slopes.


Freshly fallen, fluffy and un-compacted snow is known as powder. Powder is the gold standard for skiing and snowboarding, where devotees covet fresh snow for its smooth and thrilling feel. Powder snow opens up the widest range of possibilities for developing your downhill talents by creating a smooth soft ride.

When powder snow feels crisp and almost dry it is known as “champagne powder” which makes for an extra light and fluffy snow surface. Heading out on champagne powder is likened to riding on clouds!

Powder snow that you catch in an unsullied state – before others have trekked down it leaving tracks and trails- is called “freshies”. You might have to set your alarm clock to catch freshies -hillsides of untouched snow- like surfers chasing tidal waves, the early bird is who catches the ski slope worm!

When powder snow falls extra deep it is called “chokable” – which is used to admiringly imply that the depth and perfection of the snow could choke you. As powder snow ages and gets skied upon it gradually becomes “packed powder”. Equipment used groom slopes for skiers can also create packed powder – perhaps not as swoon-worthy as freshly fallen perfect snow, but still a great, solid feel for skiing and snowboarding.


A thick, dense snow can hold back your downhill run, slowing you down with its thick and sticky texture. Wet, dense, heavy snow is known as “concrete” or “California concrete”. Concrete snow can be skiied, but it certainly presents challenges.


Granular snow occurs when snow has fallen in large flakes or clusters of large flakes, the size of small pebbles as opposed to the finer snow that creates the ideal powder. In the springtime or after a little melting or rain, granular snow can pack up quite quickly becoming “wet granular” snow. Wet granular gets messier and trickier to ski on. Granular snow where the snowflakes have become hard and frozen is aptly called “frozen granular” and feels a little like sugar.


To keep powder fresh and ski-worthy ski hills will use a snowcat to manicure their slopes. A hillside that has been mechanically resurfaced is known as “groomed” and can provide new life to old snow, erasing the tracks and paths of previous downhill runs.

When small, close ridges are left by the grooming, the textured surface is referred to as “corduroy”. Corduroy and groomed slopes are fun, easy and enjoyable for skiers and snowboarders.


Snow that has iced over is known as “crust”. Crust can be hard to deal with. A crust that can be skied successfully is “breakable crust” and has powder snow still lurking beneath its hard layer. Sometimes a light blanket of fresh snow will deceptively cover a crust layer giving rise to the term “dust on crust”.

Lake Carroll

Intrigued by the colorful names for all this cold white stuff? Lake Carroll is the place to start exploring the snow. A home in our community is more than just a house, it’s an invitation to a way of life. With acres of gorgeous Western Illinois countryside and the proximity to your own private lake, life here is bustling. From the winter activities that fill our holiday season, to relaxing summertime fun, Lake Carroll gets you better acquainted with your favorite things in life.

Ready to start looking in for your home in Lake Carroll? Fawn Ridge Realty is the place to start. With years of experience, we know Lake Carroll inside and out and can help you find the perfect place to call yours.