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 16.5m, 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 Resort ski area, Alaska, USA - Top 10 snowiest ski resorts, North America Photo: Alyeska Resort

Alyeska claims an annual average snowfall similar to that of Mount Baker (16.5m), 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 13.2m 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 13m 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 15m or more).

4. Brighton/Solitude (Utah), USA

Resort height:

 2490-2670m

 

Slopes:

 2435-3200m

 

Pistes:

 2250 acres

The Brighton/Solitude area's claimed 13m 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

Grand Targhee ski area, Wyoming, USA - Top 10 snowiest ski resorts, North America Photo: Grand Targhee Resort

Grand Targhee boasts a huge snowfall average of 12.2m - 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

Stevens Pass ski area, Washington, USA - Top 10 snowiest ski resorts, North America Photo: Stevens Pass

Not far from Seattle, Stevens Pass averages a massive 12.2m of snow, measured on the lower mountain!

7. Kirkwood (California), USA

Resort height:

 2375m

 

Slopes:

 2375-2985m

 

Pistes:

 2300 acres

Kirkwood ski area, California, USA - Top 10 snowiest ski resorts, North America Photo: Vail Resorts Inc.

Kirkwood is California's snowiest resort, with a huge 12.1m 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 ski resort. Here the seasonal average is 11.7m, measured on the lower slopes. 

9. Squaw Valley (California), USA

Resort height:

 1890m

 

Slopes:

 1890-2760m

 

Pistes:

 4000 acres

Squaw Valley, California, USA - Top 10 snowiest ski resorts, North America Photo: Jeff Engerbretson

Squaw Valley is one of California's snowiest resorts, but is still some way behind Kirkwood and Sugar Bowl, given that its 11.6m 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 ski resort, with an average snowfall of 11.5m mid-mountain.

 

Nearby Timberline offers the only year-round lift-served skiing in North America.

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