17 January 2013
Top 10 snowiest ski resorts – North America
There is a much stronger culture for measuring snowfall in North America than there is in Europe – nearly every resort publishes its snowfall figures. Measuring parameters are also more consistent across the pond. Most (though not all) resorts record their snowfall somewhere around mid-mountain where figures are more representative of the ski area as a whole, whereas most European figures relate to resort level.
So, whilst it would be fair to conclude that snowfall comparisons are more meaningful in North America than they are in Europe, figures should still be treated with caution. In particular, it should be noted that the highest snowfalls don’t always mean the best snow. For example, Mount Baker ‘s ski area can claim to be the snowiest ski resort in North America. However, on average, most Colorado resorts would offer better snow quality, despite receiving half the snow (or less).
1. Mount Baker (Washington), USA
With an annual snowfall average of around 54 feet, Mount Baker is the snowiest ski resort in North America, if not the world! Alyeska (Alaska) claims a similar average – but only at the very top of its ski area. Mount Baker‘s measuring point is mid-mountain, less exposed and generally considered as more reliable.
2. Alyeska (Alaska), USA
Alyeska claims an annual average snowfall similar to that of Mount Baker (54 feet), but this figure should be viewed with caution as it is taken in a highly exposed location at the very top of the ski area. However, the more representative and reliable mid-mountain measuring location still puts Alyeska in our “Top 10”, with an average of over 43 feet of the white stuff.
3. Alta / Snowbird (Utah), USA
Alta and Snowbird are widely regarded as the powder capitals of the world, with Alta averaging 42 feet of exceptionally high quality snow a season (Snowbird is not far behind). This figure is all the more remarkable as the measurements are taken close to base elevation. The top of the ski area is deemed too exposed to provide reliable readings, but average snowfall here is obviously even higher still (allegedly 49 feet or more).
4. Brighton/Solitude (Utah), USA
The Brighton/Solitude area’s claimed 42 feet average snowfall is up there with Alta and Snowbird, but this figure is taken higher up the ski area. Nonetheless, in practical terms the difference is negligible and Brighton and Solitude can rightfully claim to offer some of the deepest (and finest) powder on earth.
5. Grand Targhee (Wyoming), USA
Photo courtesy Grand Targhee Resort
Grand Targhee boasts a huge snowfall average of 40 feet – all the more remarkable as this figure relates to base elevation. It no doubt gets a lot more higher up.
6. Stevens Pass (Washington), USA
Photo courtesy Stevens Pass
Not far from Seattle, Stevens Pass averages a massive 40 feet of snow, measured on the lower mountain!
7. Kirkwood (California), USA
© Vail Resorts Inc.
Kirkwood is California’s snowiest resort, with a huge 39 feet seasonal average measured lower-mid mountain.
8. Sugar Bowl (California), USA
9. Squaw Valley (California), USA
© Jeff Engerbretson
10. Mount Hood Meadows (Oregon), USA
Mount Hood Meadows is Oregon’s snowiest resort with an average snowfall of 38 feet mid-mountain. Nearby Timberline offers the only year-round lift-served skiing in North America.