Mammoth Bound’s Guide to Skiing and Snowboarding Corn Snow

Mammoth Bound’s Guide to Skiing and Snowboarding Corn Snow

There are many ski and snowboard terms that will be strange to anyone who is new to the sports, but there are none stranger than corn.

When you hear people talking about corn snow, they’re probably giving you advice on how to find it or telling you how much fun it is to ride on once you do. We want everyone skiing and snowboarding at Mammoth Mountain to have just as much fun as we do here at Mammoth Bound, so we’ve broken down what corn snow is and how to find it below.

Check it out, then find your spring skiing lodging and rentals in Mammoth Lakes using Mammoth Bound!

What is Corn Snow?

During the spring, temperatures generally warm up enough during the day to melt snow but then drop far enough in the night to refreeze that snow. This freeze and thaw cycle causes the snow to form into clumps that cover the slope which is why the snow is called corn.

Why is Corn Snow so Popular?

If you’ve skied or snowboarded during spring then you probably know how difficult it is to ride on slushy snow and ice. Ice is too hard to hold an edge on and slush will grip your skis or board and prevent you from having a smooth ride, which is why corn is so popular. 

Corn snow forms between when snow is melting from ice into slush, which is also the best possible time to ride during the spring. Since corn snow is soft but still firm enough to ride, skiers and snowboarders seek it out during spring.

How to Find Corn Snow in the Spring

If you hit the slopes too early in the day, then they will probably still be too icy to ride comfortably. If you hit them too late then the snow will already be slushy. That’s why you must ride soon after the sun has hit and allowed the ice to soften into corn.

The best way to do so is to figure out which slopes get sunlight first at whatever mountain you’re at and then riding there as soon as the sun has had a chance to soften it up. As the sun moves across the horizon, its rays will keep softening the snow so you can follow it and enjoy the excellent corn it leaves behind.

As the day goes on and the temperatures rise, the entire mountain may be slushy even if there is no sun on it. If that happens then you can always head to a higher part of the mountain where the cool air has kept the snow more firm than lower down.

If there’s no good snow to be found, then you can take the afternoon off and come back tomorrow ready to hit where the sun strikes first!

If you’re comfortable waxing your own gear, you can also apply a temperature-based wax to adjust for the type of snow you’re likely to encounter based on the weather.

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