In the United States, there are more than 470 resorts that attract snowboarders. The most popular spots are found in Utah, California, and Idaho. Outside of the U.S., Canada, Chile, and France have favored locations. Snow conditions vary throughout the season. Sometimes you will find that snow is light and fluffy and other times it will be dense and packed. The types of snow preferred to depend on the experience and skill of the snowboarder.
Snow is either fresh powder or packed. Powder refers to freshly fallen, dry snow that makes a soft top layer. The type of snow might be natural or made using snow machines. Unfortunately, after two or three hours of boarders and skiers traveling down the slopes, the snow condenses and packs. Packed snow is either soft or hard. Soft pack occurs from winter sports traffic. The surface might also be artificially groomed. On the other hand, hard pack occurs a few days without new snow. It may melt and refreeze causing a solid layer with ice on top.
Boarding on Powder
Powder provides a smooth, even surface. Intermediate and experienced snowboarders commonly prefer this type of snow, as the boards do not get caught on uneven or rough spots. The soft surface thus enables snowboarders to glide along at a respectable speed. But, boarders must know how to maneuver the boards using their body weight. They must also know how to maintain enough speed as to not sink into the snow. If a snowboarder falls, soft snow makes it much more difficult to gain momentum to continue down the slope or trail.
Novice boarders are often intimidated by soft snow. However, if falls occur, the landing is much softer, which minimizes the risk of injury. But, a thick layer of fresh powder might also mask possible dangers below the surface.
Boarding on Packed
Packed snow is common on the majority of slopes and trails due to the amount of daily traffic. Although the slicker surface enables boarders to glide faster, packed surfaces may make the boards harder to control. Novice boarders may prefer soft or hard-packed surfaces for the ease of traveling. They do not need to put as much effort into turning or controlling the board. But, packed surfaces also put more wear and tear on snowboards. Additionally, if a fall occurs, the injuries are often more painful and likely to be more serious.