I have two small kids who are learning to ski this year. We're about to get a snow storm and have an adequately-sloping yard as such that if the snow was packed and smooth, they could practice some more there on their own.

We're getting ~10 inches of snow tomorrow (not sure what the consistency/moisture of it will be yet).

How can I get the snow packed and smoothed to enable them to ski on it?

I thought of something like a sod roller to pack and smooth, then just rough it up a bit with something, but I don't have a sod roller, so looking for other options.

4 Answers 4


Back years ago before mechanical packing equipment, I belonged to a ski club on one of the slopes of Mt. Greylock in Massachusetts. It was run by the members. After a snow, before skiing would start, all the members would don their skis and with them sideways to the slope, begin to tramp up the hill, packing it all down. It took less than half an hour and then skiing could begin. So, put on some skis and starting at the top or bottom, just begin tramping and in no time you will have a good skiable slope.

  • +1 Not only is this be adequate to pack the slope, the time taken will help new skiers become accustomed to the equipment. After using the "side-step" method which has the skier's skis positioned perpendicular to the "fall line" of the slope, the results are adequate warm-up, physical flexibility, much greater control, and less chance of broken bones. Aim to achieve even parallel steps a few inches apart working your way up the slope. When you get to the top, wheee down. Happy, merry, joyous.
    – Stan
    Jan 15, 2018 at 2:47
  • When I was a kid, we kids in the street prepped our 350m long descent on a neighbouring farm plot this way, every day if new snow came. The good old days.
    – Stian
    Jan 17, 2018 at 10:10

"Skiing powder" is a condition which many skiers covet; but you are correct that you might need a (compacted) base of snow underneath to make that first, fresh snowfall ski-able.

If you backyard is predominantly a level lawn without a lot of rocks, divots, or other major irregularities, the skis may simply slide over the lawn/snowfall combination and start to create a base of snow which will allow for a more traditional skiing experience.

But if the skis will not slide over the surface on their own, send the kids out with some sleds to create that base for you. Traditional plastic toboggans are ideal, but if you don't have anything like that, sleds can be improvised with trashcan lids, the base of a shovel, a panel of cardboard, or any one of many improvised items we scavenged up as kids whenever a spontaneous session of sledding presented itself.

I'm envious.

Product Search: Plastic Sled

  • 2
    I LITERALLY have this exact sled... and It's exactly what I will try!
    – GWR
    Jan 3, 2018 at 19:02

I have tried to pack down snow in my backyard, and the most efficient way of doing so is to sled sideways on a sled (a foam sled is best). If you are getting 10 inches of snow in one day, it will pack down enough to be skied on.


I'm not a skier, but I would think 10 inches of snow would pack itself well enough to ski on. From living in Iowa the large majority of my life, I know that 10" in a day will see the snow coming wet and heavy.

As far as I know, the commercial ski slopes don't do any packing. In fact, now that I think about it, the people I hear talking about skiing talk about powder, not packed, snow.

So, I guess what I'm saying is: I don't think you have to do anything to get your yard ready to ski on.


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