How Can The Weather Affect Skiing Conditions?

Is there anything more thrilling than a skiing trip?

There’s an undeniable romance in the idea of spending the day cruising snowy slopes on lofty Alpine peaks, before retreating to warmth and comfort of a log cabin and settling in beside a roaring fire.
That sounds perfect, right? For many, it truly is. However, the mountains can be dangerous places.

How Can The Weather Affect Skiing Conditions?  Photograph by Greg Rakozy
Photograph by Greg Rakozy

Conditions can be unpredictable and often extreme. Not only can this pose obvious dangers to a skier’s health and wellbeing, but the weather can also affect the quality of the skiing itself. You could be forgiven for thinking that all snow is the same and is fine for skiing either way. We’ve put together a guide to help dispel some of those myths. Keep reading to find out more.

Different types of snow

Snow can come in all kinds of different forms. From soft powdery snow to hard icy snow, to slushy, wet snow. The type of snow you encounter on the slopes can have a significant impact on your skiing experience.
If you asked an experienced skier, chances are that they would tell you that powdered snow is the best kind for skiing. Powdered snow is freshly fallen, untouched snow that offers a silky-smooth skiing surface. Powdered snow is preferred by experienced skiers as it allows them to generate speed quickly and easily, while its soft surface allows for more dexterous turns and fancy tricks. Beginners may also prefer to ski on powdered snow, it’s soft enough to act as a cushion if they were to fall.
Powdered snow that has seen a lot of traffic can turn hard and tough, this is known as packed snow. This might not be as enjoyable to ski on as powdered snow, but its strength and solidity can make for a more stable skiing surface.
It can be difficult to predict what kind of snow awaits you on the slopes. However, using a weather forecast platform like Piste Pro can give you an idea of how much snowfall is set to hit your destination of choice. Make sure to check it out before you set off on your trip.

The temperature

Obviously, it needs to be cold to snow. You don’t need to worry about that, you can be rest assured that it will be cold up on the mountains. However, particular temperature ranges can have an affect on skiing conditions, so it’s worth knowing what to expect.
Most experienced skiers report that the best temperature for skiing lies somewhere between -7 and -1 degrees Celsius. In this range, the snow will remain firm enough to ski on without melting or turning soft, while it will still be warm enough to enjoy a day’s skiing provided you are wearing the appropriate clothing.
Any colder and you could be in for a difficult time on the slopes. Clothes can only do so much, at low enough temperatures you’ll still feel the cold, and being out in these conditions too long can lead to serious consequences, such as frostbite.


Visibility is crucial on a skiing trip. You’ll often be travelling at high speeds through treacherous terrain, being able to see where you are going is vital to avoid obstacles and other skiers. The sun can often affect visibility, reflecting off the whiteness of the snow and causing glare. Low cloud and fog can reduce visibility as well and make for dangerous conditions.


A skiing holiday can be an incredible experience. However, poor weather conditions can often turn a dream holiday into a perilous situation. Ensure you know what to expect and that you are aware of how the weather can affect skiing conditions.

This post is written in association with Piste Pro.