How Much Snow Do You Need to Snowboard?

Typically, you need about 6 inches of packed snow or 10 inches or more of powder to snowboard. But if the slope is only grass, you might need less. If the hill has rocks or stumps, you might need more. 

I’ve been snowboarding for most of my life and have seen all sorts of conditions. I’ve ridden in epic powder and also in nearly bare conditions, so I know how much snow you need to ride. 

This post will explain how much snow you need to snowboard. I’ll give you an idea of the bare minimum required to ride effectively and tell you why more snow is always better. 

Let’s get after it. 

The Minimum Snow Needed to Snowboard

The very minimum amount of snow you need to snowboard is about 4 inches or 10cm. This should blanket the slope with enough of the white stuff to cover the ground and allow you to slide down it. 

But that’s only a bare minimum. It’s always better to have more snow than less snow, and a good base at the resort is around 50 inches of packed snow. The more snow you have, the better the coverage will be. 

Let’s look at those bare minimums again quickly. 4 inches of packed snow is enough to get you started, while you need about 10 inches of powder for coverage. So if the first snow of the year is only 4 inches of fluffy snow, it’s probably not enough to go ride. 

If the slope you want to ride on is all grass or dirt, you won’t need as much snow for decent coverage. But if the slope you want to ride on is full of obstacles like rocks or stumps, you might need much more than the minimum to actually ride. 

Why You Want a Lot of Snow

The more snow that falls, the better the snowboarding will be. That has always been true, and it always will be. There’s a reason so many riders get stoaked when a big storm is in the forecast. Powder is the ideal snow for fun riding. 

The more snow that falls, the more will start to stack up in the winter months. This is known as the base. You want a large base to ensure that adequate coverage of snow keeps all the runs open.

Some runs might not open up when the base starts to melt away or if enough snow doesn’t fall. And you’ll also want to keep your eyes out for rocks, stumps, and bare ground that can ruin your board. 


Here are a few short answers to some of the most commonly asked questions relating to how much snow you need to snowboard. 

Is it better to snowboard on fresh snow? 

Most people do like snowboarding on fresh snow. Powder days are the most sought-after conditions for many riders, and even a few inches of new snow can make conditions really nice. More snow is always better than less. 

What is a good snow base for snowboarding? 

A decent base is anything of about 50 inches or more. That should be enough of a base to cover any obstacle on the mountain and allow you to ride effectively all over the place. The bigger the base, the better. But you can ride easily on 50 inches. 

How many cm of snow do you need to snowboard? 

You need about 10cms of snow at minimum to snowboard. You might need double or triple this amount if the slope has rocks or stumps. The more snow that falls, the better the snowboarding will be. 

Is it hard to snowboard when it’s icy? 

It is harder to snowboard when it’s icy. Icy conditions make it more difficult to control your board because it’s harder to get a good edge. Ice is also very slippery, so you can get going really fast. That combination makes it pretty hard to ride in, especially for beginners. 

Final Thoughts

The amount of snow you need to go snowboarding can range from about 4 to 10 inches, depending on the terrain. But that is just the bare minimum. The more snow that falls, the better your snowboarding experience will be.

About Lorraine
I'm a certified snowboard instructor. My first experience with snowboarding occurred at an indoor resort. One run had me hooked, and it has turned into a lifelong passion ever since then. I'm here to share with you some of the tips and advice I have learned along the way.

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