There is no exact amount of snow required to ski, but you need enough of it to cover any obstacles on the mountain that could damage your skis. Most ski resorts will open when they have about 20-24 inches of snow.
I’ve been skiing for most of my life, and I’ve skied in nearly every condition and situation you can imagine. Years of experience on the mountain have helped me know and understand how much snow is required for skiing.
I’ll tell you how much snow you need to ski in this post. I’ll explain why snow coverage is so important and other helpful information you might need.
Let’s jump in.
The Importance of Snow Coverage
Snow is obviously required to go skiing. But just because the flakes are falling doesn’t mean there is enough snow on the ground to ski. There needs to be enough snow coverage to cover all of the obstacles you might encounter on a slope.
Snow needs to stick to the ground and start to stack up before skiing is possible. That’s why you can’t always head to your favorite resort after the first snowfall of the year. A good amount of snow needs to be already on the ground before you can slide down it.
How Much Snow Do You Need to Ski?
There isn’t an exact amount of snow required to go skiing, and this can vary by the location, terrain, and type of snow.
Most ski resorts won’t open up to the public until about 20-24 inches of snow stacks up at the base area. This is usually enough to cover all the grass, rocks, stumps, and other terrain features that could get in your way when there is less snow.
But each resort will be different, and there isn’t an exact amount that everyone goes by to decide when it’s time to ski. Some places might open up with less snow, while others might need a lot more coverage to open up their trails.
On a grassy slope without rocks or stumps, you might be able to ski down it with only a few inches of snow. If the hill is full of rocks and stumps, it might require a few feet of snow before you can ski down it.
Cross country skiing generally requires less snow than alpine skiing. But again, this just depends on the location and terrain. Regardless of what skiing style you are doing, you need enough coverage to avoid obstacles.
What are Good Snow Conditions for Skiing?
Fresh snow, and lots of it, generally leads to the best snow conditions for skiing. The more snow that falls, the more coverage you will have on the ground. This covers up obstacles and leads to softer snow conditions that are fun and easy to ski on.
Powder is my favorite type of skiing, which is only possible after a fresh snowstorm. The deeper the snow, the better the experience. But every skier has their favorite snow condition, and some people like to ski on groomed snow more than powder.
Hardpack and icy conditions are usually regarded as the worst snow conditions. But I’ll take hardpack over no snow any day! You can’t control the snow conditions, and I’m always happy to be out on the mountain skiing.
Can You Ski in Heavy Snow?
What happens when there is a lot of snow? Powder!
This is my favorite type of skiing, but it does require some more effort and skill to ski. Skiing in heavy snow can be challenging for beginners or anyone with no experience in this condition.
If you really like to ski in heavy snow and powder, you’ll want to get powder skis. These are wider and will float better over deeper snow. It takes some getting used to, but I promise powder skiing is amazing!
To ski at the resort, you’ll need to have at least 20-24 inches of snow on the ground. But the exact amount of snow can vary from resort to resort, so you’ll need to watch the weather and the opening date news from your favorite mountain.
If you want to ski away from the resort, always make sure that there is enough snow on the ground to cover every obstacle so you don’t damage your skis or body when you step in and head downhill.