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

Resort height: 1115m
Slopes: 1115-1540m
Pistes: 1000 acres

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

Resort height: 75m
Slopes: 75-1200m
Pistes: 785 acres

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

Resort height: 2470-2600m
Slopes: 2365-3350m
Pistes: 4700 acres

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

Resort height: 2490-2670m
Slopes: 2435-3200m
Pistes: 2250 acres

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

Resort height: 2439m
Slopes: 2260-3005m
Pistes: 2100 acres

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

Resort height: N/A
Slopes: 1170-1775m
Pistes: 1125 acres

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

Resort height: 2375m
Slopes: 2375-2985m
Pistes: 2300 acres

© 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

Resort height: 2100m
Slopes: 2100-2555m
Pistes: 1500 acres

Little known Sugar Bowl is pretty much up there with Kirkwood as California’s snowiest resort.  Here the seasonal average is 38 feet measured on the lower slopes.

9. Squaw Valley (California), USA

Resort height: 1890m
Slopes: 1890-2760m
Pistes: 4000 acres

© Jeff Engerbretson

Squaw Valley is one of California’s snowiest resorts, but is still some way behind Kirkwood and Sugar Bowl given that its 38 feet snowfall average is taken towards the top of the ski area.

10. Mount Hood Meadows (Oregon), USA

Resort height: 1625m
Slopes: 1375-2225m
Pistes: 2150 acres

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.

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